The Quebec Liberals don't like the PQ's secularism charter, and some of them don't much like the chador, either.
The chador is the Muslim cloak that covers all of a woman's body, except her face, and it's been giving the Liberals fits for months, ever since MNA Fatima Houda-Pepin spoke out against it, stating that the body covering doesn't belong in the National Assembly, and wouldn't approve of a Liberal candidate wearing one.
Today, the Liberals have announced another position on it — the party's point man on the charter, Marc Tanguay, told reporters outside the committee room at the National Assembly that a teacher or daycare worker won't be able to wear one, either, stating the chador would be considered an unreasonable accommodation.
For the rest of the public service, Tanguay says the issue should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. "It's a case-by-case analysis," Tanguay says. "All situations must be analyzed with respect to the mission of the institution."
Tanguay would not explain, however, why he singled out the chador, and not other religious symbols.
The PQ, meanwhile, is pouncing on the new statement, saying the Liberals don't have a clear position.
"They're opposed to the chador for Liberal candidates, for teachers, and for child-care educators, but they're still in favor of the chador on a case-by-case basis for civil servants, policewomen and nurses, for example," said Bernard Drainville, the PQ minister responsible for the charter. "I don't understand. I think this is incoherent, and it is completely illogical."
He also pointed out that last November, Houda-Pepin — herself a Muslim — had referred to the chador as a symbol of oppression of women, and of religious fundamentalism.