Mixed feelings on PQ's charter from ex-Supreme Court justices

Former Supreme Court justice Louise Arbour.
LA PRESSE

Two former Supreme Court justices from Quebec have weighed in on the PQ's controversial secularism charter — one if for, the other is dead set against.

Claire L'Heureux-Dubé told the public hearings on the charter in Quebec City not only that she supports it, but that she believes it would survive a court challenge, which many have been threatening.

She insists the contentious ban on religious clothing does not affect religious rights.

Meanwhile, another former Supreme Court justice, Louise Arbour, says Bill 60 places what she calls a "particularly odious" burden on Muslim women.

Arbour, who has also served as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, says the charter is a clear restriction on religious freedom, and that its supporters haven't been able to prove it's necessary.

"The onus is on the state to prove that an infringement of a fundamental freedom such as freedom of religion is justified. Nothing indicates that this is the case in this proposed charter," she wrote.

She also pointed out it took the intervention of the Supreme Court to reverse the injustices inflicted by the government of Maurice Duplessis against Jehovah's Witnesses and Communists.

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