MUHC urged to reject Charter of Values
Published Wednesday, December 4, 2013 8:34AM EST
The McGill University Hospital Centre is being urged to take a very strong stance against proposed legislation to limit religious freedom in Quebec.
At the MUHC's annual general meeting Tuesday some doctors said they were upset that administrators had not taken the same tough line against the Charter of Values as had been done by the Jewish General Hospital, which announced last month that it would not comply with any aspect of the proposed legislation.
"I think your response to Bill 60 was quite pathetic," said Dr. David Morris.
The endocrinologist began wearing a kippa quite recently in order to protest the Parti Quebecois' proposed ban on public employees wearing religious symbols.
"We have to stand up for our positions, we have to be clear. its not just to protect us as individuals, it's to protect freedom of expression, and freedom of identity within our community," Morris said at the meeting.
When the Charter of Values was first proposed the MUHC immediately said it would apply for an exemption, but the PQ government has since said that exemptions will only last for a few years, and will not be renewed.
Dr. Michael Rasminksy, a neurosurgeon who has retired, said the MUHC should follow the lead of the Jewish General Hospital and refuse to apply an "inherently prejudicial" law.
"We are a major public institution in Quebec. It shouldn't take weeks and weeks to get a statement together to say that this law is an obscenity and we will have no part of it," said Rasminsky.
Normand Rinfret, the CEO of the MUHC, said it's been clear that neither faith nor culture will interfere with hiring practices at the hospital.
"I think this is a clear message to reject, you know, ipso facto," said Rinfret.
He also said that the board is going to ask all hospital employees what they think of the Charter.
"They need to have the time to study something that we're going to be able to present to them," Rinfret said.
That feedback will be part of presentation the MUHC will make to a parliamentary commission on the Charter later this month.