PQ law on religious wear wouldn't survive a court challenge: Julius Grey
Published Thursday, August 16, 2012 2:05PM EDT
MONTREAL--A prominent constitutional lawyer says a plan by the Parti Quebecois to restrict certain religious symbols in public institutions would not survive court challenges.
Julius Grey used the example of a doctor wearing a kippah, turban or hijab. He says if such doctors one day challenge the PQ proposal, they will win.
The PQ has proposed a Charter of Secularism that would forbid employees in public institutions from wearing overt religious symbols; the policy would not apply to necklaces, like the crucifix.
Grey cited jurisprudence that could be used to knock down the PQ proposal, including the famous case of turbans in the RCMP.
He said a future PQ government would then have only one tool left in its legal arsenal -- the notwithstanding clause, which allows legislation to temporarily override parts of the Constitution.
But Grey says that move would be a political hornet's nest.
The PQ is leading in the public-opinion polls with a provincial election less than three weeks away. Quebecers vote on Sept. 4.