A woman’s coalition is alleging that the PQ’s proposed charter of values might be to blame for an increase in verbal and physical attacks against Muslim women.
“They get condescending looks, insults, [and] they get spat on on the streets,” said Valerie Letourneau, of the group L’R des centres de femmes du Quebec. “It’s causing fear –- we cannot live with this intolerance.”
Letourneau says that her group has noticed a dramatic increase in attacks against veiled woman since talk of the charter began this summer so it is calling for calm and respect, in contrast to the reality they are currently experiencing.
Several cabinet ministers, including Bernard Drainville and Agnes Maltais, have spoken out against the attacks, saying they are unacceptable.
"We resolutely denounce any attack, any injury which has been given to Muslim women," said Maltais.
However critics say the PQ is responsible for fanning the flames of hatred in the first place.
“I think it's a direct consequence to this proposal of charter of values,” said Maryse Gaudreault, Liberal critic for the status of women. “I think we should all be against this kind of discrimination.”
CAQ Leader Francois Legault says the more discussion and debate stirs, the worse things get.
“We should have settled this thing rapidly,” said Legault. “The more we talk about it the more bad it is for the consensus in our society.”
If implemented, the PQ’s charter would see government workers banned from wearing religious symbols at work, such as turbans, hijabs, and kippas.