The Bloc Quebecois has expelled one of its few MPs because she is denouncing the Charter of Quebec Values.

Maria Mourani has been highly critical of the Parti Quebecois and its proposed partial ban on religious symbols and clothing.

In interviews and a letter she co-wrote with a number of separatists, Mourani said the attack on religious icons was nothing less than the promotion of ethnic nationalism.

That was too much for Bloc Quebecois leader Daniel Paillé, who issued a video statement ejecting Mourani from the party.

"We cannot accept one of our members denouncing the promotion of secular values as ethnic nationalism," said Paillé.

The previous day, Paillé said that Quebecers were welcoming an honest, open debate about the push to create a secular state.


Mourani will discuss more on Friday

Coming out of her constituency office on Thursday, Mourani seemed surprised at her sudden change in status.

"I would prefer to talk to you about that tomorrow. I have no comments today. I have to think about the situation, to think about a lot of things, to talk with my family, my friends, my executive," said Mourani.

Earlier in the week, Mourani said that by pushing for the removal of religious icons, the separatist movement was tearing up years of work in convincing non-francophones to support a new country.

In an interview Mourani said "whether they like it or not, they are discriminating against minorities. It has never been easy to convince people from ethno-cultural groups that the independence movement is inclusive. The signal here is not very encouraging."

"In terms of strategy, this is grave. Independence is not going to happen without including everyone. And it most certainly isn't going to happen without Montreal."

Mourani, who is an observant Catholic, also said that by dictating that women must remove hijabs, they Islamic, veil-wearing women within their own ranks.

"I always have a cross. All the time I have my cross, so this is not a question for me," said Mourani.


One informed onlooker said that the expulsion might not put the Bloc in a favourable light.

“It shows quite a bit of intolerance,” said political analyst Jean Lapierre. “It’s okay to contribute if you agree with the government but if you don't, then you don't deserve to be heard and you get kicked out and you pay the price.”

Another political rival applauded Mourani for taking a stand. “I applaud that because the reality is we didn't have a problem here things were going along well,” said Liberal MP Marc Garneau.

And at least one high-profiled longtime ally in the fight for separation agreed with Mourani’s stand against the bill. 

“It hurts the sovereignists terribly,” said Jean Dorion, former head of the Societe St. Jean Baptiste. “I don't think the sovereignty movement can go ahead with that.”