The Parti Quebecois’ proposed secularism charter appears to be shifting from contentious to consensus, as PQ MNAs spent Wednesday basking in an emerging acceptance of the bill that would govern the wearing of religious symbols

The PQ, meeting near the bucolic Chaleur Bay seaside Wednesday, appeared buoyed by some tentative support on the issue from the opposition CAQ, a new poll suggesting that Quebecers support the initiative and even an apparent weakening of opposition from the Liberals.

The minister responsible for the bill, which is expected to be introduced in the legislature next month, said that he welcomes debate.

“The fact that people are actually measuring or assessing their feelings, what their position will be on the various questions that we will be confronted with, I think is a very good thing,” said Minister for Democratic Institutions Bernard Drainviile.

“I'm getting emails, I'm getting all sorts of messages from all over Quebec from people who are telling us, ‘Thank you. At last,’” he said.

Several regional PQ MNAs told CTV Montreal that the citizens of their ridings don’t see any crisis when it comes to the issue of religious accommodation.

“I don’t hear much about it, it’s not a preoccupation for people in northern Quebec,” said Ungava MNA Luc Ferland.

Meanwhile Wednesday, Liberal MNA Pierre Paradis said that his party is waiting to see the text of the bill before commenting on it further, which some onlookers believed to be a possible sign that their opposition is softening.

"The ideal time to reformulate policy is when you're in opposition," said Paradis at a press conference called to evaluate the PQs handling of the economy Wednesday. "When it comes to the field of values, things are always changing."

Paradis said, however, that the Liberals would not support any legislation that violates human rights.

One pundit said that the shift appears to be good news for the Parti Quebecois.

“They seem to be more on the offensive,” said political analyst Jean Lapierre. “It's like they had seized the control of the political agenda and the charter has given them some oomph.”

-With a file from The Canadian Press