PQ ministers say Charter of Values is revolutionary
The provincial ministers behind Quebec's Charter of Values are comparing themselves to American revolutionaries.
In a letter to the New York Times Jean-Francois Lisée and Bernard Drainville say Quebec is going through a "Jefferson moment" with legislation that would "enshrine into law Jefferson’s 'wall of separation between church and state.'"
Thomas Jefferson was one of the leading authors of the Declaration of Independence, and later became the third president of the United States.
The ministers claim that the majority of Quebecers support their Charter, and that its main goal is to make "gender equality paramount when considering religious-based requests for accommodations."
Most polls about the Charter show it is supported by 40% to 46% of Quebecers, with about the same amount opposed. Support is strongest among rural francophones and weakest among urban anglophones and allophones.
No polls have been conducted since the legislation for Bill 60 was tabled in the National Assembly on Nov. 7, 2013.
The letter is a response to an editorial written last week by Maclean's Quebec Bureau Chief Martin Patriquin that says the Parti Quebecois's push to ban religious symbols and kosher food is akin to the Tea Party movement in the United States: white, populist and rural.
"By targeting Quebec’s religious minorities - in particular, veiled Muslim women, mostly in and around Montreal - the party is rallying its overwhelmingly white Francophone base," wrote Patriquin.
Patriquin's piece says the Charter's true goal is to drive up anti-immigrant "sentiment for political gain."
It also points out that despite repeated requests, Drainville has been unable to identify any cases where religious accommodations have interfered with government business.