The youth wing of the Parti Quebecois voted to reject a major component of the party’s controversial 2013 Charter of Values.

Heated discussion regarding public employees wearing religious symbols during work hours preceded the vote, which took place at the PQ’s National Youth Committee Congress in Victoriaville.

“This proposal, in my opinion, is not secularism,” said delegate Laurent Constantin to a chorus of boos. “It is, in a certain way, playing a racist’s game. Who is the Parti Quebecois going to attract with this proposal?”  

Fifteen delegates voted in favour of the proposal.

“We are Quebecers first and foremost,” said Nicolas Turcotte, who tabled the proposal. “This is how we will succeed in including all Quebecers in society, regardless of their origin.”

Religious accommodations have been a hot button issue in Quebec politics for years but have resurfaced in recent weeks, with debates being held in the National Assembly over Bill 62, which would ban those giving and receiving public services from wearing face covering.

The PQ, Coalition Avenir Quebec and Quebec Solidaire have asked the Couillard government to ban public servants in positions of authority from wearing religious symbols.

Premier Philippe Couillard said on Saturday that no consensus on the issue exists within the opposition parties.

The PQ’s young members voted on several other proposal on Sunday morning, including passing a resolution to introduce a mechanism for removing members of the National Assembly or elected municipal officials who are formally charged with a criminal offence.

Another vote is scheduled on applying Bill 101 to colleges. The party’s leader, Jean-Francois Lisee, has rejected that idea in the past.