Quebecers continue to speak against Charter
Published Friday, September 27, 2013 1:59PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, September 27, 2013 8:04PM EDT
Quebecers are being everything but quiet when it comes to voicing their views on the Parti Quebecois’ proposed Charter of Values.
There is another major anti-charter demonstration slated to take place this Sunday at Place des Festivals, coming up alongside a variety of additional smaller-scale efforts planned with the intention of speaking out against the charter.
The Sunday demonstration against the proposed charter is organized by a non-partisan group of professionals called Open Montreal.
One organizer from that group appeared dubious that the proposal even has a chance of becoming the law of the land.
“We all know on a constitutional basis, it will fail. But what it's trying to do is send a strong symbolic message of exclusion and who is not part of Quebec but i think we all have to unite behind and fight against,” said demonstration co-organizer Benjamin Prud'homme.
The group aims to remind the government that current laws already establish a framework fitted to a secular state, equality and freedom of religion.
This rally stands to be the biggest rally yet, as the Jewish community--who were largely absent from the last demonstration due to Yom Kippur-- are expected to turn out in large numbers this time around.
Beyond taking to the streets, Dr. Perry Adler, a psychologist from the Jewish General Hospital, has asked those who oppose the charter to make an effort to sport a black armband as a way of showing their opposition to it.
He says those who opt to wear one could do so as a means of declaring that they are mourning the death of freedom, thought, expression and of religious beliefs in the province.
“It’s strong and it’s simple,” he said, adding that he hopes the action triggers dialogue that would foster a more informed public.
“For me the charter of values is absolutely a discriminatory law,” said Adler. “I believe a certain number of people will leave [Quebec] because of this, but also that a certain number of people will not come because of it.”
He also said that, in the scheme of things, the province has more pressing issues to worry about. “Quebec needs more employment, we don’t need more discrimination,” he said.
At McGill, one professor has made a point of starting to wear a big cross around his neck in response to the proposed ban on such accessories.
“Especially when confronted by a government, I can't pretend to hide or conceal my identity. I profess to belong to Jesus, so when somebody says to me hide that. I just can't do that,” said Professor Ian Henderson.
Premier Pauline Marois was once again beset with questions on the draft charter at a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Mirabel Friday, but she declined to address the issue.
However France's finance minister, who was also on hand for the event, wasn't shy to advocate in favour of certain religious symbol bans, no surprise, as his country has already enacted laws to that effect.
"One thing is true from the French experience, secularism is a notion which does not exclude but which tends to bring people together," said Pierre Moscovici.