Controversial testimony on Quebec secular charter draws wave of online attention


MONTREAL – A family’s controversial testimony during public hearings into Quebec’s secularism charter has brought widespread attention — with an online video of their appearance attracting nearly 300,000 views in just a few days.

Video excerpts of the Pineault-Caron family’s testimony posted on YouTube show them recalling how surprised they were by local religious practices during their visits to the predominantly Muslim countries of Morocco and Turkey.

Their comments last Thursday in favour of the values charter came during public hearings into the contentious legislation — a proposal that would ban public employees from wearing religious symbols, such as the Muslim veil, in the workplace.

In her testimony, Genevieve Caron says she was stunned to see people on all fours on small rugs while they prayed in a Moroccan mosque.

She adds she was taken aback when she was asked to follow the custom of removing her shoes before entering the building.

Her husband, Claude Pineault, says people wearing Muslim veils tried to pickpocket him at a market in Morocco and he believes it would be unthinkable to allow people in Quebec to walk around wearing such disguises.

The couple’s comments at the hearings were swiftly criticized on social media for being ignorant.

The Parti Quebecois government’s identity charter has stirred heated debate in a province where polls suggest more than half the population supports the bill.

Proponents of Bill 60 say it’s an important piece of legislation that would ensure gender equality and protect the province from what has been described as encroaching religious fundamentalism.

Critics have called the minority PQ government’s plan unnecessary and an attack on personal freedoms that violates the federal and Quebec charters of rights.

Opponents believe the PQ could use identity as a wedge issue in the province’s next election campaign, which some observers predict could begin as early as next month.

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Controversial testimony on Quebec secular charter draws wave of online attention

  1. OMG how embarrassing for Quebec. They’ve turned into Kansas!

  2. And people from the west are called red necks.

    • Which people from the West? All of them? Some of them? A few vocal ones?

      • I’m usually referred to as on in a round about way. I must point out though that through my tours overseas I have made and continue to correspond with many friends over there that also happen to follow Islam.

  3. I think its disingenuous not to mention that the family in question are a married couple of about 80 years of age, and their daughter in her 50s. There’s a generational difference which is very important on such topics…

    • Age doesn’t make any difference. In spite of what Paula Deen thinks.

      • Not so far as condoning anything goes, no. I meant as far how commonly such regrettable attitudes might be held, and how much we should feel concerned. I worry more hearing stuff like that from kids, than from seniors.

        • I’d say it speaks to the ignorance of those involved….they’ve had years, and TV, to learn about the world.

          They are there because the Separatists get votes by promoting this kind of crap….it’s how the kids learn it.

  4. But she says nothing of catholics climbing the stairs of St. Joesephs oratory on hands and knees…These are why they were picked to be heard at the hearings…blind ignorant sheeple led by the PQ..god knows what dumpy little town in Quebec they came from, and you can be sure their way was paid by the PQ

  5. I find this to be so embarssing quebec used to be such a nice place to live now you hear asti D’anglais or asti d’immigrant often not to mention the attacks on people this couple are an embarasment to quebec if you enter a mosque you will have to take your shoes off and see people on their knees praying people from many different cultures pray differently and that should be ok crawl back under the rock you came.

  6. Their daughter just came forward and claimed that her parents aren’t racists because they have black friends. If you thought this embarrassment could not have gotten any worse … apparently we have a new twist on the classic racist defense: “I’m not islamaphobic, I have black friends!” I’m glad we’re finally seeing what is really motivating this “charter;” what an embarrassment to Canada.