Kenney, Mulcair, Trudeau, Paille and May on Quebec’s charter of values

An opportunity to decide what we stand for


If nothing else, Pauline Marois’ charter of values does give us an opportunity to clarify our desire for a free, open and inclusive society.

So far, Thomas Mulcair has delivered a statement in which he called the charter “completely unacceptable” and here are Jason Kenney’s opening remarks to reporters at a noon news conference.

We’re responding to the release of a consultative document today by the Government of Quebec with respect to freedom of religion. Obviously, the separatist government in Quebec would like to pick a fight with the federal government at any time on any issue, but our focus will remain on the priority of Canadians, namely job growth and long-term prosperity. We believe the economy is a priority not just for Canadians, but the vast majority of Quebecers.

At the federal level, we believe our job is to make all people who live in this country regardless of their religious, ethnic, cultural background feel welcome, feel part of our country, feel like this is a land of equality, of opportunity and feel at home as proud Canadians. We are very concerned by any proposal that would limit the ability of Canadians to participate in our society and that would affect the practice of their faith. We are very concerned about any proposal that would discriminate unfairly against people based on their religion, based on their deepest convictions.

We will ask the Department of Justice, if these proposals become law, to closely review them and if it’s determined that a prospective law violates the constitutional protections for freedom of religion to which all Canadians are entitled, we will defend those rights vigorously.

In case there was any ambiguity in that last bit, Mr. Kenney later said “we would challenge any law that we deem unconstitutional that violates the fundamental constitutional guarantees to freedom of religion.”

Update 4:27pm. Justin Trudeau adds his objections, while La Presse talks to Bloc Quebecois leader Daniel Paille, who doesn’t quite endorse Ms. Marois’ approach.

Update 5:25pm. Elizabeth May adds her objections.

“Canada respects all beliefs as well as the right to reject religion. We are a secular society with clear divisions between church and state. While the Quebec bill is clearly motivated by an attempt to regulate to meet these expectations and values, it fails by attempting to legislate – and prohibit – personal expressions of faith. Yarmulkes, crosses on a chain, a turban are all daily expressions of faith protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

And John Geddes looks at how Messrs. Kenney, Trudeau and Mulcair framed their arguments.

Update 9:49pm. If you prefer video, CBC has Mr. Kenney and Mr. Mulcair, while the Canadian Press has Mr. Trudeau. Meanwhile, Conservative MP Devinder Shory calls the proposals “discriminatory and un-Canadian.”


Kenney, Mulcair, Trudeau, Paille and May on Quebec’s charter of values

  1. Ironic considering how kenney led the anti-islamic charge with his discrimintory, Charter-violating citizenship oath bit.

    • It’s only ok if his team is leading the noninclusive charge.

  2. these guys are a little late to the party. Justin trudeau was out way ahead of these guys. that’s the problem with the dippers and the cons, they like to pander and waffle, until they watch all the political programs and pundits to see if its safe to give an answer.

    • Ya, Trudeau was condemning the plan before he even knew what it contained.

      The Dippers and Cons at least have the presence of mind to wait until there was actually a document to criticize. But I suppose Trust Fund Trudeau’s so brilliant he doesn’t even need to read policy papers, much less write them.

      • yes, Trudeau condemned before he new what was in the act . that’s called intuition, and that’s the thing the cons and dippers lack, is being intuitive. knowing what the pulse of the country is. its also a part of being genuine. they tom and steve have to wait to see what the talking heads are saying on the Sunday political shows to make their decision. see you in 2015.

        • Funny that. Call it intuition when Harper told the world that Russia should be part of the solution, and not be part of the problem

          Harper told us that a few months ago and now, finally, Russia is coming into the fold, sort of.

          • no trusts harper anymore. hes(harper) an oxymoron.

          • “Harper told the world that Russia should be part of the solution, and not be part of the problem”

            Spouting motherhood statements counts as intuition?

            I don’t recall anyone anywhere saying Russia *should* be part of the problem.

      • From what was said (and a LOT was said) it was a perfectly reasonable move to set out some concerns beforehand. Others took a different route, Kenney made some inexplicably duplicitious statements, but nobody has been super off base on this deal.

      • He knew enough. We all knew enough.

  3. Hmmm, no mention of defending charter rights from Kenney…and the office of religious freedom no where to be seen on the horizon.

    • Go back and look again; the quote is from Kenney and the constitutional rights to which he refers are Charter rights (though he’s probably forbidden to explicity use the C-word).

      • He doesn’t mention the charter – betcha he means the BNA act. :)

    • Yes, and too bad Rights and Democracy was disbanded.

  4. This is English Canadian oppression against French Canadians. Would not blame Que if they separated over this. These scoundrel English Canadian politicians have filled the country with fundamentalist Sikh and Muslim voters, and are perfectly willing to divide the nation for the sake of grasping the votes of these immigrants. The Canadian Hindu Advocacy supports the PQ policies and will defend Quebec values.

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