Who actually applauded Quebec’s values charter?

The big news: The PQ’s allies are hard to find


Clement Allard/CP

Bernard Drainville and Pauline Marois are, today, the public faces of much public outrage. The pair stood in Quebec’s National Assembly and announced their government’s proposed charter of values. Drainville, the minister in charge, and Marois, the premier, outlined which religious symbols—most of them, with some exceptions and various grace periods—would be banned in public workplaces. Weeks ago, a leak to a reporter made it clear this was coming.

On Aug. 27, Paul Wells wrote about the Parti Quebecois’ motivation to introduces such a charter.

There is a rich debate, in French, among Quebecers, over the wisdom of the Values Charter. Portraying the debate as a polarized dialogue of the deaf between Quebec and “English Canada” is not only a key pillar of PQ strategy; it is the only meagre hope of salvation Pauline Marois’s wretched government can find.

When the PQ released its proposal, all kinds of people who spoke English and lived outside of Quebec howled so immediately it almost hurt. This morning, all the newspapers outside of Quebec went to town on the charter. The Globe and Mail, the National Post, the Toronto Star and the Ottawa Citizen ran front-page stories rife with condemnation from all corners. The Globe‘s editorialists called the charter “horrible,” “unthinkable,” and “frightening.” The Star‘s editorialists called the plan “outrageous,” and “unworthy” of Quebec. Postmedia’s Michael Den Tandt called the proposal an “abomination.” The list of condemners runs uncommonly long.

The Quebec vs. English Canada battle doesn’t seem to be taking shape, exactly. Martin Patriquin reminds us that it’s easy to find opposition to the charter in Quebec. Even the Bloc Quebecois, the PQ’s happy cousins in Ottawa, didn’t endorse the plan. In fact, Patriquin writes, various polls and interest groups’ views indicate Quebecers “seem to want their government to focus more on the purse strings than head coverings.”

Maybe, then, this is dead in the water, given the inevitable legal challenges and the enormous fight it’ll take just to implement the thing. But the PQ knew about all of this in the rocky weeks leading up to yesterday. Why, then, go on with the show?


What’s above the fold

The Globe and Mail  Quebec’s government proposes its Charter of Values.
National Post  The Parti Quebecois defends its secular vision for the province.
Toronto Star  The feds could challenge Quebec’s proposed values charter.
Ottawa Citizen  Federal leaders across parties condemn Quebec’s proposal.
CBC News Barack Obama delays a congressional vote on a Syria strike.
CTV News The UN claims the Assad regime is behind eight massacres.
National Newswatch  Jim Flaherty loses a top aide to the private sector.

What you might have missed

THE NATIONAL Racial tension. Seasonal workers who find jobs in Leamington, Ont., greenhouses have drawn the ire of local residents. The mayor says some of the men who take up residence, many of them from Caribbean islands, sexually harass local women. Workers’ rights groups say latent racism in the community may inflame the situation.
THE GLOBAL Egypt. Egypt’s interim government stripped 40,000 imams of their licences to deliver sermons—unless they’re certified by Al Azhar University, a moderate government institution. The move is part of a broader effort to discourage the Islamist movement that fuelled the Muslim Brotherhood’s rise to power after the Arab Spring.
THE BIZARRE Fat phobia. Yale University researchers suggest that a large portion of mental health professionals who treat patients with eating disorders say those struggling with weight issues “have poor self-control, no willpower, and are self-indulgent, unattractive and insecure.” More than half of those surveyed said colleagues had made such derogatory comments.


Who actually applauded Quebec’s values charter?

  1. “Why, then, go on with the show?”

    Because the PQ survives by making enemies out of “others”. Their goal is to distract their people from the serious concerns of the day. Sounds like it might not be working in Quebec.

  2. I just hope all these professionals pack their bags and move to other Provinces.
    I don’t care if my Doctor is wearing a Turban or any kind of head covering, a large crucifix or whatever. I just don’t care as long as they have my best interests at heart.

    Quebec’s loss our gain and while we are at it stop sending them transfer payments as they obviously want no part of the rest of Canada.

    Ever since she has been elected, Marois has done nothing but butt heads with the rest of Canada and now she is butting heads with a large number of her own citizens.

    • I am curious: would you care if a public servant, say an EI inspector, wore a pin or a tee shirt from, say, the Conservative Party of Canada?

      • That’s just it Loraine I don’t care what people wear. It’s their choice.
        Could not care if it was a Liberal, NDP, Bloc or an Elizabeth May T shirt or even a Trudeau T shirt.

        What or who are they hurting by wearing that shirt.

        Obviously in some cases there is a dress code where someone has to wear a suit or appropriate dress, however, if they want to wear a pin or head covering then that is their business.

        I am curious as well. If you or one of your kids or other family members were in a bad motor vehicle accident and were taken to an emergency department, would you be concerned it the Doctor was wearing a Turban and a CPC T shirt and the Nurses were wearing head coverings or a crucifix, Would you really care at that point in time because these people are trying to save your life or the life of your loved ones.

        • I totally agree with you. There is a difference between neutrality of the state and the appearance of it. The state is neutral when the laws do not discriminate against a group. It is an illusion to think that a civil servant who doesn’t wear religious or political sign is politically or religiously neutral.
          If I were in such accident I would most worry that a family member or friend could not be reached. I have made arrangements – a biological will, power of attorney – to make sure that decisions that I don’t want be taken for me by people I don’t know. I wouldn’t care if the doctor wore a turban or other religious sign. But I would care if a doctor, whether or not she wears a religious sign, were to apply her religious beliefs over my wishes.

          • Lorraine, people are rarely neutral in anything especially politics and religion. Therefore, if you are in a life-threatening situation, chances are the medical staff caring for you will have some opinions on both of those subjects. Luckily healthcare workers are well versed in disregarding their own opinions. It would be malpractice to do anything else.
            In my experience it is family members who are more likely to disregard one’s wishes than any physician or healthcare worker.

          • We still hear, rarely I concede, about incidents such as this:


            Doctors have opinions and can impose their opinions on to you. In this case the doctor did what he had to do: refer the patient to someone else. But his actions were guided by personal (religious?) beliefs rather than medical knowledge; yet it is not malpractice.
            The best thing is to give power of attorney to people you trust, and to write a biological will.

          • Lorraine, failure to act in the best interest of patient who is in a life threatening situation would be malpractice. Acting in the best interest of the patient can involve giving over care of the patient to another physician as long as that physician is willing to follow the patient’s healthcare directive. No matter what, they cannot go against your wishes and provide heroic measures if you do not want them.

            With regard to your example from the Globe and Mail, this is a first that I have heard of a physician not providing birth control pills except in cases where a patient has a high risk of DVT’s but I certainly know of many who do not perform abortions and of course it is their right not to do the actual procedure.
            They do however, provide referrals.

  3. Marois is not willing to let people be reasonable. Marois believes that she (and her government officials) will be able to lay down the law on reasonableness. But such never works.

    The only dress which presents a problem is the wearing of the niqab. The wearing of the niqab is anti-social. And no government should be in favour of giving anti-social behaviour a pass.

    Ban the niqab for all government workers and for all those who are in need of government services. The rest of religious wear can be accommodated by reasonable behaviour on all sides.

    It’s about the quality of work being delivered, not the clothes or jewelry one wears. Simple as that.

  4. If, as we are told, the aim of the PQ is to get the RoC in a froth
    and frenzy and so position themselves as defenders of the
    Quebec faith it certainly seems to be working.
    Our calm, analytical, impartial, disinterested Blackie Lackey pressies
    are performing their usual useful roles.
    I know ! .. let’s all behave maturely and change our Twitter avatars !
    That’ll show ’em. Yes.

    • Liberals like to Complain about the Post, but i can’t believe what a rag the globe has become – editorially anyway. Maybe it always was, but these days it’s often to be found on the right of the post.

      • Way back in the day there was a period in my life when I
        spent a lot of time in hotel rooms. One of the perks was a
        paper outside your door in the morning. It was almost always
        the Globe (bidness travelers, dontcha know). One morning,
        for some unknown reason it turned out to be the Post. The
        one and only time I ever held it in my hands.
        The Globe serves who it serves .. and that ain’t me. But I
        have read it over the years because it always had some
        “beat” writers who were good at what they did .. Picard, Makin,
        Saunders, Reguly , and the unique Rick Salutin before he got
        the boot.

        • Salutin is great. I still try to remember to catch himat the star, him and Delacourt. Can’t say i’m overly fond of the rest of the star crowd.
          I find the post not too bad these days, as long as i mostly keep it in the main to Selley and Coyne.
          Oddly enough i’m pretty happy with macleans, although i caught some Dyer the other day that made me wonder why i bother with Canadian foreign reporting with the exception of Wells and Saunders.

  5. Nick, just an observation . . . at least on this day, with the most prominent national subject being the proposed “Quebec Values Charter”, why do you not include in “Above the Fold” what we would see in French media (La Presse, Le Devoir, SRC . . .), if necessary with translation to English.

    I for one would like to see that on a regular basis.

  6. Most governments are masterful as diverting the important issues from the public in attempts as keeping us from seeing what’s really going on. Used to work like a charm before everybody had access to pretty much any information they need. Now success is more sporadic.

  7. Once Marois gets her way who will she target next?

  8. If Quebec government is intolerant of person’s jewelry, turbans, or hajabs; what’s next?
    Hopefully, the premier will not try change to the flag with it’s very symbolic white cross and fleurs-de-lis ( petals of iris which stand for faith, wisdom and chivalry; also symbolic of Holy Trinity).

  9. I like putin’s words, when he said that immigrants need his country, and not the other way around, so immigrants have to go along with HIS country’ culture and customs, or go back home. I admire this Leader’s backbone!

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