Mourani quits Bloc and questions her involvement in sovereignty movement

MONTREAL – The Bloc Quebecois MP who was expelled from caucus has quit the party and says she is questioning her involvement in the sovereignty movement.

Maria Mourani held a news conference in her Montreal riding on Friday, a day after her expulsion from caucus because of her stinging criticism of Quebec’s proposed charter of values.

Mourani, 44, will remain as an Independent MP in Ahuntsic at least until the next federal election, in 2015.

The controversial Parti Quebecois government plan would, among other things, forbid Quebec’s public employees from wearing more visible religious symbols — including hijabs, turbans, yarmulkes and larger-than-average crucifixes.

Bloc Leader Daniel Paille turfed Mourani from caucus after she warned the values charter would create systemic discrimination, especially against women, and that it would hurt the drive for Quebec independence.

Mourani said she is is extremely saddened by the turn of events as she reiterated her criticism of the proposed charter.

“Firing women from daycare centres because they’re wearing a cross or a scarf, or a man from a hospital because he’s wearing a kippa or a turban, I can’t adhere to such a policy,” she told the news conference.

“Was my expulsion from the Bloc the conclusion of a succession of events in which an election-driven strategy took precedence over the defence of basic human rights? I wonder.”

Mourani, who was born in Ivory Coast and is of Lebanese origin, said her family could have chosen to live in French but chose Quebec because it was free of the identity tensions she said existed and still exist in France.

She questioned whether the current strategy of the Quebec nationalist movement is just to divide Quebecers.

“I am reflecting on my involvement in the independence movement,” she said. “I don’t have any answers yet.

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