Quebec's controversial 'values' plan to be released tomorrow

QUEBEC – The Quebec government will release details tomorrow morning of its controversial “values charter” that would restrict religious clothing.

The Parti Quebecois’ proposals will be laid out at a 10:45 a.m. news conference at the provincial legislature.

The announcement comes after days of heated debate about the plan, details of which appear to have been leaked to various media.

But there could be significant changes. The PQ, which has only a minority government and cannot pass legislation alone, has said it will seek consensus with other parties before moving forward.

The latest media leaks suggest there could be an opt-out clause for some institutions — with one report describing it as a renewable, five-year exemption.

The charter idea stems from a PQ election promise to bar people from wearing religious clothing like hijabs and kippas while working in government institutions, though the specifics have always been vague.

Polls suggest the idea is popular in Quebec — but it has prompted fierce resistance from some minority groups and political figures.

The federal government has voiced its wariness of the plan, without getting too deeply involved in the debate. Federal opposition parties have been more vocal, primarily the Liberals.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau drew links between the plan and U.S. segregation, which earned him some scoldings in Quebec, especially from Liberals’ more nationalist opponents.