Organizations lining up to voice their thoughts on Charter of Values

MONTREAL – Organizations have until midnight Friday to file briefs giving their view of the proposed Quebec Charter of Values. More than 120 briefs are expected to be filed by then, many of them highly critical.

“We feel [the Charter] is a bigoted response against people of colour, people of certain religions, and we feel it addresses a problem that doesn’t exist,” said Suanne Stein Day, head of the Lester B. Pearson School Board.

Stein Day notes that such a charter would undermine the educational mission of the board because it would fly in the face of concepts taught there such as multiculturalism. She also said it could cost the board capable teachers.

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“One of our teachers, she wears a hijab by choice, and she wouldn’t take it off. So if it came down to the wire it would be her job or her religion,” she said.

In her brief, she tells the provincial government that this “fear-mongering, hate-promoting bill” would go against what her school board believes in.

The Montreal School Commission, Quebec’s largest school board, also filed a brief, but chose not to oppose or support it. It did, however, note the difficulties in implementing the charter should it become law. Those sentiments were echoed by the McGill University Health Centre.

“It would have major repercussions,” said Normand Rinfret, the head of the MUHC. “This addresses people that are doctors, nurses, different multitalented professionals. It would be problematic.”

The minister behind the charter, Bernard Drainville, was unavailable for comment today.

Debate on the bill could take weeks. Bill 14, which ultimately never passed, had five weeks of debate with 60 briefs filed.

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