Day 2 of charter hearings sees Liberals changing position

QUEBEC CITY – On the second day of hearings into Quebec’s Values Charter, MNAs heard from a wide range of people, for and against the controversial proposal.

But it’s the Liberals’ shift in position that garnered the most attention.

“You have considerations such as identification, communication,” said Liberal Charter Critic Marc Tanguay.

The Liberals are moving ever so slightly towards the PQ’s position of banning garments such as the chador.


READ MOREQuebec charter of values hearings enter day 2

Tanguay, whose defense of the chador provoked a crisis within his party last fall, is now doing a “180,” saying the robe is unacceptable — at least for daycare workers and teachers.

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“We think that at the end of such a request from a teacher, we consider the demand will not be granted because of these guidelines,” Tanguay said.

The Liberal MNA was confronted during the hearings by transgender witness Michelle Blanc, who insisted MNAs ban all religious signs from the public sector.

“To get an abortion or a pill or to get your STD treated, how would you feel if you have the moral judgement that is embedded in a religious symbol?” asked the author and blogger who has joined the “Janettes” pro-charter group.

Tanguay was also confronted by PQ ministers, who ridiculed the Liberals’ ever-changing position.

“Regarding the question of the charter, it’s not very clear,” said Higher Education Minister Pierre Duchesne.

“He [Liberal leader Philippe Couillard] has to maybe be more clear and talk to Mr. Tanguay because we don’t know, maybe they’ll have a new position tomorrow.”
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His colleague, Democratic Institutions Minister Bernard Drainville added: “This is getting a little absurd, to be frank with you. And I do not understand their position, I don’t think many people will understand their position. I think they’re digging themselves into a hole and I’m very curious to find out how they’re going to get themselves out of this hole.”

Hearings continue on Thursday. The Townshippers’ Association will explain why they are against the charter.

READ MOREOn the agenda: Week 1 of the charter hearings

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