The three main political parties all have different opinions about the question of identity. The opposition is not satisfied with the government’s new religious neutrality law because they say it doesn’t go far enough.
For Quebec’s immigration minister, the question of Quebec identity is simple.
“The deal is the common language is French,” Kathleen Weil said. “We live in French, we work in French, many of us go to school in French. It doesn’t necessarily mean we have to speak French at home.”
All parties say they’re open to diversity, but the two main opposition parties have been criticizing the government’s Bill 62 (which bans public employees from wearing the niqab) because they say it leaves important questions about reasonable accommodations unsettled.
One example is a CAQ advertisement (seen below) attacking the Liberals and the Parti Quebecois for being in favour of teachers wearing the chador.
The second opposition says even some Muslims think it’s oppressive.
“I listen to a lot of Muslims, women and men who said, ‘We came here to live with you in peace because we know what’s going on abroad,'” Nathalie Roy, CAQ immigration and secular critic, said.
Last year, the premier said he agreed the chador and the burqa are oppressive for women, but the Liberals have no plans to ban them in schools.
“We want to live together and a way to live together is to respect them,” government house leader Jean-Marc Fournier said.
The Parti Quebecois released a new identity policy Thursday. Unlike the controversial values charter, Jean-Francois Lisée’s new approach is a list of strongly-worded suggestions.
“There’s no sanctions. There’s no timetable,” Lisée said.
The new leader appears more tolerant than he was on the campaign trail when he said women could hide weapons under their chadors or burqas.
“Not my best line,” Lisée said.
He said some teachers should be allowed to wear the religious garments.
“For new hires, the dress code will be no political, social or religious signs… Existing teachers have the same rights that they’ve had for their whole careers,” Lisée explained.