Co-author of Quebec secularism report stands by what he wrote

A silhouette of Muslim women.
A silhouette of Muslim women. ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty Images

The co-author of a report on secularism in Quebec is sticking by his position that some provincial employees be prohibited from wearing religious symbols.

Gerard Bouchard says he doesn’t agree with his former partner’s change of heart.

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Bouchard tells Montreal Le Devoir he finds Charles Taylor’s new position “disappointing” and says not legislating a ban on religious signs for judges, police officers and prison guards won’t reconcile the divisive issue in Quebec.

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Taylor and Bouchard are influential voices in the province’s long-standing secularism debate, having co-authored a 2008 report on the accommodation of religious minorities.

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One of its recommendations stated that provincial workers who are in a coercive position such as judges and prison guards not be allowed to wear religious articles of clothing on the job.

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Taylor, an award-winning McGill University philosopher, wrote an open letter this week stating the province shouldn’t take any more steps that could further “stigmatize minorities” in the wake of a mosque shooting in Quebec City that left six men dead.