Quebec teachers' group calls Charter of Values extremist
Published Wednesday, September 4, 2013 6:43PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, September 5, 2013 6:43PM EDT
An organization of Quebec teachers is calling the Parti Quebecois' so-called "Quebec Values" charter extremist, warning it could hinder some teachers' right to work if they aren’t permitted to wear such religious garb as hijabs, kippas, turbans or crosses.
The Federation Autonome de L’Enseignment, or FAE, denounced the proposed charter on Wednesday, saying they support secular values but that individuals have the right to religious expression.
"The right of our members to work is at stake," FAE president Sylvain Mallette told a news conference.
Quebec has come under fire from a number of rights groups over the proposed charter, which would seek to restrict public employees from wearing religious symbols in the workplace, including in schools, daycares and hospitals.
Premier Pauline Marois is expected to announce the legislation early next week.
Mallette says the FAE -- a 32,000-strong organization of eight public teachers' unions -- supports secular values such as removing prayer from schools and regulating religious holidays. But she added the legislation slated to be tabled by the Parti Quebecois is something else altogether.
"It is hypocritical to legislate a charter of secular values beneath a religious icon," said Mallette, calling on the provincial government to remove the crucifix that has been hanging in National Assembly since 1936.
Mallette also called for the provincial government to remove subsidies for religious schools, which make up half of the private schools in Quebec.
"The right to believe does not translate to unequal treatment and preferential rights," Mallette said.
The FAE is only the latest group to chime in against the proposed charter.
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne both spoke out against the proposal earlier this week.
Nenshi said that residents of all faiths are welcome in his city, while Wynne said that diversity is the key to Ontario’s strength.
With files from CTV Montreal
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