'We accept all': Calgary mayor says all residents welcome, regardless of faith
Published Tuesday, September 3, 2013 2:02PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, September 3, 2013 7:06PM EDT
Calgary's popular mayor, Naheed Nenshi, took a moment this weekend to criticize Quebec's contentious plan for a secular charter, saying residents of all faiths are welcome in his city.
Speaking to attendees of Calgary's 23rd annual Pride Parade, Nenshi referenced a debate in a "certain part of our country" about "how people should be restricted from certain jobs because of their religious faith."
"We need together to show Canada and to show the world that here in Calgary, it doesn't matter who you are, it doesn't matter what you look like, it doesn't matter what you worship, it doesn't matter who you love," said Nenshi on Sunday.
Nenshi -- who is widely expected to be re-elected in next month's municipal election – has spoken out against Quebec’s debate around having a secular charter in the past. Last year, he described such plans as "social suicide." He became the first Muslim mayor of a large Canadian city when he was elected in 2010.
Last month, details of the Parti Quebecois government's "Charter of Quebec Values" were leaked in a media report. The proposed policy would prohibit public employees from wearing religious articles at work, including head scarves, turbans, crucifixes and a kippa.
The legislation is expected to be unveiled Monday.
On Tuesday, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne added her voice to the growing chorus of people against the proposal to ban public servants from donning religious symbols.
Speaking in Thunder Bay, Ont., Wynne -- who also did not actually refer to Quebec in her comments -- said it's important for her that Ontario's laws and policies reflect an attitude of diversity.
"It's very important to me that Ontario is a diverse province," she told reporters, adding that diversity was one of Ontario's fundamental strengths in a global economy.
"Other provinces, you know, will make their decisions, but I see our strength as our diversity."
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair have not addressed the issue, although Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, speaking as a Quebec MP, has been openly critical of the plan.
Pierre Martin, a political science professor at the University of Montreal, said Harper and Mulcair are wise to keep out of the debate until the legislation is actually revealed.
"We don't have legislation, we don't have a proposal and until there is – there is no real reason for people in authority in Ottawa to react," Martin told CTV's Power Play.
According to Martin, there is diverse support in Quebec for the Charter of Values.
"What we see now is a majority of public opinion, according to polls, that do support some kind of regulation that would limit the display of religious symbols in the public sector in government," he said.
Progressives on the far left see displaying religious articles as a move away from equality for men and women, according to Martin, and the same group supports the secularization of Quebec society.
He also traced support to those tied to Quebec’s once-dominant Catholicism, who feel threatened by competing religions.
"The third (group), which in my view is extremely limited, is intolerance. There is in Quebec society, as there is in any other society, a small number of intolerant people," Martin said.
Martin added that the bill likely won't pass because the minority government lacks the political support.
"It is very unlikely that opposition parties will give Parti du Quebecois on a platter a central part of their platform on something that is purely symbolic. What will happen is that parties will define their positions and fight it out in the next electoral context," Martin said.
"It's far from over," he added.
With files from The Canadian Press