NEWS

CDN-NDG borough mayor speaks out against secular charter

08/22/2013 07:40 EDT | Updated 10/22/2013 05:12 EDT
Lionel Perez, the mayor of one of Canada's most multi-cultural neighbourhoods, spoke out against the Parti Québécois government following reports earlier this week about plans to impose a widespread ban on religious symbols in the public sector.

In a letter published in Le Devoir, the mayor of Montreal's Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough called this part of the government's proposed secular charter "rigid and selective."

"What should concern us is the vision and how the government wants to implement this secularism. These positions show a willingness to define secularism in a way that is rigid and selective," wrote Perez.

Perez, who wears a kippa—a Jewish skullcap—while serving as mayor, says nobody should be forced to make a choice between being an elected official and wearing a religious symbol on the job.

"The goal of an inclusive secularism is aiming to build a genuinely plural public space, to build a society that avoids marginalizing or traps our citizens in a single mold, depriving them of the right to their moral or religious choice," wrote Perez.

Perez says he does not oppose the creation of a secular charter, but says that it should be representative of Montreal and Quebec's modern diversity.

"I believe that values ​​of tolerance, respect for others and moral autonomy are equally as fundamental as Quebec secularism," wrote Perez.

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