09/04/2013 12:05 EDT | Updated 11/04/2013 05:12 EST

Teachers' union calls on PQ to revise secular charter

A Quebec teachers’ union is calling on the Quebec government to revise its stance on secularism, particularly in the school system.

The Montreal-based Fédération autonome de l'enseignement represents 30,000 teachers in the French-language school system.

The union’s president Sylvain Mallette spoke at a Wednesday morning news conference saying the government should focus its plans for secularism on institutions, and not individuals.

Mallette said the union saw no harm in teachers and students wearing religious symbols like the kippa, hjiab or the Catholic cross.

“Can we convert students just by wearing a cross?” he asked rhetorically.

Mallette also drove home the union’s request that the government remove the cross from the national assembly.

“There will still be a fundamental inconsistency if the elected officials adopt a secular charter under a religious symbol,” he said.