Maria Mourani, member of Parliament for the Quebec riding of Ahuntsic, has been kicked out of the Bloc Quebecois caucus after denouncing the proposed Charter of Quebec Values.
CTV reports that Mourani, in both interviews and a letter she co-wrote with other separatists, slammed the controversial plan as nothing less than the promotion of ethnic nationalism.
Mourani and 18 others, including former Bloc MP Jean Dorion, denounced the PQ plan to ban public servants from wearing ostentatious religious symbols, including hijabs and turbans, The Globe and Mail reports.
"Whether they like it or not, they are discriminating against minorities. It has never been easy to convince people from ethno-cultural groups that the independence movement is inclusive. The signal here is not very encouraging,” she said.
Bloc Quebecois leader Daniel Paillé issued a video statement Thursday ejecting Mourani from the party.
"We cannot accept one of our members denouncing the promotion of secular values as ethnic nationalism," said Paillé.
Mourani ran against Paillé for the Bloc leadership in 2011. With her exit, the Bloc is down to just four seats in the House of Commons.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau offered congratulations to Mourani on Twitter Thursday.
Bravo to Maria Mourani for standing up to this divisive proposal. Mme Marois has seriously underestimated Quebecers’ respect for each other.— Justin Trudeau, MP (@JustinTrudeau) September 12, 2013
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OTTAWA - The Bloc Quebecois expelled one of its five caucus members on Thursday after she ripped into Quebec's proposed charter of values and said it would hurt the sovereigntist cause.
The decision to kick out Maria Mourani came a day after she warned the charter would "create systemic discrimination... especially against women" and that it was a "very bad move for Quebec independence."
She said the independence movement has spent years courting minority groups and that the Parti Quebecois government's proposal risks undoing all that work.
Mourani, who was born in Ivory Coast and is of Lebanese origin, was also one of several sovereigntists to sign a declaration that said the charter would "stigmatize and exclude certain communities and especially some women."
The PQ plan would forbid Quebec's public employees from wearing more visible religious symbols — including hijabs, turbans, yarmulkes and larger-than-average crucifixes.
In commenting his decision to expel the 44-year-old Mourani, Bloc Leader Daniel Paille said her comments in no way whatsoever reflect the party's position on the controversial charter.
"The charter of Quebec values, far from being an election-driven manoeuvre, a serious strategic error on the part of the sovereigntist movement or, worse, a display of ethnic nationalism, is actually a necessary and fundamental step for the Quebec nation," Paille said in a statement.
Paille said the four other members of the Bloc caucus agreed with the decision to part company with Mourani.
Mourani did, however, receive support Thursday from politicians of radically different stripes.
Francoise David, a member of the legislature for the left-wing sovereigntist Quebec solidaire, slammed the expulsion.
"It's as though they're saying, 'There's a dissident voice, a voice that is issuing some warnings against certain aspects of the charter and there's a sovereigntist party that wants to silence this voice','' David said in Quebec City.
"It sends the wrong message...and it shouldn't happen like that."
At the other end of the political spectrum, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau took to Twitter to congratulate Mourani for her stance.
"Bravo to Maria Mourani for standing up to this divisive proposal,'' tweeted Trudeau, whose Papineau riding abuts Mourani's Ahuntsic riding.
"Mme Marois has seriously underestimated Quebecers' respect for each other."
Quebec Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard also chipped in on Mourani's dismissal, accusing sovereigntists of extreme rigidity and "absolutism."
"People are talking about fundamentalism these days," he said. "There seems to be another kind that is taking root within the sovereigntist movement. A kind of clerical atmosphere.
"Mme Mourani has been excommunicated and I suppose it will be the same thing for the next heretics."
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