Quebec Premier Pauline Marois insists her government's plan to enshrine secularism in the province's civil service is a good idea.
The charter of Quebec values was officially unveiled last week and has since generated a lot of controversy and criticism, particularly, a plan to ban public employees from wearing any religious symbols while on the job.
Opposition parties call the entire issue a smokescreen to cover up the government's poor handling of the economy.
The leader of the Quebec Liberals, Philippe Couillard, appears prepared to do everything he can to stop the proposed charter.
- Quebec charter will pass 'over my dead body': Couillard
Couillard said he's against any law that leads to employment discrimination, and that Muslim women who wear a veil will always be welcome in his own party.
Couillard said the PQ plan will become law "over my dead body," Sunday at a party meeting on women's issues in Montreal.
"The big mistake that the government is making is to make people believe that, in order to defend what is specific about Quebec, we must trample on other people's rights," said Couillard.
Coalition Avenir Québec house leader Gérard Deltell said he believes this subject is taking Quebec down a dangerous path.
“If we continue on that road then we'll face a wall. And people will be one against another. And that's not the way we govern this province,” said Deltell.
Nonetheless, the PQ government is expected to press the values charter to the top of the agenda, in hopes that it will earn enough support to win a majority government the next time Quebecers go to the polls.
Political analyst Michel Pepin says that could happen, but that the PQ is taking a chance.
“The government thinks they can deal with it but I'm not sure they can. Ten days ago there was a large majority of people who said maybe this charter of values is interesting. and now it's almost 50-50,” said Pepin.
The next Quebec election is expected to take place either at the beginning of December, or after the government brings down its next budget in the spring.