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Values charter could adjust religious garb ban: Bernard Landry

09/22/2013 09:56 EDT | Updated 11/22/2013 05:12 EST
About 100 people gathered for a pro-charter meeting organized by the sovereignist group Génération Nationale in Montreal yesterday, to hear speakers including former PQ premier, Bernard Landry.

Landry said the debate over the charter is a polarizing, but he likes its principles and sees room for movement on the debate over public workers wearing overt religious symbols.

“Those are maybe the easiest to make adjustments to. The principals, no. Equality of women? There's no discussion. But such symbols, it depends on the circumstances," said Landry.

"Someone in authority is one thing, someone who isn’t is another. Someone in a police uniform has a different kind of authority than someone who works in a daycare.”

Conference organizers said they want to spread their message of support for the charter.

They said that until now, there has been a lot of extreme language on both sides and they're hoping for a more nuanced debate.

Milad Saliba, who immigrated to Quebec from Lebanon as a child, was one of the people who attended.

He supports the principal of the law, and said people who oppose it don't understand that restricting religious symbols has nothing to do with racism.

“I don't think any Muslim or Arab will have problems being Muslim or Arab. That's not a problem in Quebec. The problem would be, maybe, is what the sign represents," said Saliba.

"Does it represent the submission of women, does it represent patriarchal society or not? That's really the real thing. I don't think English Canada understands that.”

Though most in the audience showed support for the charter, Alberto Tiburico said he came because he's not sure where he stands on the issue.

“I wouldn't want to demonize either side. I just want to see what the arguments are so I can get a better opinion of the issue," said Turbicio.

Turbicio says he'll also attend anti-charter events, before making up his mind.

About 200 people showed up at an anti-charter rally in Quebec City yesterday.

A pro-charter rally is planned for this afternoon in Montreal.

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