NEWS

Bernard Drainville set to release new secular charter proposal

01/14/2015 10:18 EST | Updated 03/16/2015 05:59 EDT
Bernard Drainville says his new secular charter will be a big improvement on the one he put forward when the Parti Québécois was still in power.  

The PQ leadership hopeful is set to introduce Thursday what he's calling "Charter 2.0" this week, to regulate issues like secularism in the public service.

Drainville said the Paris attacks, which resulted in the death of 20 people, show the need for a charter to fight against “fundamentalism.”

But he said the timing of his announcement was planned long before the Charlie Hebdo shootings.

“These attacks are not a reason to postpone the debate,” he said.

The original Charter of Values, which Drainville championed as a cabinet minister, would have banned all future and current employees in every public institution from wearing overt religious symbols.

The legislation died when the Parti Québécois failed to win last spring's election.

Reports say this new proposal would exclude universities from any religious dress code.

It would also include a so-called “grandfather clause” to allow current government employees to continue wearing religious symbols.  

Drainville said other aspects like the ban on religious symbols for public daycare and school employees will remain a key part of the plan.

"The subsidized private daycare centres are important and they always were," he said.  

"Children do not have to be exposed to religious influence."

Drainville said he admits that the charter filed by the PQ should have been accompanied by integration measures.

However, election defeat cut the government's plans short.

Five other candidates running for the PQ leadership are sitting MNAs Alexandre Cloutier, Pierre-Karl Pelideau, Jean-François Lisée and Martine Ouellet, and labour rights activist Pierre Céré.

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