Lucien Bouchard told the Montreal newspaper La Presse that a ban of overt religious symbols should be limited to people in positions of authority and not to all people in the public service.
- Women divided over the charter of values
Bouchard, Quebec’s PQ premier from 1996 to 2001, said that an amended charter would likely be an opportunity for the Marois government to “hit a homerun.”
"It is possible — I would even say probable — that the national assembly would vote unanimously to a compromise. It would be a triumph. Instead of dividing Quebecers, it would unite them,” said Bouchard.
“It would show that we are able to come together around key issues."
On Wednesday, sovereigntist former premier Jacques Parizeau wrote a column for the French-language newspaper Le Journal de Montréal that criticized his own party, saying it goes too far with its proposed ban on overt religious symbols for employees in the public sector.
- Jacques Parizeau, former PQ premier, slams charter of values
"What Parizeau wrote is common sense. It brings us back to the true values of tolerance and openness of Quebec society," said Bouchard.
Bouchard said he believes the Marois government should ban the wearing of conspicuous religious symbols only for those who hold positions of power like police, judges, prosecutors and correctional officers.
Bouchard also recommended removing the crucifix from the national assembly.
Maria Mourani, the Montreal member of Parliament kicked out of the Bloc Québécois caucus for criticizing the charter, said she likes what she has heard from the two former premiers.
“It's good to hear about this and I hope it will change the position, the next project of this charter, I hope,” said Mourani.
Mourani said the way the charter stands now, it sends a negative message to Muslim women.
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