Liberals say Quebec Premier Marois stand on diversity contradicts 1998 position - InfoNews

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Liberals say Quebec Premier Marois stand on diversity contradicts 1998 position

December 05, 2013 - 2:09 PM

QUEBEC - Past remarks promoting diversity in Quebec's schools have come back to haunt Premier Pauline Marois as her government tries to pass legislation forbidding the display of overt religious symbols in the public service.

Opposition Liberals raised a 1998 policy on school integration that was signed by Marois when she was the provincial education minister.

In it, she encourages the visibility of religious diversity by school personnel.

She goes on to note in the 40-page document, which was co-signed by then-immigration minister Andre Boisclair, that the province's common values include openness to diversity in ethnocultural, linguistic and religious matters.

The Liberals contend that the stand by the current Parti Quebecois government is in complete contradiction to Marois' position in 1998.

In the 1990s, the PQ was in damage-control mode after remarks by then-premier Jacques Parizeau on the night of the sovereigntist loss in the 1995 referendum. Parizeau blamed the defeat on "money and the ethnic vote."

After that, the PQ pushed what it described as "civic nationalism."

Liberal House Leader Jean-Marc Fournier says the PQ's proposed charter of values ruptures the overtures made during the last 15 years.

Marois told the legislature there's no contradiction in her remarks, pointing out the 1998 policy has no references to overt religious symbols such as those that would be banned in the values charter.

She said the government has always promoted a policy of a Quebec that includes everyone.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2013
The Canadian Press

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