Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The PQ's "Charter of Quebec Values"

Lately, there has been much of an uproar made over the PQ's "Charter of Quebec Values" in the news.

Frankly, the entire thing strikes me as a ridiculous bit of pot-stirring on the part of the Marois-led PQ government.  The proposed Charter imposes a set of arbitrary limitations on religious expression that make no sense in the bigger picture.

Restricting religious symbols has been tested repeatedly under Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  Quebec's so-called Charter is guaranteed to fly in the face of the Charter, and Marois is no doubt planning to invoke the "Not withstanding" clause that has enabled Quebec to support their equally unconstitutional language laws should she actually manage to get this passed in the National Assembly.

What makes Quebec's situation interesting is that they are adopting a stance that is almost as hard-line here as existed when the Catholic Church held sway with the Duplessis government.   The Quiet Revolution which followed turned the province away from overt religious controls.  In light of the Quiet Revolution and the intervening decades, this legislation makes absolutely no sense.

The PQ is playing a game.  I don't think that Marois, or anybody else in the PQ, actually believes what this legislation represents.  The more I think about it, Marois is playing for something different - she is trying to find a way to fan the flames of the separatist fires that she believes won her the last election.  In reality, I suspect that the Charest government had simply run its course and much of the vote for the PQ was a vote against the Charest government rather than a vote for separatism.

The PQ is trying to set up a debate which they can play on in the next provincial election - more or less taking a page from Harper's playbook in 2008.


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