Tuesday, January 14, 2014

On Tuesday, a National Assembly committee will begin hearings on Quebec’s secular charter bill, setting off another round of fiery public debate over freedom of conscience and religion versus gender equality. The proposals tabled by the Parti Québécois minority government – which include prohibiting public servants from wearing overt religious symbols such as the hijab, kippa or crucifix – have deeply divided Quebeckers, even within the sovereignty movement.

More than 250 individuals and groups have submitted briefs, and most requested to appear before the committee. With more than 200 hours set aside for the submissions, the hearings will last several weeks and could become a backdrop to an early spring election. Some groups and individuals have influenced the debate, even though they may not appear before the committee.

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