YouTube/Peter Foix Quebec’s proposed ban on religious headwear faced another opposition when one of the major teachers’ unions has publicly expressed its views on the issue.
Fédération autonome de l'enseignement has released a statement which says that the government's approach on the religious issue is wrong headed. A decision of banning religious headwear is not going to help the secular image of state, it says. The union also ensures that it is in no mood to have a "witch hunt" among public school teachers. The union represents around 32,000 teachers. Fédération autonome de l'enseignement is the 2nd largest teachers' union in Quebec.
Sylvain Mallette, the union president, said that the union would not investigate who wore a cross, a kippa or a hijab. He also said that the union would defend the members' right to work. Mr Mallette claimed that there were real issues which were far more important than monitoring religious accommodations among public employees. Wearing religious accessories does not prove that one is against secularism, he said.
Bernard Drainville, the cabinet minister who is responsible for the proposed Charter, said in an interview earlier that the government is considering the exclusion of the crucifix from the ban as it belonged to Quebec's heritage. He was talking to Radio-Canada on Tuesday as he said that the government had no plans to disrespect the culture and history of Quebec.
Mr Drainville was enquired about Islamic belief of women wearing headscarves. He said that equality was one of the reasons why Muslim women live in Quebec. The government cannot shy away from its responsibilities, he said.
He also informed that Quebec discouraged the presence of religion in public institutions back in the 1960s. Public servants were neutral in their appearance during those days. He said that it should be fine for every religion in Quebec in 2013 if it did not create uproar among the Catholics back in the 1960s.