The diocese of Ottawa has expressed its “dismay and profound” concerns over the PQ government’s proposed Charter of Quebec Values, which would ban public employees from wearing Sikh, Jewish and Muslim headwear, and Christians from wearing visible large crucifixes, while at work.
“We want the PQ government to reconsider the proposed ban on religious symbols in the workplace,” said the Rev. Mavis Brownlee, at the Ottawa synod on Oct. 19, in moving a motion condemning the charter for its implications for religious freedom. The motion was approved unanimously with little debate.
“We are free to be who we are, to live without fear and in peace,” said Brownlee, from the parish of Clarendon in Shawville, West Quebec. “We celebrate our diversity.”
The Rev. Laurette Glasgow, special advisor for government relations, who seconded the motion, pointed out that each party at the federal level has been critical of the proposed legislation.
The diocese was committed to engaging in any public consultations on the part of the PQ government on the proposed charter and any legislated proposals. Diocesan council was also directed to “inform and raise awareness of religious freedom, pluralism and diversity with our members, in co-operation with our ecumenical and interfaith partners.”
Bishop John Chapman said he would make sure that these concerns would be discussed at the upcoming House of Bishops meeting in Quebec City.
The diocese crosses the Ottawa River and has 17 congregations in the deanery of West Quebec.
Brian Sarjeant is media relations officer for the diocese of Ottawa.