The Education Graduate Students’ Society Council (EGSS) at McGill University publicly deplores the proposed Quebec Charter of Values announced by the Quebec Government on September 10th, 2013.
As a Council committed to work within an anti-oppression framework, we believe that the ban from wearing ‘conspicuous’ religious symbols intended to be imposed upon public servants will discourage diversity in Quebec society. This measure, we believe, will have negative consequences not only for Quebec, but also for Canada as a whole.
We are also profoundly disappointed that Indigenous communities were not consulted in the preparation of the Charter. This, we believe, constitutes a forcible inclusion within a Settler society, which in turn fails to acknowledge the distinct position of Indigenous groups in this territory.
As students in education, we are particularly disturbed with that the proposed Charter targets the teaching profession directly, since many teachers are public servants. We believe this is an offense to student teachers who choose to wear religious symbols, and that the approval of this Charter would put the completion of their teaching programs in jeopardy.
Furthermore, the proposed Charter would disproportionately affect teachers and student teachers, the majority of whom are women, adding further to the oppression women experience in Quebec society and contradicting the government’s own claim to be concerned with gender equity.
If instituted, the Quebec Charter of Values would not only constitute an offense to many of our members, but also to faculty and staff who choose to wear religious symbols, with whom we interact on a regular basis.
We call on the Ministre responsable des institutions démocratiques et de la participation citoyenne and the Premiere of Quebec, Pauline Marois, to abandon the introduction of the Quebec Charter of Values.