Charbonneau: ‘Uniformity is not a society’

Laval Liberal MNAs speak out on values charter

By Robert Frank

There’s a fine line between protecting rights and imposing a monoculture in Quebec, Francine Chabonneau told The Suburban in an interview.

The Mille Îles MNA highlighted the Quebec Liberal Party’s stance on the Parti québécois government’s proposed values charter. Authored by fellow Laval Liberal caucus member Gilles Ouimet, who represents Fabre riding, the policy would preclude provincial civil servants from covering their faces and from wearing full-body covering women’s attire.

Quebec Liberals are also prepared to preserve “Quebec’s religious patrimony” including the Roman Catholic crucifix that hangs on the wall of the Quebec legislature.

“A burqa says something more than about simply religion,” Charbonneau said, arguing that equality between men and women takes precedence. She added that the Quebec Liberal policy would not apply to parochial schools.

The Quebec Liberals also took a firm stance against hate speech, forced marriage, polygamy and physical abuse.

Quebec should not ban like Iran

Charbonneau then criticized the values charter for its overzealous coerciveness.

“My constituents say to me, ‘Madame, if I go to Iran, they will force me to dress the way that they do. That’s horrible,’” she recounted. “I reply, ‘You know what, that’s what you are doing now. Is that what we want to be?’ That’s not the Quebec that we should aspire to.”

“You cannot have a community where everyone is the same,” she asserted. “Uniformity is not a society. When I visit Paris, New York and London, I don’t just see blond hair and blue eyes.”

“Quebec has always been a place that attracts people,” she added. “I see that in the diversity that I witness here every day.”

Promising pan-Quebec rainbow

“Laval reflects the potential for any region in Quebec,” Charbonneau enthused. “When I stand in line at Tim Horton’s, I don’t just see people who look like me. That’s the best thing that could happen in Quebec. When I visit Chomedey, Fabre, Vimont and where I reside in Ste. Rose, I meet English people, Italian people and people from many other communities.”

“It’s encouraging [to see how these] people are establishing themselves throughout Laval. Soon, I think, they will venture further to places like Trois Rivières and Lac St. Jean,” she predicted.

The reality is that Quebec needs workers, Charbonneau added.

“The Tremblays, Gagnons and Charbonneaus of this world don’t have 12-children families any longer,” she observed. “They have one child or sometimes none and we need people if we are to ensure that our society continues to function. We need the rest of the world, to survive.”

“Laval represents a melding of communities that show the diversity that we have and the welcome that they have found in Quebec,” Charbonneau concluded. “Ultimately it’s a place you can come to work, to have a family and to be happy.”

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