By Kevin Woodhouse
In response to not hearing back from the PQ government’s Commission on Institutions to take part in the public hearings on the future of Bill 60, the PQ’s controversial Charter of Values that has become the party’s main electoral campaign plank, the Association of Suburban Municipalities (ASM) released a statement last week denouncing Bill 60.
The ASM is comprised of representatives of 15 Montreal municipalities that include the West Island, Westmount, Côte St. Luc and the Town of Mount Royal.
The release noted that Bill 60 is simply “deeply flawed” and that the bill “attacks the autonomy of our cities and ultimately forces us to sanction a divisive strategy concocted for purely political purposes.”
“Nobody has presented any evidence of an issue with civil servants forcing religious views on others based on their dress,” cited Anthony Housefather, mayor of Côte St. Luc. “None of us have ever experienced a complaint in our municipalities related to our employees who wear religious symbols.”
The ASM also stated that not only did the PQ not present viable statistics concerning the number of affected employees should the chart see the light of day but “the government presented this bill without a single research study showing why such radical intervention has suddenly become necessary.”
If Bill 60 was ever passed into law, going along with the provisions or enforcing those that went against the bill’s policy “would be a violation of the conscience and morality of the ASM elected officials involved. We could never support policies that were consistent with many of the provisions of the proposed law.”
The fact that Bill 60 goes against the Canadian and Quebec Human Rights Charters’ is seen by ASM as the PQ willing to create an issue that simply does not exist. The charter of rights for the province and Canada “are supposed to protect individual liberties regardless of the will of the majority or government of the day.”
“It is a law that will not only have a detrimental impact on our cities, it will also breed division within Quebec society accompanied by major social and economic damage,” the release concluded.
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