/R E P E A T -- The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs deplores the Government's intransigence/

MONTREAL, Nov. 7, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Statement by Eric Maldoff and Luciano G. Del Negro, respectively Chair and Vice-President of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs-Québec (CIJA-Québec)

CIJA-Québec expressed its dismay and frustration with the intransigence of the Government with respect to today's tabling of Bill 60 on secularism, which arbitrarily restricts fundamental rights and freedoms. 

We are disappointed that rather than heeding the advice of a wide cross-section of Quebecers including the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse, health institutions and teachers' unions, the Government has hardened its position by introducing even more stringent measures. CIJA is particularly opposed to section 38 of the Bill, which opens up the possibility for the exclusion of a citizen to sit as a member of the Quebec National Assembly due to his religious identity, which is a fundamental democratic right held by all citizens. By imposing unreasonable limitations on fundamental rights, the Government is sending the message to the Quebec minorities that our rights are dependent on the majority, rather than being protected and guaranteed as they should be under the rule of law.

Instead of promoting social cohesion, the bill, which is based on an alleged threat to state neutrality and the equality between men and women, is marginalizing individuals who are well integrated and who contribute significantly to the common good of Quebec society. It is important to underscore that the Jewish community of Quebec has played a significant role in the development of public life since the "Act to Grant Equal Rights and Privileges to Persons of the Jewish Religion" was enacted in 1832. 

As we stated before the Bouchard-Taylor Committee and more recently in our comments on the draft bill, outward expressions of faith by the Jewish community of Quebec does not threaten the social cohesion of Quebec society, nor the religious neutrality of the state since the time of the Quiet Revolution. 

We regret that the Government is moving forward with this legislation and we regret that the Government is using this issue as a political maneuver to the detriment of the fundamental rights and freedoms of Quebecers, and we intend to make our position clear during the National Assembly hearings and if necessary in the courts. In fact, we are calling upon all of Quebec society to join our campaign in opposition to this draft legislation.

SOURCE: Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs

For further information:

David Ouellette, Associate Director, Public Affairs (Québec)
514-294-4420

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