KIRKLAND, QC, Nov. 8, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Bill 60, the Parti québécois' proposed legislation on state secularism and neutrality, is unnecessary legislation according to the Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers (QPAT) and QPAT's views are unchanged since the Charter of Values was presented in September.
"In the English public schools, as unions we addressed many questions regarding religious accommodation in our collective agreements many decades ago. Those clauses have stood the test of time and no further clarification is needed. We certainly have not had significant issues that require a law," said Richard Goldfinch, President of QPAT.
QPAT firmly supported the change from confessional to linguistic school boards in 1998. This change had the effect of making schools secular. The equality of women and men is already well established in both the Quebec and Canadian Charters of Rights. In this context, any further changes or protection are unnecessary and will be harmful to schools.
"The proposed legislation runs counter to one of the most important things we teach in schools: tolerance of others and their beliefs, so long as these beliefs pose no danger or harm to anyone. Quebeckers have come from different backgrounds for hundreds of years. The law should not be used to enforce a narrow view of who a Quebecker is and what she or he looks like," continued Mr. Goldfinch. "The last thing we need is legislation telling our members what they're allowed to wear. Certainly, QPAT will defend the rights of its members to their jobs."
The Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers, founded in 1864, is the federation of teachers in the English public schools in Quebec. It represents 8,000 members.
SOURCE: Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers
For further information:
Executive Assistant, QPAT