12 September 2013

Quebec Charter of Values not all bad

Every cloud has a silver lining, according to John Milton. That may be a bit too optimistic for most of us but it is, believe it or not, true of the Quebec Charter of Values proposed by the governing Parti Québécois. Most of the proposed charter is offensive or just plain silly and will probably be challenged under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

But there is some silver lining in the cloud. For example, it will eliminate subsidies to private religious schools. Considering that Quebec currently funds about 60 per cent of the budgets of most of the province's private schools, including parochial ones, this is overdue. And we could well emulate the idea of defunding private schools here in Alberta, as former Education Minister David King proposes in the September issue of Alberta Views.

The proposed charter would ban opening prayers at municipal council meetings, as recommended by the Bouchard-Taylor Commission report into cultural accommodation. This I would like to see adopted at Calgary City Council meetings, although Council shouldn't need the province to tell them this is inappropriate in a pluralistic society.

And then there's the section which would eliminate property tax exemptions for churches, mosques, synagogues and other religious buildings. Again, a long overdue measure which should be initiated elsewhere in the country.

So the proposed charter should never get further than that—proposed—but it does contain some good stuff which could pass constitutional muster and which deserves further debate, and not just in Quebec.

No comments:

Post a Comment