Board backs Senate motion on proposed Charter bill

Posted on Friday, November 29, 2013

By McGill Reporter Staff

McGill’s Board of Governors voted unanimously Thursday to pass the same motion Senate approved at its Nov. 20 meeting, which rejects provisions in the Quebec government’s proposed legislation that would implement a Charter of Values.

While supporting the general notion that the state should be religiously neutral, the motion passed by both Senate and Board objects to provisions that would prohibit public sector workers, including those at universities, from wearing conspicuous religious symbols, such as Muslim hijabs or other coverings, Sikh turbans, Jewish kippahs or Christian crosses.

Both the Charter and the proposed bill that would implement it, have sparked considerable, sometimes heated, debate in Quebec.

“I think it’s a succinct motion on a complex issue,” Board member Samuel Mintzberg said.

The motion reads as follows: “Be it resolved that while the McGill Senate supports the secular spirit of Bill 60, it strongly objects to the restrictions on the right to wear religious symbols, as described in the draft legislation, which run contrary to the University’s mission and values.”

Principal Suzanne Fortier told the Board the University will seek to address the public hearings planned for early in the new year to make its views known.

“There is a process in place for us to express our views,” she said.

Board member and PGSS Secretary-General Jonathan Mooney said at the end of the discussion he is glad McGill will go to the National Assembly commission’s hearings on the proposed bill.


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