MONTREAL — The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) has taken Democratic Institutions Minister Bernard Drainville to task for “undermining” the public consultation process on the proposed Quebec values charter and using it for political purposes.
Drainville’s statement that the Parti Québécois government won’t back down from the controversial Bill 60, made on the opening day of the National Assembly hearings Jan. 14, was denounced as “intransigent” by CIJA.
CIJA is particularly irked by Drainville’s refusal to even consider any change to what it considers the most contentious part of the proposed legislation: the ban on religious symbols in the public and para-public sectors.
“Given that the consultation process is fundamental to our parliamentary democracy, the intransigence of the government undermines the very purpose of such consulation,” CIJA Quebec vice-president Luciano Del Negro said in a statement.
“Clearly, this is a cynical manipulation of Quebec’s democratic institutions and a waste of public funds for partisan ends.
“We call on Minister Drainville to take the necessary steps to ensure that the parliamentary commission be truly consultative and demonstrate an openness to make changes to the bill.”
CIJA, jointly with Montreal’s Federation CJA, has filed a brief on Bill 60 and plans to present it before the parliamentary committee, which is scheduled to hear from more than 250 groups and individuals by the time the proceedings wrap up at the end of March.