While I believe free choice (except face coverings) is the morally, ethically, and probably legally correct approach to an individual’s ability to wear religious clothing in all facets of public life in Quebec, I also believe that my view is not the only answer.

This debate has been raging in Quebec since the PQ announced its Charter of Hate Secularism earlier this fall, and no matter what one large portion of society thinks, there is an equally large part of society that feels the opposite. That is to say, while an across-the-board ban plays well with about 30 per cent of the province, complete freedom is the belief of another 30-or-so per cent.

That leaves the roughly 40 per cent that is all over the spectrum – a lot of which wants a partial ban, a lot of which wants no ban, and a lot of which isn’t sure. This is where we need to make compromise, and that compromise is actually quite obvious: Adopt the Bouchard-Taylor Commission’s recommendations and move along to real issues like fixing the economy.

Progress is not found in the extreme margins of society where the PQ lives; nor is it found in simply seeking to oppose rather than create. The PLQ is now moving towards the CAQ’s position because it is the most realistic and pragmatic of all the options presented thus far.

This has effectively been the CAQ’s position from the outset of the debate. While the PQ has gone to one extreme, the PLQ has typically gone to the other extreme, because all these parties do is oppose each other.

The CAQ’s position (Bouchard-Taylor “plus”) is a reasonable way of getting past this incredibly divisive debate, but the PQ and PLQ aren’t interested in getting past it. They simply wish to oppose each other at all costs to mobilize their bases. In doing so, they’re not required to come up with new ideas, develop the economy, or move in any direction other than backwards for the PQ or status quo for the Liberals.

In return for their balanced approach, the CAQ has been criticized as being soft by PQ supporters and wishy-washy by PLQ supporters.

There is no debating this issue with PQ supporters, and frankly, that’s the not community I’m speaking to anyway. But for people who have traditionally voted PLQ to act as if the Liberals are the be-all, end-all as the great defenders of rights, freedoms and federalism in Quebec is simply false. The anglo and federalists communities need to take a close look at the PLQ and what it actually represents, which I believe to be nothing more than “the opposite of the PQ.”

That’s not good enough for me, and their latest flop on the particular issue of secularism in the public sector is a prime example:

From The Gazette: Liberals struggle to find sweet spot in charter debate

In the past, Couillard would not even consider less than total freedom of choice for public servants as long as their faces would remain visible. Should the Liberals decide such a ban would stand up, it would bring them into line with the recommendations of the Bouchard-Taylor commission — many of which were shelved by the previous Liberal government.

This is the direction the Liberals should have gone from the outset – essentially the position of the CAQ, which was called “soft” by the Don MacPherson types who are interested in nothing but the pathetic status quo situation of politics in Quebec.

Progress is not found in the extreme margins of society where the PQ lives; nor is it found in simply seeking to oppose rather than create. The PLQ is now moving towards the CAQ’s position because it is the most realistic and pragmatic of all the options presented thus far.

While I personally believe any limitation of rights save for ensuring faces are not covered is going too far, we need to meet in the productive middle: That’s where the CAQ lives.

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