Patrick Craine


Jewish hospital in Montreal suggests it would refuse to comply with secularist charter

Patrick Craine

MONTREAL, November 15, 2013 ( - Montreal’s Jewish General Hospital has indicated it would refuse to comply with the Parti Quebecois government’s new bill banning “ostentatious” religious symbols on public employees, including hospital workers.

On Wednesday, the hospital issued a statement lambasting the so-called “Charter of Values” as “discriminatory and deeply insulting.”

Tabled last Thursday, Bill 60 gives public institutions five years to draft a policy to comply.

But the hospital says they have no intention of taking any kind of “temporary relief” from the bill.

“Since the bill is inherently prejudicial, there is no point in taking advantage of any clause that would grant us temporary, short-term relief,” says Dr. Lawrence Rosenberg, the hospital’s Executive Director.

“This bill is flawed and contrary to Quebec’s spirit of inclusiveness and tolerance,” he said. “If approved, this offensive legislation would make it extremely difficult for the JGH to function as an exemplary member of Quebec’s public healthcare system.”

“Contrary to statements in the bill, the JGH believes that neutrality in the delivery of healthcare services is not compromised by religious symbols in the clothing of employees,” the statement adds.

The hospital was founded in 1934 and has a staff of 5,000. It is still largely run by members of the Jewish community, and is affiliated with McGill University.

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