QUEBEC, November 22, 2013 ( – A Quebec Liberal has donned a flamboyant cross around her neck in a move of solidarity with religious people, whose outwardly worn religious symbols have become the target of the government’s newly tabled controversial secular values charter.


“I’m not wearing this because I’m Christian. I’m wearing it because it is a piece of jewelry that I have,” said Rita de Santis, Liberal MNA for the Montreal riding of Bourassa-Sauvé, as she walked into work Wednesday morning. 

“If I came in with this scarf over my head rather than around my neck, why should it make a difference? On what basis are you judging me? Please judge me on what I have between my ears and how I conduct myself as a MNA,” she told reporters. 

Before de Santis could finish her comments, her rather anxious-looking handlers whisked her away. 


The Parti Québécois government tabled its controversial secular values charter, Bill 60, on earlier this month. In a an unexpected move, the bill was renamed with the gargantuan title “Charter affirming the values of State secularism and religious neutrality and of equality between women and men, and providing a framework for accommodation requests”.

The proposed law would make it illegal for government employees to wear “conspicuous” religious symbols such as headscarves, yarmulkes, turbans, and large crucifixes. 

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The Federal Conservative government has strongly criticized the Parti Quebecois’ proposed legislation, saying in September that it will challenge the law if it is deemed a violation to religious freedom. 

The Quebec Human Rights Commission came out last month with a stinging condemnation of the proposed Charter, calling it a “radical” attempt to create a law that would infringe fundamental rights and freedoms, adding that it would not withstand a court challenge.

Religious and pro-family leaders across the country have expressed serious concern about the proposed charter’s impact on religious freedom and human rights.