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Quebec Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard attends a news conference in Quebec City on Jan. 21, 2014.
Quebec Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard attends a news conference in Quebec City on Jan. 21, 2014.
(CLEMENT ALLARD/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Couillard’s leadership tested as Quebec charter debate threatens Liberal unity

Philippe Couillard weathered his first political storm as head of the Quebec Liberal party that put his leadership to the test and played havoc with party unity.

For weeks Mr. Couillard went against his own instincts and hesitated to adopt a firm position on the Parti Québécois’ contentious secular charter bill that would ban the wearing of overt religious symbols by public-sector employees. Mr. Couillard’s wavering on the issue projected the image of an unsure, indecisive leader.