Skip to main content

Demonstrators march against Quebec's proposed secular charter in downtown Montreal on Sept. 29, 2013.

CHRISTINNE MUSCHI/The Globe and Mail

Hundreds marched through the streets of Montreal on Sunday to call for an "open Quebec" and, once again, denounce the Parti Québécois government's proposed secular charter.

The crowd may have been smaller than at an anti-charter rally that jammed the streets two weeks earlier, but it appeared to be more diverse.

The rally was organized by a group of young, multicultural Montrealers and brought together Muslims, Sikhs and Jews to protest against the ban on religious headwear in public institutions.

Story continues below advertisement

The earlier protest didn't have the support of a major Jewish group because it took issue with the organizers and the march was held on a religious holiday.

This time, the rally drew several politicians and other prominent voices against the proposed charter, including some well-known sovereigntists.

Charles Taylor, a philosopher who oversaw Quebec's commission on religious accommodation in 2007, addressed the crowd before the march began.

He warned the charter would be an affront on individual rights.

"Our society is organized around rights for everybody, and we can't let that go for one minute without regretting it for the rest of our lives," he said.

Former Bloc Québécois MP Jean Dorion, who has come out against the charter, was also on hand.

Quebec's Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs encouraged the Jewish community to take part in the rally.

Story continues below advertisement

The previous protest had been held on Yom Kippur.

In a statement, the group said that it's "reassured to see that civil society and an increasing number of Quebeckers firmly oppose the unreasonable measures set forth by the government."

Avrom Shtern, a 51-year-old who wears a kippa, called the proposal "very restrictive, very provincial, and very narrow-minded."

Abia Khan, 16, attended the protest with two friends. All three wear headscarves.

"I'm not bothering anyone else, so I don't see why it should be removed," said Khan, who emigrated from Pakistan as a child.

"I want to be able to work here and continue to wear my hijab, and if I can't, then why would I stay here?"

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter