Toronto Sun: Quebec charter critic called police over threats

Members of the province's Sikh and Jewish communities agree the debate is becoming increasingly hateful.

Balpreet Singh of the World Sikh Organization said his members told him "there is an increase in the number of people who feel it's OK to heckle or mock people wearing headdresses."

http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/sunnews/canada/archives/2013/09/20130927-161541.html

GIUSEPPE VALIANTE | QMI Agency

MONTREAL - A vocal critic of Quebec's proposed charter of values and president of a large daycare association said he called police after receiving threats.

Sylvain Levesque, whose association represents 650 daycares in Quebec, the majority of which are provincially subsidized, said police Friday told him to stay vigilant.

Levesque was an early critic of the Parti Quebecois' proposed charter, which would ban public employees - including daycare workers - from wearing conspicuous religious symbols at work.

He said about 100 women in his network wear a hijab.

Since Tuesday, when his association formally passed a resolution against the charter, Levesque said he received roughly 15 hateful e-mails "that are borderline threats against me."

"I won't be intimidated," he said. "Just because we're subsidized, doesn't mean the government has the right to tell our employees what they can wear."

Members of the province's Sikh and Jewish communities agree the debate is becoming increasingly hateful.

Balpreet Singh of the World Sikh Organization said his members told him "there is an increase in the number of people who feel it's OK to heckle or mock people wearing headdresses."

Singh, who wears a turban, said two men in a car pointed and laughed at him Thursday in Montreal.

Lucie Jobin, president of the pro-charter Movement for a Secular Quebec, said the acrimonious tone of the debate reminds her of the 1995 referendum.

She said Quebec tries to integrate immigrants differently than the rest of Canada.

"Here we don't do multiculturalism," she said. "Here it's interculturalism," referring to the concept that immigrants should integrate into one singular, Quebec culture - centred on the French language - while having their diversity respected.


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