PM Harper on PQ 'values' plan: I don't see it going anywhere in its current form

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Prime Minister Stephen Harper says it looks like public opinion in Quebec is starting to turn against the Parti Quebecois' so-called values charter.

The prime minister has made his first remarks since the Quebec government released a plan last week that would bar people with religious headwear from working in the public service.

Harper was asked during a news conference about the controversial proposal, following the release today of a poll on the subject.

He replied that it looks like public opinion is already shifting.

And despite the PQ's efforts to turn the debate into a Quebec-versus-Canada squabble, Harper noted that none of the three other parties in the Quebec legislature support the charter in its current form.

He was speaking after the release of a poll that suggests a perfect split in public opinion — while francophone respondents supported the PQ plan at 49 per cent, compared with 34 per cent opposed, and 17 per cent refusing to answer.

That finding suggests a significant drop from similar ones before the plan was formally introduced, when a crushing majority expressed support for a charter like the one the PQ proposed.

There has also been noisy opposition within Quebec. In addition to a weekend protest, and numerous editorial cartoons and opinion columns, the charter was also mocked at a weekend gala with Premier Pauline Marois in attendance.

Organizations: PQ

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