News Story

Religious Freedom at Forefront of Quebec’s Proposed Charter of Values

The Christian–Jewish Dialogue of Montreal (CJDM) has released two YouTube videos prior to Quebec’s public hearings on the provincial government’s proposed charter of values, Bill 60.

Fifteen individuals of various ages, religions, cultures and professions were brought together to respond to the question of what it means to be a Quebecer. From seniors to students, those featured collectively responded that being a Quebecer means being part of a community committed to the values of respect, understanding, inclusion and tolerance.


“For me, being a Quebecer means meeting a simple criterion, enunciated by René Lévesque, whom I knew,” says Victor Goldbloom, a pediatrician, lecturer and politician who served as Canada’s Commissioner of Official Languages. “He said, essentially, ‘Whoever desires to be a Quebecer is one.’ Over the course of my 90 years of life, I have seen our society evolve. I have seen Quebec become open and generous and welcoming. I would not want to return to the years of constraint that I knew during my youth.”

“CJDM wishes to promote the idea that we can live together in harmony and that we can equally celebrate our diversity,” says Catherine Jarvis, public affairs representative for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Quebec region, and CJDM executive board member. “Quebec has a rich history, and we are all part of it. It is this spirit that we are trying to capture in the videos and bring to the forefront on the eve of the national assembly committee hearings.”

In its brief to the committee, the CJDM expresses concern that the government, in its effort to ensure the religious neutrality of the state, is trying to silence religions and make them invisible. The committee emphasizes that religion remains important in the lives of many Quebec citizens, inspiring them to work toward peace, social justice and open-mindedness toward others. These are positive values that should be welcomed in public life and not confined to the private sphere. In addition, while agreeing that the state should be religiously neutral and that all who incarnate public authority should set aside personal religious beliefs in carrying out their functions, the CJDM insists that neutrality and objectivity are found in the hearts and minds of public servants and in the training they receive, not in their clothing or religious symbols.


The CJDM committee responsible for producing the videos includes Catherine Jarvis and Ana Carina Fratta of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Rev. Diane Rollert, Unitarian Church of Montreal; Rabbi Lisa Grushcow, Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom; Catherine Cherry, Catholic Church; and Rev. Dr. Patricia Kirkpatrick, Anglican Church. The filming and editing were done by videographer Samuel Bilodeau, also a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In September 2013 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints launched new resources to promote religious freedom. Members of the Church are encouraged to be proactive in the protection of religious freedom.

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.