Antireligious headware party beaten in Quebec

The separatist Parti Quebecois government, which campaigned on a divisive charter that roiled the Quebec Jewish community, was beaten soundly in provincial elections.

In the April 7 vote, the Liberal Party won 70 seats in the legislature and will form the next government in the Canadian province. The Parti Quebecois, which was in power for 18 months, was reduced to 30 seats from its current 54, and former Premier Pauline Marois was defeated in her own riding, or voting district.

The Parti Quebecois campaigned mainly on its Charter of Quebec Values, which sought to forbid the wearing of religious symbols in the public workplace. It fought to de-emphasize its core aspirations for sovereignty, and observers reportedly believed that voters rejected the party mainly for that reason.

Quebec’s roughly 90,000-strong Jewish community regards the charter as unnecessary and xenophobic. Many observers see it as a wedge issue and an example of identity politics.

Also defeated was a Montreal Parti Quebecois candidate, Louise Mailloux, who claimed that kosher products have a hidden tax used by Jews to fund their political activities. — jta