QUEBEC - Public hearings on legislation aimed at cracking down on state employees who wear religious symbols will start in Quebec City later today.
Bill 60 would force public-sector employees to take off their headscarves, kippas, turbans and larger-than-average crucifixes if they want to keep their jobs.
Individuals and groups have presented briefs and will be given an opportunity to express their positions on the subject.
The Quebec government argues the charter would shield the province from what it describes as increasing fundamentalism and says it would provide protection against gender discrimination.
Polls have suggested the Parti Quebecois proposal is relatively popular in the province, but opposition to Bill 60 has been vocal.
The hearings start just a day after Canada's freshly appointed cardinal, Quebec Archbishop Gerald Cyprien Lacroix, warned that the values charter is making Quebecers increasingly afraid of each other.