Brit milah (circumcision) ceremony (illustrat
Brit milah (circumcision) ceremony (illustrat Israel news photo: Flash 90

Tania Longpre, a leading candidate for the next general elections in Quebec in the PQ separatist bloc, has written a statement on her Facebook page calling to remove the word "Jewish" from the Jewish Hospital of Montreal and to introduce a ban on circumcision, Shalom Toronto reports. 

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) has issued a response to the grave statements, which follow calls by the ruling PQ party in the national government to pass a bill banning religious symbols in public areas - including the yarmulke and head coverings for married women. 

“If adopted, the Parti Québécois’ bill on secularism will result in prohibiting Jewish doctors who wear a kippa from practicing in institutions other than in Jewish establishments. In doing so, the Parti Québécois will force the Jewish General Hospital to return to its origins, as a haven for Jewish doctors looking to practice their profession – and this, only for a limited transitory period -  because other hospitals were closed off to them”, declared Luciano G. Del Negro, Vice-President (Québec) of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs. 

CIJA called on PQ party leader Pauline Marois to rethink her party's stance on the issue, in light of decades of Jewish service to the community and the party's stance on discrimination in general. CIJA also called on the National Assembly to honor the historic legacy of Canada's vibrant Jewish communities, and their contribution to Canadian history and life. 

Following the political turmoil, Longpre was asked to clarify her "thoughtless" remarks. A PQ party spokesman has publicly stated that Longpre's statements do not reflect PQ policy. 

Circumcision bans continue to be discussed across North America and Europe. The Council of Europe recently clarified its circumcision resolution to allow circumcision for religious reasons, eliciting relief from concerned Jews and Muslims.