After days of defending the right to teach religion in government sponsored daycares, Tony Tomassi made and about face Wednesday morning, announcing religious teachings will no longer be permitted.
At a press conference Wednesday morning, the Minister of Families announced the any daycare that falls within the CPE system will have to explicitly exclude religion from its educational program.
Tomassi has come increased pressure the last few days after it was revealed that many the there were many CPE places at $7 a day, that were part of religious schools. The Charest government spent two days defending the religious daycares, arguing they were merely an extension of values taught in the home.
But Tomassi backtracked on Wednesday, saying there might be problems in about 20 daycare centres and that "we haven't finished our investigation."
"From now on, religious instruction will no longer be accepted in the daycare network subsidized by the Family Department," he said in Quebec City.
But Tomassi stopped short of withdrawing the permits of centres that do not comply.
Two of the daycares that are most troubling for Tomassi : an 80-spot daycare in Laval that was opened with the objective of spreading Islamic education among Muslims and non-Muslims.
The permit was granted to open the daycare had been granted to an Islamic association a few years ago.
The other, is the case of the Beth Rivkah centre in Montreal, run by Rabbi Yosef Minkowitz, an ultra-orthodox Jewish daycare.
The Minister says the department will now visit the principals of each of the daycares to inform them of the new regulations.
But PQ critic Nicolas Girard insists the government must go even further, by declaring all daycares secular.
Girard says the liberals are out of touch with what ordinary Quebecers want : a secular society.
Adam Atlas of the Quebec Jewish Congress however says the government has gone too far.
"I don't see these secularists taking down the cross on Mount Royal, I don't see them asking for the cross to be removed from the National Assembly, and I don't see them going to work on December 25th".