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Focus: Catholic Politicians

September 14, 2007
You know that etiquette protocol of not discussing religion and politics?  It seems much of the province of Quebec has impolitely ignored the edict, discussing them both at the same time and in the most public of forums. I applaud them for it.
I'm posting from Montreal, where McGill University's Newman Centre is hosting an academic symposium on faith in the public square. Meanwhile, on Wednesday night, the northern Quebec town of Rouyn-Noranda was the latest to host the Bouchard-Taylor commission. Those hearings provide a forum for citizens to discuss the rights and responsibilities of religious and ethnic minorities in secular society.
For its citizens' candour, the province's reputation for tolerance has suffered. But credit Quebecers for acknowledging a fact many others conveniently ignore: that there is no present consensus concerning religion's public place.
Salt + Light continues its coverage of this heated issue. Tonight we premiere a new Catholic Focus, "Catholic Politicians" (a complement to last season's "Catholic Voters"). You'll hear my conversation with the always-candid former MP Pat O'Brien, who discusses his departure from the ruling party in 2005.  O'Brien also opines on the prospects for faithful Catholics candidates in each of the federal parties (Catholic Focus airs 7 & 11 PM EST).