(RNS) Quebec’s government this week introduced its much-discussed Charter of Quebec Values, which would ban “overt and conspicuous” religious symbols worn by government employees.

Pushing the twin ideals of secularism and separation from Canada, the Parti Quebecois’ plan would prohibit public employees from wearing large crosses and crucifixes, Islamic headscarves, Sikh turbans and Jewish yarmulkes as a way to establish “religious neutrality” in public.

The prohibitions would apply to civil servants, teachers, law enforcement officers, firefighters, doctors, nurses and public day care employees.

Elected officials would be exempt. Universities and municipalities could seek a renewable, five-year exemption.

“The time has come to rally around our common values,” Bernard Drainville, the minister in charge of the plan, said at a news conference Tuesday (Sept. 10). “They define who we are. Let’s be proud of them.”

The government also introduced a visual graphic to explain the plan, detailing what is deemed ostentatious and what is acceptable. Small earrings showing a religious symbol are fine; a hijab is not.

A bill will be introduced this fall in the National Assembly, but the minority government of Premier Pauline Marois will need opposition support for the measure to pass.

The plan has been widely denounced as xenophobic, even racist. But polls have shown that a majority of Quebecers approve the measures.

Meanwhile, Canada’s federal government says that if the charter is approved, Ottawa would order a review by its Justice Department.

“We would challenge any law that we deem unconstitutional, that violates the fundamental constitutional guarantees to freedom of religion,” said Jason Kenney, the federal multiculturalism minister.

Also on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Ghana- 96% religious

    Ghanaian cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson attends a mass at the St Peter's basilica on March 12, 2013 at the Vatican. Cardinals moved into the Vatican today as the suspense mounted ahead of a secret papal election with no clear frontrunner to steer the Catholic world through troubled waters after Benedict XVI's historic resignation.The 115 cardinal electors who pick the next leader of 1.2 billion Catholics in a conclave in the Sistine Chapel will live inside the Vatican walls completely cut off from the outside world until they have made their choice.

  • Nigeria- 93% religious

    In this photo taken on Thursday, July 18, 2013, Hauwa Jubril, a muslim girl sit outside a shop in Obalende, Lagos, Nigeria. Nigeria’s secular and Islamic laws clashed when a senator notorious for marrying a 14-year-old filibustered a vote to amend the constitution by insisting that a girl child comes of age when she marries, not at 18. Enraged activists are demanding the senate revisit the vote, asking how a known pedophile could get away with subverting the country’s constitution.

  • Armenia- 92% religious

    This photo taken on January 5, 2013 shows a man lighting a candle during a Christmas Eve service at the Khor Virab church outside Yerevan. Millions of Armenians will celebrate Christmas on January 6.

  • Fiji- 92% religious

    Pilgrims from Fiji attend the morning Mass of Pope Benedict XVI at Randwick Racecourse in Sydney on July 20, 2008. Far fewer people than the predicted crowd of 500,000 turned out for a final World Youth Day mass led by Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday, leaving one venue almost empty of worshippers, AFP photographers said.

  • Macedonia- 90% religious

    The president of Macedonia'parliament Trajko Veljanoski kisses the hand of Pope Francis during a private audience on May 24, 2013 at the Vatican.

  • Romania- 89% religious

    Visitors light up candles inside a room 'The space for Recollection and Prayer' to commemorate victims of the communist repression in Romania, in Sighetu Marmatiei on July 13, 2013. Former dissidents and political prisoners gathered in Romania on July 14, 2013 at a museum commemorating those who suffered abuses under communism, set up 20 years ago at the site of a prison where scores died.

  • Iraq- 88% religious

    Shiite Muslim worshippers light candles outside Imam Mohammed al-Mahdi shrine during the annual festival of Shabaniyah, which marks the anniversary of the birth of the ninth-century Shiite leader known as the Hidden Imam, in Karbala, 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, June 24, 2013. (AP Photo/ Hadi Mizban)

  • Kenya- 88% religious

    Njemps tribemen dance in front of a statue of Buddha at the Gallmann nature conservancy near Kinamba, Laikipia, Northern Kenya on March 4, 2012. High Priest Shinso Ito and a group of Shinnyo-en priests arrived in Kenya to perform a Buddhist fire and water ceremony for the first time ever in Africa.The ceremony was attended by over 300 spiritual leaders and was streamed live on the internet to millions of viewers and devotees globally. The ceremony involved Kenyan tribal elders and members of the Njemps, Pokot Samburu, Kikuyu and Turkana communites. AFP PHOTO/Carl de Souza (Photo credit should read CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Peru- 86% religious

    A faithful holds an image of the 'The Lord of Miracles', worshipped by the majority of the Catholic Peruvians, during his main procession on October 18, 2012 in Lima.

  • Brazil- 85% religious

    Catholics touch an icon of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ as it is taken along with the World Youth Day (WYD) Cross that in 1984 Pope John Paul II entrusted the youth of the world, across Rocinha shantytown in Rio de Janeiro on July 18, 2013. The Pope is due in Rio for the July 22-28 Catholic WYD, an event expected to attract two million people from around the globe.

  • Ireland- 10% atheist

    Roman Catholics listen to Bishop Noel Treanor during mass at St Peter's Roman Catholic Cathedral in West Belfast, Northern Ireland, Sunday, March, 21, 2010. Pope Benedict XVI has apologised to victims of child sex abuse by Catholic priests in Ireland. Extracts from the Popes letter were read at all masses across Ireland Sunday, in the pastoral letter to Irish Catholics, he acknowledged the sense of betrayal in the Church felt by victims and their families.

  • Australia- 10% atheist

    A Falun Gong Practitioner poses on the 14th anniversary of the beginning of the persecution of Falun Gong in China on July 21, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. In July of 1999, the communist Chinese government outlawed the spiritual practise of Falun Gong, declaring it illegal and forbidding citizens to practise. Followers believe thousands of practitioners have been killed, imprisoned or put in labour camps in China since 1999.

  • Iceland- 10% atheist

    Pope Benedict XVI (R) poses with Iceland president Olafur Ragnar Grinsson during a private audience at the Vatican on March 4, 2011.

  • Austria- 10% atheist

    The Russian Orthodox cathedral of St. Nicholas is seen on a clear day in Vienna on April 1, 2013.

  • Netherlands- 14% atheist

    Dozens of people queue in front of the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam on May 1, 2013. A day after the crowning of king Willem-Alexander the church has opened it's doors for those who want to see the church in the same setting as during the ceremony on April 30.

  • Germany- 15% atheist

    Eight new priests prepare for their ordination at the Freisinger Dom cathedral on June 29, 2013 in Freising, Germany. Freising Cathedral, also called Saint Mary and Corbinian Cathedral, is a romanesque basilica in Freising, Bavaria. The Freising Cathedral is also known for being the place where Pope Benedict XVI was ordained a priest. Bavaria, Germany's southern-most state, is heavily Catholic.

  • South Korea- 15% atheist

    Nuns walk on a popular shopping street in Seoul on July 6, 2013. Freedom of religion is constitutionally guaranteed in South Korea, which is predominantly Buddhist and Christian.

  • France- 29% atheist

    A picture taken on July 12, 2013 shows a nun walking by the Sacre-Coeur basilica in the Montmartre neighborhood of Paris.

  • Czech Republic- 30% atheist

    Tourists enjoy a sunny day on March 25, 2010 at the traditional Eastern market in the Old Town Square in Prague.

  • Japan- 31% atheist

    Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan (R) and Galician regional president Alberto Nunez Feijoo (L) attend a concert at Cathedral on June 15, 2013 in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

  • China- 47% atheist

    This photo taken on on June 27, 2013 shows a muslim Uighur walking through dusty streets in Turpan, Xinjiang Province. China's constitution proclaims the country's dozens of minority groups as integral and equal parts of the national tapestry -- but analysts say the mishandling of such distinctions is a driver of unrest in remote Xinjiang. Beijing's propaganda portrays the vast western region more than four times the size of Japan as a harmonious land of colourful, mostly Muslim Uighur natives and hard-working migrants prospering under Communist Party rule.