MONTREAL, May 17, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - This week, the Minister
responsible for Democratic Institutions and Active Citizenship, Bernard
Drainville, said that he considered the temporary waiving of
restrictions on street parking in a district of Montreal for the Jewish
holiday of Shavuot, as "privileged treatment".
Dozens of municipalities in Quebec employ the same type of measures for
public and civic holidays. However, Minister Drainville has blown out
of proportion this benign act of neighborliness which traditionally
benefits all groups, Jewish or not, in order to promote his bill for
the "secular charter" at the expense of the Jewish community.
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is saddened and outraged
by the demagogic remarks made by Minister Drainville. While it is
legitimate to debate the place of religion in our society, this
discussion must include all minority groups in Quebec, and should not
be used to score political points at their expense.
"We are profoundly disappointed that during his radio interview with
Benoit Dutrizac, Minister Drainville failed to refute the outrageous
remarks made by Mr. Dutrizac with regards to the Jewish community of
Quebec. It should be noted that Mr. Dutrizac has already been blamed by
the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council in 2012, for the « abusive and
unduly discriminatory remarks about Jewish people » he made at the time
of the controversy over Hampstead by-laws on noise during Jewish and
other holidays," declared Luciano G. Del Negro, Vice-President (Quebec)
Minister Drainville, whose role it is to represent the entire population
of Quebec, should have categorically rejected the scandalous remarks
made by Dutrizac, yet instead, he suggested that the Jewish community
is a source of conflict, and by their actions, are a source of
resentment. Minister Drainville even went so far as to congratulate
Dutrizac at the end of the interview, and praised him for his work.
The conduct and words of Minister Drainville are unbecoming of a
minister charged with the responsibility for our democratic
institutions. He seems unaware that democracy depends on mutual
respect, tolerance and generosity of spirit. The Minister claims that
the "secular charter" will alleviate social tensions, yet instead, his
remarks have intensified them. Minister Drainville should apologize for
his deliberate strategy to divide Quebecers, when instead, Quebecers
should be brought together. Premier Pauline Marois should call her
minister to order.
Eric Maldoff, President of CIJA-Quebec added that "politicians and the
media have a duty to ensure that the political and societal debate on
secularism does not denigrate, nor stigmatize the Jewish community of
Quebec, which has lived in Quebec while respecting its laws and social
norms for two and a half centuries."
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs is the official representative
of Quebec's organized Jewish community.
SOURCE: Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs
For further information:
Associate Director, Public Affairs (Québec)