Quebec Jewish Community Outraged by Minister Drainville's Demagogic Statements

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) for CIJA.

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:

David Ouellette
Associate Director, Public Affairs (Québec)

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Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs

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