MONTREAL, Nov. 7, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - The Parti québécois must stop using Madeleine Parent's name in its promotional material for the Charte des valeurs québecoises, according to her family, friends and close fellow activists. "Not in the name of Madeleine Parent," they warned today, in an open letter addressed to Premier Marois in La Presse.
The 40-some signatories included several well-known public figures, such as Michèle Asselin, Ellen Gabriel, Alexa Conradi, Judy Rebick, David Fennario. "Madeleine Parent fought against all forms of discrimination, social exclusion and racism. Through her work at the FFQ, her example inspired many activists, like me. Madeleine would never have accepted to have her name associated with a denial of rights or a restriction of fundamental freedoms," said Michèle Asselin, president of the FFQ from 2003 to 2009.
The group has observed that the government, the Janettes, and some of the Charter's feminist proponents do not seem to be too concerned about the effect of their actions on the women and men whose rights are being taken away. "The government got it wrong when they held up Madeleine as an example of the values it is promoting. Protecting the rights of working people and building bridges between different communities was her life's work," said Cynthia Kelly, Parent's long-time friend and neighbour.
"We at the South-Asian Women's Community Centre (SAWCC) are sure that Madeleine would have been outraged at the idea that our numerous Muslim members who wear the headscarf could be refused jobs in the public sector, or elsewhere," said Mela Sarkar, the Centre's public relations secretary. "Madeleine supported us with all her heart and helped us be accepted in the mainstream women's movement in Quebec. This Charter goes against everything we worked so hard to build up together."
Parent's surviving family was not consulted on the use of her name. "We are shocked that her name would be gratuitously used and dishonoured in this way, and want to insist it never happen again. Madeleine was devoted to helping people who faced discrimination and her contribution did so much to advance Québec society. Her legacy should honour those values," said her cousin, Anne Powell. "She would never have allowed her name to be used to support this Charter. Never. I know she would have come out and spoken against it."
Madeleine Parent's name is mentioned on this governement page: http://www.nosvaleurs.gouv.qc.ca/en
The letter published in La Presse is also featured on the website of Les Filles de Madeleine at pourlamourdemadeleine.wordpress.com.
SOURCE: Les Filles de Madeleine
For further information:
Michèle Asselin; Mela Sarkar; Ellen Gabriel; Andrée Lévesque; Donna Mergler
Information and interviews:
Cynthia Kelly 514 778-4468