• The Low Down

Fool me twice, Mr.Bussiére? I think not

The Editor,


Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.


Voters in the provincial riding of Gatineau who voted for Robert Bussiére in the last election should consider this wisdom when deciding how to vote. Bussiére was well known in the region, and his track record indicated he would work for and represent all constituents.


Unfortunately, it is not uncommon that as soon as members enter the provincial or federal legislatures, they become more like meek, silent Grade 1 students than representatives of their constituents. Bussiére has been an outstanding student – four years of doing as premier François Legault has told him – don’t speak unless spoken to and keep a low profile. Or better still, just disappear.


As a person who believes all Quebecers and Canadians should be equal before the law, I am disgusted with what Bussiére and his CAQ colleagues have done to Quebec with Bill 96. I will not get into the statistics of language in Quebec but simply say, as anyone who was not born yesterday knows, a skilled person can bend statistics to make any argument they wish. What we did have pre- CAQ was at least some language peace. The law’s fine print will affect aspects of daily life for all Quebecers, and every week we discover new constraints.


And then there is Bill 21. While the rest of the world is slowly reducing laws and practices which discriminate against people of different colour, religion, race or sexual orientation, Quebec passes a law which purposely targets citizens who are Muslims, Sikhs and visible minorities. I don’t want religious symbols pasted around our schools either, but the problem is that some are exempt from Bill 21.


It is very easy to drive around small-town Quebec and see crosses still displayed on the outside of schools, even a few steps from our local MNA’s residence in Masham. Meanwhile, a short distance away in Chelsea, a woman lost her teaching job simply because she wore a hijab to school. Is this not discrimination? Just as you don’t get a little pregnant, you don’t get a little discrimination – a law or action either does or does not discriminate.


Some will defend Bills 96 and 21. (They may also think our health care and education systems are just fine.) For me, the argument stops when we learn that the best legal minds in Quebec and Canada have declared that these laws do not respect the Quebec and Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.


Does Mr. Bussiére really believe Muslims, Sikhs, and other minorities should not have the same rights as other Quebecers? He has also said that English-speaking Quebecers will not be affected by Bill 96.


I do not expect that I will always agree with the positions taken by my local MNA or MP, but I expect them to be brave enough, to tell the truth and believe all Quebecers are equal.


Bob McClelland

Cantley, QC