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  • Writer's pictureTrevor Greenway

Man of few words has given us nothing in four years

“We’ll see.”

That’s the most English constituents in the Gatineau riding have ever gotten from their MNA Robert Bussière with regards to Bill 96.

In four long years in which English-speaking Quebecers have endured a full-on assault on language rights from the Coalition Avenir Quebec, all we could get from our MNA Robert Bussière was two measly words: “We’ll see.”

He was answering a question from the Low Down on whether or not he was going to address the crowd of protesters camped outside the Masham arena during a high-speed internet announcement in the spring.

They wanted to hear from their MNA on Bill 96 and what he intended to do to protect their rights. It’s been a question they – and this newspaper – had been asking Bussière since he was elected into power four years ago. A question that was never answered definitively.

Bill 96 was passed into law this past June, and as it received royal assent in the National Assembly, English rights in Quebec went up in flames. Education rights, health rights, privacy rights. Poof.

In just over a month, Quebecers will head to the polls in what could arguably be the most important election for anglophones in the province, and when they do cast their vote in the provincial election Oct. 3, they’ll be fighting for more than just sound governance, fiscal responsibility and climate protection; they’ll be fighting for their individual rights and freedoms.

Gone are the days of “it could happen,” as many of us have seen the consequences of controversial policies like Bill 96, Bill 21 and Bill 40 play out in front of us. These discriminatory policies are affecting residents, teachers, students and senior citizens.

Chelsea teacher Fatemeh Anvari was a victim of Quebec’s secular law, Bill 21, after she was removed from her Grade 3 class last year for wearing a hijab to work. Her story exploded into a national debate around religious freedom, but politicians in Quebec claimed that Anvari was trying to make a statement and planned the entire ordeal.

Even our own MNA Bussière avoided the story for weeks. He never reached out to Anvari and dodged questions from this newspaper multiple times.

When non-historic anglophones – those and their parents who did not attend English school in Canada – started losing services in their first language, Bussière again dodged questions and was muzzled by party leaders on anything related to Bill 96.

Where is our representation? Is there a party in the Hills that will actually protect English rights in Quebec? While the Quebec Liberals, including Gatineau hopeful and former Chelsea mayor Caryl Green have stated they will repeal parts of Bill 96, there’s only one party that will fully repeal the legislation, if elected.

The newly-formed Canadian Party of Quebec was founded solely because of the assault on English rights in the province and they have vowed to veto the controversial legislation. Gatineau candidate Danilo Velasquez has fire in his belly and is ready to fight for minority rights — for both English speakers and immigrants (See story page 3.)

Will you give a man of few words another four years of power? Or is it time for someone who will actually speak up and give us a voice?

We’ll see.


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