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  • Writer's pictureThe Low Down

Weak democracy allows Quebec to mistreat minorities

The Editor,

It is past time that we kick people like Premier [François] Legault and local MNA Robert Bussière out of office before they do any more damage to our province and community.

Could things be much worse in Quebec right now? Teachers, nurses and healthcare workers were all called “heroes” during the pandemic for getting us through what was probably the most difficult time in our country since the Second World War. For years, these same workers have been under-resourced and amongst the lowest paid in their respective professions in Canada. There may have been a settlement reached, but it will be the workers, parents and public who have to clean up the mess. And we will still be short of teachers and healthcare workers, probably for years.

Recently the CAQ government passed a new health bill, which will take decision making on healthcare out of the regions and centralize it under a new agency, santé Quebec. This fall, all living former premiers of Quebec wrote a letter to Legault advising that they were very concerned that this bill was not good for Quebec healthcare. The CAQ passed the bill recently, using closure to close off debate.

Bussière has always been vocal, saying he will work to protect our Wakefield Hospital, but everyone knows that, when control comes from Quebec City, small institutions such as Wakefield and Shawville always suffer and the big hospitals win. Congratulations Monsieur Bussière. 

Then we have Bill 96, which has stripped away the rights of Quebec’s 1.25 million English speakers, and every day we see more damage – a bill Messieurs Legault and Bussière said “would not affect the English.” 

And recently the unprecedented attack on English universities – McGill, Concordia and Bishop’s – simply because they bring too many English students to Quebec. If the premier of B.C. said too many Chinese or Japanese students were in Vancouver, he would be forced to apologize for such a racist statement. But in Quebec…

In times such as this we would expect our federal government to be supportive of minorities, which are being mistreated by their provincial government. What have we heard from Prime Minister Trudeau and local MP Sophie Chatel? Silence. Oh yes, they don’t want to risk losing any votes in Quebec, and “we are following the situation.” 

We should not be surprised. Study Canadian history: federal governments past and present do not have a good record on defending minorities and disadvantaged groups. When the Charters of Rights and Freedoms can be overruled in provincial legislatures because some premier and his followers do not like a certain group, and the federal government ignores it, our democracy is not very strong. 

Bob McClelland

Cantley, QC


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