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The Liberals deplore the relentlessness towards Drouin

Photo: Sean Kilpatrick The Canadian Press During the debate, MP Drouin once again acknowledged having made “insulting” comments two weeks ago and once again “sincerely” apologized.

Michel Saba – The Canadian Press in Ottawa

Published on May 21

  • Canada

The Liberals criticize the Conservatives and the Bloc for using “double talk” and for attacking their Franco-Ontarian colleague Francis Drouin despite the fact that he apologized for his vulgar remarks towards of witnesses.

“It’s a small sin. […] He made a mistake. But does he need the absolution of the pope ? It doesn’t make sense. Frankly ! », Launched Monday evening Marc Serré, the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Official Languages ​​during an emergency meeting of the official languages ​​committee which was held despite the statutory holiday.

The elected officials had been summoned to debate a motion demanding that Mr. Drouin be removed from the official languages ​​committee and that he resign from his position as president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Francophonie (APF).

Mr. Serré broadly underlined the “relative” nature of the conservatives’ indignation. He notably recalled that their spokesperson for Canadian Heritage, Rachael Thomas, had asked Minister Pascale St-Onge in another committee to “not speak in French […] here in Ottawa”.< /p>

However, despite the outcry, the elected official simply apologized. “She did it once,” he noted. There were no motions. There was no loss of time. »

Asked whether the Conservatives have a double standard approach, their official languages ​​spokesperson, Joël Godin, said that he he “lacks information” and, in any case, he does not comment on what is happening in other committees.

In presenting his motion, his Bloc counterpart, Mario Beaulieu, explained that calling witnesses activists for the protection of French “extremists” and “full of shit” was “totally unacceptable, especially in the tone, a very aggressive tone” and that it is of a “charge of intimidation”.

He later called Liberal MP Anthony Housefather and “other MPs” “extremist,” but immediately retracted his comments. In an interview, Mr. Beaulieu indicated that he would apologize “if they asked me.”

The motion received the support of all parties except liberals. However, it was deemed inadmissible by the chairman of the committee, René Arseneault.

“I was stewing. I read. I consulted better people than us on the procedure, he explained. The president, nor even the committee, cannot sanction or censor the comments of a committee member. […] It’s in our regulations. […] It's written in black and white. »

Among the conservatives, Joël Godin ruled that Mr. Drouin no longer has “the legitimacy” to sit on the committee and that he must be recalled “to the 'order'.

He also expressed regret that the Liberals had rushed to become members of the Canadian section of the APF so as to be in the majority at an exceptional meeting of the organization scheduled for Thursday to remove their colleague from office.

“Among the Liberals, “a friend is a friend,” said Mr. Godin. They are ready to do anything to save soldier Drouin. »

For his counterpart in the New Democratic Party, Niki Ashton, Mr. Drouin has tarnished not only his reputation, but also that of the entire committee. According to her, Mr. Drouin demonstrates a “troubling arrogance” by sticking to apologies without “distancing himself from the assembly committee” to reflect.

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Drouin counterattack

During the debate, MP Drouin once again admitted having made comments “offensive” two weeks ago and “sincerely” apologized again. “At the same time, I dare to believe that my actions speak much louder […] than the fact that I was stubborn with someone and that I was not respectful,” he continued.

M. Drouin recounted the battles he waged for the enumeration of rights holders, for bilingual judges “even when my own government was against it”, or even when he criticized his colleagues from the “Montreal island” of making “a shameful smoke show” of the study of the bill on the modernization of official languages.

“I always and above all wear green and white, and that is tattooed on my heart,” he said, referring to the colors of the Franco-Ontarian flag.

The elected official from Glengarry–Prescott–Russell also sent some arrows to the Conservatives who did not denounce their leader, Pierre Poilievre, when he called the mayors of Montreal and Quebec “incompetent” and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “crazy” without ever apologizing. Mr. Poilievre is “the CEO of insults,” said Mr. Drouin.

MP Drouin also criticized the Bloc Québécois for attacking his “integrity” by having undertook “a disinformation campaign” by asserting that he does not support the Francophonie, or even that he denies the decline of French.

Mr. Drouin also criticizes the “silence” when columnists to whom he considers them close describe French-speakers outside Quebec as “lame ducks, or “dead ducks”, or hot corpses or communities on artificial respirators or, the most recent, a Cajun who jabbers.”

Still with the Liberals, MP Mona Fortier described Mr. Drouin as a man who “is fighting hard [for] defend the Francophonie.”

His colleague from Nova Scotia Darrell Samson called on elected opposition officials to “look in the mirror”, to stop ” petty politics” and to do “what is good for the French.”

“It takes individuals like him to continue the battle that almost never ends , said Mr. Samson. He has a lot to offer. […] He is a soldier we need to ensure the French-speaking world. We are all together. »

During the disputed meeting, the two witnesses explained, based on Statistics Canada data, that when a Francophone or an allophone attends an English-speaking university or CEGEP, this significantly increases the probability that they will lead their life in English.

In addition to throwing insults at them, Mr. Drouin asked them if they sincerely believe that McGill University and Dawson College constitute “the big problem of anglicization in Quebec”.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116