Opinion: Time for federal answers!

End silence on state sanctioned discrimination

The Suburban (August 20) report by P.A. Sevigny on Westmount-Ville-Marie Conservative candidate identifies Guy Dufort as trying to do something about it.

Glaringly absent from his wide variety of goals to do something about is any indication of Mr. Dufort’s position on the abandonment by Ottawa of the one million anglophone, allophone, and minority Quebecers who live under a regime of always denied, but open, state sanctioned discrimination.

This prejudice is imposed through the abrogation of language, sign, and education rights, not to forget the squeezing of access to English language services, and denial of hiring in government positions.

Mr. Dufort has noted the contrasts in the riding, but he has failed to notice that most of his voters come from Quebec’s non-French speaking minority; nor does he make any reference to the more than 600,000 who have fled Quebec since the early 1970s. Indeed, we must add, nor has Liberal Marc Garneau, either.

Considering that the Liberals, NDP, Conservatives, and the Bloc all wholeheartedly supported recognition of the “Québécois Nation” in the parliamentary vote last year, this would be the best time for Mr. Dufort and the other mainline candidates to make clear commitments on exactly what their parties will do to restore the abrogated rights to these too long neglected Canadians in Quebec.

Are Quebec’s discriminated-against minorities, as full citizens of Canada, not entitled to live in Quebec with all the complete and inherent rights of being Canadian? Is it not disingenuous that the federal government promotes national bilingualism and affirmative hiring programs for French Canadians across Canada, while Quebec is officially unilingual, French, and employs few anglophones, allophones, and visible minorities?

Other national issues aside, these are the urgent questions facing the voters of Westmount-Ville-Marie, especially during the safety of voting in a by-election. If not addressed now, when will these crucial issues of abrogated rights in Quebec be raised?

In the event that strong and meaningful pledges are not forthcoming, I propose that eligible voters park their ballots with the Green Party so as to send a resounding message to both Mr. Dion and Prime Minister Harper that our condition in Quebec is neither acceptable nor negotiable.

There is nothing to fear in pursuing such action; the election replay will not be long in coming.