The support of an NDP member for the words of a professor at the University of Ottawa, calling Quebec a racist society, promises to haunt the NDP. The only Quebec MP for training, Alexandre Boulerice, was invited to do a self-examination by the Bloc Quebecois.
The NDP leader Jagmeet Singh on Tuesday defended the right of his Ontario MP, Matthew Green, to endorse the words of Professor Amir Attaran. As a “racialized person”, Mr. Green “has a right to speak out” argued his leader.
But the Bloc leader Yves-Francois Blanchet sees it as an untenable position for the elected Alexandre Boulerice.
“If I were Alexandre Boulerice, […] I would start to wonder […] if I am in the right place in a political formation which institutionalizes a culture according to which all French-speaking Quebecers are racist and their legitimately elected prime minister is a white supremacist, ”joked the leader of the Bloc on Wednesday morning.
The Bloc and the New Democrats are not at their first skirmishes. Last June, Mr. Singh called the Bloc Québécois Alain Therrien a “racist”, which resulted in him being expelled from the Commons after he refused to apologize.
On Tuesday, the NDP leader indicated that he also would not ask his MP Matthew Green to do so.
“I invite Quebeckers to pass their own judgment on an NDP member who systematically attacks people from the Bloc, often me, calling us racists and all kinds of patents”, denounced Mr. Blanchet. in press briefing, a few months before a federal election expected this spring or fall.
Alexandre Boulerice remains discreet
Mr. Green congratulated Professor Attaran on Twitter on Monday evening, rejoicing that he “resists the racism he sees perpetuating in Quebec”. The professor on Twitter treated the Quebec government to Francois Legault as a “white supremacist” and called Quebec “the Alabama of the North”.
Alexandre Boulerice also defended his colleague Mr. Green and his “unwavering commitment to fight against all forms of racism, including anti-Quebec racism”. But he also condemned the words of Professor Attaran whom he considers “simply delusional and condemnable in their face”. “By contemptuously caricaturing all of Quebec, this character harms the thousands of progressive citizens of Quebec, who fight every day to eliminate discrimination and improve the situation of racialized communities,” he wrote on Twitter Tuesday.
Mr. Boulerice did not respond to interview requests from Duty Wednesday.
Singh should have disowned his deputy
The NDP leader’s choice to defend his MP has also been criticized by his opponents. Green Party leader Annamie Paul told Le Devoir that she would have disowned Mr. Green if he had been a member of his caucus.
“It is the choice of Mr. Singh, to see if he wants to sanction his deputy. But I would not support a member who would say such things. It does not reflect our values as a party. This does not reflect our experience with Quebecers either, ”said Ms. Paul, who stressed in a telephone interview that she does not consider Quebec a racist province.
The leader of the Greens, who is black like Mr Green, disagreed with Professor Attaran’s comments. “This is not acceptable, she denounced. It is one thing to recognize the existence of systemic racism; it is another to paint everyone the same color. “
Ms. Paul reiterated, however, that she found it “disappointing” to see Prime Minister Legault and Chief Blanchet “deny the existence of systemic racism”.
The National Assembly of Quebec adopted a motion on Wednesday morning denouncing “the frequent hateful, discriminatory and Francophobic attacks that the Quebec nation is regularly subjected to within Canada”. The motion also condemned “Canadian institutions that refuse to intervene to put an end to attacks on the Quebec nation”.
Annamie Paul has denounced a lack of coherence among politicians who have defended the right of a professor at the same university to pronounce the “N word” under academic freedom of expression, but who now oppose the right to ‘Another professor to speak out on systemic racism.
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