Protection of French | Federal MP calls witnesses “full of crap” at standing committee

(Ottawa) Exasperated by the comments of two witnesses who campaign for the protection of French in Quebec, Franco-Ontarian Liberal MP Francis Drouin used vulgar terms to tell them his way of thinking, notably calling them “full of crap” .

“You have comments that are quite extremist,” the MP first said while speaking late Monday afternoon at the Standing Committee on Official Languages ​​during a study on the financing of English-speaking post-secondary institutions. in Quebec and French speakers elsewhere in the country.

In turn, Frédéric Lacroix and Nicolas Bourdon, respectively independent researcher and professor member of the Regroupement pour le cégep français, explained to the committee that attending an English-speaking university or CEGEP significantly increases the probability of leading one’s life in English.

MP Drouin got a little more out of his depth when Mr. Lacroix wondered in his response whether “extremists” constitutes “parliamentary language”. “Mr. Lacroix, if you want to fool me here, I have no patience with your speech,” retorted Mr. Drouin.

That was all it took for the Bloc official languages ​​spokesperson to intervene. “It’s unacceptable,” said Mario Beaulieu. Start by calling them extremists. You could be called an extremist. It is not a language that leads to a logical and rational discussion. »

Mr. Drouin, who describes himself as an “ardent Ontario defender” of the Charter of the French Language of Quebec, then explained that as president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Francophonie, he notes that even France is Anglicize. “Do you really think that the big problem with anglicization in Quebec is McGill and Dawson College,” he then asked.

“What we see is that Statistics Canada, an organization that is probably extremist in your eyes, has proven that bilingual institutions have a very, very strong impact on the anglicization of French-speakers and allophones in Quebec,” he replied. the searcher. All the data converges in this direction. »

Such a speech is not only “in the wrong field”, but it is also “insulting” and it “lacks intellectual respect for reality, what is happening at the international level”, returned Mr. Drouin , who was visibly trying to hold back.

“Forgive me, but you are full of shit. I am going to withdraw my remarks, but you are in the field,” he continued before being interrupted by the chairman of the committee who was trying to call him to order.

“Quebec bashing”

“It’s witness intimidation,” protested Mario Beaulieu. Raising the tone, treating the guests like crap: it’s “Quebec bashing” that he’s doing. And this is exactly what we often see among liberals. If we want fair funding, we attack or we are extremist. »

The vice-president of the committee explained that his political party is not calling for withdrawing funding from English-speaking universities, but rather that he wants equitable funding.

Researcher Frédéric Lacroix reported that a study he conducted concluded that the share of federal funding for Quebec’s English-speaking universities – McGill, Concordia and Bishop – is approximately four times greater than their demographic weight and that conversely , French-speaking institutions receive “significantly” less.

Stung by Mr. Drouin’s remarks, the other witness, Professor Nicolas Bourdon, noted that English is taught “from the first year of primary school to CEGEP” as a second language in all French-speaking institutions in the Quebec. “To say that we are making an extremist speech: no, that’s false,” he declared.

Both the Conservative spokesperson for official languages, Joël Godin, and his NDP counterpart Niki Ashton deplored the way in which Mr. Drouin asked his questions and insisted on the importance of parliamentarians listening to all points of view. , including when they disagree.

In trying to calm things down, Liberal René Arseneault, who chairs the committee, asked elected officials to adopt “a slightly more civilized approach.” He said he had “never seen that” since he started serving on the committee in 2016.

MP Drouin quickly left the room after his intervention. While judging that this is not the way to express oneself, his liberal colleague Annie Koutrakis explained that sometimes “the temperature rises”. And although Mr. Drouin did not apologize, he withdrew his comments, she noted in a brief exchange with The Canadian Press.


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