Montreal mayoralty candidates are right to take stand on charter

PQ Minister Jean-François Lisée said Thursday Montreal's mayoralty candidates have no mandate to oppose Quebec's proposed Charter of values. But CBC's political analyst Bernard St-Laurent says he's wrong - and explains why.

PQ Minister Jean-François Lisée's mistaken when he says Jean Drapeau wouldn't have stepped in

PQ Minister Jean-François Lisée tells mayoralty candidates to stay away from matters of provincial jurisdiction. Liberal critic Christine St-Pierre says Lisée has it all wrong. 0:50

I am afraid I may have some bad news for Jean-François Lisée.

On Thursday morning, the minister responsible for Montreal argued that the city's next mayor will not have a mandate to attack the PQ government's proposed Charter of Quebec values.

"We see that all four candidates are unanimous in their opposition to the  Charter. But voters aren't unanimous. One quarter of anglophones, one third of allophones, and two thirds of francophones are favourable to many of the provisions which will be in the Charter," he said.

"What that means," Lisée added,"is that the new mayor will not be able to say that he or she has a mandate from Montrealers since they all have the same position. Voters will not have had a choice."

Well, actually Montrealers do have a choice.

Michel Brulé, the leader of Integrité Montréal is running for mayor with a team of 24 other candidates. 

And he's told me he fully supports the Charter.

So if we follow Jean Francois Lisée's reasoning, support for the charter on the island of Montreal will be gauged by the percentage of votes Brulé and the other Integrité Montréal candidates obtain on November 3rd. 

Drapeau never stood on the sidelines

Lisée also had it wrong when he told reporters the mayoral candidates should follow the lead of former Montreal mayor Jean Drapeau  — and not get involved in a matter of provincial jurisdiction.

In fact, on October 5, 1983, Mayor Drapeau testified before a parliamentary hearing examining Bill 57 — the proposed changes to Bill 101.

Drapeau said Bill 101 had hurt the Montreal economy and its international reputation. He asked for special status for Montreal to allow the city to post bilingual signs and to have greater access to English schools.
Here are Drapeau's opening comments (in French):

About the Author

Bernard St-Laurent

Bernard St-Laurent is the host of Radio Noon Montreal and C'est la Vie. He is CBC's senior political editor in Quebec, having covered all the major political events in the province from the election of the Parti Québecois in 1976 on.


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