Montreal

New Anglo separatist group accused of limiting debate

A former member of the new separatist group, Anglophones for Quebec Independence, says she is disillusioned after fellow members voted unanimously to kick her out after speaking her mind.

Anglophones for Quebec Independence launched in September

Activist and writer Nora Loreto was voted out of Anglophones for Quebec Independence. (Submitted to CBC)

A former member of the new separatist group, Anglophones for Quebec Independence, says she is disillusioned after fellow members voted unanimously to kick her out after speaking her mind.

"I feel frustrated. I had no idea there was a meeting where my name would be on an agenda in a library in Montreal, saying we're going to unanimously vote this person out of the group," says Nora Loreto, an activist and writer.

She says her questions and comments about the kind of debate allowed in the closed Facebook group ultimately led to her ejection.

"Even just saying I'm concerned about the rhetoric that I heard, for example from Jean-Francois Lisée during the campaign around Eid, around Islam, around the niqab or around the hijab, that was shut down immediately," says the card-carrying member of the left-leaning Quebec Solidaire.

When it launched on September 23 in Montreal, founder Jennifer Drouin said she wanted to correct the assumption that all anglophones are federalist and point out the benefits of an independent Quebec.

Since then, AQI's closed Facebook group has around 41 members. It also has a public page with more than 1300 likes.

The group's website says it is non-partisan, but Loreto feels there was a lot of partisan discussion within the group that was never restricted.

"When discussions came up about Jean-Francois Lisée or the Parti Québécois, there was no request to shut that down. Or that this needs to be an impartial space. Instead it was encouraged and discussed," she says.

Drouin would not comment, but in a message to Loreto, Drouin wrote that members voted her out of the group because she did not adhere to AQI's mission to promote Quebec's independence as a legitimate choice.