B'nai Brith feuding with PQ hopeful
Members of B'nai Brith vowed yesterday to campaign against Yves Michaud should he become the Parti Quebecois candidate in the riding of Mercier, saying residents of the multi-cultural area have a right to know more about him.
"We're not going to go door-to door in the riding but we will put out some information, there's no doubt of that," B'nai Brith Canada managing director Robert Libman told reporters.
Michaud, on the other hand, accused B'nai Brith of being anti-Quebecers and anti- sovereignist, saying they are wrong to try interfere in the PQ's nomination process for candidates.
"They should excuse themselves for being so anti-Quebecois. . . . They are the extremist anti-sovereignists in Quebec and I don't talk to these kinds of people."
The war of words between one of the PQ's most flamboyant members and one of the country's largest Jewish fraternal groups spilled over into the corridors of the estates-general on language yesterday, with both sides criticizing the other to reporters.
The comments came a day after B'nai Brith condemned Michaud for a statement he made on the French radio station CKAC last week, comments B'nai Brith found offensive.
"The transcript shows that he accused Jews of always playing themselves as victims and not being sympathetic to the plight of other victims through history," Libman said yesterday.
"What that does is pit the Jews against blacks, Jews against other minorities, which is not the case."
The organization called on Premier Lucien Bouchard to step in to block Michaud from becoming the PQ candidate in the Plateau Mont Royal area riding of Mercier.
Michaud, a former Quebec cabinet minister is one of a number of candidates seeking the PQ nomination in the riding left vacant by the resignation of former cabinet minister Robert Perreault.
Asked by reporters yesterday about his comments, Michaud he has nothing to apologize for.
"I will not withdraw one word of what I said."
Libman said Bouchard has a "golden opportunity" to show the PQ is serious about the efforts it has made to be more inclusive by excluding Michaud as a candidate.
"This is Yves Michaud. The PQ, and particularly Lucien Bouchard have shown for the last number of years more of an openness to minority communities, they've extended their hand, especially to the Jewish community."
"It would a very viable gesture on the part of Mr. Bouchard to put his foot down and say that's not the type of party we are, we've evolved over the years and an old dinosaur like Mr. Michaud should seek elsewhere."
Libman also called on other members of the PQ to send Michaud a message that he should not run.
"Perhaps others in his party who have made efforts in the last number of years to reach out should speak up and suggest that we want to build a party for the future and Mr. Michaud does not fit into those plan."
Source : Elizabeth Thompson, Montreal Gazette, December 14, 2000.