Francis Drouin affair | Liberals prevent a vote from taking place

Francis Drouin affair | Liberals prevent a vote from taking place
Francis Drouin affair | Liberals prevent a vote from taking place

(Ottawa) Liberal MPs redoubled their ardor Thursday in obvious attempts at parliamentary obstruction aimed at preventing the official languages ​​committee from voting on a motion calling for Franco-Ontarian MP Francis Drouin to be removed from their group and that he resigns from his position as president of the Parliamentary Assembly of La Francophonie (APF).

Posted at 10:27 a.m.

Michel Saba

The Canadian Press

“If the opposition wants to continue to attack an MP personally, we will defend him. And if we have to continue to do it until Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, we will do it,” said Marc Serré, the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Official Languages, during a press scrum at the end of the meeting, suggesting that this obstruction could continue until the parliamentary recess.

During the meeting, he criticized the oppositions for carrying out “a personal attack” against “a great defender of the Canadian and international Francophonie” in order to achieve “strictly political gains”. While giving long speeches, he and his Liberal colleagues repeat ad nauseam that Mr. Drouin has apologized and implore the opposition to move on.

Mr. Drouin, who not only occupies the presidency of the Canadian section of the APF, but who is also president at the international level, is in embarrassment for having dealt more than two weeks ago with witnesses who campaign for the protection of French from “plenty of crap”.

The member for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell disagreed with the interpretation of the data presented by witnesses before the official languages ​​committee on the influence that attending an English-speaking university or CEGEP has on Anglicization .

The Bloc Québécois quickly gathered enough signatures to convene an extraordinary general meeting of the APF where it intends to table a motion aimed at showing Mr. Drouin the door. The Conservatives and New Democrats had indicated that they do not believe that Mr. Drouin will be able to stay in office.

The meeting is to be held Thursday evening, behind closed doors, but it is almost certain that the motion will be defeated given that the Liberals, initially in the minority, have mobilized massively in the last few days to come to the rescue of their colleague. The number of parliamentarians who are members of the Canadian section of the APF has almost doubled since the meeting was convened.

The statutes of the Canadian section of the APF specify that “any senator or deputy” can be a member. It is not required that they speak French. Moreover, many of the new Liberal members are unilingual English speakers.

In front of journalists, both the Conservative spokesperson for official languages, Joël Godin, and his Bloc counterpart Mario Beaulieu described it as “unacceptable” that the Liberals had “packed the room” in order to prevent their colleague from be dismissed.

“A chum, c’t’a chum”, summed up Mr. Godin, explaining that “this guy”, in reference to Mr. Drouin, no longer has the “legitimacy” to occupy the international presidency of the ‘APF.

For Mr. Beaulieu, MP Drouin led “an aggressive charge of intimidation” in the wake of his “filthy” comments. He doesn’t buy the Liberals’ explanation that English-speaking MPs are interested in the French-speaking world. “The petticoat is sticking out,” said the Bloc member.

Their counterpart from the New Democratic Party, Niki Ashton, who was not present in person, judged during the meeting that the Liberals are showing “arrogance” and turning the committee into “a circus.”

“We see Liberals protecting one of their members,” she declared. But let’s be honest, what we heard from this member in committee was to minimize the testimony of witnesses who have serious concerns about the decline of French in the province of Quebec, the most French-speaking province in our country. »

The motion being debated was deemed inadmissible by the chair of the committee, but the group voted by majority to still debate it, which is not digested by the Liberals who see it as a way of circumventing the rules of the House municipalities.



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