U de M charter presentation gets heated

Bernard Drainville at charter hearings
Angelica Montgomery/CJAD

The head of the Université de Montreal is telling the minister behind the charter of secularism to leave his school alone.

"There's no problem. There's no confrontation. Leave us with the role that we've played well for decades," rector Guy Breton railed against having his university subjected to the charter of secularism.

The hearing became confrontational as the tone rose between the head of one of Quebec's most important universities and minister Bernard Drainville.

The rector told Drainville it was time to stop being afraid. "We must stop being scared and stop giving the impression that because people are different there's a danger in it," he told the National Committee hearings studying bill 60.

"That's not our reality."

Going too far

Bernard Drainville said he was "frankly shocked" to hear the rector's comments. In what one Liberal later called "a sermon," Drainville spoke for three minutes about the need for neutrality and equality, about how the rector was falsely accusing him of bad intentions, and how Breton was going too far.

"You are giving an abusive interpretation to the meaning of this bill," he said.

"Frankly, I think you're out of line."

This did not cause Breton to curb his words, however.

Later in the hearing, the rector said he did not want to live in a society where universities are told what they are allowed to do or teach.

He referred to the authoritarian Franco regime in Spain, saying that rectors in Barcelona disappeared when they displeased that government.

"I hope we don't become a society where state control will cause us to not have autonomy anymore," said Breton.

That's when the committee's chair stepped in to call the rector to order.

Luc Ferland told the rector to be careful. "I will ask you to be prudent about your words and the comparisons you make," said the chair, who plays an impartial role but also happens to be a Parti Quebecois MNA.

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  1. clint posted on 02/07/2014 04:13 PM
    "Luc Ferland told the rector to be careful. "I will ask you to be prudent about your words and the comparisons you make,"
    I thought the whole concept of these meetings was to express your thoughts on the charter. Apparently Mr. Breton is right ......state control is rampant...... freedom of speech is being threatened.
  2. Nica posted on 02/07/2014 04:17 PM
    Truth hurts, I guess.
  3. chuck posted on 02/07/2014 04:46 PM
    A least this person has a backbone and does not kowtow to the PQ train of thought.
  4. LMAO posted on 02/07/2014 05:48 PM
    "I will ask you to be prudent about your words and the comparisons you make," said the chair, who plays an impartial role but also happens to be a Parti Quebecois MNA.

    It seems that freedom of speech is to be the first victim of the proposed charter.
  5. Stan posted on 02/07/2014 08:27 PM
    "Drainville said he was "frankly shocked" to hear the rector's comments." I get that down-the-Drainville is an ignorant child minded racist; he was raised to be as such by his white French catholic supremacist superiors; like a model pequiste. What is unfathomable is that he expects everyone else in the free world to be one also, and is 'shocked' when confronted by tolerant open minded people. Like a typical quebecoise, he is a stranger to global, forward thinking, enlightened ideologies. What is truly unsettling is that he and his constituents were voted in by democratic process
  6. sam posted on 02/07/2014 10:17 PM
    The enlightened, educated, historically aware, cosmopolitan members of Quebec society will soon be called Quebec bashers by their opposites. Bravo to the rectors of our universities for clearly seeing the writing on the wall and attempting to speak out against intolerance. Bravo Breton. Despite the attempts to stifle dissent by Drainville and threats and warnings by Luc "the chair" Ferland, this brave educator spoke up clearly. Freedom ! Lisée's charter is pernicious. Freedom ! I'm so proud of our mayor , our universities, some of our hospitals and judges. Down with intolerance!
    1. Nica posted on 02/10/2014 11:05 AM
      @sam Amen!
  7. Renee Houde posted on 02/08/2014 03:05 AM
    I totally agree with Guy Breton. Most people feel that the province is becoming a dictatorship. If separatists want this type of regime, maybe we could give them a territory where they can control their militants, who seem to enjoy this type of regime. I am embarassed frankly and like the 24,000 tax payers who left during 2013 I am thinking of joining the exodus as I do not like what is going on.

    First in was Bill 14 and now the Charte...as Parizeau said when he lost the referendum...he blamed the money and the ethnies for us loss. So Marois has copied his recipe hoping to get rid of those with money (anglos) and the ehtnics.
  8. More BS posted on 02/08/2014 07:04 AM
    We need more Gut Bretons in this province. Standard pq reaction. When they here something they don't like they tell that person to be careful what they say or ask just like Marois did with Madame Charbonneau.
  9. ric posted on 02/08/2014 08:40 AM
    It's funny how that idiot drainville gets insulted with the truth. These so-called charter hearings are just another waste of time and money. They aren't a discussion to resolve anything, the seps are sitting there with earplugs and blinders. They don't care about anyone else's opinion and don't care about the facts. If anyone has noticed, most of the criticism isn't coming from the English. It's from the francophones.
  10. Stéphane Boisvert posted on 02/08/2014 11:37 AM
    I am ashamed to have shaken Drainville's hand while he was campaigning. Glad I didn't vote PQ (and never will).

    This is not government if you cannot hear what your constituents need to say - no matter how harsh. This hearing is a farce if the participants cannot express their thoughts and feelings.
  11. anon posted on 02/08/2014 02:45 PM
    When did freedom of speech give you the right to spout bullshit? Being called back to order was simply because he crossed the line with his comparisons. If you are gonna argue your position do it based on some facts, at least. Comparing a charter that aims for neutrality to a dictatorship shows just how ignorant most people are. You never lived in a dictatorship, and you would not even be able to speak up your mind if that was the case. Get off your keyboard for a while, and get some fresh air.
    1. joeN posted on 02/10/2014 08:56 AM
      @anon What is scarey is that you can't see the danger of the empowerment that the PQ has been flexing with this charter of intolerance and the potential of them applying this beyond the public sector. Look at the ridiculous situations we are faced with today with the language law. If we leave it to the PQ and their extreme supporters, we could see the outright elimination of languages and cultures that are simply different from theirs. And what will stop them from further discriminatory treatment when they create their own banana republic???
  12. Jade posted on 02/08/2014 08:56 PM
    I feel sooooo sooory for this province:(
  13. ROBERT LOVELL posted on 02/09/2014 07:03 PM
    Kudos to the rector of U of M. Mr brain drain was shocked, really M Drainville? The exodus of young professionals , and the loss of importance in the work place shocks you? My you must be naive, now the real culprit Separation has again been on the agenda. In defiance you aggravate it so that now people from U of M and the Jewish general Hospital to name just a few of the many cannot wait for the PQ to go to elections and loose.
  14. Ouash posted on 02/10/2014 01:45 PM
    Shameful how the Quebec government's Drainville and Ferland were more welcoming to the presentation promoting the idea of banning Zombie Marches and expelling Mormons from Quebec than they were to the presentation of the rector of Quebec's largest and most respected French speaking university, The Université de Montréal. SHAME !
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