LISTEN: Lisée takes distance from Janette Bertrand's 'rich McGill students' rant

Candidates debate the charter on the Tommy Schnurmacher Show

The candidates from left: Molly Alexander, Jean-Francois Lisee, Kathleen Weil, Noah Sidel.
Susan Reynolds/CJAD

PQ minister Jean-François Lisée took some distance from controversial comments made Sunday by prominent feminist Janette Bertrand, one of the secularism charter's most prominent defenders.

The 89-year-old Bertrand, the head of a pro-charter group known as "les Janette", showed up at a PQ campaign stop in Laval Sunday, suggesting that "fundamentalists" — and "rich" McGill students — are "chipping away" at Quebecers' rights and at the notion of gender equality.

Lisée appeared Monday morning on CJAD's Tommy Schnurmacher show, in the latest of a series of round-table debates ahead of the April 7 election — this one dealing with the charter.

"I listened to these comments yesterday. My reaction was that this was not the best quote of the campaign, this was not the best argument for the charter," Lisée said. "But the woman is 89, so I'm going to cut her some slack."

He nonetheless continued to defend the essence of the charter.

"It's not acceptable that we treat people differently in the public sector," he added. "Of course we're not going to fire anyone. We're going to have a transition period."

NDG MNA Kathleen Weil, representing the Liberals, says no such slack should be cut for Bertrand, noting that premier Pauline Marois and Bernard Drainville, the architect of the charter, we both in the room when she made her comments.

"It's a result of this fearmongering that's been going on," Weil says. "The fear of the other. The fear of the stranger. Whether it's language or religion or simply identity. That's got to end. That's got to stop."

Noah Sidel, who's running for the CAQ against Weil in NDG, says the comments were another indication of how lackluster the PQ campaign has been.

"I think much like the image of PKP raising his fist for a country, the image of Pauline Marois linked arm in arm with Janette after she said this nonsense about people swimming in pools will be another one of the pull-aways that show the disaster that the PQ campaign has been," Sidel says.

Molly Alexander, the candidate for the the pro-independence, anti-charter Québec Solidaire party in St-Henri-Ste-Anne, referred to the charter as a "tactic of division for Quebec."

"It's not even about secularism anymore," she says. "It's really about let's scare some people into voting against diversity,"

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  1. Steven Stanley posted on 03/31/2014 01:48 PM
    Thank You Tommy, Thank You CJAD for airing this information and discussion.
  2. George posted on 03/31/2014 03:31 PM
    She speaks the truth. McGill students are rich and spoiled. The PQ may have just one the only anglo voter they will get. As a Socialist I applaud them.
    1. Mike d posted on 03/31/2014 10:28 PM
      @George I can see you did not go to McGill. Won or one the only Anglo voter. Go and pick up your welfare check!
  3. JM posted on 03/31/2014 08:44 PM
    Ok, so now it's the rich muslims at McGill, in 95 it was the rich ethnics, seems like we have a pattern here.

    As for Mrs Janet being 89, her excuse may be age, what is Pauline's excuse for all the stupidity she's been spewing, no borders, canadian passports, a seat on the bank of canada...... It seeks like the PQ has been struck with an epidemic of stupidity...

    At least with PKP we know where he stands (that is until he gets pushed around.) It's so nice to see a separatist party unite the red square students with a union bashing magnate.

    I think Janet forgot to mention the RICH media tycoon in her rant!!!
  4. alty posted on 04/01/2014 10:57 AM
    the greatest threat to quebec right now isnt the economy or the 1000 jobs lost per day in february but its the threat to quebec's pools!!! despite the charter not controling the regualtion of pools we must adopt the charter or the decline in quebec culture will happen rapidly and any intelligent person can tell you that the first thing to go in the decline of a culure is thier pools. this message is sponsored by QOPP (Quebec Office de la Protection des Piscines) and with your help and your money we can finally enact a new division of police dedicated to protect the endangered pools of this great nation.
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