(Ottawa) Minister Mélanie Joly was “extremely surprised”, “stunned”, “stunned” and “disappointed” that her Montreal colleague Emmanuella Lambropoulos questioned the existence of the decline of French in Quebec. And if she considers that it is now a “closed case”, others, in the liberal ranks, do not take off.
The exit of the young elected Saint-Laurent embarrassed the Trudeau government for the second day in a row on Tuesday, as opposition parties continued to hit the nail on the head during question period in the House.
The conservative Alain Rayes is one of the deputies who sounded the charge. “We have not seen any of the Liberal MPs, particularly those from Quebec, stand up to denounce these disrespectful remarks towards all Francophones in Quebec and across the country,” he thundered.
Neither the Prime Minister, nor Minister Joly, nor the Quebec lieutenant, Pablo Rodriguez, who responded in turn to questions from the opposing benches on Tuesday, wanted to throw the stone too hard at MP Lambropoulos.
She found herself in the hot seat after declaring on Friday at a meeting of the Standing Committee on Official Languages that she needed proof to believe that the French language was declining in Quebec – particularly in Montreal, where she inherited from the former riding of Stéphane Dion.
At the end of the session in the Commons, in an interview with The Press, Mélanie Joly expressed how much she had been taken aback by the comments.
The facts are there. It is documented by many researchers: there is a decline in French in Montreal, Quebec, across the country.
Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages
“The question is not whether there is one or not, the question is what to do to counter it. That’s why I was so stunned[par ses propos]», Continues the minister, without wanting to comment on the sincerity of the apologies presented by Emmanuella Lambropoulos.
“I can’t say it for him. It is up to her to answer this question, ”emphasizes Mélanie Joly. She also refuses to say whether the member for Saint-Laurent, with whom she has not had a discussion since this matter, should keep her place in the Liberal caucus or her chair on the Standing Committee on Official Languages.
In the Bloc Québécois, we do not feel the need to demand his ejection from the committee, said Chief Yves-François Blanchet. Especially since according to him, “it would be a bit hypocritical for the Liberals to blame a member for something that so many of them think anyway”.
“Done in a very ironic way”
The fact remains that the Quebec caucus of the Liberal Party has badly digested the comments of Mr.me Lambropoulos, which she issued by making quotes with her fingers (air quotes) when saying the word decline, and in English moreover.
I was really stunned by the way she asked the question, and the language in which the question was asked. It is perfectly legitimate to ask for facts and statistics, but she did so in a very ironic way, in addition to questioning established findings.
Alexandra Mendès, Liberal MP for Brossard – Saint-Lambert
“She is bilingual; why did she not ask the question in French? We know how sensitive the issue of language is in Quebec. It’s a question of respect, and it’s a question of seeing what is obvious, ”continues the elected representative of Brossard – Saint-Lambert in an interview with The Press.
Former Liberal strategist Jérémy Ghio, for his part, fears that this blunder will slow down the federal government’s positive momentum in the area of official languages. “She just exposed a flank when we were on a good roll. We didn’t need that, ”notes the one who is now a consultant at Tact Conseil.
In the pages of The Press, Tuesday morning, a former policy advisor in the office of Justin Trudeau and ex-press secretary to the ministers of Revenue and Finance, Chloé Luciani-Girouard, sent the same signal by saying that MP Lambropoulos’ mistake was one ” dishonest “.
> (Re) read the letter from Chloé Luciani-Girouard “French retreat: an error of bad faith”
A Liberal source who requested anonymity in order to speak more freely said he did not see why the MP should stay in caucus: “If a member had displayed the same skepticism on the issue of systemic racism, he certainly would have done so. show the door. ”
In the eyes of a Liberal MP who asked not to be named, MP Lambropoulos did not burn herself just by touching the language issue; it has also erred in comparing the law on secularism to segregation, and more recently, in qualifying Turkey as an “enemy”.
The office of the elected Saint-Laurent did not respond to the interview request of The Press.