After heavy backlash from the Jewish and Muslim communities, physician the PQ is backtracking on comments made by their Viau riding candidate Tania Longpré on her Facebook that she would like the following ideas added to Bill 60:

  1. Removal of the word “Jewish” from the Jewish General Hospital
  2. No one with Peyos or Kipahs be allowed in public
  3. Circumcision be banned in Quebec

Longpré backtracked on her Facebook page, no rx calling it a “childish controversy.” However, Bernard Drainville went further in his comments to the media, saying that her ideas are not in line with the charter. “Now she’s a a PQ candidate and she must endorse the policies that were taken by the PQ government,” said Drainville.

According to a 24h Montreal article, Longpré, a former blogger for the Journal de Montreal who now teaches French to immigrants, is now claiming that she was set up, misquoted, and her words taken out of context. “There are many people trying to trap us,” the article quotes her as having said on 98.5 FM. “I didn’t even write what was circulated around social media. This is an attempt to smear me for comments taken out of context.”

AMAL-Quebec, a Muslim an Arab organization for secularism, were first to demand that the PQ withdraw their nomination for Longpré in Viau, which can be seen as a provocation, since the area has many immigrants. “Her irresponsible comments are also unfortunately not her first,” reads their press release, claiming that she has made offensive comments about immigrants in the past. “We wonder how the PQ could justify maintaining a candidate who displays such statements,” said Haroun Bouazzi.

B’nai Brith Canada took note of the fact that her comments came on the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht. “It is truly shameful that the lessons of Kristallnacht, the 75th anniversary of which has just passed, has fallen on deaf ears,” said Frank Dimant, CEO, B’nai Brith Canada. “In fact, the Nazis banned circumcision and often taunted Jews by cutting their beards and payot.”

B’nai Brith called on the PQ make it clear that Longpré’s comments form no part of their platform. “Her explanations to date have been far from satisfactory and it is now up to the party to bring her into line or distance itself from her,” concluded Dimant.

The CIJA (Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs) also issued a press release stating that the Jewish community in Quebec is “extremely disturbed and shocked that the PQ now has a candidate who supports the disappearance of Quebec’s Jewish history and patrimony, and the prohibition for Jews to practice an ancient tradition at the heart of their identity.”

“If adopted, the Parti Québécois’ bill on secularism will result in prohibiting Jewish doctors who wear a kippa from practicing in institutions other than in Jewish establishments. In doing so, the Parti Québécois will force the Jewish General Hospital to return to its origins, as a haven for Jewish doctors looking to practice their profession – and this, only for a limited transitory period –  because other hospitals were closed off to them”, declared Luciano G. Del Negro, Vice-President (Québec) of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs. “Clearly, these discriminatory measures are still not enough to satisfy their candidate in Viau ”, he added.

The CIJA called on Pauline Marois to call her candidate to order for this attack on Jewish identity and on the generosity provided by the community to the benefit of all Quebecers for many generations. They also called upon the Quebec government to respect the historical legacy of the Jewish community of Quebec.

By Zvi Hershcovich –

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