Statement by Green Party Leader Annamie Paul on Bloc Quebecois apology motion

OTTAWA – “The Green Party of Canada believes that it is the duty of parliament to preserve and strengthen the unity of Canada. This is particularly the case in moments of great crisis, such as these, when people in Canada have turned to government for protection and support. Unfortunately, parliament is increasingly losing sight of this profound responsibility. 

“Where there are substantive differences of policy between members of parliament, those should be freely expressed and debated. However, there is a critical difference between healthy debate and opposition, versus sowing political discord and disunity in the hopes of creating political and electoral advantage.

“When confronting the legacy of the most painful chapters in our collective history, the duty of parliamentarians to unify and heal must be paramount. It should also go without saying that partisan concerns should never enter into consideration, as that would be unconscionable. The motion seeking the House “demand an official apology from the prime minister on behalf of the government of Canada for the enactment, on Oct. 16, 1970, of the War Measures Act,” and the response of the government, fails in both respects.   

“If the objective of the motion is to produce healing and reconciliation related to the events of October, 1970, then it is wrong to introduce a motion that fails to mention the assassination of Mr. Laporte and the impact on his loved ones, does not mention the Quebecers who were injured and terrorised during the bombings attacks carried out during that period, nor acknowledge the role played by the government of Quebec in invoking the War Measures Act.

“Likewise, in responding to the motion, it is wrong for the government to solely mention the horrific assassination of Mr. Laporte, without acknowledging the federal government’s role in the arbitrary arrest and detention of innocent Quebecers under the War Measures Act. 

“The Green Party is proud of its long-standing commitment to avoid whipping votes in the House,” said Ms. Paul. “I will respect the decisions of our caucus, and this is healthy for democracy. This motion, and the government’s response, is but the latest example of partisanship over people. The people of Canada will not forgive parliament if it loses sight of the critical work at hand and parties will do a great disservice to the people’s confidence in the institution if it does not quickly reorient itself back towards cross-partisan cooperation.”

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For more information or to arrange an interview: 

Rosie Emery

Press Secretary