Is a PQ aide's newspaper column inflaming language tensions?
Published Wednesday, May 8, 2013 6:57PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 8, 2013 7:29PM EDT
An aide to Quebec's language minister is being accused of inflaming language tensions after he wrote a newspaper column called “Those Crazy Anglos,” and another criticizing politically correct immigrant stereotypes.
Opposition Liberals say Akos Verboczy is not fit to advise the Language and Immigration Minister Diane De Courcy, but she argues the party is simply stirring up trouble for nothing
In a newspaper column for the Metro newspaper, Verboczy, who sat in on hearings for Bill 14, wrote in September 2012 that anglophones are paranoid, obsessed with language politics, and they see francophone Quebecers as xenophobic racists.
De Courcy downplayed the articles, saying he wrote the columns in his former life before she hired him.
“This is a Liberal opposition that is trying to hit this person's credibility but also, mainly, it's their way to strike at my own credibility,” she said.
In a review of the Oscar-nominated film Monsieur Lazhar, Verboczy said the main character, an immigrant, is a politically correct caricature of immigrants -- too polite and sophisticated when compared to the gritty reality.
The Liberal opposition wants Verboczy fired.
“With that kind of lack of respect, how can this person then become an advisor to the minister on Bill 14 which divides Quebecers,” said Liberal MNA Geoff Kelley.
De Courcy is minister for language, immigration and cultural communities. Her advisor, Liberals say, is too extremist.
“What he wrote about anglophones shows that he is not able to work on a project to bring Quebecers together,” he said.
De Courcy says the Liberals are merely seeking to distract people, adding that she’s much more interested in a new study that shows one out of five immigrants in Quebec can't speak French.
Liberals don't want to focus on that, she said, even though Bill 14 would help immigrants learn French.
Even the left-leaning Quebec Solidaire party, however, is criticizing De Courcy, saying her aide should apologize, a request that seems unlikely at the moment.