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Quebec MNAs call for dismissal of anti-Islamophobia advisor


Members of Quebec's legislature Tuesday called for the dismissal of Justin Trudeau's new special advisor on Islamophobia.

A motion was carried after the minister responsible for secularism, Jean-François Roberge, denounced Amira Elghawaby's remarks about Quebecers.

All elected members of the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ), as well as those of the Liberal Party (PLQ) and the Parti québécois (PQ), voted in favour of the motion, but not QS: the 11 left-wing elected members abstained.

"Justin Trudeau is endorsing contempt for Quebecers' by keeping Amira Elghawaby," said Premier François Legault in a press scrum before the motion was passed.

"Ms. Elghawaby has not apologized, I can't believe Mr. Trudeau is telling us he supports her 100 per cent," Legault said.

The parties have been divided on the controversy. The Liberal MNAs were initially at odds over their positions, while QS said it wants to meet Elghawaby without demanding her resignation. Meantime, the PQ said it's "obvious that she must leave."

The appointment caused backlash because of Elghawaby's statements about Quebecers.

"Unfortunately, the majority of Quebecers appear to be swayed not by the rule of law, but by anti-Muslim sentiment," she wrote in a 2019 opinion piece in the Ottawa Citizen.

The CAQ government has already called on Elghawaby to resign. However, Justin Trudeau is standing by his appointment.

"The Trudeau government has missed a great opportunity to build bridges," Roberge said in a press scrum Tuesday afternoon. "It chose to dig ditches."


The official opposition hasn't been united on the topic. Liberal MNA Jennifer Maccarone began by writing on Twitter that the "CAQ is once again demonstrating unmitigated rigidity and lack of humanity by not supporting Ms. Elghawaby's appointment."

"It's a team error," Liberal leader Marc Tanguay said in a press scrum at the National Assembly, then explained that th eLiberals only have one position on the issue: Elghawaby needs to apologize quickly because time is running out.


Meantime, QS condemned Elghawaby's comments and asked for a meeting with her.

"It's the sensible thing to do, because her comments are hurtful," parliamentary leader Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois said at a press scrum Tuesday morning.

But a QS MNA, Haroun Bouazzi, sees it as a CAQ diversion in this case.

In a tweet, he said that "the government has no clear plan for the energy transition, for public schools, for the crisis in our hospitals, but Legault's strategists: 'Look! A woman wearing a veil.'"


"It's obvious that she has to leave," said PQ MNA Pascal Bérubé. "It's obvious that what she said is heresy."

The pro-independence member maintains that this is just another demonstration of the incompatibility between Canada and Quebec.

"I am not asking her to leave. I am asking us to leave this country," he concluded.

-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Jan. 31, 2023 Top Stories

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