Statement on Criticism Following QCGN Hearings

Sep 15, 2021

Goldwater, Dubé, a Canadian leader in family law since 1981, wishes to reiterate the actual statements made by founding partner Me Anne-France Goldwater during her presentation on Bill 96, Quebec’s language legislation, at hearings organized by the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN).

In the days following Me Goldwater’s testimony last week, several false and misleading statements were made by politicians and political commentators. The entire presentation can be viewed on the QCGN’s YouTube page.

Today, on the eve of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year in Judaism, these false and misleading statements were repeated by both the Premier of Quebec, François Legault, and the leader of the official opposition, Dominique Anglade.

It was the Premier’s MNA responsible for relations with the anglophone community, Christopher Skeete, who was the first elected official to make the following false and misleading statement, referring to Me Goldwater:

“We are witnessing once again a new dérapage (sideshow) linked to Bill 96. This time with the odious comparison of it with the ‘Gestapo’, the infamous Nazi police, during the QCGN’s extraordinary hearings.”

These sensationalized statements about historical “comparisons” were later repeated even by a Montreal Jewish advocacy organization, the Canadian Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), via Twitter.

Me Goldwater maintains that she did not make a “comparison” between a government bill and the Gestapo. Her comments illustrate a concern that in the future, if discriminatory laws are adopted to circumvent the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a “new Gestapo” predicated upon citizens denouncing each other would be a dangerous scenario.

The comments came after a lengthy presentation on the Charter. Me Goldwater’s comments in more detail:

“I think that our tax dollars should go more to education than to creating a new form of — please don’t get mad at me, I’m a Jew, it’s a language that comes to mind right away — we don’t need a new Gestapo where we are starting to fink on all each other. There was some woman who complained that two orderlies in a hospital were speaking, chatting to each other, in Creole, and people got upset at that… A language where you have to start at chapter 1 with ‘let’s erase the Charters,’ you can’t fix that. That’s morally flawed.”

Me Goldwater wishes to add the following comment:

“The solution proposed, had we listened beyond the sensitive historical reference, would be to protect and promote French by redirecting funds for enforcement to education. It is simple: Invest in literature, art and culture instead of creating a whole new level of bureaucracy with a view to encouraging people to rat each other out. I expressed a worst-case scenario as a Jewish woman and constitutional attorney, where the government would invite ordinary people to denounce each other and face sanctions. I was promoting social solidarity, a true value people cherish, with a view to the promotion of French language and culture. I was rejecting oppression as a solution. I trust Premier Legault will have the wisdom to understand the distinction.”

Me Goldwater has devoted the 40 years of her professional career to defending minority rights and promoting the protection of fundamental freedoms. She will continue to champion the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the crowning achievement of the life of the late Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau.

Me Goldwater wishes to congratulate the QCGN for their resolve in moving forward with ad hoc hearings on Bill 96 when the Quebec government has chosen to limit debate on such an important constitutional matter.

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