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The blog of Jean-François Lisée June 14, 2012
Original French Text: http://www2.lactualite.com/jean-francois-lisee/mes-excuses-au-plq/13643/
After reading culture minister Christine Saint-Pierre’s letter of apology in this Thursday’s Le Devoir, I was struck by an urgent need to emulate her act of contrition by offering my own lame excuses, in the same spirit and in almost the exact same words. I recently stated, if I recall correctly: “We know what QLP stands for—it stands for corruption and incompetence.”
Wanting to stay close to the canvas offered by the minister, I have simply inserted my changes into her text:
Clarifications are in order
I would like to examine the debate that my comments have sparked and elaborate on certain points. A retraction of my statement has already been made public. The following is an explanation in which I seek to clarify my remarks concerning violence (corruption) and the red square (image of the QLP).
To start with, I would like to reiterate my apologies to anyone who may have been offended by my comments. It was certainly not my intention to cast any doubt on the honesty and non-violence (integrity) of artists (the Liberals).
The original meaning of the red square (QLP image) has been tarnished since the beginning of the boycott (the Charest government). Initially synonymous with the fight against tuition hikes, the red square is no longer just a symbol for the student movement. (Initially synonymous with a restructuring of the state and a reduction in taxes, the QLP no longer represents only well-intentioned Liberal activists).
Rioters who initiate violence have taken to wearing the red square and identifying it with the student cause. (Corrupt individuals who have provoked the resignation of two ministers and made contributions to the Liberal coffers are associates of the QLP).
These individuals have appropriated the red square and associated it with acts of violence. (These individuals have appropriated the Liberal Party’s image and associated it with corruption). Consequently, there is an unfortunate link between violence and the red square, in spite of the fact that many supporters of the student cause do not endorse violence. (Consequently, there is an unfortunate link between corruption and the QLP, in spite of the fact that many Liberal supporters do not condone corruption).
It is equally absurd to make any connection between Fred Pellerin and the word “violence.” (It is equally absurd to make any connection between Jean Lesage or Claude Ryan and the word “corruption.”) I have too much respect for the work of artists, for Mr. Pellerin in particular, to even dream of such a thing. For the past five years, I have put all of my energy and my heart into advancing the cause of Québécois culture, at home and abroad. I want to assure Quebeckers that I am going to continue to defend the interests of our artists. (I have too much respect for the Liberals of the Quiet Revolution, for Mr. Lesage and Mr. Ryan in particular, to even dream of such a thing).
We are well aware that it is important to make a distinction between supporters of the student cause (the Liberal Party) and acts of violence (corruption), but it is also essential to denounce these same acts of violence (corruption) loud and clear. The violence and intimidation (corruption and collusion) that we denounce includes the chains of students physically preventing other students from attending their classes (the trails of cheques signed by daycare operators to secure subsidized places and prevent others from having them) as well as threats to those who dare defend another point of view (as well as the organization of political fundraising events by engineering consulting firms in exchange for subsidies awarded against bureaucrats’ advice).
Quebec is not a violent (corrupt) society. This is why it is always surprising to hear or read intimidating or outright violent comments on the part of those (who refuse for two years to set up a commission of public inquiry). I therefore reiterate my appeal to all of Quebec’s citizens to condemn violence (corruption) in whatever form it may take.
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Whew! It feels good to make an apology like that. I’m sure any Liberals who were offended or hurt by my previous comments are now completely satisfied with my explanation and feel reassured that I am in no way associating the QLP with corruption.
Translated from the original French by Translating the printemps érable.
*Translating the printemps érable is a volunteer collective attempting to balance the English media’s extremely poor coverage of the student conflict in Québec by translating media that has been published in French into English. These are amateur translations; we have done our best to translate these pieces fairly and coherently, but the final texts may still leave something to be desired. If you find any important errors in any of these texts, we would be very grateful if you would share them with us at email@example.com. Please read and distribute these texts in the spirit in which they were intended; that of solidarity and the sharing of information.