On Friday evening I had the honour of attending the annual banquet of the Canadian Muslim Forum (CMF) and delivering a short speech as a special guest. Many politicians were in attendance such as Thomas Muclair, Lisane Blanchette-Lamothe, Stéphane Dion, and many other federal and provincial MPs.
Former Bloc MP Jean Dorion was also present, and received a recognition award for his important contribution in uniting many independentists against the policy of exclusion as promoted by some factions of the independence movement.
It was a wonderful evening, I met some excellent people, and I will leave you with an excerpt from the speech I gave.
“The year 2014 was marked by ups and downs for the Muslim community and all of Quebec. Quebec’s religious minorities were being unfairly and excessively targeted by a policy of division that went against the constitution.
Quebecers expressed their profound disagreement in the streets, in their workplaces and in the voting booth. The PQ government fell and that was a step forward for all those who believe in our rights and freedoms and in the need to have a society free of discrimination.
This defeat is a victory for all of us.
The year 2015 provides us with a golden opportunity to turn the page on old policies of division and to move forward with efforts to raise awareness of Islamophobia in Quebec society.
The coming years will present new challenges, but I sincerely believe that the worst days are behind us and that the year 2015 will bring new hope to Quebec society.
You should know that the Muslim community is certainly not to blame for this intolerance. However, it is up to all Quebeckers to take a clear and frank stand against Islamophobia. The Green Party of Quebec stands in solidarity with the Muslim community in the fight against Islamophobia and will do everything in its power to help you in this fight.
I wish you a happy new year, and let’s work together to move Quebec forward in 2015. »