Bouchard, Taylor To Address The Media

Bouchard, Taylor to address the media

Jeff Heinrich ,
Montreal Gazette
Published: Thursday, November 15

After 10 weeks criss-crossing Quebec and holding hearings in 15 cities – and before facing protests when they start hearings in Montreal next week – scholars Gard Bouchard and Charles Taylor will make a declaration to the media this afternoon, summing up their experience on the road so far.

It will be the first time the co-chairmen of Quebec's commission on “reasonable accommodations” of religious minorities will speak to journalists since beginning their road-show in early September. So far, they have refused to give interviews or comment outside the hearings on what they've heard.

Concluding three days of hearings in Laval and preparing for an open-mike night Tuesday in C?e des Neiges – their first in Montreal – Bouchard and Taylor want to say what they've learned from the hundreds of voices they've heard so far during the public hearings, said spokesman Sylvain Simard.

As well, at the conclusion of three days of hearings in Sherbrooke next week, the commission intends to publish an analysis of the hundreds of statements made at open-mike nights across the province so far, separating positive statements from negative ones, Leclerc said.

The analysis is intended to counter an impression in the media that the commission has served mainly as a platform for provocateurs and well-known speakers, such as colourful lawyer Guy Bertrand, who made headlines when he spoke out in Quebec City two weeks ago against Canadiens hockey star Saku Koivu because he barely speaks French.

A militant pro-immigrant group called No One Is Illegal began sending out emails to its members late Wednesday night encouraging them to picket the commission's open-mike nights Nov. 27 and Nov. 29 at the Palais des Congr, saying the commission is a forum for bigots.

“We call on our allies who would like to help build this effort to confront xenophobia, racism and sexism, to join us in organizing” the pickets, the group said in its email, inviting people to a planning meeting near Concordia University on Monday night, on the eve of the commission's first Montreal open-mike night, at the Intercultural Library on C?e des Neiges Rd.