Author Topic: MNA (Québec) pledges reluctant allegiance to the Queen - Globe & Mail  (Read 1220 times)

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MNA pledges reluctant allegiance to the Queen

QUEBEC -- A new pro-sovereignty left-wing party made its official entrance
to the legislature yesterday and what an entrance it was for Québec solidaire's
first and only elected member, Amir Khadir.

Mr. Khadir resented having to pledge allegiance to the Queen, calling the tradition
 a "remnant of the archaic British monarchy," during his swearing-in as a member
of the National Assembly. His loyalty, Mr. Khadir professed, rested exclusively
with the people of Quebec and their quest for social justice and political independence.

"Until Quebec becomes a modern and democratic republic, I have to pledge allegiance
to the duly constituted authority, the Queen. However my duty as an MNA and my
ultimate allegiance ... is to the people of Quebec," Mr. Khadir said while promising
to stand up for the poor, the ill and the disenfranchised.

Still on the fringes of the political spectrum, the left-wing party, which was founded
less than three years ago, is taking aim at what Mr. Khadir called "the right-wing
ideologues" with free-wheeling policies that have created social inequality and
economic uncertainty.

"It's time to put that aside because it has brought us into a crisis of inequalities ...
[with] these casino-style economies and the results that we now see," Mr. Khadir
said during a news conference. "We will come back again and again on the importance
of social justice, distribution of wealth and equality."

At 47, Mr. Khadir, who was born in Tehran and immigrated to Quebec with his family
when he 10, gained prominence as an activist Montreal doctor who strongly opposed
increased privatization of Quebec's public health-care system.

His party became the voice of disaffected left-wing sovereigntists who criticized the
Parti Québécois for abandoning its social-democratic principles and sovereignty option
in favour of more right-wing social policies and greater provincial autonomy.

Atop Mr. Khadir's agenda will be to demand an increase in the minimum wage to
$10.20 an hour and fight for proportional representation to clear the way for the
Green Party and othersto gain representation in the National Assembly.

There's nothing radical about Québec solidaire's demands, Mr. Khadir said, rejecting
the notion his party lacks credentials to defend economic policies. He maintained that
Québec solidaire was asking nothing more than what president-elect Barack Obama
has promised in the United States.

"What is at the centre of the economic direction taken by Obama and our neighbours
to the South? Well, it's massive public investments in society with conditions pertaining
to regulations and redistribution of wealth. ... That's all. We don't ask for anything more."
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