Minister of Transport
(© House of Commons)
Transport Minister Denis Lebel, MP for Roberval-Lac-Saint-Jean confirmed he was a member of the Bloc Québécois for eight years, leaving that party on April 28, 2001. This begs the question as to whether Mr. Lebel should remain in the Conservative Cabinet.
I voted Liberal in federal elections in the 1960s, and I do not believe that disqualified me, morally, from joining the Conservative party and running for office, had I chose to do so. Both the Liberal and the Conservative parties are committed federalists and believe in a strong, united Canada.
I do, however, believe that any act of treason or similar act should bar me from holding high office. Such acts include taking up arms against Canada or joining a political party that has as it’s raison d'être the break up of our country.
To me, this is not a matter of what’s legal, but what’s right—what’s morally acceptable.
Acknowledging his membership, Mr. Lebel denies being “active” in the Bloc Québécois, although, according to mainstream media reports, he admits he participated in partisan activities and donated a few hundred dollars to the party.
One’s actions have consequences, and some actions are so egregious their consequences need be severe and sometimes will include sanctions, legal or otherwise, regardless of how much one may regret those actions later.
Mr. Lebel’s protestations, in a statement to Radio-Canada, regarding his involvement with the BQ, “I’ve never done activism. Never, never, never,” is a bit like a woman claiming she is half-pregnant.
Since the Conservatives have so few MPs from Quebec, the firing of Mr. Lebel will cause Prime Minister Stephen Harper some problems with Quebec representation in his Cabinet. And I can sympathize with that. But Quebec voters made a conscious choice by continuing to send so many sovereignists to represent them in Ottawa—and that also has consequences. So let them be under-represented.
Maintaining an eight-year membership in a separatist party and donating hundreds of dollars to a separatist cause is tantamount to treason. And I for one believe it is unacceptable for Mr. Lebel to remain a minister of the Crown.