MONTREAL – The Parti Quebecois will table its Charter of Quebec Values Tuesday and many are not waiting to speak out against the principles in the document. The Combined Jewish Appeal’s new fundraising campaign is using the slogan “I’m here. For good.” Some are calling it a perfect coincidence.
‘We spent a long time working on that slogan,” said Lesli Green, Chief Communications Officer at Federation CJA. When Green and her team designed the concept and slogan for this year’s fund-raising campaign, they weren’t thinking about Quebec’s controversial Charter of Values.
“It’s something that started in the spring, it was developed in the spring; and yes, the Charter came out after we launched it,” said Green.
Ninety-thousand Jews live in Montreal and an estimated 20 per cent live below the poverty line. Federation CJA has a huge impact on the community, both through financial and emotional support. Every year, the organization offers a long list of services from feeding families to helping seniors in need. Federation CJA also reaches out to other communities, recently raising close to $50,000 for the residents of Lac Mégantic, following the deadly train crash in July.
“We help countless people every day here in Montreal and across the world,” said Green.
The new slogan “I am here. For Good” has many different meanings. While it wasn’t meant as a response to the proposed Charter of Values, it sure is appropriate, according to Federation CJA’s President, David Cape.
‘I’m here and I’m here to stay as part of the Jewish community of Montreal, a community that’s been here for 250 years and is going to be here for many years to come,” insisted Cape.
Many prominent members of the Jewish community don’t believe there’s a need for a Charter of Values. And several organizations are already planning to challenge the Charter in court, for violating human rights.
“Already you can see many people in the Jewish community feel offended by the very idea that for example a doctor wearing a kippah would not be allowed to practice in a hospital,” said Jack Jedwab, Executive Director of the Association of Canadian Studies.
If Quebec goes ahead with the Charter, Jedwab warns Quebec will be the only jurisdiction in the world to impose such restrictions based on religion.
“I think it will further embarrass us internationally,” said Jedwab.
At first, Federation CJA’s new slogan had nothing to do with the Charter of Values, but in the end it may just be the perfect comeback to what many are calling an unjustified move to exclude Quebec’s minorities.
“We find it odd that it’s important to measure the quality of a person based on their wearing a kippah or a cross,” concluded Cape.