Louise Mailloux, a leading candidate in Quebec’s Parti Québécois is espousing a “kosher tax conspiracyers, and falsely suggesting,” stating that kosher certification is a “rip-off,” “robbery” and a “tax” paid “directly to the synagogue” unbeknownst to Quebec that kosher certification inflates the prices of certified food
products to the financial
gain of the Jewish community. This is contributing to unfounded resentment towards Quebec Jews by their fellow citizens. Mailloux echoes a conspiracy created and spread by the Ku Klux Klan and championed by many other racist and Neo-Nazi groups.
The Parti Québécois is currently the ruling party in Quebec’s parliamentary government. Recently, elections have been called, largely prompted by the party’s drive to pass the “Charter of Values,” which is supposedly designed to address the Quebec controversy on reasonable accommodation, in the name of secularism.
According to the proponents of the bill, which is of great concern to the Jewish community, the proposed charter will promote neutrality in the government, by limiting the wearing of “conspicuous” religious symbols such as kippahs, turbans, or jihabs.
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs in Quebec (CIJA) has issued a press release, calling for the Parti Québécois to reject Mailloux’ statements on the “kosher tax.”
“We are extremely troubled by the candidacy of Louise Mailloux, a woman who has repeatedly propagated the urban legend of the ‘kosher tax’, and who has today confirmed that she continues to stands by her previous comments,” declared Luciano G. Del Negro, Vice-President of CIJA-Quebec.
A petition has been formulated, calling on the Premier Pauline Marois of the PQ to remove the candidate. However, Marois has not only refused to condemn the candidate, but stated that she respects her opinion.
Subsequently, Mailloux issued a lukewarm apology, stating that “no offense was intended,” but did not retract her statements. The CIJA rejected these “meaningless excuses,” and again called on the Premier to “deny the odious anti-Semitic statements.”
“Far from retracting herself from this undoubtedly anti-Semitic theory, Mrs. Mailloux would have us believe that she is an object of a misunderstanding. We call on the PQ and Premier to assume their responsibilities and to disavow this anti-semitic theory, and to take example from the federal government, which did so in 1997.”
David Ouellette of the CIJA commented further, “Mailloux clearly has an anti-religious agenda. We are extremely concerned that this mainstream political party would tolerate such a candidate within its ranks, one that espouses anti-semitic conspiracy theories and conflates secularism with militant atheism. There is no precedent for this. The PQ is a legitimate, democratic party. We have a lot of respect for the PQ, and it is very shocking that they are playing along.”