MONTREAL (May. 28)
A Quebec separatist leader told a Jewish audience here that the aims of the French-speaking province were not unlike those of Zionism and that the situation of French Canadians had a parallel in the plight of Jews in Europe in the past, though not to the same degree.
Rene Levesque, leader of the Parti Quebecois, addressing members of the Chomedy Lodge of B’nai B’rith Monday night, said his party is trying to do in Quebec what Zionism has done for the creation of the State of Israel, “Just like you have your own Jewish identity, we have our own Quebec identity and we are going to make through,” he said.
Levesque observed that the Jews’ “long history, the pogroms in Eastern Europe, Hitler and the constant uncertainty your people had to suffer contributed to the need for a homeland, Israel, and you have also revived a dead language in that State It is the same, although not so dramatic, for French-Canadians who were a rural people, safe in the knowledge that a religious faith would protect their language and their culture and vice versa,”
Asked what would happen if a popular referendum on separation from Canada produced a negative vote, Levesque replied, “We will keep being a provincial government, do the best job we can and wait for the next chance,” He assured his audience that there would be “no witch-hunting for unilingual enemies and that the rights of minorities would be entrenched,”