MONTREAL (Nov. 2)
Claude Ryan, leader of the Liberal Party in Quebec, has urged Montreal’s Jews to stay in Quebec and fight for their cultural lives rather than join other English-speaking residents in leaving the predominantly French province.
Speaking at a one-day seminar of the Hadassah-WIZO organization at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel last Sunday, Ryan, the former editor of the French-language daily, Le Devoir, noted that many potential newcomers had been lost to Montreal since the Parti Quebecois, which advocates separation from Canada, had taken power in the Province of Quebec two years ago.
“All those who have known insurmountable reasons to go should stay here and fight to preserve the character of this city, while acquiring a knowledge of French,” Ryan stressed. He said the departure of English-speaking residents from Quebec is resulting in “cultural impoverishment.”
“I recognize the freedom of Jews to decide whether to stay here or move elsewhere,” Ryan said. He admitted that in the past two years “there has developed a sentiment of fear among members of the Jewish community.” But he said if Jews “make room for the French language” in their institutions they will have a better chance of preserving Jewish institutions in Montreal. He praised Quebec Jews like law professor Herbert Marks and Dr. Victor Goldbloom, a Liberal member of the Quebec National Assembly (provincial parliament), for having assimilated into the French community.