By Kevin Woodhouse
Robert-Baldwin MNA Pierre Marsan rose in the National Assembly last week to publically apologize for leaving a letter containing the Liberal Party of Quebec letterhead that was left in the entrance to the Association Sépharade de la Banlieue Ouest de Montréal (ASBOM) Or Shalom synagogue in Dollard des Ormeaux during the Yom Kippur celebration that was seen as an attempt to illicit political donations for help in receiving a day care permit.
Marsan’s letter to the congregation noted that “your association was able to take advantage of generous contributions and [a] daycare permit.”
The MNA spoke to members of the National Assembly after being asked to explain himself for leaving the supposed solicitation letter in question. Marsan acknowledged that he was “ultimately the only one responsible” and that his actions on the matter were “unjustified and inappropriate.”
Marsan also told Jacques Chagnon, president of the National Assembly that he had been serving the constituents of Robert-Baldwin since 1994 and always worked with integrity and honesty and that this “isolated incident of the past few days” was a “flagrant derogation” of his usual comportment and conduct.
While there has been some opposition and backlash to Marsan’s letter and some critics see this as routine behaviour for the Quebec Liberal Party, a recent report by the Canadian Jewish News (CJN) noted that Yoni Petel, president of the Congregation Or Shalom which is associated with ASBOM, told the publication that he did not find “anything inappropriate” with the content of the letter written by the Robert-Baldwin MNA.
According to Petel, a member of Marsan’s staff called Petel’s office “and asked if some letters could be dropped in the synagogue. We assumed it was some kind of New Year’s message,” the CJN report noted.
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