Friday 21 March 2014

Why lawyer and mom of four Valerie Assouline decided to run for the CAQ

In my blog last week I spoke to  Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) NDG candidate Noah Sidel. The post sparked a lot of controversy, with Sidel even getting into some verbal sparring on my Facebook page.

Today I wish to introduce you to lawyer Valerie Assouline, running for the CAQ in the ethnocultural riding of  Laurier-Dorion, held by Liberal Gerry Sklavounos. She is a resident of Dollard des Ormeaux and the mother of four.
Valerie Assouline

For decades, the old parties alternated to form the government of Quebec, and yet they really have nothing to show for - except to have exacerbated the morose and cynical voter sentiment with ever-increasing taxes and fees, and a long list of broken promises,” Assouline shared with me.  “There is even a lingering scent of corruption in the air. Not to mention that with the PQ in power, there is always a Sword of Damocles above our heads about the future of Quebec within the Canadian federation that polarizes the votes in the province.

“As we saw during the last 18 months, they never bring any concrete solutions to taxpayers and their real concerns. And let’s not forget that our dire fiscal situation can also be directly attributed to the long list of disputable Liberal decisions and expensive promises that were added to our children’s ‘credit card’ for no tangible gains - except maybe for some ‘friends’ of the party when they were in power! These facts were so blatant that François Legault saw an opportunity to unite concerned citizens under his Coalition a couple of years ago in order to break that unproductive cycle. His focus is to bring forth real solutions for real problems voiced by the population. He did his homework, and he is the only political leader with integrity and a financially sound program that is responsible, as well as having propositions with a vision for a brighter future.”

Assouline  is the founder and president of SOS Lawyers, a firm specializing in civil and commercial law and immigration As a member of the Jewish community, she says it was important for her to get involved in these elections. “I chose the CAQ for its platform that is not only centered around the taxpayers needs and ongoing issues with all sorts of fee hikes, but also because it proposes a responsible plan to help families specifically,” she said.  “As a Jew, and an immigrant that came with my family to Canada from Morocco at an early age, it was also important to have a strong voice at the National Assembly to represent our values and experiences to better serve our population. In the past, the Jewish vote was almost automatically a Liberal vote because no other appropriate option existed, and the Liberals took that for granted! The CAQ is now here to give them a real, reasonable and responsible vote.”

Even though she lives in   Dollard, Assouline says the riding of Laurier-Dorion was a perfect example of an electorate that can benefit from the CAQ’s propositions by reducing the tax burden and excessive fee hikes that penalize families. “My personal experience as an immigrant, a mother, and an entrepreneur will be an asset when representing this riding and providing them with appropriate solutions that work,” she remarked confidently. “Such care for the people we represent should be a priority for anyone looking to hold office in government. The CAQ’s stance on integrity and its straight-shooting political values will be the choice for voters that want to regain the lost trust in our political system governed by the old parties. You can steal our ideas and program, but the people representing them are the ones that have to be elected, and that vote should carry the message of what/who you stand for, as well.

On the Charter of Values, the CAQ says  the PQ ban on wearing religious symbols, such as Islamic veils, the kippa, religious turbans and large crucifixes, is “too radical.” But the party sees nothing wrong with a ban of religious symbols limited to public sector personnel in positions of authority, namely judges, police and prison officers and teachers.   

Assouline says that the  CAQ’s position is the only one that both follows the  recommendations of the Bouchard-Taylor Commission on reasonable accommodation , and one that can be productive for a fairer society looking to avoid any sense of discriminatory actions by people in positions of power.

 “As a lawyer, if my Jewish client is in court facing a Judge with an Islamic veil, or vice-versa an Islamic client facing a Judge wearing a kippa, and a negative decision towards my client is handed down, there might be a part of me asking if the decision was really impartial,” she says.  “But any other law restricting further the access to government-related jobs as proposed by the PQ, such as a clerk at the local SAQ branch, a customer support rep at Hydro-Québec or a woman working at your CPE Daycare looking to integrate the workforce and find some financial autonomy, should be blocked because it would be so counter-productive to its ‘supposed’ intent to bring more equality between men and women in our society. Where does Marois’ push for secularisms end? Should schools serving kosher meals lose their public funding? Should the wonderful director of my children’s school be forced to choose between wearing his kippa or working in Quebec? I think the answers are clear.”


  1. That's nothing how about Evelyne Abitbol, a former director of government relations and public affairs at Concordia University, will run in Acadie for the PQ which Christine St-Pierre held for the Liberals with an 11,000 vote margin of victory in 2012.

  2. David LisbonaMarch 21, 2014

    With all due respect to Mrs. Assouline, why would it be any different if both the plaintiff and the judge knew the other's religion by some other means, as in Mr. Cohen appearing before Judge Mohammed. Rights are rights are rights. I respect both Ms. Assouline and Noah Sidel's decisions to run, but they have to be holding their noses on this aspect of their parties' platform as Jews. I have no idea where Evelyne Abitbol is coming from.

  3. I am not sure I want to interview Evelyn

    1. Mike Did you hear what Evelyn said today?

  4. George GlassMarch 21, 2014

    Nothing about the separatist agenda of Legault?

  5. 1st, let me commend Mrs. Assouline for her commitment to bringing a much needed change to our same-old Parties' governance of QC. Also, I always hear minorities and immigrants complain about how they are taken for granted and tossed aside as we always alternate between pre- and post-referendum governments that never put their energies to solve real and daily issues we all suffer from, namely ever-increasing taxes, growing and inefficient govt structures and reduced services to the people in need, and yet we don't do anything about it because we always vote like sheep following the same path! For once, an upstanding political party and candidate wants to take a stand for all of us, we should admire it, and support it!
    To reply to previous comments: @Jase, Evelyne Abitbol seemed to have entered the race to promote/defend the Charter of Values of the PQ, but was vague or very discreet about any other PQ platform issues and what she hopes to do for her riding... hardly someone who needs a profile: she could use her resumé to better use...
    @Lisbona, it is not the rights, but the sense of neutrality of the person in power, especially if he displays an ostentatious religious sign in the performance of his duty, the very basis of secularism in society to give everyone a sense of fairness, that is the point of contention - rights and justice don't always meld, so let's better the chances of Justice with the 'right' laws... @Glass, where did you ever see a separatist agenda at the CAQ or with Legault? He is a nationalist (i.e., Quebec is a distinct Nation within Canadian federation) and wants to reinforce Quebec's government and opportunities for its people, so no need to separate : he's an administrator who believes a streamlined govt structure to the benefit all taxpayers and families will benefit all of us, certainly not someone who wants to increase the size of govt and add years, if not decades, of economic mayhem if he would really strive to separate QC. He clearly says he's against a referendum, so your point of view is either the product of Liberal false propaganda because they only resort to scare tactics or you clearly have not done your homework before casting your judgment or vote, the real danger in democracy. P.S. BTW, Liberals have 'borrowed' over a dozen(!) propositions from Legault's platform in the past 2 weeks, because they lack direction and ideas: hardly something they would do if he's really a separatist party?! Vote on April 7th, and make the choice for the future to unite, not based on useless PRO/CON referendum division!