Bloc MP's latest apology motion defeated in House of Commons


[le 11 mars 2004]

OTTAWA - Bloc Québécois MP Stéphane Bergeron's continuing bid to get official recognition from the British Crown for the deportation of the Acadians was defeated 116 to 62 yesterday.

Vowing to continue his campaign should he be re-elected, Bergeron shrugged off his latest defeat.

"I will bring that question back as long as the British Crown has not recognized the wrongs done to the Acadian people," he said outside the Commons yesterday.

Although the fourth motion of its kind, it is only the second to be put to a vote. The first in November 2001 asked for an apology from the Crown, while the latest version asked for a more moderate recognition. While the first motion was defeated in a bitter and divisive vote in the Commons that featured Bloc members denouncing Beauséjour-Petitcodiac Liberal MP Dominic LeBlanc, a firm opponent, yesterday's version was tame by comparison with only a smattering of boos when LeBlanc cast his vote.

Backed by the Bloc and the New Democrats as well as 15 Conservatives, five Liberals and two independent MPs, it could not withstand the overwhelming majority of the Conservatives.

Bergeron discovered his Acadian roots during celebrations of L'Acadie and has repeatedly pushed for various versions of the same motion. While somewhat satisfied with the federal government's official recognition released last year, he feels it is still inadequate since neither the government of Canada nor the Canadian Crown were actually responsible for deporting about three-quarters of an estimated 14,000 Acadians from the Maritimes in 1755-63. Their land was confiscated and given to English settlers.