Duceppe attacks Opus Dei candidate

  • September 10, 2008

Stung by losing one of his own MPs, controversial priest Fr. Raymond Gravel, Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe has attacked the Conservatives for having a Montreal-area candidate who is a member of Opus Dei.

Duceppe says the candidacy of Nicole Charbonneau Barron in the riding of St. Bruno-St. Hubert is more evidence that the Conservatives are promoting an agenda at odds with Quebec society.

While agreeing that Charbonneau Barron had every right to run for office, Ducepped argued that Opus Dei is a "rather secret society," according to a Sept. 9 report in the Globe and Mail. "Those people certainly share an ideology, a narrow ideology, that doesn't correspond at all to the modern times in Quebec," he said.

Charbonneau Barron has been publicly associated with Opus Dei and was quoted in the media regarding the movie, The Da Vinci Code, when it was released.

The Conservative Party was quick to rebut Duceppe's remarks. The National Post quoted Conservative party spokesman Ryan Sparrow as saying, "Mr. Duceppe appears to be imposing a religious test for who can run for public office. This kind of intolerance is not in keeping with the values of modern Quebec/modern Canada."

The CBC reported Opus Dei spokesperson Isabelle St. Maurice as saying the candidate is just as entitled to her beliefs as all other candidates.

The Catholic organization is not secretive, and welcomes all enquiries about its practices, St. Maurice said in the same interview. She added that Opus Dei is not discouraging Charbonneau Barron from speaking about her faith.

Opus Dei is an organization that has the standing in the Catholic Church of a personal prelature. It has roughly 600 members in Canada and some 80,000 worldwide. Opus Dei is Latin for "work of God."

Last week, Fr. Raymond Gravel, a Bloc MP from Montreal, announced he was stepping down after receiving a letter from the Vatican that urged him to make a choice between being a politician and being a priest.


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