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A Bishop on elections

on Sunday, 01 May 1960. Posted in Politics

The Most Reverend Paul Bernier, Roman Catholic bishop of Gaspé, is widely known in Canadian Catholic circles as a church diplomat, due to the years he spent in Ottawa as a member of the Apostolic Delegation there.

Recently Msgr. Bernier issued a statement in connection with the elections which are to be held in Quebec this coming June 22. This statement is in the form of very precise instructions to the priests of Gaspé governing their attitude towards and their conduct during, the coming electoral campaign.

Below we quote certain pertinent passages as reported in the Montreal Gazette of Friday April 29.

Msgr. Bernier said he has the impression the people of Quebec, more and more are abandoning false idols and day by day are becoming increasingly aware that one must rely on the personality of candidates instead of one's political party ties."

What Bishop Bernier is stating is something which the organization of the Union of Electors has been pointing out for many years now and attempting to hammer home to the minds of the men and women who make up the citizenry of this land. Namely, that politics should not be a matter of this party or that party holding power, but rather of individual delegates representing certain groups of the land's citizens and obeying their will; of the parliament as being a grouping of the representatives of all the people, sitting for the purpose of enacting legislation and seeing that this legislation is put into effect, solely and simply for the good of the people without any regard as to whether or not certain legislation may or may not hinder a political party from taking over power or returning to power. "False idols" is a very apt phrase, for that in fact is what a political party is. A political party is a group of men interested in holding the reins of government because of the power and the material advantages it may bring the party, the leaders of the party or the hidden supporters of such a party. A party implies loyalty to the party. How can one be loyal to his party and at the same time be loyal to the people who have elected him?

Of course the people are beginning to abandon these "false idols". As the old saying goes, "you can fool part of the people all the time but you can't fool all the people all the time".

The people are becoming more and more aware of the fact that the exchange of governmental power between parties doesn't make one bit of difference in the lot of the individual citizen. He goes on suffering whether it be Liberal, Conservative, CCF, Union Nationale or so-called "Social Credit" holding down the government offices.

Our movement, the Social Credit Union of Electors, through its publications, The Union of Electors and Vers Demain, has been pounding home the point that until the individual citizen takes the trouble to inform himself on matters affecting government and applies the necessary pressure on his representative to get what he, the citizen knows is good for him, this farce of party politics will continue with no amelioration whatsoever in the present social, economic and political mess in which society finds itself.

The report in the Gazette went on:

It was not seemly for a priest to appear at political meetings. "His place (these are Bishop Bernier's words) is not there, in these profane meetings which divide his people instead of uniting them." (Italics ours - Ed.).


His Excellency might have been quoting directly from the pages of Vers Demain or the Union of Electors. For this is another feature of the political party system which our movement has roundly condemned for a long time now.

Political parties divide. And where you have division you have weakness. When this division occurs in the body politic of the land, among the citizens, it leaves them the hapless prey of any strong figure or any strong group of politicians, or of any form of "hidden government" which might chance to happen along or already exist.

Our paper has never hesitated to point out that this very division of the people through the party system has weakened and blinded them so that the powerful financial interests which control our monetary system have been able to do with them whatever they wish through their influence on the government.

There exists no hope of release from this financial dictatorship through the establishment of any more political parties — even should one of these parties bear the name, Social Credit. Parties divide.

The Union of Electors, by its very name, would unite all responsible citizens in a movement through which they will learn their responsibilities and be taught how to fullfil these responsibilities through the pressure they exert on their representatives; to have legislation which will work to the good of the entire community and, not merely to the personal profit of a few individuals. This, then, is the aim of our movement — to teach, to arouse, to train. In this fashion, men will throw aside "false idols", and, refusing to allow themselves to be divided by the siren calls of political parties, will unite to obtain all the material and cultural — yes, and spiritual — benefits which our modern system is perfectly capable of procuring for them.

Earl Massecar

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