By KEVIN DOUGHERTY, The Gazette June 1, 2011
While calling them "parasites" - because taxpayers are picking up the tab for their Canadian visit
- Québec solidaire MNA Amir Khadir says if Prince William and his wife, Kate Middleton, paid their own way, he would gladly show them around his Plateau Mont Royal neighbourhood.
Like all elected members of the Quebec assembly, Khadir took an oath to Queen Elizabeth II, Canada's head of state."The taxpayers should not pay for that," he told reporters, alluding to the impending visit in July of the newlyweds, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. "Do you want your taxes used for a royal couple?"
But since the couple are not paying their way, Khadir said he would participate in a demonstration planned for July 3 in Quebec City if he is in the provincial capital that day.
The militant separatist Réseau de résistance du Québécois, which is organizing the protest, says it wants to make the royal visit "as disagreeable as possible."
International Relations Minister Monique Gagnon-Tremblay would not say how much Quebec taxpayers would ante up for the royal visit, except to say: "We will pay our fair share."
Gagnon-Tremblay called Khadir's statements about the royals "unacceptable and reprehensible," adding: "He is going to be in a violent demonstration."
The RRQ has said it will demonstrate peacefully, but a 1964 visit by Queen Elizabeth to Quebec City turned violent.
Gagnon-Tremblay said RRQ members are "radical independentists" and called their planned demonstration "an appeal to violence."
The Quebec government is receiving a delegation from the German state of Bavaria this week. Khadir said that spending is justified because Quebec and Bavaria have established government relations.
But he said the visit by Prince Willian and his wife is nothing more than a photo opportunity,
with the government itself calling the royal couple a tourist attraction."I would like the prince and princess (sic) to know that they have been brought here as a circus act," Khadir added.
Khadir said he cannot accept such privilege or birthright "from ancient times."
"We don't need a monarchy," he said. "Every man and woman is equal."
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