Translation of a French article published in the Saturday, May 10, 2014 edition of the daily Journal de Montréal:
En guerre contre la scientologie
En guerre contre la scientologie
At war against Scientology
by Isabelle Maher
Journal de Montréal
May 10, 2014
After TV commercials for the Church of Scientology aired on the Musique Plus specialty channel, Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette is attacking Scientology's tax status in Quebec. She does not hesitate to call the organization a cult.
"It's one thing to complain, but following through is something else," exclaims Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette, summarizing her crusade against the Church of Scientology.
Last Friday, the 73-year-old Liberal senator and former federal cabinet minister met with the senior management of Bell Media, owner of Musique Plus, to obtain assurances that commercials for the Church of Scientology will no longer be shown.
"These commercials shouldn't be presented to young people, and management promised me they will no longer accept these commercials," said the senator, who is also making the same request to Montreal's three major newspapers.
"I'm seeking a commitment on your part to reject any form of advertising for the so-called Church of Scientology. Otherwise, I reserve the right to file a complaint with Advertising Standards Canada," she writes in a letter addressed to the Journal de Montréal's management.
"Quebec needs responsible broadcasters to serve a young and impressionable audience," she adds.
Céline Hervieux-Payette insists that she will "keep an eye open" on the activities of the Church of Scientology.
A few years ago, the senator complained to the Quebec government about the questionable practices of the Narconon Trois-Rivières drug rehab center, which was connected with the Church of Scientology. Narconon Trois-Rivières was forced to close its doors in 2012.
An investigation by the Quebec Human Rights Commission has revealed that "patients" were abused and financially exploited. Narconon has been ordered to compensate its victims, and its certification was denied by the Health Ministry.
The Church of Scientology is considered a cult in countries such as France, Belgium and Germany, but is recognized as a religion in the United States, Portugal and Venezuela.
In Canada, the National Revenue Ministry hasn't granted Scientology the status of a religion, but the Quebec government does recognize it as a "church."
"We're going to put our house in order," promises the senator, who wants to have the organization's tax status reviewed.
"Scientology is not a church or a non-profit organization. It's a money-printing machine that rakes in billions of dollars. Our governments have been too lax in the way they treat it," she believes.
In Quebec, the Church of Scientology is considered a church from a tax standpoint, so it can issue receipts for charitable donations and does not pay school or municipal taxes on the building it owns on Papineau Street in Montreal.
"If a thorough analysis had been done, Scientology would not have been granted the status of a church. Here is an opportunity for the Quebec government to find some of the money it is looking for," says the Liberal senator.
Last edited by a moderator: