Book-burning shows Marois is in trouble Quote of the Day

Erratic author represents the kind of PQ supporters she has to deal with

Quel crétin ce MacPherson!

To protest against Bob Gainey's getting only a second-round draft choice for a starting goaltender, I am thinking of burning a copy of this column.
I have been inspired by Quebec author Victor-Lévy Beaulieu, who this week invited the press to his home town of Trois Pistoles in the Lower St. Lawrence to record his feeding a copy of his 886-page latest novel into a wood stove.
And maybe anyone seeking an explanation for why the Parti Québécois and its leader have slipped out of first place in their respective categories in the latest poll needs look no farther than the 62-year-old Beaulieu.

The award-winning author, who Le Devoir said recently is considered by some to be the greatest Quebec writer of all time, burned his book to protest against the supposed betrayal of the sovereignist cause by PQ leader Pauline Marois.
Less than three years ago, Beaulieu publicly supported Marois in her unsuccessful bid for the PQ leadership against André Boisclair. Marois eventually became leader last June after Boisclair resigned.
But three weeks ago, Beaulieu turned against Marois after she said all Quebecers should be bilingual and proposed ways of making them so.
He fired off an article to the French-language dailies accusing her of "cowardice, not to say treason," and called for a "war without mercy" against her "by all means possible"- which taken literally includes physical violence.
It wasn't the first time Beaulieu had accused a prominent present or former sovereignist of betraying the cause. Two years ago, he called world-renowned playwright Michel Tremblay a "turncoat" and an "asshole" after Tremblay said he no longer believed in a sovereignist project based on economic arguments rather than cultural identity.
Marois is not mentioned in either the media reports of Beaulieu's book-burning or the statement he issued on the occasion, a long screed against the omnipresence of the English language into which he has allowed some of his own books to be translated.
But in the statement, he said that "even the Parti Québécois, created so that Quebec would become independent, has given up on making this dream a reality," an allusion to Marois's indefinite postponement of another sovereignty referendum. As a result, "Quebec has never been as far from independence as it is now."
Beaulieu's political thinking is sometimes hard to follow. Though he still described himself this week as a "fervent indépendantiste," he supported Mario Dumont's autonomist Action démocratique du Québec in last year's election because, he said recently, Dumont was the strongest defender of the identity of French-speaking Quebecers.
Since his initial attack on Marois, he's kept his name in the newspapers by picking verbal fights with La Presse's chief editorialist, André Pratte, and English-Canadian writer Noah Richler, whose "nice teeth" he threatened to knock out.
Coincidentally or not, all this happened in the two weeks leading up to the publication of the novel he burned this week. Rarely has the name of a new novel, La grande tribu (The Great Tribe), been mentioned so often in the news.
But regardless of whether Beaulieu's motives were more commercial than political, his attacks on Marois came during a period in which Péquistes already appeared to be quarrelling among themselves in public once again.
And his immoderate language, as well as his apparent opposition to individual bilingualism, made it appear that the sovereignty movement remains dominated by intolerant old-line nationalists who have fallen out of touch with Quebecers' concerns.
This might have contributed to a loss of public confidence in the PQ and its leader, both of whom declined in popularity in a CROP-La Presse poll conducted in the immediate aftermath of Beaulieu's attack on Marois.

Now that his book has been published, Beaulieu has taken a vow of media silence for the next two months, while he ponders whether to burn any of his previous 69 published works.
It's as if he's threatening Marois by holding his own books hostage.

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