A denunciation of members of minorities who complain of their treatment in Quebec as “enemies … of French-speaking Quebec.”
With it, a call to “extinguish these hotbeds of intolerance,” in a message the writer acknowledges might be used by the “hotheaded and violently prejudiced.”
Just another rant from someone in the online hate community hiding behind a pseudonym, exceptional only for its lack of spelling mistakes?
No, a column published in Quebec’s most-read daily and on its website, and promoted on the province’s most popular television network, all properties of Pierre Karl Péladeau’s Québecor media empire.
Even in Péladeau’s flagship Le Journal de Montréal, with its deep lineup of minority-baiting columnists, I can’t recall ever reading anything as disturbing as Denise Bombardier’s Jan. 5 column titled “Les québécophobes.”
You can read the column in French online at journaldemontreal.com/2019/01/05/les-quebecophobes, and form your own opinion of it.
You can also listen to Bombardier promote it on TVA television at tvanouvelles.ca/videos/5986318403001, where she falsely accused Quebec anglophones of not supporting francophone minorities in the rest of Canada, such as the Franco-Ontarians affected by recent spending cuts by the Ford government. In fact, the Quebec Community Groups Network and the Montreal Gazette, among others, were quick to come to the Franco-Ontarians’ defence
Bombardier began her column by acknowledging that “some hotheaded and violently prejudiced readers” might make use of what she was about to write.
And then, she went ahead and wrote it anyway.
“The silence dictated by the prevailing correctness and the agitations of a multicultural left that invade social media encourage the loss of control by too many enemies of Quebec. Of French-speaking Quebec, let us make clear.”
She proceeded to identify these enemies. “Some thought warriors and religious fundamentalists, as well as some anglos from Quebec and from Canada, shamelessly practise hatred of what we are. …
“In the eyes of many first- and second-generation Canadian immigrants, French-speaking Quebecers are just an ethnic and cultural community like them.”
In “many” cultural minorities in Quebec, “ambiguous feelings toward the French-speaking majority are harboured.
“Let us not mince words: Some so-called spokespersons and out-and-out provocateurs express a sort of contempt and denigration of the Québécois, who in their eyes are uneducated about global realities.
“These troublemakers are dangerous, because they are themselves social pyromaniacs.”
Unhelpfully, Bombardier did not propose guidelines for what is permissible minority dissent, leaving the impression that none is.
But she did name some names.
She blamed the rise of the extreme right in western democracies on a refusal by “right-thinking people” to accept that “racism is not the preserve of the citizens of the host country, but also characterizes some of those landing here.”
These “right-thinking people” included Prime Minister Trudeau and former premier Philippe Couillard, as well as other, unnamed Liberals, and “some leaders” of the left-wing Québec solidaire party.
She said “racialized immigrants who crucify us publicly are dangerous people,” and she identified two: controversial imam Adil Charkaoui, and Amel Zaazaa.
Apparently, Zaazaa is “dangerous” because she had an article published in Le Devoir last month citing examples of discrimination against visible minorities in Quebec. Until then, she was unknown to the public.
And Bombardier wasn’t finished with the anglos. “The French-speaking Québécois do not have the support of the anglophones born here, who scarcely stand up against such attacks. Too many of them reflexively complain of being badly served and mistreated by French Quebec.”
Finally, Bombardier reached her ominously ambiguous conclusion:
“Clearly, it is urgent to extinguish these hotbeds of intolerance that are kept burning by some minority groups … .”
Bombardier did not say what means should or should not be used to “extinguish” these “hotbeds,” and by whom. She left it to her readers to decide. Including those who might be “hotheaded and violently prejudiced.”
And Péladeau’s daily, the most-read in Quebec, deemed this acceptable for publication.