MONTREAL - In his Montreal Gazette column yesterday, Don MacPherson projected a worrying Quebec trend with startling candour: ["It's finally becoming respectable again to express support for terrorists."->1535]
So it has. On Sunday, 15,000 Quebecers, mostly Lebanese-Canadians, marched for "justice and peace" in Lebanon. That sounds benign, but in fact the march was a virulently anti-Israel rally, and scattered amongst the crowd were a number of Hezbollah flags and placards. Leading the parade were Bloc Quebecois chief Gilles Duceppe, Liberal MP Denis Coderre, PQ chief Andre Boisclair, and Amir Khadir, spokesman for the new far-left provincial party, Solidarite Quebec.
All four politicians had signed a statement by the organizers the day before the march, in which Israel is lambasted for its depredations in Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank -- but the word "terrorism" is never mentioned, nor Hezbollah assigned any blame for the war.
In their speeches at the conclusion of the march, Messrs. Coderre and Duceppe did not condemn terrorism, did not mention Israel's right to defend itself, and spoke only of Lebanese civilian suffering. As a sop to the Quebec-Israel Committee, which had taken out full-page ads calling on the march's leaders to condemn terrorism, however, they called for the disarming of Hezbollah as part of a negotiated ceasefire.
For this, they were roundly booed by the crowd.
These politicians are playing a dangerous game. They have no political support from Jews (who are all federalists), so have nothing to lose in courting anti-Israel Arab groups. There are at least 50,000 Lebanese-Canadians in the Montreal area. We can expect those numbers to swell as Hezbollah-supporting residents of southern Lebanon cash in on their Canadian citizenship and flee to the safety of Quebec. Under the circumstances, it may be politically convenient for some left-wing Quebec politicians to stoke fires of enthusiasm for Hezbollah -- an organization officially classified as a terrorist group by the Canadian government. Yet it would be disastrous for the future of the province.
But after the thumping they took from the Conservatives in the last federal election, Quebec separatists are desperate for votes, and apparently not too morally fussy about how they get them. Their official endorsement of last week's one-sided document and their prominent presence at the march was a calculated appeal to dangerous elements in Quebec society. As MacPherson also pointed out in his column, "if [their support for the statement and the march] did not invite Hezbollah sympathizers to participate, it also contained nothing to discourage them from doing so."
Left-wing Quebec intellectuals and politicians (Pierre Trudeau being an obvious example) have always enjoyed flirtations with causes that wrap themselves in the mantle of "liberation" from colonialist oppressors -- including their very own home-grown Front de Liberation du Quebec (FLQ), which gave them a frisson of pleasure as it sowed terror throughout Canada in the late '60s with mailbox bombs, kidnappings and a murder. Their cultural and historical sympathy for Arab countries from the francophonie -- Morocco, Algeria, Lebanon -- joined with reflexive anti-Americanism and a fat streak of anti-Semitism that has marbled the intellectual discourse of Quebec throughout its history, has made Quebec the most anti-Israel of the provinces, and therefore the most vulnerable to tolerance for Islamist terrorist sympathizers.
Think about what this would mean if Quebec ever were to become independent, and detached from the leadership of politicians who know the difference between a democracy and a gang of fanatical exterminationists. You can bet that Hezbollah would be off the official terrorism list by Day two of the Republic of Quebec's existence. By Day three, word would go out to the Islamosphere that Quebec was the new "Londonistan," to cite the title of a riveting new book by British journalist Melanie Phillips, chronicling the rise of militant Islam in her country.
Complacent Canadians think it can't happen here. It won't if our political class takes its cue from the principled Stephen Harper rather than the shameless Quebec politicians who led that pro-terrorist rally. Harper needs Quebec votes every bit as much as Messrs. Duceppe and Boisclair if he expects to achieve a majority government in the next federal election, but unlike them, he isn't willing to sell his soul.
The devil is always on the lookout for the moral relativism that signals a latter-day Faust, and it seems he has found some eager recruits amongst Quebec's most prominent spokespeople.
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Would an independent Quebec be a friend to terrorists?; nationalpost.com
LIENS ENTRE HEZBOLLAH ET SOUVERAINISTES
Plainte contre le National Post
La Presse vendredi 11 août 2006
Une plainte a été déposée au Conseil de presse du Québec contre le National Post après la publication d'une chronique affirmant que des leaders souverainistes québécois appuient le Hezbollah et sont des disciples du diable.
L'article intitulé «The rise of Quebecistan» fustige les politiciens qui ont participé à la marche pour la paix au Liban, dimanche dernier. «Les séparatistes québécois cherchent désespérément des votes et n'ont apparemment aucun scrupule quant à leur provenance», pouvait-on lire mercredi sous la plume de Barbara Kay.
Selon elle, André Boisclair et Gilles Duceppe sont des «politiciens québécois sans foi ni loi qui ont dirigé une manifestation pro-terroriste». Cette marche, qui a attiré 15 000 personnes, a été la plus importante à Montréal depuis celles de 2003 contre l'invasion de l'Irak.
La chroniqueuse suggère même que des forces occultes sont à l'oeuvre dans la Belle Province. «Le diable (...) a trouvé des recrues auprès des porte-parole les plus visibles du Québec.»
L'article prétend que «l'antisémitisme a marqué le discours intellectuel du Québec au long de son histoire». La province serait ainsi la plus «anti-Israël» de toutes. «Vous pouvez parier que le Hezbollah serait retiré de la liste officielle des groupes terroristes le deuxième jour d'existence de la République du Québec», prédit-elle.
À la lecture de cette chronique, Gilles Rhéaume, membre du conseil général de la Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste, a failli s'étouffer. C'est lui qui a déposé une plainte au Conseil de presse. «Je ne pensais pas qu'on pouvait encore écrire de tels brûlots antiquébécois en 2006. Je demande au Post de s'excuser.» Selon l'éditeur du quotidien, Jonathan Kay, le National Post n'a aucune raison de le faire. «Il n'y a aucun doute que le Québec a un passé antisémite, a-t-il déclaré à La Presse. On n'a qu'à regarder Lionel Groulx, par exemple.»
Et Gilles Duceppe est-il vraiment un disciple du diable? «En anglais, les anges et le diable sont des figures métaphoriques très utilisées, explique M. Kay. Il ne faut pas prendre ça au pied de la lettre.»