“From the beginning, French Canadian nationalism has been badly tainted by racism. The patron saint of the indépendantistes, the Abbé Lionel Groulx, was not only a virulent antisemite but also a nascent fascist, an unabashed admirer in the thirties of Mussolini, Dollfuss, and Salazar.”
– Mordecai Richler, Oh Canada! Oh Quebec!: Requiem for a Divided Country (Toronto: Penguin, 1992), p. 81.
by Alan Simons
Antisemitism in Quebec is well documented.
“A small-town Quebec mayor is under fire for anti-Israel comments. Mayor Stephane Gendron, who is also a television host, said during a broadcast that Israel is an apartheid state that doesn’t deserve to exist.” (Globe and Mail)
“A woman, who identified herself as Maria when she called into Jacques Fabi’s late-night Montreal show on 98.5 FM, said she was of Arab descent and was upset at the deaths of the ‘brothers and sisters’ in Gaza in the Israeli-Palestinian armed conflict. She compared Israelis to dogs and said the Holocaust was the most beautiful event in world history. Rather than pulling the plug on the caller, Mr. Fabi said it was her democratic right to speak out but that she should be careful about saying anything ‘offensive’ against the Israelis; making negative comments about the Jewish people always has ‘consequences,’ he said. He went on to say he finds the behaviour of Montreal’s Jewish community sometimes ‘annoying.'” (Globe and Mail)
Pro-sovereignty website vigile.net to which several Parti Québécois Members of the National Assembly (MNA), including Bernard Drainville, Agnès Maltais and Louise Beaudoin, have reportedly donated a total of more than $1,000 to the website, published an article on March 23, 2011 titled ‘Are there any Québécois Jews?’ The piece claims that there are no Jews who are real Quebecois because, among other reasons, they do not speak French with the right accent, do not subscribe to French newspapers like La Presse, and do not recognize famous French figures. Some comments on the website include declarations that Jews ‘control the banks’ and caused the recent financial crisis.
And on August 18, 2012 this same website reported, “Palestine and Quebec, two sister nations in oppression and dispossession, two very different contexts, but where the fundamental human aspirations that are Freedom and Justice have the same resonance in bodies and minds.” (La Palestine et le Québec, deux nations sœurs dans l’oppression et la dépossession, deux contextes fort différents, mais dans lesquels les aspirations humaines fondamentales que sont la Liberté et la Justice ont les mêmes résonnances dans les corps et les esprits.)
Which brings us to 2014.
The Parti Québécois is a Canadian provincial party that insists Quebec secede from Canada and establish Quebec as a sovereign state. The party is headed by Pauline Marois. Since the 2012 provincial election, the Parti Québécois has formed a minority government. However, a Quebec general election has been called for April 7, 2014.
This past week Parti Québécois candidate Louise Mailloux, reknown for her verbal tirades against Jews, said, “rabbis are raking in money by imposing a tax on food certified as kosher, and that the proceeds are being sent to fund religious fighters.” After which Pauline Marois defended Mailloux’s comments by remarking that she, “supports our secular charter and I appreciate her support.”
To put icing on her cake, on Saturday, Mailloux in a release issued by the PQ said, “I never wanted to offend or hurt anyone.” Bearing in mind her past assertions include the comment, “circumcision amounted to rape,” I regard her hypercritical apology as BS!
One other incident worth noting. “The Parti Québécois lost one of its candidates, after some racist Facebook posts surfaced. Jean Carrière, the PQ candidate for the east-end Montreal riding of LaFontaine, is bowing out of the race after some of his Facebook posts started making the rounds of social media. One post shows a topless woman giving the finger with the caption ‘F*** Islam’.”
This then, is Quebec politics at its worst. By all accounts many people are betting the Parti Québécois will win the April election. To that, I wish for the Parti Québécois:
Esn zolstu gehakte leber mit tsibeles, shmalts hering, yoykh mit k’neydlekh, karp mit khreyn, ayngedemfts mit tsimes, latkes, tey mit tsitrin, yedn tog – un zolst zikh mit yedn bis dershtikn!
May you eat chopped liver with onions, shmaltz herring, chicken soup with dumplings, baked carp with horseradish, braised meat with vegetable stew, latkes, tea with lemon, every day – and may you choke on every bite!