When Pauline Marois based her campaign for last week's election, she made perfectly clear that her party's platform was about Quebecois identity and little else, declining to make promises on the economy or health care and promising to toughen Bill 101, saying that Montreal – and later, she mentioned the Outaouais region as well – were becoming too English.
It was not the city's English media who made those promises, it was our new premier. Marois ran on divisiveness and intimated it was not enough that English Quebecers are mostly bilingual and speak enough French to ensure the preservation of the language, as has often been the battle cry of separatists. Now, the Anglophone population are told we must start thinking, living and playing like good 'Quebecois de souche.' Cultural plurality is not desirable, and religious symbols other than the crucifix are to be banished from view in the public sphere. The English media did not create these promises, or did we misinterpret them. We reported them, fairly and accurately. The shooting of lighting technician Denis Blanchette by alleged triggerman – and apparent nutjob, given he was dressed in a bathrobe, owned multiple weapons and appears to need serious help – Richard Henry Bain, is a tragic and sobering turn of events. It's not right, and it's not fair, and for that reason, pundits everywhere – and I'm even talking to you, Facebook people – need to tone down the rhetoric just a little. Think of Denis Blanchette's three-year-old daughter, who will now only remember her father in photos and home videos because someone resorted to violence. A letter in a Montreal daily newspaper last week suggested that every Quebecer, of every political stripe, symbolically become a member of the PQ for one day to condemn this horrendous act of violence. We agree with that idea. As a West Island newspaper, there's very little the PQ has done over the years that we’ve agreed with, but we agree with them on this issue. There is no place for violence in political discourse.
That said, Societe St. Jean Baptiste president and language demagogue Mario Beaulieu was grossly wrong when he condemned the Montreal Gazette and national papers The Globe and Mail and the National Post in a press conference last Thursday, saying those media had characterized separatists as 'franco-supremacists, intolerant, anglophobes, radicals, closed-minded idiots that was to assimilate and destroy,' minorities, and thus, had some part to play in the tragic circumstances of Tuesday night at Metropolis, where Bain is alleged to have shot two people, killing Blanchette, a lighting grip waiting to take down the rigging at the end of Marois' speech. The hint of 1970 and the FLQ crisis immediately came to mind, with the chilling reminder that random violence being perpetrated on anyone, simply for their political beliefs, has no place in our society. Like video games were blamed for inspiring the 1999 Columbine massacre, the English media is merely a convenient scapegoat, and Beaulieu ought to be ashamed of himself.