Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Quebec Radical Admits to Crime, Then Pleads Innocent

It all started over a municipal campaign poster that raised the ire of nationalist and French language militants.
Barbara Charlebois was running for office in Gatineau's Alymer District (a decidedly English neighbourhood) and erected campaign posters that were almost completely English. The one word in French that was included was misspelt. ('voter' should have read 'votez')

Notwithstanding that Quebec's language laws do not apply to political material and her signs were completely legal, a storm of controversy erupted over the apparent 'insult.'

For Jean-Paul Perreault, president of Impératif Français
"It's revolting...", "It's shows a lack of sensibility and respect for the city in which she seeks public office...." It's a return to linguistic arrogance"    Ahemm....
For Quebec radical Jean-Roch Villemaire it was the last straw. He issued an ultimatum to Ms. Charlebois to remove the signs or else he would remove them himself. True to his word, he uprooted the signs and immediately took credit for the act.

For Mr. Villemaire, it was not his first encounter with Ms. Charlebois who is a board member of the Regional Association of West Quebecers, an organization that he had been harassing over their advocacy in favour of increased English usage in government.

A group called "Ligue de défence nationale" had previously sent Ms. Charlebois a threatening email.
If French has taken a certain place in Quebec it is because of the radical and sometimes violent FLQ during the ’60s, provoking an exodus of Anglo-Montrealer businesses storefront by storefront,” the message said. “We are its reincarnation. We will win.”
Turns out the email was sent by none other than Mr. Villemaire, who at first denied his involvement, but was outed as the author of the threats by journalists who traced the messages to Mr. Villemaire's  computer.

He later admitted all, in a defiant statement.
"As of late, I've sent several emails to West Quebecers and Barbara Charlebois demanding that they stop anglicizing Quebec. I also wrote "Français", "Québec libre" et "FLQ" on two windows and the West Quebecers sign. I removed  about a dozen of Ms. Charlebois' election signs. I didn't commit any act of violence, nor did I make any calls to violence either. 
 Mr. Villemaire was probably feeling the heat of a police investigation which was closing in on him.  His antics caught the attention of not only local police but those charged with protecting Canada against terrorism. It's obvious that he has reconsidered his position and toned down the rhetoric.
His statement made a point to emphasis that he was not a terrorist and had not preached violence, likely in an effort to avoid more serious charges. It's also likely that his lawyer explained to him that militancy aside, he could find himself on the 'NO-FLY' list.
Apparently Mr. Villemaire is not made of the same stuff as Che Guevera.

Villemaire is a hateful windbag who ran for the Parti Indépendentiste during the 2008 Quebec provincial election and collected about 150 votes, about the same amount as the Marxist-Leninist candidate, so his level of support is rather limited. It's no surprise, according to the Ottawa Citizen, he's an admirer of Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini and European neo-fascists as well. There's not much support for a fascist-separatist radical in a riding that counts a lot of Federal government workers as it's mainstay.  

At any rate, police charged him with simple mischief, to which he has  pleaded not guilty. He's extremely lucky to get off with the relatively light charge.
Had he  spray painted a hate message on a Mosque instead of an Anglo organization, he'd be looking at a hate crime.

His trial is to take place later this year and it will be interesting to see if he turns it into some sort of show event, but it's doubtful.
He seems to be getting good legal advice and the "Innocent " plea is likely a device to buy time for his lawyer to negotiate a plea. Meanwhile I bet Mr. Villemaire will be on his best behaviour. Watch.
I hope I'm wrong. He has already admitted doing the deeds he is charged for. If he claims that his actions were justified in court, he'll be crucified.

Perhaps the very best commentary of the whole affair was written by an excellent blogger TYM MACHINE over on the conservative web site, Republique de bananes.

If you read French please go over to the site and read the original article here

For those without French I am providing a small translation;
"Imagine for a moment that the opposite situation occurred on to the other side of (Ottawa) river. Suppose there was a municipal election in Ottawa and a candidate in a largely French district, 'Vanier' for example, decided to post election signs in French only, since no law prohibits this in the city of Ottawa and in the province of Ontario (as in the case in  Quebec.)
Following this "affront" to
English voters, certain unscrupulous individuals complain in the English media that they feel abused and insulted by this behaviour. They call for the delinquent candidate to remove the unilingual placards within 24 hours or face the consequences ... 24 hours go by and still no action from the individual offender. He or she says it is his right and he or she will not give in to blackmail by extremists. The complainers get angry and take action. They remove the signs and paint hateful graffiti  like "Frogs, go home" on a building belonging to an association of Francophones of Ottawa.
I wonder how the Jean-Paul Perreaults  and the
Jean-Roch Villemaire
s of the world would react to this fictional aggression, this heinous crime of Francophobia taking place just 20 km from home?"
Well said!


  1. Thank you for linking my blog.

    I have put you in my list of favorite blogs on my blog since I find that your blog is worth reading most of the time.


    Tym Machine

  2. why of all places did my stupid parents immigrate to quebec? i ask all the time "why quebec?" "why not ontario?" please get me out of this nazi province. please canada save me!!!!

  3. I Have to agree with the above comment;there is a high level of racism in Quebec.they live in a sea of Anglo-phone and Espagnol-phone tolerance,for God sake why don't the Franco-phone start reciprocating some of that tolerance.

  4. Are you reciprocating any tolerence? Seems like you are tolerant!! Putting all the francophones under the same label really shows an important level of ignorance. I'd like to ask: Why are you staying then? But I'll try to be more tolerant and understand that perhaps you deeply feel the need to be saved by someone, to prevent being destroyed by your own judgments. Comparing this to the Holocaust is a huge lack of respect. And your are just contributing to the emergence of what you're fighting against. Great job!

  5. To Anonymous @ May 21, 2010 5:06 PM

    ‘Putting all the francophones under the same label really shows an important level of ignorance.’

    I know, I know. The ignorance of Jean-Roch Villemaire is quite astounding. People like him are racist scumbags. Yet somehow their message of English hatred rises to the top creating the impression that they speak for many more like minded individuals in Quebec. With no opposing views being publicly voiced by any other Quebecois, how can you fault the world for concluding that the Quebecois are marching in lockstep.

    You have a problem with people making negative generalizations about racism in Quebec, particularly against those who dare to express themselves in English? Then talk to those ‘aberrant’ members of your tribe who so arrogantly misrepresent you. Stop blaming those of us who base our opinion on what we actually see and hear coming out of Quebec.

    If there is another more tolerant side to the Quebecois that is not fairly represented or acknowledged, then let your voices be heard, instead of letting the scumbags speak for you. If you don’t like the bad impression that the Quebecois Anglo haters are creating for Quebec, do something, do anything to change it. Stop blaming ‘the others’ for believing the never ending Quebecois racist rhetoric. You display an ‘important level of ignorance' expecting people to come to any other conclusion.

    If what you imply is true, then it's people like Jean-Roch Villemaire we need to fight against, not all Quebecois.