A few weeks ago, a man named Naveed Hussain started a petition to rename the Lionel-Groulx metro station and rename it Oscar Peterson.
It was not the first time that such a charge had been launched. Hussain claimed to be leading his crusade in the name of diversity in the context of Black Lives Matter.
It has not really raised, except in circles which maintain a manic hostility towards Quebec.
But the New York Times decided to get involved.
On Monday, he published an article with the title “Should the Montreal metro honor a polarizing priest or a jazz genius?” “
The title nonetheless had the virtue of clarity. It is not a question here of honoring Peterson, who actually deserves to be, but of liquidating the legacy of Canon Lionel Groulx (1878-1967).
Groulx, in our history, was first of all an immense historian, who allowed Quebecers to reclaim their memory, when they had lost track of it.
He was also a great teacher of national pride, for a people always despised and often self-deprecating. A leading nationalist thinker, he did not accept our collective submission. He played a major role in building the program that would one day culminate in the Quiet Revolution.
Unfortunately, since the early 1990s, his memory has been the victim of a permanent smear campaign, aimed at passing him off as a cryptofascist and an anti-Semite from a few peripheral and decontextualized passages of his work.
It is besides under these features that the New York Times presents it to its readers. Groulx apparently had lapsed into “virulent anti-Semitism” and expressed “fascist sympathies”.
To paraphrase the famous formula, the uneducated, that dares everything, it is even by this that we recognize them.
We would like to recommend to everyone reading the biography devoted to him by Charles-Philippe Courtois, in 2017, or even reading the writings of Groulx himself.
Basically, here we find an old problem with regard to Quebec’s international reputation. In the English-speaking world, Quebec appears only through the paranoid prism of a part of the English-speaking community which believes itself to be persecuted and which seeks to demonize in all possible ways our national symbols, whether they are independence, of law 101, of law 21 on the secularism of the State or of one of our greatest intellectuals.
Basically, we talk about Quebec as we talk about it in the Gazette.
Even when we express a certain sympathy for Quebec, it is as a festive multicultural bilingual province and not as a nation of French language and culture.
This is the tragedy of small nations: their will not to disappear is assimilated to “closure to the other”.
Quebecers should not submit to this campaign of ideological intimidation, even if it takes the form of a sermon on the American version of Pravda.