SSJB says English media partly to blame for Metropolis attack
Published Friday, September 7, 2012 8:37AM EDT
Montreal's Saint Jean Baptiste Society says there is only one suspect in Tuesday night's shooting during the PQ victory rally, but it says English media bears some responsibility for demonizing sovereignists.
The SSJB is singling out several newspapers, including The Gazette, The Suburban, The National Post and The Globe and Mail for building a culture of fear against the Parti Quebecois
The organization said it has seen articles, editorials and cartoons that have described sovereigntists, and Marois in particular, as racist and unwilling to accept Anglophone Quebecers.
Mario Beaulieu, leader of the hard-line Francophone rights group, says accusations of racism have gone too far.
"We are not xenophobic. It's the opposite. We want to accept new immigrants into our society. But all of these accusations, references to Nazis, etc. -- If I didn't know any better, even I would be scared after reading the papers," he said. "It has created a culture of fear and heightened tensions."
It also said the English media has spread lies about what the future may hold for English-speaking Quebecers under a PQ government, and is asking the media to tone anti-PQ dialogue down.
The Editor-in-Chief of the Gazette, Raymond Brassard, said that it is not surprised by the accusations considering the source. However Brassard defended his newspaper, saying that for 40 years The Gazette has maintained respect for sovereignists, even if it does not share their point of view on independence.
Media Consultant Alan Conter agrees.
"The accusation on the face of it is simply absurd," said Conter.
"Obviously all three of those publications are federalist publications in their editorial stance. I would argue that in their news coverage they strive to be as balanced as possible as does Le Devoir, La Presse."
Prominent francophone writers such as Simon Jodoin and Marc Cassivi agree, saying that the SSJB is the last organization that should be accusing others of using inflammatory language.
However incidents of people using language that should not be tolerated are easy to find. One video game employee was fired this week for writing on Facebook “I give this b**** a month before someone with better aims comes forth and does what must be done."
Since Tuesday's attack that left one man dead and another injured, several commentators have tried to tie the actions -- allegedly of one man -- to an overall tacit acceptance of violent behaviour and lack of respect.
The student organization CLASSE has asked TV commentators Jean Lapierre and Mario Dumont to retract their comments suggesting that the student protests were in part responsible.
On Radio-Canada that evening one panelist suggested English media could be responsible in part, but was promptly denounced by fellow pundits.