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Invitation withdrawn for ethnic nationalist set to testify at Quebec legislature

The political parties at the Quebec legislature have ultimately decided to withdraw their invitation to ethnonationalist Alexandre Cormier-Denis from taking part in the immigration consultation currently underway.

House Leader Simon Jolin-Barrette's office confirmed the decision to The Canadian Press.

On Wednesday morning -- before the decision was made -- various political parties expressed their discomfort with Cormier-Denis' name appearing on the list of people invited to the immigration consultation.

Asked whether this man had a place in the consultation, Premier François Legault replied: "I think not."

Cormier-Denis is a proponent of the "great replacement" conspiracy theory, which asserts that political elites are seeking to replace white populations with large waves of immigration.

Jolin-Barrette described Cormier-Denis's comments as "glaring," but would not say whether they were hateful.

Left-wing media outlet Pivot first pointed out that the man, who holds clear-cut right-wing positions, appeared on the list of people set to speak at this consultation on immigration planning late Thursday.

"I absolutely do not endorse Mr. Cormier-Denis' comments. As a political party, we don't want to hear him on Thursday," said Immigration Minister Christine Fréchette.

In 2016, while a member of the Parti Québécois, Cormier-Denis organized a meeting with Marine Le Pen, then president of the Front National, a far-right political party in France.


At a press briefing on Wednesday morning, the Parti Québécois (PQ) maintained that it had told the government that it did not want Cormier-Denis to be invited to the legislature.

"The government asked us to reduce the number of guest speakers. We sent back a reduced list that did not include Alexandre Cormier-Denis and others. For some reason, he and other groups are still on the list. It's up to the government to explain," said PQ member Pascal Bérubé.

However, in a press scrum a few moments later, the house speaker had a different version: "When the summonses were issued, my office checked with all the parliamentary groups to see if they wanted to hear him (Alexandre Cormier-Denis). In fact, the PQ agreed to hear him. We had reservations," said Jolin-Barrette.

"Pascal Bérubé is not telling the whole truth, as happens in certain situations," he added.

Québec Solidaire also wanted the invitation to Cormier-Denis withdrawn. Asked what he found fault with the man, QS MNA Alexandre Leduc replied: "being a white supremacist."

The Quebec Liberal Party had been more nuanced in a press briefing prior to Cormier-Denis's invitation getting cancelled: "Who am I to muzzle a group? I don't share, in any way, shape or form, the comments made by this individual, but we have established procedures. These are general consultations on immigration, and anyone can send in a brief," explained Liberal MNA Monsef Derraji.


On X (formerly Twitter), Cormier-Denis denounced what he considers to be censorship.

"Quebec must have a serious discussion on immigration thresholds, and censoring the voices of critics of current policy won't allay Quebecers' legitimate fears faced with migration and demographic issues," he wrote.

He accused the media of "using this story to pressure the political parties to withdraw my summons."

Cormier-Denis said he would broadcast the speech he was due to give at the Quebec legislature online.

"The media system will not be able to censor our speech," he added.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Sept. 27, 2023. Top Stories

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