Bloc Québécois MP Who Killed Anti-Racism Motion Promoted Blog Claiming Muslims Invented ‘Islamophobia’
Blog opposed Québec Solidaire’s 2015 anti-Islamophobia motion
The Bloc Québécois MP who recently blocked a motion condemning racism once criticized a motion on a similarly related topic by circulating a blog that suggested “Islamophobia” is part of a secret “strategy” pushed by Muslims themselves.
This week, a motion put forward by NDP leader Jagmeet Singh condemning systemic racism in the RCMP was denied unanimous consent thanks to one dissenting voice: Bloc Québécois House Leader Alain Therrien.
Singh was later ejected from the House of Commons after calling Therrien “racist,” a comment deemed to be “unparliamentary language.” Singh maintains a person who votes against a motion condemning racism is, by definition, a racist.
“We will check the records, and we will verify.”
“No no. It’s true. I called him a racist.” pic.twitter.com/bksD3RazgJ
— Jonathan Goldsbie (@goldsbie) June 17, 2020
Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet insists Therrien is not a racist because “he loves everyone” and was merely objecting on a point of procedure.
However, as an MNA for the Parti Québécois and a member of the government that pushed forward Québec’s controversial “Charter of Values,” Therrien promoted anti-Muslim content on his official Facebook page.
In October 2015, Therrien promoted a blog by André Lamoureux, a Université du Québec à Montréal professor known for controversial anti-Muslim views, once characterizing Islam as a “cancer.”
Lamoureux is the spokesperson for a group called Rassemblement pour la laïcité and is linked to other hardline secular groups that, by their own admission, often struggle to respond to accusations of racism.
Most recently, Lamoureux publicly endorsed Frédéric Bastien for Parti Québécois leader, a controversial figure who calls multiculturalism a “political religion” and recently vowed torewrite the province’s human rights laws.
A few weeks before the 2015 federal election, Therrien promoted one of Lamoureux’s blogs railing against an anti-Islamophobia motion put forward by Québec Solidaire, a party he claimed had allied with radical Islam to destroy capitalism.
Therrien recommended the blog to constituents, describing it as “très solide.”
Lamoureux’s blog condemns the anti-Islamophobia motion, arguing that it violates free speech and complains that it does nothing to solve “la question de l’intégrisme musulman” — the question of Muslim fundamentalism.
The blog includes a lengthy digression claiming the concept of Islamophobia was created in the 1980s by the global Islamist movement to “fraudulently” portray Muslims as victims of xenophobia and racism.
It claims that the idea that Muslims face discrimination is part of a “strategy” to deflect attention from criticisms of Islam.
Therrien did not reply to multiple requests for comment from PressProgress seeking clarification about his personal views on the issues raised by the blog.
After first refusing to support the anti-Islamophobia motion, Therrien’s party later agreed to support it on the condition that it condemn all discrimination rather than discrimination only targeting Muslims.
Although Therrien vowed during the 2019 election to bring concerns like those expressed by hardline secularists to Ottawa, the Bloc MP has repeatedly dodged questions about his views relating to xenophobia and Islamophobia.
In 2017, the Journal de Québec reported Therrien dodged a question about whether he believes Islamophobia is a problem in Québec: “C’est ridicule,” Therrien remarked.
That same year, La Presse reported Therrien claimed he did not know if his party’s xenophobic rhetoric contributed to the attack on a Québec mosque in 2017 that killed five people, claiming he had no idea what motivated the killer.
Therrien’s public statement about the mosque attack focused only on violence and was absent of any mention about the influence of xenophobia, despite numerous political figures having done so.
Following Singh’s ejection from the House of Commons, Blanchet insisted that “Alain Therrien is anything but a racist person” and added that the Bloc Québécois “are anything but racist people.”
ICYMI: Bloc Leader @yfblanchet on @theJagmeetSingh calling a Bloc MP racist:
“Explain to Canadian people what really happened, and that Alain Therrien is anything but a racist person. That me or our team, our MPs, are anything but racist people.”
More: https://t.co/VJz6GUvMYD pic.twitter.com/bHhl3Vbeg9
— Rachel Gilmore (@atRachelGilmore) June 18, 2020
But Blanchet did not mention the Bloc’s hard-right turn when the party embraced a xenophobic campaign scapegoating Muslim during the 2015 federal election.
His predecessor, Mario Beaulieu, also echoed far-right rhetoric by railing against “disturbing cultural relativism” and “fundamentalist multiculturalism.”
Bloc Québécois anti-niqab ad takes aim at NDP http://t.co/R3Bk3Ujv3N pic.twitter.com/ZBJcRSvrb8
— CBC News (@CBCNews) February 27, 2015
The Bloc Québécois has been attempting to prevent Singh from returning to the House of Commons until he apologizes.
Blanchet says he is looking to impose “severe” consequences on Singh.
Our journalism is powered by readers like you.
We’re an award-winning non-profit news organization that covers topics like social and economic inequality, big business and labour, and right-wing extremism.
Help us build so we can bring to light stories that don’t get the attention they deserve from Canada’s big corporate media outlets.