In 1950, there was no question of celebrating the centenary of Balzac’s death in Quebec. His books are doomed there. Mr. Henri Tranquille, bookseller from this poor country, sees fit to defy the ban. He welcomes under his roof, just as he did for M. Borduas’ Automatistes, a small display of affection.
At the end of his life, Mr. Tranquille still attended, without fail, almost all literary events. His arrival was always noticed, greeted. The man was delighted and surprised, a little as if, each time, he had just won a game of chess, his great passion, without any part of his life being moved.
M. Tranquille counted a lot. He published, on behalf of the author, Nine days of hatred, by Jean-Jules Richard. Later, he will find a way to edit Yves Beauchemin. Among the regulars of his bookstore, note Jacques Ferron and Claude Gauvreau. In short, he played a role in the fate of several writers and their readers. No doubt he first saw in books, however trader he was, an invitation to act and think.
So my surprise was great the day when, on a set of Télé-Québec, a former minister of Lucien Bouchard, particularly expansive and vehement, had told me without warning that censorship had never existed in the time of Duplessis . I remember being speechless for a moment, speechless, which on television gives the impression that years pass under your nose.
Rector of Laval University, Mgr Camille Roy indicated to educational institutions, in his French-Canadian literature manual, which books to read and which to proscribe. Among the latter were those of Arthur Buies and Jules Fournier. Read, the majority of the population had no chance of being able to do so. The colleges, which held the keys to knowledge, were not open to them. This was all the more true for women. The people were asked to stick to the reading of the small catechism, which required less to be read than learned by heart and then to be drunk.
The Inquisition has a long tradition, including in this half-country. Take the case of the hot Aristide Filiatreault. Condemned in 1892 by the authorities for the impiety shown by his print, he did not give way. He roars and begins to bite this Church which holds the role of State among us. Filiatreault demands a secular university, education for women, the right to profess one’s opinions. Above all, he does not believe in ready-made thoughts. He asks that spirits can be formed freely and seriously. He published in this sense, in the wake of his friend Joseph Doutre, a rebellious work entitled Clerical ruins. This is too much. Filiatreault may kick and pitch up, nothing helps. Stuck in the moral nets of his time, he loses everything. Except honor.
The incredible story of these books burned in Ontario, during a stupid operation of moral purification sponsored by a false Native, immediately discredited the partisans of a radical left, known as woke, as if all this could only be explained by sliding your head through this convenient ideological emergency exit. I am willing to consider as outrageous and ill-advised many of the claims to the holiness of that left, but how can we simultaneously exonerate the two-penny morality distilled by these incredible confessional school boards, where this heartbreaking story before going around the world? Is it not in the name of “a Catholic educational project”, by virtue of a caricature of a school program in which are chanted above all “Catholic values”, those of “a French-speaking Catholic environment”, in “a vision? shared by the Catholic school ”, what was this absurd story about? However, no political party has seen fit to denounce the framework. Isn’t that where we first had to look for responsibilities? The radical left that is pointed out here only serves as a safe-conduct to an obscurantist religious framework duly institutionalized, from yesterday to today.
This old facet of this new history of censorship, conducted in the name of a few moral fabrications, reveals the lightness with which we consider all these cases by placing them from the outset in a single ideological box, as if to better say that we are surprised, at the time of open it in public, to find nothing more than what you yourself have placed there. However, there is nothing very new about the possibility of Aboriginal people once again being exploited by charlatans. And all this collective excitement, generated on their backs, only distracts, once again, the gaze of their poor real living conditions.
The small industry of identity nationalism is doing well. It feeds, handsomely, on the agitation of such nonsense. However, how can she continue to make believe that the major problem of the hour is a phenomenon of censorship? woke ? How can we forget the lack of child care spaces? Social inequalities, of which the Aboriginals are among the most glaring victims? The need to deploy the army to take care of the elderly? The sad reality of underfunded schools?
That a very provincial premier should feel authorized, in such a field of ruins, to claim that to be a Quebecer is to vote for the Conservatives in Ottawa, doesn’t that also constitute something of ‘alarming? In short, how can we believe that the fundamental problems of our society boil down to this incredible threat? woke, become the business of licensed agitators of a nauseating variant of nationalism?
Each era carries its censors. And often, the censors ignore each other for what they are.