Gilles Proulx is a well-known media personality -- well-known in Québec at least -- with a long history of political incorrectness, going back as far as the Oka crisis of 1990, when his anti-aboriginal comments were blamed for an ugly incident at the entrance to the Kahnawake reserve just outside Montréal.
M Proulx has been a fixture on Québec radio and TV for four decades, ranting about all and sundry, without regard to race, colour or creed. He does, however, show a particular dislike for anglophones (Canajan-speak for English-speakers) and immigrants who fail to integrate themselves into Québec society.
He has also been known to make decidely un-PC remarks about Jews. Last week, in his column in Le Journal de Montréal headlined "Le Hamas: Hydre de Lerne", M Proulx wrote: "No need to be an expert to say that Israel could make Washington, Paris or Ottawa bend, knowing in advance that its diaspora, well established, will make any government submit."*
Just in case we didn't understand what he meant, M Proulx elaborated on his thinking on the Montréal phone-in show "Radio X". Suggesting that Jews historically provoke hate and persecution, he said "The diaspora is scattered around the world, where they take economic control, provoke the hatred of local nations, whether it is in Spain, for example, with the Inquisition, or again later with Adolf Hitler."
Later he added, "The diasporas are so powerful in Paris, New York, Toronto or in Ottawa or Montreal, that they can manipulate the government through their opinions, their threats, their pressure, making it a marionette."
Predictably, the usual suspects -- the Israel Activist Alliance, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, yada yada yada -- have denounced M Proulx for being "anti-Semitic" and have called for his head, along with those of the publishers and producers who allowed him to say such things in public. All of which would seem to prove the point.
One commentator, though, was not particularly shocked. Ira Robinson, interim director of the Institute for Canadian Jewish Studies at Concordia University, said that Mr. Proulx’s comments are nothing new, but "a continuation of a trend that has quite a history, and not merely with Proulx but with other radio commentators in Québec over the last several years."
Mr. Robinson added, "There’s a sort of discourse in francophone Québec where this sort of thing comes forth. Québec is the kind of place where these controversial issues are discussed much more openly than in English Canada." In other words (says Walt), Québec is the sort of place where you are still free to speak the truth as you see it, without fear of the PC police.
* Note from Ed.: I tried really hard to crack the firewall at Le Journal de Montréal, for you, but if you want to read the entirety of M Proulx's column, it looks as if you'll have to pay. Perhaps Le Journal de Montréal is owned by Jews. I wouldn't know.