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The National Assembly comes to the defense of authors who are victims of censorship

Photo: Valentina Gomez campaign X account In recent days, the video of a Republican candidate has caused a stir in Quebec. We can see the candidate for the post of Secretary of State in Missouri Valentina Gomez burning the book “Naked”, the English version of the book “Tout nu!”, by the author Myriam Daguzan Bernier and the illustrator Cécile Gariépy.

Stéphane Baillargeon

4:05 p.m.

  • Quebec

The deputies of the National Assembly unanimously supported two Quebec authors and an illustrator on Thursday who were victims of censorship in the United States and Montreal.

The text of the motion tabled Thursday morning by Québec solidaire with the support of the Parti Québécois “affirms its support for Quebec writers Élise Gravel and Myriam Daguzan Bernier, as well as the illustrator Cécile Gariépy.” He reiterates parliament’s support “for freedom of opinion, freedom of expression and the free circulation of ideas.”

The book Naked, English version of Tout nu! by Mmes Daguzan Bernier and Gariépy was burned with a flamethrower a few days ago by Valentina Gomez, candidate for secretary of state in Missouri. Ms. Gomez released a video of her spectacular book burning.

Élise Gravel is targeted by the decision of the Jewish Library of Montreal to remove around thirty of her books from its self-service shelves (but not from its collection). The decision stems from Ms. Gravel's posting on her Facebook page of illustrated comments on the conflict between Hamas and Israel deemed anti-Semitic by library management.

The motion tabled by Québec solidaire quickly filled up the 106 votes available. No MP spoke against or abstained.

“We are really united, all parties together, all political tendencies,” said in an interview with Devoirthe solidarity deputy Sol Zanetti, bearer of the motion with the support of the PQ Pascal Bérubé. It is important to say that we are not getting involved in the discourse of the American right. What is happening among Republicans in the United States, the radicalization of the conservative discourse of election candidates who burn books with flamethrowers and who promise to burn others if they are elected, is is very, very, very alarming, very alarming. […] It must be affirmed that this matter, in Quebec, does not work. »

Cultural Wars

The book continues to be a battlefield in the culture wars made in USA. Between July 1 and March 31, 2022 alone, nearly 1,600 books were the target of book bans in 86 school districts across the country bringing together nearly 2,900 schools according to a PEN America survey.

By contrast, in 2021, of the 74 requests for removal of books from the collections of Canadian public libraries, only one came from Quebec. The request targeted a Franco-French essay on serial killers containing false information. The request was rejected.

To go further

  • What literary censorship looks like in Canada ?
  • The book as a battlefield
  • 37 Bills to Silence Books in Texas

QS tabled a first motion of support for Élise Gravel last year, which was adopted. This time, the action concerned the censorship in the United States of a book on gender identity.

“It's worrying because the message that is being sent to Quebec authors is: 'be careful what you say, be careful what you publicly express as a political position, because your books could be removed from certain libraries,” says Mr. Zanetti.

The Minister of Culture, Mathieu Lacombe, himself deplored these situations of censorship before the vote of the deputies. “Putting books on the index, I think that sounds a bit old priest from the 1900s, we are elsewhere,” he said in a press scrum at the National Assembly. “Burning books, there, at some point, it’s 2024! »

With the Canadian Press

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116