So Mario Beaulieu, president of Montreal’s Société-Saint-Jean-Baptiste, is peeved at how during the election, “Anglophone media in Quebec and Canada multiplied accusations of xenophobia and all sorts of other slanderous insinuations towards sovereignists and defenders of French.” Let’s put aside the tar-brush generalization of “Anglophone media”—we aren’t all the same, Mario—and the fact that he didn’t cite a single example of Anglo media’s supposed overindulgences in his letter. Rather, let’s have a look at the recent past of the organization that is making these accusations.
In 2006, the SSJB hosted Fleurdelix et Les Affreux Galois, a band with ties to the “Rock identitaire français” movement. Two of its members, Jonathan Stack and Simon Cadieux, are former members of a band called Trouble Makers, which was on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of known white power rock bands.
Fleurdelix et Les Affreux Galois played the SSJB’s headquarters on Sherbrooke Street at the behest of François Gendron, then the SSJB’s youth wing president. Gendron has longtime ties with noted Front de Libération du Quebec member and convicted murderer Raymond Villeneuve.
In the crowd that sweaty night was Cédric Tremblay, guilty in 2003 of spray-painting racist graffiti on Baie D’Urfé’s city hall, as well as Daniel Laverdière, who in 2003 was sentenced to four years for stabbing a man in what the court said was a racially motivated attack.
There there’s André Forget, then the treasurer of the SSJB’s downtown Montreal chapter. For years, Mr. Forget had been posting comments as Moise Thériault on the chat room of a popular Quebec rap group. Forget likened Haiti-born then Governor-General Michaëlle Jean to a “nigger king.” Also on Forget’s greatest hits: “Iran wants to cross out Israel from the map and I find that super;” and “Racism is like black people, it shouldn’t exist.”
When I brought up all of this to Jean Dorion, SSJB’s president at the time, he accused me of “McCarthyism.” Mario Beaulieu was sitting beside him at the time, nodding somberly. Dorion also said he’d take care of the matter, though that apparently didn’t include sanctioning Gendron, the man responsible for bringing a known RIF band to play the SSJB—and who, notably, tried his best to paper over Forget’s bon mots. Despite all this, Gendron continued to work at the SSJB until “two or three years ago,” according to someone I just spoke with there.