In a lengthy Facebook post published on February 13, Quebec Premier François Legault vowed to use governmental means to protect free speech in Quebec universities, after expressing worry about "radical activists [who] are trying to censor certain words and works."
The premier said Quebec's minister of higher education, Danielle McCann, has already begun working with Quebec universities to "act quickly" to address censorship — which he referred to as "a problem that began in our universities."
Their just cause must not be hijacked by radicals who want to censor, muzzle, intimidate and bully our freedom of speech.
Premier François Legault
"Teachers are being asked to erase the works of some of our great writers, such as Anne Hébert [and] Réjean Ducharme ... This is absurd. It goes against the very idea of the university," Legault wrote.
Legault said he was thinking of a particular situation at the University of Ottawa that "shocked quite a few people," himself included.
Legault responded publicly at the time, stating, "I really don't understand the decision of the director ... to blame the professor."
In his February 13 post, Legault attributed the rise of "radical activists" to a movement of "censorship" making its way to Quebec via the United States.
"Recently, a university lecturer testified in a newspaper that she had been denounced and harassed for using the words 'man' and 'woman,'" wrote Legault.
"This is going too far. It's getting out of hand. I think it's time for us to have a serious discussion together."
Legault added that victims of racism need to know that hate speech, racism or discrimination will not be tolerated in Quebec.
"We all have a duty to defend our fundamental principles [of Democracy] against attempts at intimidation," he wrote.
"If we start censoring ourselves for fear of being insulted, or if we don't defend someone who is a victim of that, we are playing into the hands of the radicals."
This article's cover photo was used for illustrative purposes only.