Dr. Mathieu Bock-Côté: “In Canada, we burn churches with impunity” [“Au Canada, on brûle des églises impunément”]

Over the weekend, Bambi received a couple of phone calls from a family friend as well as her aunt who were worried about the heat wave in Canada (the irony was that at her end of the country, she had to close the windows as it was too cold, like Beirut’s winter actually). She was moved by the calls, especially that she is the one worried about them in their heat and NO POWER to turn the air conditioning on ☹. She could not help not to be sarcastic in her mind, wondering if her aunt would call again, freaking out, if her Facebook or international media informed her about the 10+ churches that have been burned in the past few days!

Bearing this in mind, Bambi was happy to read this article this morning published in the Journal de Montréal. Thank you Dr. Mathieu Bock-Côté. Here is the link to his article (https://www.journaldemontreal.com/2021/07/07/au-canada-on-brule-des-eglises-impunement), followed by a quick English translation (with a couple of comments by Bambi):

“The issue of residential schools will figure prominently in the news this summer.

Canada is waking up to a historic injustice lodged in the bowels of the country that still shapes its present reality. How not to be obsessed with the fate of these children torn from their families and their culture to make them strangers?

This country which presents itself as a model for the whole world does not live up to its reputation, to put it mildly.

Canadians discover that Canada is not heaven and fail to believe it.


The feeling of revolt is inevitable, and natural. It is also legitimate.

But too often it speaks in a criminal way, as seen in Western Canada with the growing number of church fires. Others are vandalized. All this takes place, it must be said, in a general media indifference. Or else, the events are reported with great modesty, almost in embarrassment. Not to mention the statues unbolted in front of the police capitulating to the vandals.

Even more, if we wander a bit on social media, we find several to rejoice, as if it were the flames of justice razing a cursed institution. They see it as a legitimate revenge, forgetting that several indigenous leaders themselves denounced these arson attacks and are sorry for this violence.

Let’s sum up: in Canada, in the summer of 2021, churches are being burned down in a mixture of indifference and evil joy.

Imagine another scenario. Imagine if, after September 11, 2001, in the United States, or after the Islamist attacks of recent years in France, “angry” citizens decided to attack mosques, to vandalize them, to burn them.

We would all have been outraged by such gestures. We would have condemned them outright [“sans nuances”, in French]. We would have recalled that such acts are criminal, in addition to requiring severe punishment for their perpetrators. Above all, we would have been right to be intractable towards the vandals.

How, then, to explain the current reaction?

Is it more serious to attack a Muslim place of worship than a Catholic church [thanks also to Mr. Jonathan Kay who raised the same question for mosques and synagogues]?


How is it that such criminal acts are trivialized, that they are almost categorized as miscellaneous facts, when they are in the strong sense of hate acts? Once again, the logic of double standards is in order [Bambi will add: would so-called activists working for Liberties organizations in BC who were born in Bahrain dare to write let’s burn all mosques there? So why do it in Canada?]

Depending on the religion that will be yours, we will denounce, relativize or excuse acts of violence and hate speech intended for you.

Without a doubt, the Canadian federal state, which imagined and piloted the Indian residential school policy, must take severe self-criticism and improve the situation of Indigeneous communities. It is primarily responsible for this macabre story. The religious orders which have participated in this enterprise must also assume their responsibilities.

But that cannot justify, today, the repeated anti-Catholic arson and its transformation into trivial facts.”

13 thoughts on “Dr. Mathieu Bock-Côté: “In Canada, we burn churches with impunity” [“Au Canada, on brûle des églises impunément”]”

  1. I’m not against The Quiet Revolution; I just feel it could be called ”Le Grand Rattrapage” as the improvements it brought were often long overdue for some. It was aimed specifically at French Catholics, a betrayal of 1948’s ‘Le Refus Global’ and which excluded the rest of us. When English Canadians applaud the improvements done on behalf of francophone Quebeckers we’re labelled as racist (better dentation, better nutrition, public education ministry) even though we’re excluded from much of the province’s institutions and day to day life.

    I could give thousands of examples of criminality as that has been my experience. Much of it revolves around fraud, being an accomplice to crime and other similar offenses which would be treated much more seriously in a Communist country. One example is when I made a complaint about police Sgt. Patrick Lambert to the new BEI independent unit investigating the unit. The BEI wrote back to me saying Sgt. Patrick Lambert did a good job and nothing wrong. The message was signed by Lt. Patrick Lambert. How stupid do they think we are?

    1. Thank you Fred for sharing your own story. It takes much courage in life to do so. Bambi is honoured you felt comfortable enough to be transparent on her blog. For the readers who do not know Fred, Bambi’s friend and great contributor to her blog, he is one of the most decent (and always dignified) men she has ever met in her life (in addition to his professional talent and loyal friendship). It is not every day that you can discuss openly and even argue about politics or about anything else in life. With Fred, you can and you learn SO much from him (even if he teases you by calling you the Ambassador of Québec and even if he seems to insult the latter, or at least its bills, from time to time :)). Merci Fred! Merci aussi d’aimer les acquis de la Révolution tranquille avec ses paradoxes. Merci d’aimer la culture francophone et… de posséder la langue de Molière comme la langue de Shakespeare. Fond regards from Bambi across the miles!

      1. Wow, merci Bambi pour tes mots si élogieux. 🙂
        I enjoy contributing to your blog.

        Across the miles and kilometres indeed as hundreds of thousands of Anglo-Quebeckers have been scattered across North America these past 50 years.

  2. In response to ”…but he has a (big) brain above his shoulders”, Mr. Spock once said ”Intelligence does not necessarily require bulk…” https://getyarn.io/yarn-clip/1e91cdeb-d640-444d-b8c7-6b623dde2304

    In any case, if the bulky Bock-Coté is so smart, why does he write in a sensationalist rag that is the object of derision by all in Quebec from any ethnolinguistic group, including those in RBO? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNssPGHR3Qs

    Noam Chomsky earned renown and respect outside his academic field of linguistics by commenting on politics and world affairs, but such respect did not come by writing in trashy tabloids.

    1. Fred, Bambi is laughing now :). Your video is bringing old memories. Here is another one for you for fun (same time?) about “Au bon marché” and “Oui, papa” :)!

      Do you recall this one? https://youtu.be/huzOHxjMDxk

      Once, the cousin of Bambi’s spouse imitated this ad (on a phone call from Montreal) while she was shopping at a pharmacy in Dieppe (near Moncton). She could not help stop laughing and apologizing to people, around her, for not being as serious and quiet as them in public (as she should be). They were too kind/patient. They did not mind or try to kick her out! She explained to them that you have to come from Québec and be old enough to appreciate this humour. Mind you, Bambi still has in her mind advertisements from her childhood in Beirut (about 17 years earlier than this one). She can recite and try to imitate them all.

      OK, seriously now, the Journal de Montréal is a very interesting newspaper to read, perhaps more and more with the years. You have excellent writers like Dr. Bock-Côté. What is interesting is that you have writers of all the political spectrum. This is what Bambi loves about this media. It is a pleasure to read because of this intellectual diversity.

      Now, FYI, Bock-Côté has published many great books that Bambi dreams of seeing one day translated into English: https://dusoleil.leslibraires.ca/ecrit-par/?ia=3144112 . She is eager to read the two most recent ones. One is called: “La Révolution racialiste” (on the movement of wokeism) and the one before is called “l’Empire du politiquement correcte” (about political correctness).

      1. Glad you like it.
        I despise those original tv ads with Steven and David Schiller, but I do like the RBO satires of them. Next time Bambi is in a pharmacy, try to keep a straight face after watching these two ‘deux de piques’ from RBO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLgTDCSBfXw

        Wokeism is a non-starter in French Quebec because the province is sheathed in a special mentality that is suspicious of all outside influence to begin with and keeps them out. That is one reason why there is so little variety in that society, like a laboratory specimen of an arrested culture. We shall see what comes of Bock-Coté’s work, however, sociology is known as one of the ‘soft sciences’ and I’d rather read Esther Delisle first or Hélène Jutras.

        1. Interesting/thoughtful comment, Fred. Thank you.
          OK, now you made Bambi laugh out loud :). Luckily, she did not watch your video on her phone at a pharmacy! Amazing–Were do you find all these odd/fun videos?! Merci :).

          1. I admit, most of what I know about Quebec is from Rock et Belles Oreilles. I have two of their DVDs and I had one of their comedy albums.

  3. As with all other topics taken from Normand Lester’s ”Le Livre Noir du Canada Anglais” (”English Canada’s Little Black Book”) Mathieu Bock-Côté’s aim in continuing with Lester’s table of contents is to whitewash the Province of Quebec, the Catholic Church, the National Assembly at Quebec City, the Quebec MPs in Ottawa and all French speakers of these same crimes for which they are just as responsible and could have prevented.

    For all this Canada-bashing, ask those making the accusation what did they and their political institutions named above do to prevent it when they had the chance?


    1. Thanks Freds for your comment. This being said, Bambi is sorry to tell you that you are wrong on this one. Dr. Bock-Côté is a sovereignist, but he has a (big) brain above his shoulders… sadly, contrary to many others in our country, including former advisors to our own PM, Mr. Trudeau, who wrote on social media that burning churches is understandable. Remember, Québeckers (or French-Canadians as we used to call them) did a Quiet revolution against their Catholic church, which was dominating them (not a single drop of blood or a flame). Remember all those bad words about the church. There is a reason for it.

      However, Québeckers are respectful of religions (even if we want to paint them as intolerant because of their different cultural approach to it and bills, etc.). Bock-Côté has never bashed Canada. All what today’s Québeckers seem to want is not to have a federalism that is preventing them from running their own affairs (what is under their jurisdiction). Sadly, the kind of federalism we have now is not the most respectful of provincial needs or jurisdictions. It is also very centralized. This is not to the advantage of smaller provinces or regions in provinces.

      Anyhow, Dr. Bock-Côté, whether we agree with his vision for Québec or not, we can only respect his principles over the past 30 years. He is actually one of our most talented sociologists in the country. He knows what he is talking about. He is a thinker. He does not just repeat clichés in life.

      From a second life in Lebanon, Bambi knows too well that identity-based politics is a dangerous game that can literally destroy a society. So, why are we allowing ourselves to become divided like that? As Mr. Trudeau himself said as well as all those wise Indigenous Chiefs, we are preventing people who need comfort from grieving. It would be much more efficient to solve the injustices that Indigeneous people live than to allow those resorting to arson to continue their acts with impunity.

      Dr. Bock Côté makes MUCH sense nowadays (especially given the incompetence and/or weakenesses of those in Ottawa, of those governing us as well those leading official oppositions, one must say…); so much sense to the extent that MANY of Bambi’s anglophone and allophone friends in Montreal are saying that they would consider voting yes to a referendum on sovereignty if there would be one right now. Can you imagine what it means?

      Many (if not most) of Canadian humans are fed-up of identity-based politics, not just deer. Perhaps it is time to come together before it would be too late… Mind you, the Québec model of inter-culturalism may perhaps be socially healthier than the model of multiculturalism (especially when it is used/abused now). Could it be, as per Mr. Martineau’s writing? Time will tell… Anyhow, look who is benefiting from our divisions? China, which may be either driving this… or simply just making fun of it, in both the USA and Canada:

      1. An example of the worst the Catholic Church had to offer was an edict saying no mills were to to be built on Montreal Island. The Catholic Church didn’t want any mill work done on the Island of Montreal, so Catholics built none. Mr. Fleming came along and wanted to build a mill. He saw the ban on milling and said “I’m not Catholic. I will build a mill.” That is what he did and that is the value of dissenters in society.

        The Quiet Revolution replaced the best that could be offered by the Catholic Church with essentially nothing. This social transformation began the whole world was changing anyway and the masses rejected the Dominican tradition and insisted on lay Catholics in administrative positions. They are not dissenters, they are lazy sensualists amid the rising consumer culture. Into the void, an ugly system of selfish values has imposed itself. Thus , modern Quebec has become basically a criminal organization which glibly drains the best of what Canada has to offer while taking American military protection for granted.

        Happily, English Canadians protected themselves starting with the 1867 constitution by guaranteeing separate school boards based on religion, for example. Quebec also insisted on protection for Catholics and it was a condition for entering Confederation. Nearly 150 years later, the Maple Spring strikes disruptions and riots of 2012 saw tens of thousands of students descend into the streets from cegeps and universities. As true dissenters, none of the English schools voted to go on strike. Inspired by Mr. Fleming who was the first person to build a mill on Montreal Island, I like French language and culture, but I’m also very proud of my culture.

        1. Thank you Fred, for your comment.

          Bambi will start replying from the end (your last sentence): Bravo to you for writing that you like the French language and culture while also being very proud of your culture!

          Second, here is a GREAT historian/author who wrote about the Quiet Revolution and made it accessible to so many lay readers. Mr. Jacques Lacoursière sadly died last month (at age 89). May he rest in peace:

          Last but not least, Bambi is shocked by reading you saying that “modern Québec has become basically a criminal organization, which…” . The rest of your sentence may have truth to it (even if also our federation is hindering Québec’s survival in so many ways, not just on the language front), but to call it” a criminal organization”? Mmm, did you have Lebanon in mind while writing this :)? Plus, two nuances here, the history of Québec and the history of English-Canada are not interchangeable, to use the terms of Dr. Bock-Côté himself (for instance, they chose to make alliances with Indigenous people, contrary to others here). Second, if you are referring to corruption, trust me it is everywhere as it is part of human nature… At least, in Québec they do something about it. Check how many Mayors or other politicians went to jail (instead of being re-elected). Bravo to Québec for having a mechanism to fight corruption.

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