Here’s some Fourth of July news for our U.S. neighbours: a man running for mayor of Montreal considers Americans dumb, obese, imbecilic, classless ignoramuses.
Staunch Quebec independentiste Michel Brûlé announced Thursday his long-shot candidacy for the November election.
The book publisher, writer, and former bar owner says he doesn’t expect English-speaking Montrealers to vote for him – and says he isn’t working to get their support, anyway.
He has written extensively in the past about English, which he says is not a nice language. For example, he points to the capitalized first-person singular in English – “I” – as a sign of individualism.
In a recent piece for Le Devoir – titled For or Against Anglo-American Cultural Imperialism? – he bemoans the omnipresence of English culture and says the language of Paul McCartney is also the language of the genocide of aboriginal peoples and the Acadian deportations.
And he appears less than enamoured with Americans. He told Metro newspaper in 2009 that not all Americans are dumb, obese, imbecilic, uncultured ignoramuses – only about 80 per cent of them.
“If I say Americans are a bunch of big, obese, imbecilic, ignorant, uncultured dummies, it’s the truth,” he told the newspaper.
“Of course it’s sure bet that out of 303 million Americans, there are maybe 50 million who aren’t like that. But, collectively, they’re still a bunch of uncultured imbeciles.”
It’s unclear what sort of a constituency Brûlé’s message might gain him.
He is not considered among the three main front-runners for the race.
And, in the last campaign, a candidate who questioned the official story of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks was grilled over his views and finished third. That third-place candidate from the last race, Richard Bergeron, is running again as head of a prominent local grassroots party.
The two presumed front-runners are former immigration minister Denis Coderre and Marcel Côté, a fellow at Harvard University, economist, businessman, management consultant, local philanthropist, and official in the Prime Minister’s Office of Brian Mulroney.
Anglo voters do carry some clout in the city. Côté was recruited by a former péquiste cabinet minister, Louise Harel, who announced she would not run for mayor this time because she conceded that she couldn’t win votes in English-speaking areas.
Brûlé told a TV interviewer Thursday that he wouldn’t even bother trying. He noted that Anglos voted in 2009 for a party mired in scandal, instead of Harel or Bergeron. He said that as mayor he would emphasize the city’s francophone status.
Brûlé has said in the past that he doesn’t have anything against Anglos, on an individual level. He says he could even have one as a girlfriend.
But still, he says, it’s not a very nice culture.
“English is not a nice language,” he told Metro in 2009, while promoting his published essay on the scourge of English.
“Intolerance and all the most extremist, racist, segregationist movements – they’re the KKK, White Power, the expression ‘Speak White,’ these are all English things. They come from the United States, Canada, England.”
In a January, 2013, opinion piece published in Le Devoir, he took a jab at a Beatle.
He bemoaned the fact that when McCartney played on the Plains of Abraham in 2008, and a prominent nationalist politician complained about an English show on the old battlefield where the French were defeated in 1759, that politician drew considerable ridicule while McCartney played to a monster crowd.
“[Politician] Pierre Curzi ... was practically excommunicated for having criticized that choice,” Brûlé wrote, in a lengthy critique of Anglo cultural hegemony.
“Sir Paul, representative of England – which is responsible for the genocide of 40 million Amerindians, the deportation of the Acadians and the assimilation of French-Canadians after so many demands to ‘Speak White’ – made an amnesiac people dance for a few hours.”