For Canadian pro-lifers, the victory of George W. Bush is a source of joy and hope, “gaudium et spes.” Two of the national leaders of the pro-life movement in Canada, Jim Hughes and Joanne Byfield, expressed their hope before the vote for a Bush victory, because it was essential for the pro-life cause in the U.S., Canada and the world.
The reception for the Republican victory was moderate on Parliament Hill, Ottawa, with a few exceptions, like the hysterically anti-American Liberal MP, Carolyn Parrish. Prime Minister Martin and minister of foreign affairs Pierre Pettigrew commented politely and diplomatically on the clear choice of Americans.
The Conservative party is generally comfortable and happy with this victory of conservatism in the U.S. Stephen Harper was in Montreal on Nov. 6 and did not discuss the American elections, but concluded his speech at the Bonaventure Hilton Hotel with “God bless Canada,” which was reminiscent of the formulaic “God bless America” so often used by President Bush during the election campaign. Harper, however, did not dare to translate his conclusion to the French “Que Dieu bénisse le Canada.” There was good reason for this. According to a poll organized before the Nov. 2 election, just 8 per cent of Quebecers would have voted for President Bush.
The results of the American election were received in Quebec with general indignation and hysteria. PQ leader Bernard Landry said that he was confident the wind of right-wing American politics would never blow over Quebec. Claude Charron, an ex-PQ minister, said he understood the extreme frustration of the American left-wingers in face of the terrible ignorance of Americans who voted for Bush. Here we have a truly democratic and objective commentator.
The most vicious attack, however, came from ex-PQ minister Lise Payette in her Journal de Montréal column of Nov. 3. We see the real reason in that article for the left-wing hated of President Bush in Quebec. It is because he is a Christian, because he stands for the basic values of the Christian faith, particularly the respect for life and the traditional family. In fact, President Bush won the election because he defended the sanctity of marriage. Payette even dared to question the authenticity of Bush’s religious conversion. She affirmed that he was, in fact, merely interested in getting the votes of the “religious fanatics,” particularly the 80 million born-again Christians.
In the conclusion of her column, she wrote about the dangers of religious fanaticism in Quebec. To establish the relevance of her witch hunt against believers, she did not hesitate to openly lie. She wrote that Quebec still has Protestant and Catholic school boards. In point of fact, the confessional school system was abolished five years ago by a PQ government. She wrote that the organization “Chasteté-Québec” held a march at the end of October for chastity in Montréal and that it was promoting a “religion of abstinence.” In fact, the march was organized in Gatineau and the organization is not a religion, but an inter-religious association. Payette cynically concluded that the Catholic priests (les curés) will be happy about this new fanaticism, even if it comes from the U.S. and Protestants, because “they will make money again.” These misrepresentations lead to a hatred of Christianity. This is what lies at the crux of the opposition to Bush in Quebec. It is the hatred of God, whom Bush invokes, the hatred of Christian morality that Bush defends and the hatred of the Western world that he incarnates.