Social media might have its problems, but it does have one key advantage: When a public figure says something ridiculous, they’re sure to be corrected.
Such is the case for Québec premier François Legault, who asserted during a meeting with California’s Governor Gavin Newsom that “all French Canadians” are Catholic.
This was news to many French Canadians — including the quarter of French-speaking Canadians who identify as atheists — and they took to Twitter to say so.
It’s not clear what made Legault so interested in discussing religion with Newsom, but he also offered to discuss the province’s controversial Bill 21 (banning individual religious apparel in public service). Newsom declined, saying, “That’s a whole issue for you guys. I don’t want to get into that.”
Among the responses:
for someone who doesn't want to see religion, he sure talks a lot about it. since when are ALL french canadians catholic? quel incompétent �♀️�♀️ https://t.co/NDS322U6Pu
— � jinyoung center of the year (@ultmarie) December 12, 2019
So, an idiot politician says All French Canadians are Catholic – while that may be been mostly true in the 1800, it's decidedly not today. But I'll admit, it's what I thought when I was a kid and then I went to University and was shocked to learn that wasn't true. 1/
— Joanne Rousseau (@lilithj) December 12, 2019
Imagine living in a province where the premier’s grasp of the province’s demographics are equivalent to those of a child.
Other users were quick to point out the hypocritical and nonsensical nature of banning religious garb in a province where everyone is Catholic anyway:
Ok so Bill 21 which discriminates against religious minorities because , he says the government has no buisness pushing religion on the people. Yet he as Premier goes ahead and says all French Canadians Catholic. Hmmmm https://t.co/JkRnxySsJT
— #FireBergevin (@TORHABSFAN) December 12, 2019
All French Canadians are Catholic???? Then what the fuck do you need the secularism bill for? Why ban burkas, turbans, hijabs if everyone is catholic anyways? #smellslikebullshit #francoislegaultisracist #bill21
— Mommy (@dumbmom420) December 12, 2019
La laïcité de François Legault:
✅ Parler de sa religion pendant ses fonctions officielles
� Porter des symboles de sa religion
— Teddi Jo Mellencamp Arroyave (@mignacs) December 12, 2019
The secularism of François Legault:
[Check] Talking about his religion while performing his official functions
[X] Wearing religious symbols
Still others took to the hashtag #allFrenchCanadians to reveal to the world more of the province’s secrets:
— Maggie Fox (@maggiefox) December 12, 2019
— Dave Martin (@bottlesin1bag) December 12, 2019
All french Canadians ride a bicycle with a baguette and a bottle of wine sticking out of the basket while smoking 3 cigarettes, wearing a Habs jersey and a toque on a jaunty angle shouting "TABERNAK!" every 5 minutes… but some of them are agnostic.#cdnpoli #qcpoli https://t.co/YKrssFUfEG
— Meanwhile in Canada (@MeanwhileinCana) December 12, 2019
Legault himself tried to walk back the statement with a tweet explaining that he was pointing to the “common origins” he and Newsom share as French and Irish Catholics respectively, and “the good and the bad” that comes with that:
Bien sûr, je parlais de nos origines communes, les Irlandais et les Français catholiques. https://t.co/gUW0Lp9oCN
— François Legault (@francoislegault) December 12, 2019
“Of course, I was speaking of our common origins, the Irish and the French Catholics.”
Leaving aside that two people both baptized into — even practicing — the same religion might have nothing else in common as a result, this is a defense for the social faux pas of bringing up religion in conversation, not the broad-strokes generalization of an entire population Legault claims to represent.
And that generalization speaks volumes about who he sees as truly Québecois. After all, if all French Canadians are Catholic, that means Québec Sikhs, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Wiccans, Satanists, and atheists are not proper French Canadians to the very person meant to be their leader.
With one slip of the tongue, Legault has shown who he’s truly governing for — and who he’s not.
(Top screenshot via YouTube)