No chicanery in the hut

No chicane in the hut


Can we debate in Quebec?

Yes, we are very good at debating… with people who think like us!

But when the time comes to sit down in front of someone who has ideas diametrically opposed to ours, it gets complicated!

Despite the new shows Le Monde à l' towards (VAT) and Les Débatteurs (Noovo), we still have a long way to go before we become a real “debating society” like in France.


Just last week, a columnist from La Presse+wrote that she would refuse to talk to anyone who doesn't think like her (about abortion) “lest I put my fist on his face before he even opens the door” .

I couldn't believe I read this in a newspaper, when children are taught not to resort to violence when they disagree with “boyfriends” in the playground.

How do you argue with someone who has to refrain from hurting you…before you've even started arguing? 

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The purpose of a debate is precisely to hear the arguments of the other to be able to oppose our arguments!

How do you want to debate with someone who does not even know your opinions , but who still feels an irrepressible urge to hit you because of your opinions?

I am for abortion, free and free. But that doesn't prevent me from having a huge discomfort with late abortions and a huge reluctance towards selective abortions. 

Does this mean that the columnist of La Presse+ would slap me, like Will Smith against Chris Rock at the Oscars, if I dared to say that to him in person?

I speaks of this example, because it represents well what some of the “debaters” or “commentators” think in Quebec. They consider themselves to be in possession of the truth and call intolerant those who have opinions different from their own. 

That is the exact opposite of a debate! 

I'll give you another example of the difficulty of healthy debate in Quebec. 

Last summer, I wrote a column on the fact that the “phenomenon” of drag queens left me indifferent ( this was before the controversy over storybook readings in schools and libraries). 

Instead of debating and arguing with me, a well-known comedian instead suggested to his thousands of Facebook friends that they stage a protest outside my house. As if I had committed a crime! There are even some of his friends who have offered to find my address and publish it! Help!

There is even a senator and a former sports journalist who applauded the comedian's suggestion, offering to help him organize the demonstration.

I am sure that if I had proposed to one of these three people to come and DEBATE on my radio program or in the pages of the Journal, with ideas, arguments, counter-arguments, they would would be deflated, like the fake breasts of a drag.

Screaming in the other's windows with a megaphone is not the way to debate.


In Quebec, we still too often confuse ideological “adversary” and “enemy”. We confuse “argue” and “insult”. 

In short, we confuse “debate” and “fight”. 

No quibbling in the shack