PQ shooting revives English-French tensions
"Un mort, 8 millions de blessés" (One dead, eight million hurt), tweeted Quebec singer Marilou, who noted that two colleagues of her stepfather were in rushed by ambulance in a critical condition in the moments following the shooting.
"We're all concerned by what happened," said outgoing premier Jean Charest through a spokesperson.
For many in Quebec, the shooting brings up memories of another incident of political violence rooted in English-French tension: the "October crisis". In 1970, the militant group FLQ (Front de libération du Québec) demanded "total independence" from Canada. Its members kidnapped and killed Quebec's labor minister Pierre Laporte and abducted -- then freed -- British trade commissioner James Cross.
The subsequent "crise d'octobre" or "October Crisis" led to Canadian troops patrolling the streets of Quebec, jailing suspected FLQ sympathizers.
This time around, the violence appears to have come from the English-speaking side. International media including Russia Today (RT) and The Guardian have pointed to flaring tensions between English and French-speaking populations in Quebec.
Reactions from Quebec: "racism toward Quebecers"
Despite the unforeseen violence during her victory speech, the newly-elected premier handled the situation well, according to Quebec media.
"She was a lot calmer than everyone around her," commented Yves Desgagnés, the host of the event. "I was impressed by our Premier."
After the shooting, PQ Facebook page posted comments from Marois:
"My thoughts are firstly with the family and loved ones of the deceased victim. All Quebecers are in mourning today in the face of this act of gratuitous violence.Never will a society like ours let violence dictate its collective choices. It’s by the democratic voice that we must express ourselves.”
The majority of people commenting on the page expressed condolences toward the victims and congratulated the new Premier on her "sang-froid", or composure during the incident. Some, however, expressed frustration toward the English-speaking population in Canada.
"Yesterday was proof that racism toward Quebecers of French origin is still present, unfortunately," commented Christine Pion.
"How can we remain peacefully tolerant of these Anglophones?" asked Jean-francois Lazarides.
"I have nothing in particular against the English, but let's be realistic, if I went to Alberta, Ontario or any other anglophone province, I force myself to speak in English and respect their values," said said Suzanne Provost.
"Why don't we demand the same thing here? A lot, not everyone, I know, but a lot (of Anglophone Quebecers) don't want to speak French or even try."