Comments in Dawson column should have been cut: Globe editor
Comments in a recent article by a Globe and Mail writer that suggested Quebec's francophone culture may have contributed to the Dawson College shootings should have been removed, the newspaper's editor-in-chief said Saturday.
In his Letter from the Editor column in the Globe's Saturday edition, Edward Greenspon wrote: "We regret that we allowed these words to get intoa reported article."
The feature, written by Globe reporter andcolumnistJan Wong and published in the Sept. 16 edition of the paper, described what happened inside the Montreal college three days earlier when Kimveer Gill walked in and opened fire on students, killing one woman and injuring 19 other people.
Wongsuggested as apossible explanation that Gill and gunman Marc LÃ©pine, who killed 14 women at l'Ãcole Polytechnique in 1989, were people of foreign background, not pure laine Quebecers, and their anti-social behaviour stemmed from their disaffection with Quebec society and its reluctance to welcome outsiders.
Wong'scomments drew a swift and furious response from Quebecers of all stripes, Greenspon noted.
"While we feel the reaction to the article has been disproportionate —including personal attacks on Jan and her family— in hindsight, the paragraphs were clearly opinion and not reporting and should have been removed from the story," Greenspon wrote.
Article draws fire from PM, Charest
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Quebec Premier Jean Charest wrote letters to the paper condemning Wong's remarks, but Wong said the two rebuked her article just toget votes in the province.
"I feel that it's opportunistic," Wong told CBC News. "In Stephen Harper's case, judging from his letter, I don't thinkhe actually read the article. I think that they want votes in Quebec and they see this as a cheap and easy way to get it. Dump on a journalist."
Wong said Harper just wants to "patch things up with Charest" over their differences on scrapping the gun registry.
"I feltit was really crass, however, he also has the right to his opinion," she said.
Writer surprised by reaction
"I just feel that theoffice ofthe prime minister should not be used in this way to dump on a reporter. I think he shoulddo other things with his office."
She said she's surprised by the reaction toher feature.Wong, who is of Asian descentand a third-generation Quebecer, said many of the attacks against her have been racist.
"And in a way, I think it might prove what I was trying to get at. I mean, I'm a Quebecer," Wong said.
"Of course, when this happens, I'm not. I'm actually one of those people in the middle that I was talking about. So, all a sudden I'm Asian."
Wong refused to discuss the content of her piece.
"I didn't want to talk about what I wrote because what I wrote is out there."
"If people don't want to agree, that's fine. I welcome a debate."