Charlie Hebdo Paris shooting: Quebec cartoonists mourn death of colleagues

Cartoonists say the Paris shooting at the satirical publication Charlie Hebdo, which left 12 dead and 20 more injured, is an attack on freedom of expression.

Vigils honouring the victims to be held tonight in Montreal

Publishing director of the satiric weekly Charlie Hebdo, Charb, poses with the front page of the newspaper in 2012. He was among the 12 killed in Wednesday's shooting. (Michael Euler/Associated Press)

Local cartoonists are mourning the loss of their colleagues in today’s shooting at a satirical publication in Paris.

Terry Mosher, the longtime cartoonist for the Montreal Gazette, called the attack at Charlie Hebdo "devastating and shocking."

Hooded gunmen shot dead at least 12 people and injured 20 more in the worst militant attack on French soil in recent decades.

The newspaper's publisher, Stéphane Charbonnier, who went by the pen name "Charb," and three prominent cartoonists also widely known under pen names — Jean Cabut (Cabu), Bernard Verlhac (Tignous) and Georges Wolinski (Wolinski) — are among the dead, police said.

Longtime Montreal Gazette cartoonist Terry Mosher, who draws under the name Aislin, reacts to the Paris shooting. (Montreal Gazette)

“These are colleagues who are very, very courageous people in my field who put their opinions out there in a very straightforward and satirical way,” said Mosher, who draws under the name Aislin.

Mosher said satirical cartoons are “an accepted part of any free system.”

“Knowing the fibre of cartoonists, they’re going to react in a very strong way to this all over the world," he said. 

“The question will become, ‘What will actually get printed? How cautious will editors be?’”

Yannick Lemay, a cartoonist for Le Journal de Québec, didn't take long to come up with his own interpretation of the events, posting a cartoon today of a copy of Charlie Hebdo with blood spattered around it.

Yannick Lemay, the satirical cartoonist for Le Journal de Québec known as YGreck, reacts to the Paris shooting.

André-Philippe Côté, a cartoonist with Le Soleil, said he is worried the shooting could foster an atmosphere of fear and cause some to censor themselves for fear of reprisal.

Côté said newspapers should have the right whatever they choose without the threat of violence.

An attack on 'great artists'

Freelance illustrator Paul Bordeleau sketched his reaction soon after he awoke this morning to news of the shooting, which he said left him reeling.

"I had an illustration due for the magazine l'Actualité," Bordeleau said. "I sent a short email to the artistic director, to say I'd be a little late because – that's it, I was red-eyed, in shock."

"But we have to keep doing our work, not to stop," he added. "This makes it more important to continue."

Bordeleau, who began his career in the early 90s, grew up devouring the cartoons and graphic novels of Cabu and Wolinski. He said they had a rare talent.

"It's ... an attack on great artists," Bordeleau said. 

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre announced that a vigil to honour the victims of the shooting would be held in front of City Hall at 5 p.m. ET. 

Another vigil is also planned for tonight at 6:30 p.m. ET at Montreal's French consulate. 

Freelance illustrator Paul Bordeleau of Lac-Delage, Que. reacts to the Paris shootings. (Paul Bordeleau)


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?