Legault lashes out on social media at 'radical activists,' vows to defend freedom of expression

Premier François Legault took to social media to express concern and frustration about "radical activists" that, according to him, are creating a climate of excessive censorship and political correctness in Quebec.

Premier pushing back on what he calls a climate of excessive political correctness in Quebec

Quebec Premier François Legault wrote a lengthy Facebook post, expressing concern about what he considers to be a growing wave of "radical activists" in Quebec. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

Premier François Legault took to Facebook on Saturday morning to criticize "radical activists" who, according to him, have taken censorship and political correctness too far.

In his message, the premier said the problem, as far as he's concerned, is most present on university campuses, with students wanting certain works to be eradicated from curriculums.

"Our universities should be places for respectful debate, debates without censorship, for truth-seeking, even if the truth can shock and provoke," the premier wrote.

"Professors are being asked to remove the works of some of our greatest writers, like Anne Hébert, Réjean Ducharme, Dany Laferrière or Pierre Vallières. It's absurd."

Legault indicated that Minister of Higher Education Danielle McCann is working to find solutions to this issue, but he did not specify what measures are being considered at this time.

He made reference to last fall's suspension of a University of Ottawa teacher for using the N-word during class.

At the time, Legault and the other party leaders at the National Assembly disagreed with the university's decision to suspend the teacher, calling it a violation of the professor's freedom of expression.

Shortly after that controversy erupted, a high school teacher in the east end neighbourhood of Montréal-Nord was captured on video, repeatedly using the N-word during an online class.

Many members of the Black community, and others, felt the premier's stance on what happened at U of O showed a lack of empathy for those who are hurt by the use of the word.

In his Facebook post, the premier also wrote that as a result of what he describes as excessive political correctness, many people are afraid they'll be criticized if they express themselves.

"If we don't defend someone who is a victim of this, we're playing the game of the radicals," he wrote. "I understand that it can be scary, but we have to stand up."