Founded in 1983 - United for Diversity and Racial Equality


Montréal, Canada, May 25, 2008 --- Quebec writer Victor Lévy-Beaulieu’s article in L’Aut’Journal, which refers to Canada’s Governor General Michaëlle Jean as the “Negro-Queen” (“la Reine-Nègre”) contains racist and sexist references and should be retracted immediately.

In its May 24, 2008 on-line edition of L’Aut’Journal, a Quebec publication that describes itself as “independent, independentist and progressive”, Quebec writer Victor Lévy-Beaulieu describes the Rt. Hon. Michaëlle Jean, who is of Haitian background, as a “little Black queen of Radio-Canada” (Ms. Jean worked as a Radio-Canada journalist prior to being appointed to the vice-regal post) that has become an “accomplished Negro-Queen” with a “reflex of a colonized person.” Referring to her recent visit to France during which she spoke out against slavery, Mr. Lévy-Beaulieu wrote that separatists could have assisted her return to Canadian soil by “imitating French slave traders when they were doing business with the Negro kings of Equatorial Africa.”

“Many Black Quebecers and Canadians are deeply offended by this offensive and unacceptable name-calling, especially when our country marked last year the Bicentenary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act in the British Empire,” said Fo Niemi, CRARR’s Executive Director. “In other circumstances, people would have sued the author of these statements for racial discrimination.”

“Denigrating the institution of the Governor General is one thing, but Mr. Lévy- Beaulieu went too far and low when he engaged in race-based personal attacks not only against Ms. Jean because she is Black, but also against all Black people. Those who support his statements show a deep lack of basic respect and decency,” he added.

CRARR also denounces the fact that L’Aut’Journal allowed the publication of the article as well as the repeated use of the offensive term “Reine-Nègre” as well as other racist and sexist references in the article.

“It is very pathetic that while the United States is about to choose an African American as candidate for the presidency, there are still people in some sectors of our society who have great difficulties accepted Black people as equal, capable and dignified and who think it is still acceptable to use the “N” word to refer to us,” said Mr. Jacky Salvant, one of CRARR’s lawyers, himself of Haitian background.

CRARR calls upon all leaders of political parties and civil society to denounce Mr.Lévy-Beaulieu’s article and require L’Aut’Journal to apologize to the Rt. Hon. à Michaëlle Jean as well as to all Black people.