On February 19, Richard Martineau got it completely, utterly, disastrously wrong.
In a column published in Journal de Montréal, the highest-circulation French-language newspaper in North America, Martineau said McGill Faculty of Law professor Daniel Weinstock was in favour of female genital mutilation. The columnist then called out Quebec’s education minister Jean-François Roberge for inviting Weinstock to consult on the province’s ethics and religious culture curriculum.
The response from the government was almost immediate. Citing “new information,” Roberge’s office disinvited Weinstock within hours of the column’s publication. Martineau himself was chuffed—“Bravo to the minister, who reacted quickly!” he wrote on Facebook, after plugging his column—while the Journal made pains to note that its star columnist had unearthed Weinstock’s alleged musings. It was one of the better examples of how the Journal is an immovable force in Quebec society, particularly on the visceral issues of language and identity.