One person has been shot dead in Montreal and another wounded after a gunman entered the venue where Pauline Marois, the separatist Parti Quebecois leader who had just become the Canadian province's premier-elect, was giving her victory speech. Marois was hustled off the stage by bodyguards while the shooter, wearing a balaclava and a bathrobe, was yelling in English "The Anglophones are waking up!" before he was captured.
This event, so shocking in the context of generally civil Canadian elections, comes after a series of political quakes over the last year. First, massive demonstrations against an increase in Quebec college tuitions energized widespread dissatisfaction with the ruling Liberal Pary, and led to snap elections. The separatist Parti Quebecois has held the provincial government a couple of times since 1976, and has promoted 2 referendums on separation, one in 1980 and again in 1996. What is troubling Anglophone Quebeckers are promises to increase French dominance of the province, including stricter language laws, forbidding of immigrants to attend Anglophone schools, denying the right of non-French speakers to run for office, and forbidding civil servants from wearing yarmulkes or hajibs to work, but retain crucifixes in the Assembly. Considering that the PQ lead the second place Liberals by less than a point in the election, we may be revisiting this story sooner rather than later.