Oscar Peterson metro won’t be easy to accomplish

The local media have been all over plagiarizing The Gazette reporting on a Facebook group that advocates renaming the Lionel-Groulx metro station after Oscar Peterson. Groulx was a racist, the suggestion goes, and Peterson would be much more befitting of a metro station name.

The group has exploded in popularity, due to both the media coverage and regular word-of-mouth. It has over 1,000 members now.

The idea isn’t new, actually. It’s been going around for quite some time. Other proposed new names for Lionel-Groulx include Yitzhak-Rabin and Gabrielle-Roy.

Unfortunately, it’s somewhat of a non-starter for two reasons:

  1. The Lionel-Groulx metro, like most metro stations, is actually named after a street nearby, namely Lionel-Groulx Ave.
  2. The STM currently has a moratorium in place against station renaming, thanks to the rather unpopular Longueuil-Université-de-Sherbrooke mess.

And that doesn’t get into the whole mess about renaming something from a francophone name to an anglophone one.

Personally, I think it should be renamed The-Jackal.

UPDATE (Feb. 28): The inevitable backlash group has already been formed.

UPDATE: Elsewhere in the blogosphere:

26 thoughts on “Oscar Peterson metro won’t be easy to accomplish

  1. BruB

    Although I believe that Oscar Peterson should have something name in Montreal after him. A metro, a mid-major street in the south-west. Lionel Groulx was an important part of French Speaking history in Montreal, created the Institut d’histoire de l’Amérique française. He was also an important editorialist, historian and writer.

    depending who you ask if he was a racist you will get a different answer. If you are french or english politicaly neutral, he his an important part of your history and a metro station, if you are a separatist, he was a hero, if you are a anti-sepratist (didn,t want to use federalsit) than he was a racist. The only drawback for him was he was a bit of an antisemist, but aren’t all the religious guys from this era are?

    But no mather what you are Lionel Groulx was an important part of our history. I’m a bit agains’t renaming since the Bourassa – Parc fiasco.

    (Pardon my english)

  2. Eric

    It seems highly unlikely that they would exchange a French name for an English name. Doesn’t quite fit with the trends here in Quebec.

  3. Neath

    Lionel Groulx has always been an ironically bad choice. But it wasn’t likely they were going to go with Workman which would be more appropriate if local geography is a key. Vendome Metro should have been called Marlowe, etc…..

  4. Karine

    I was hesitant to join the FB group for precisely the reasons why it would be unlikely to happen. As for renaming it the Jackal, it would have to share that name with Radisson station.

  5. Karine

    And one more thing: This seems to be an anglo thing because I haven’t read about it in La Presse and though I don’t read JdeM, I don’t think they talk about it either…

  6. BruB

    It was mentionned briefly in La Presse but it’s really an english thing. I would probably change the name of Palce St-Henri since it’s really a boring name and it stays in the same geographical area.

  7. Pingback: Fagstein » Do it for Oscar

  8. Pingback: Oscar Peterson Metro Station in Sud-Ouest? « Exploring Southwest Montreal

  9. davoud

    What better way to honour a real Quebec hero than to rename a subway station after a world famous jazzman born and bred in Little Burgundy. It`s about time we started to honour people for their real talents and accomplisments and above all for their humanity. Those promoting hatred , division or racism should be clearly rejected by our open and tolerant society.

  10. John Bart

    No one in Quebec can expect a student from Concordia (Michael Citrome) or McGill (Andrien Arcand) to come out of those with a respectable knowledge of Canadian or Quebec history.

    Michael Citrome is a pure product of that institutionalized ignorance.

    Lionel Groulx was in no way at all anti-semite.

    You would be wise to learn about who propagated those lies about Groulx:

    Esther Delisle

  11. Axel

    Contrairement à ce qui est arrivé dans la plupart des cas, la station de métro Lionel-Groulx n’a pas pris le nom la rue adjacente : c’est la rue qui a été rebaptisée en honneur de la station de métro – sans doute pour façonner une justification rétroactive. Quant à Esther Delisle, je recommande tout simplement qu’on lise ses écrits en vérifiant les sources qu’elle cite. Enfin, pour ce qui est de la campagne en faveur du Métro Oscar-Peterson, je suis bien d’accord mais j’aurais préféré que le Métro Lionel-Groulx devienne le Métro Mordecai-Richler. Question de fesser fort sur les nationaleux.

  12. John Bart

    “Quant à Esther Delisle, je recommande tout simplement qu’on lise ses écrits en vérifiant les sources qu’elle cite.”(Axel)


    This way you will learn that her source is Mordecai Richler and that Richler’s source is … Delisle !

    Now that’s solid !

  13. Axel

    Again, go to the source and check the citations (based on long research on Groulx’s writings). I am slow to accuse people of bad faith but am getting close…

  14. Axel

    M. Bart, I would need the time to consult documents I don’t have at hand right now. Meanwhile, could you give us chapter and page numbers where Delisle and Richler cite one another circularly? I don’t find that detail in the text you have linked.

  15. Renaud Séguin

    À propos du l’ouvrage d’Esther Delisle. J’aimerais attirer l’attention sur une lettre de Gérard Bouchard qui montre que ce livre est très douteux:

    “- Dans l’ouvrage de Mme Delisle, le nombre de renvois à des textes de Groulx publiés dans L’Action nationale entre 1933 et 1939 s’élève non pas à 57, comme je l’avais d’abord écrit, mais à 58. De ce nombre, 14 renvois sont exacts: les indications données en référence y sont fidèles (année, mois, numéro de page) et l’extrait concerné est intégralement reproduit, sans modification. Je commente maintenant les 44 autres renvois. Ensemble, ils contiennent 56 irrégularités.

    – Sur ces 44 renvois, 23 contiennent 31 modifications du texte de Groulx. Il s’agit d’ajouts, d’amputations et d’autres formes d’altération. Plusieurs sont mineures, mais d’autres changent le sens de l’extrait (exemples: «satisfait» au lieu de «solennel», «ils sont» au lieu de «nous sommes», «coureurs» au lieu de «discoureurs», cas de guillemets mal placés… ). Aucune de ces modifications n’est accompagnée d’un signe pour en avertir le lecteur.

    – Les autres inexactitudes concernent des renvois à des extraits que j’avais classés comme introuvables lors de ma première validation. Ici, l’erreur porte sur l’année, le mois ou le numéro de page, voire deux ou trois de ces critères à la fois. Dans les cas où seul le numéro de page était erroné, j’ai considéré comme introuvables les extraits que, lors de ma première lecture, je n’avais pas pu retracer au terme d’un effort de recherche raisonnable consistant à parcourir (dans l’article de L’Action nationale) les quatre ou cinq pages en amont et les quatre ou cinq pages en aval de la page indiquée dans le renvoi. On voit que cette définition est strictement opérationnelle; j’étais dans la situation d’un lecteur qui cherche à retrouver une citation.

    Au total, il y a 21 renvois de ces introuvables, alors que j’en avais indiqué 23 dans Les Deux Chanoines, sur la base de la première vérification.

    Je signale que deux cas d’extraits classés comme introuvables (l’année et le mois donnés dans le renvoi étaient inexacts) ont pu être clarifiés grâce aux informations contenues dans une lettre que m’a transmise ces jours-ci un avocat agissant au nom de Mme Delisle; celle-ci y reconnaît avoir commis 13 irrégularités. ”


  16. John Bart

    Though Gerard Bouchard is a fine sociologue, he is no historian. His notes on Delisle’s mistakes of methodology are right, but himself after reading all Groulx’s citations and texts made the mistake of not looking more closely into the historical political context of the time. His view is one of a sociologue, not of politics.

    For anyone to understand Groulx’s or even Mackenzie’s perception on jews at the time, one have to study the history of the communist organisations in Canada and USA.

    Then one will understand where the perception confusion originates.

  17. Renaud Séguin

    Groulx is one of many people in the Western World who had negative biases against people of the Jewish faith. McGill University was also affected by the disease of antisemitism just like most institution and persons in power in the 1930s. Being devoid of any negative biases against Judaism was more the exception than the norm in the 1930s. I just don’t understand why Lionel-Groulx, whose antisemitism was far from dominating his writing and quite minimal compared to some of his contemporaries, should be the scapegoat for a mental disease that affected the whole western world. As I mentionned somewhere else, are we going to rename Jean-Talon metro station because he introduced slavery in New-France ? What about Lord Durham, FD Roosevelt who both considered that french quebec had to assimilate to the anglo-saxon continent ?

  18. John Bart

    Anti-sémitism a mental disease ?

    That absurd proposition doesn’t give you much credibility, M. Séguin.

  19. Renaud Séguin

    I used the word “mental disease” in the broader sense. However, reading some of the 1930s antisemitic propaganda about the so-called “International Jewish Conspiration”, I think that the people who wrote that and those who believed them were severely delusional, to say the least.

  20. John Bart

    M. Séguin,

    a disease is not a cause but a symptome or affection.

    So you must be in contact with the cause to get the affect.

    If you get the anti-semitic disease only when you are in presence of semites, then you can figure logically what is the source of the cause.

    ““International Jewish Conspiration”, I think that the people who wrote that and those who believed them were severely delusional, to say the least.”(Séguin)

    They were maybe the same people.

    M. Séguin, nobody makes a video of himself cutting a person’s head off and expect the viewer to roll-over and obey.

    That head-cutter expect a very agressive reaction. So he’s looking for it.

    Dont take the disease for the cause.

  21. Maria Gatti

    I remember some friends (who were NOT “anti-separatist” and in many cases progressive pro-independence people) wanting the Lionel-Groulx métro renamed for Léa Roback, who was involved in union organising drives in the area. Peterson would also be a fine choice.

    Matthew, Québec had no monopoly on racism or anti-semitism. Remember “None is Too Many”, and Mackenzie King?

    1. John Bart

      “Matthew, Québec had no monopoly on racism or anti-semitism. Remember “None is Too Many”, and Mackenzie King?”(Maria Gatti)

      And that “None is too many” was proposed to King by the B’nai Brith and the American Jewish Committee.

      Those two institutions were saying the same thing. They did not want those jews in America. They knew, 8 days before the S.S. St-Louis sailed from Hamburg to Cuba, that it would be turned away. But they told nothing to the passengers. They simply took their money. The S.S. St-Louis was the property of the HAPAG-Lloyd ship line and it’s central office was in New York.

      The story being told today is simply B.S.


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