Quebec Culture Minister Mathieu Lacombe is denouncing the burning of a local author's book by a prospective U.S. Republican lawmaker.
A video posted Tuesday by a Republican candidate for secretary of state in Missouri shows her taking a flame-thrower to library books that she claims are being used to "groom" children.
Among the books burned by candidate Valentina Gomez was "Naked: Not Your Average Sex Encyclopedia,” the English translation of the book "Tout nu" by Quebec author Myriam Daguzan Bernier and illustrator Cécile Gariépy.
The book is described as an inclusive guide to sexuality aimed at teens.
Lacombe told reporters in Quebec City on Thursday that book burning has no place in 2024.
“Prohibiting books — I think that sounds a bit 'old priest from the 1900s,'" Lacombe told reporters at the legislature.
“It's not acceptable, we can be for or against books, but burning books … we're in 2024."
Later in the day, a motion introduced by Québec solidaire passed unanimously at Quebec's national assembly denouncing censorship and reiterating support for freedom of opinion, freedom of expression and the free circulation of ideas.
The motion, which named the author and illustrator of "Naked," also mentioned Quebec children's writer and illustrator Élise Gravel.
Gravel has been criticized for her public statements on the Israel-Hamas war by the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, which has accused her of employing antisemitic myths.
In a message on social media on Wednesday, Gravel said her posts were not antisemitic and that her criticism was toward the Israeli government and its agenda.
On Wednesday, the Montreal Gazette reported that the city's Jewish Public Library would not promote her books and instead moved them from their open shelves to closed stacks, which are accessible through catalogue.
"I stand firmly against any form of racism and discrimination, including antisemitism," Gravel wrote, adding that being critical of the state of Israel is not antisemitic.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 8, 2024.
The Canadian Press