A gunman at a victory rally in Quebec on Tuesday shot two men, killing one, while claiming, “The English are waking up!”
The rally, held to celebrate the election of Quebec's new French-speaking premier, Pauline Marois, was held at midnight.
It was not clear who the 50-year-old shooter was aiming at, when he began firing just as Maroid began her address in English and first assured English speakers in Quebec she would protect their rights.
Marois' separatist party Parti Quebecois (PQ) has planned to forbid employees in public institutions from wearing religious headgear.
The ban – which would affect Jews, Muslims and Sikhs – would be part of what the party has called its “Charter of Secularism.”
Hundreds of supporters were gathered at Metropolis auditorium when the unidentified gunman began shooting. One person was instantly killed, a second was wounded and a third was treated for shock, Canadian media reported.
Caught on film by television cameras, the shooter was seen running outside, where he set a small fire before being dragged to a police car.
Television footage showed a man wearing black clothing and a blue bathrobe, yelling in French, “The English are waking up!” as he was pushed into the police car. One pistol and a rifle were also shown on camera.
After the shooting, Marois returned to the stage to ask supporters to peacefully disperse.
Although her party won the election, the PQ did not win a majority in the parliament. The French vs. English language and culture is not new to Quebec; the issue of whether to secede from Canada is one that has been raised regularly by French speakers for decades, and is routinely squelched by the majority.