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« La reconnaissance de notre œuvre au Québec »
La prédication dans la province du Québec était un véritable défi. L’église catholique était présente dans pratiquement tous les aspects de la vie publique.
Au début des années 40, la persécution s’est vraiment intensifiée. De nombreux Témoins ont été arrêtés sous toutes sortes de prétextes. Le colportage sans autorisation était le principal prétexte utilisé. Les Témoins de Jéhovah étaient emprisonnés pour simple possession d’ouvrages religieux. La situation était devenue tellement difficile au Québec qu’on a décidé de faire circuler une pétition, pétition qui a d’ailleurs été diffusée dans tout le Canada. C’était une demande faite au gouvernement du Québec de mettre fin à cette persécution. Chose intéressante : 600 000 personnes ont signé la pétition.
Les Témoins ont distribué un tract enflammé intitulé : « La haine ardente du Québec ». Ce tract dévoilait ce que subissait vraiment les Témoins, ce que faisait les policiers, les arrestations illégales, les émeutes et dans l’espace de 4 mois, il y a eu 800 nouveaux procès. Donc pour 400 Témoins de Jéhovah, il y a eu 1600 procès. Les affaires portées en justice sont devenues de plus en plus graves car les frères étaient désormais accusés de sédition. S’ils étaient jugés coupables, ils pouvaient être condamnés à 10 voire 12 à15 ans de prison.
Il y a un frère, Aimé Boucher, qui a été arrêté et accusé de sédition. Aimé Boucher était un frère très pauvre qui habitait une région rurale du Québec. Il est d’ailleurs venu au Tribunal avec sa charrette tirée par un bœuf. Sur le chemin du Tribunal, il prêchait encore et il a été donc arrêté de nouveau. A l’issue du procès, il a été condamné et déclaré coupable de sédition. Son affaire a été portée devant la Cour d’appel et à cette époque, la Cour d’appel du Québec était très hostile aux Témoins. Il a donc perdu en appel. L’affaire a donc été portée devant la Cour suprême du Canada. A cette époque, plusieurs frères et sœurs avaient été accusés de sédition. Donc si frère Boucher perdait son procès, plusieurs frères et sœurs seraient condamnés à de très longues peines de prison
Frère Boucher a perdu son procès devant la Cour suprême à une voix près. Tous les juges catholiques se sont prononcés contre lui et ils ont jugés que le tract « La haine ardente du Québec» était de nature séditieuse. Nos avocats ont examiné la situation, ils ont prié à ce sujet et ils se sont dit : « Que va-t-on faire ? On ne peut pas perdre cette bataille». Puis ils ont appris qu’au Canada, il existait une clause très rarement exploitée consistant à demander à la Cour suprême la révision d’un procès. Au cours de la nouvelle audience, l’un des juges catholiques voulait encore débattre de la question de la sédition. Pour être déclaré coupable de sédition, il fallait une incitation à la violence. Notre avocat a donc demandé ; « Regardez le dossier s’il vous plaît. Montrez à la Cour, là où les Témoins de Jéhovah ont incité à la violence ». Ils ont finalement réussi à convaincre la Cour qu’ils avaient tort. Le jugement initial a donc été renversé et frère Boucher a été acquitté.
Cette victoire a mis fin à toutes les accusations de sédition ainsi qu’aux persécutions brutales car le gouvernement pensait bien gagner cette affaire-là.
Une autre affaire importante a eu lieu au Québec. C’est le cas d’un prêtre qui a téléphoné à la police fédérale pour lui demander d’interrompre une réunion des Témoins de Jéhovah et d’expulser l’orateur hors de la province du Québec. Les policiers ont obéi au prêtre. Ils sont arrivés sur les lieux de la réunion, ont pris le frère et l’ont escorté jusqu’en Ontario, la province voisine. Interrompre un office religieux était un acte criminel. Pour la première fois, au niveau de la Cour suprême, les 3 policiers qui avaient interrompu l’office, ont été condamnés à indemniser le préjudice moral causé au frère. Cela n’était jamais arrivé auparavant.
Quand l’affaire a été portée à la Cour suprême, il a été jugé à l’unanimité que la province du Québec était coupable.
Les textes actuels sur la liberté de religion résultent de ces procès. Chaque avocat canadien, que ce soit au Québec ou au Canada anglophone, doit revoir au cours de ses études en droit, ces affaires juridiques. Ces textes sont à la base de la liberté de religion. Qu’ils traitent de différents domaines, des interventions de la police, de celles du gouvernement, et des actions criminelles. Ces cas ont posé un bon fondement pour les libertés dont nous jouissons aujourd’hui.
Notre objectif est de pouvoir prêcher la bonne nouvelle et d’attirer l’attention des personnes sur la Bible. Mais nos affaires en justice ont aidé des gouvernements, des Tribunaux, des juges et des fonctionnaires à avoir le bon point de vue sur la liberté de religion.
Questions du Cahier Vie chrétienne et Ministère :
Quelles difficultés nos frères ont-ils connues au Québec ?
Quel tract spécial ont-ils diffusé, et quel en a été le résultat ?
Qu’est-ce qui est arrivé à frère Aimé Boucher ?
Quelle a été la décision de la Cour suprême du Canada concernant l’affaire de frère Boucher ?
À quelle disposition légale très rarement exploitée les frères ont-ils eu recours, et qu’en est-il résulté ?
Que s’est-il passé quand, sous les ordres d’un prêtre, des policiers ont interrompu un office des Témoins de Jéhovah ?
New Judicial front against Watchtower In The Quebec Court, Canada, a lawsuit has been filed for 66 million Canadian dollars, against the organization of Jehovah's witnesses in Canada and the United States ⚖️By Bible Speaks
New Judicial front against Watchtower
In The Quebec Court, Canada, a lawsuit has been filed for 66 million Canadian dollars, against the organization of Jehovah's witnesses in Canada and the United States, on behalf of alleged victims of child abuse while they were Jehovah's Witnesses.
We do not hide that opponents, who are led by professional apostates, are being organized as a group, to attack the finances of the Watchtower, trying for all the means to sink it economically.
The Quebec court requests the adoption of a collective demand for sexual abuse against Jehovah's WitnessesBy Bible Speaks
The Quebec court requests the adoption of a collective demand for sexual abuse against Jehovah's witnesses
A trial proposes to accuse the leadership of the religious organization in Canada and the United States to protect alleged abusers
The lawsuit is looking for $ 250.000 per plaintiff for moral and punitive damages.
Radio-Canada says that, if approved by the court, collective action will be the first of its kind against Jehovah's witnesses, a religious movement that is already the subject of several individual trials in the United States.
It is now up to the québec high court to determine whether the application is sufficiently substantiated to authorize collective action.
By Guest Nicole
Quebec provincial police are investigating allegations of child sexual abuse by two members of a Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation in Mont-Laurier in the Laurentians, Radio-CanadaÂ’s investigative programÂ EnquÃªteÂ has learned.
Both men have been sanctioned through the churchÂ’s internal disciplinary process for dealing with allegations of child abuse, but congregation elders did not share their findings with civil authorities.
One of the men being investigated, Michel Courtemanche, who has been expelled from the congregation, was acquitted of charges of sexual assault and indecent assault in 1996.
However, the SÃ»retÃ© du QuÃ©bec has renewed its investigation of Courtemanche and has begun investigating another man, former congregation elder Georges Leclerc, based on new evidence from at least seven alleged victims.
Leclerc has been stripped of his status as an elder, but he has not been arrested or charged, and he refused to speak withÂ EnquÃªte.
Courtemanche has not been arrested or charged as a result of the new investigation and denies the allegations against him. In an interview withÂ EnquÃªte, he pointed to his 1996 acquittal.
Â“My answer is there was a judgment on this based on very precise facts, and I was acquitted,Â” he said.
At least 7 potential victims, police say
EnquÃªteÂ spoke with PÃ©nÃ©lope Herbert, the woman whose allegations of repeated sexual assaults starting when she was just 10 led to CourtemancheÂ’s 1996 trial. Â
Carolle Poudrier, now in her mid-40s, also toldÂ EnquÃªteÂ of alleged sexual contact by Courtemanche, over a period of months when she was 11.
In the case of Herbert, she said the assaults continued until she was 17 Â— even after her family moved from Mont-Laurier.
Â“He would come to our house to say hello and would sleep over,Â” Herbert, now 42, toldÂ EnquÃªte. Â“Those nights, he would come to my room. WeÂ’re talking total rape, those nights.Â”
Carolle Poudrier told EnquÃªte of alleged sexual contact by Michel Courtemanche, over a period of months when she was 11. (Jasmin Simard/Radio-Canada)
EnquÃªteÂ has learned the SQ has interviewed more than 40 people, of whom seven have been identified as potential victims of either Courtemanche or Leclerc.
Four of the seven, including Herbert and Poudrier, have now filed formal complaints with police. SQ spokesperson Martine Asselin toldÂ EnquÃªteÂ theyÂ’re now seeking other possible victims and witnesses.
Â“WeÂ’re looking to identify other potential victims who perhaps feel theyÂ’re alone and arenÂ’t ready to talk,Â” Asselin said.
Â“They should know that investigators are ready to meet with them and witnesses.Â”
Both men were friends
According toÂ EnquÃªte, Leclerc and Courtemanche were friends around the time HerbertÂ’s parents lodged an internal complaint with the congregation about the alleged assaults on their daughter.
Leclerc was, as a congregation elder, a senior member of the congregation who is responsible for providing religious guidance and ruling on disciplinary matters.
EnquÃªteÂ said LeclercÂ allegedly did not speak to Herbert to learn the details of her complaint, as required by JehovahÂ’s Witness protocols in such matters.
Courtemanche was later reprimanded and allowed to remain in the congregation.
Georges Leclerc and Michel Courtemanche were friends around the time PÃ©nÃ©lope HerbertÂ’s parents lodged an internal complaint with the congregation, according to EnquÃªte. (Jasmin Simard/Radio-Canada)
Disillusioned with how the JehovahÂ’s Witnesses had handled her complaint, Herbert took her allegations to police in 1995.
Courtemanche remained a JehovahÂ’s Witness after his acquittal but was expelled in 2014,Â EnquÃªteÂ found, after two other women filed internal complaints alleging he had assaulted them as minors.
Leclerc remains with the Mont-Laurier congregation, butÂ EnquÃªteÂ says he was stripped of his elder duties after at least three women filed complaints internally with the JehovahÂ’s Witnesses, alleging he had assaulted them when they were minors.
Police, youth protection notÂ notified of allegations
According toÂ EnquÃªte, the first time police investigated HerbertÂ’s allegations against Courtemanche in the mid-1990s, they were not aware Carolle PoudrierÂ’s parents had also alleged Courtemanche had assaulted their daughter.
PoudrierÂ’s parents were members of a congregation in Terrebonne, just north of Montreal, and had filed their complaint there Â—Â not with CourtemancheÂ’s congregation in Mont-Laurier.
Poudrier alleged that Courtemanche, who was working for her dad, would make her sit on his lap so he could caress and tickle her, which made her uneasy. A few months later, he kissed her twice.
Â“He asked me if IÂ’d ever kissed anyone, and he put his tongue in my mouth. I found that disgusting,Â” Poudrier toldÂ EnquÃªte.
After she told her parents and they complained, Poudrier was made to recount what happened to a congregational elder in the presence of her father.
Carolle Poudrier told what happened to a congregational elder in the presence of her father. (Jasmin Simard/Radio-Canada)
Â“I was really stressed talking about sexual matters with a man I didnÂ’t know, in front of my father. It was embarrassing,Â” Poudrier said.
She said the elder thanked her for telling him what had happened and said that Â“he was there to take care of it.Â”
In a lawyerÂ’s letter to Radio-Canada,Â the elder in question, John MacEwan, said he knew PoudrierÂ’s family but denied meeting with them concerning allegations against Courtemanche.
When asked byÂ EnquÃªteÂ if the Terrebonne congregation had shared the complaint against Courtemanche with his Mont-Laurier congregation, MacEwan refused to answer.
Neither police nor youth protection authorities were ever notified of the alleged assaults on Poudrier.
The JehovahÂ’s Witnesses leadership, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, has given preference to internal judicial procedures and protocols for dealing with matters such as child abuse.
Carolle PoudrierÂ’s father, left, had worked with Michel Courtemanche, right. (Jasmin Simard/Radio-Canada)
Â“In some jurisdictions, individuals who learn of an allegation of child abuse may be obligated by law to report the allegation to the secular authorities,Â” an internal memo to elders from 2016 reads.
Â“In all cases, the victim and her parents have the absolute right to report an allegation to the authorities.Â”
When it comes to sharing information with outside authorities, however, the leadership has insisted on maintaining confidentiality, citing privacy and the ecclesiastical privilege conferred by confessions.
EnquÃªteÂ found there are as many as 30 steps a JehovahÂ’s Witness must take before that person is allowed to testify in court or furnish civil authorities with church documents, when it comes to matters of child abuse.
Â“When you study the process, you realize itÂ’s really a process for avoiding, a system for protecting the reputation of the JehovahÂ’s Witnesses,Â” Â said Marilou LagacÃ©, a former Witness interviewed byÂ EnquÃªte.
New instructions regarding allegations of child sexual abuse
A recent royal commission in Australia found the JehovahÂ’s Witness church there had recorded allegations of child sexual abuse against 1,006 members over a 60-year period. Not one allegation had been reported to authorities outside the church.
With pressure mounting in the wake of that royal commission and other allegations of sexual abuse of children in its ranks, on Sept. 1, the Watchtower Society issued new instructions regarding allegations of child sexual abuse.
Those instructions recognize child sexual abuse as a crime and assert that members should be Â“clearly informed that they have the rightÂ” to report an allegation of abuse to police.
Â“The congregationÂ’s handling of an accusation of child sexual abuse is not intended to replace the secular authorityÂ’s handling of the matter,Â” the Sept. 1 letter reads.
Â“Therefore, the victim, her parents, or anyone else who reports such an allegation to the elders should be clearly informed that they have the right to report the matter to the secular authorities.
Elders do not criticize anyone who chooses to make such a report.Â”
By Guest Nicole
Mirlande Cadet, 46, died of suspected hemorrhage day after giving birth by C-section.
Mirlande Cadet left behind two daughters and her newborn son. (Isaac Cadet)
A Quebec coroner is investigating the death of a 46-year-old Jehovah's Witness who died Oct. 3 from complications shortly after giving birth by caesarian section in a Montreal hospital.
A spokeswoman for the coroner's office, Geneviève Guilbault, confirmed that the bureau was launching an investigation into Cadet's death in an email to CBC Montreal.
"Based on information that's been circulating … and other information we received from the hospital, it's been decided that a coroner will investigate the death of Mrs. Cadet," Guilbault wrote.
The inquest is the second coroner's investigation this month into the death of a Jehovah's Witness following childbirth in Quebec.
Cadet experienced complications after she gave birth to a healthy son by C-section at St. Mary's Hospital on Oct. 2 and required a blood transfusion, according to her brother Isaac Cadet.
It is unclear if Cadet got a blood transfusion, or if she did, when she received it and what the circumstances were that led to its approval.
Blood transfusions are forbidden under Jehovah's Witness doctrine, which holds that the Old and New Testaments command them to abstain from blood.
Isaac Cadet says his family welcomed the news of the coroner's investigation after getting little information from hospital. (CBC)
All Jehovah's Witnesses are expected to sign and carry a card refusing a blood transfusion.
Isaac Cadet questions whether his sister would have signed a card and refused a blood transfusion. He described her as a loving mother to her two other children and a devoted aunt who loved to get family together.
"I have a lot of doubt that my sister signed that document," Cadet told CBC News.
He welcomed news of the coroner's investigation, saying his family needs to know what happened to its "leader."
"It's a relief because we've tried to find out what happened, tried to access documents, and we weren't allowed. We were told they're confidential," he said.
Mirlande Cadet's husband declined to be interviewed when contacted by CBC Montreal.
Church elders at hospital 'intimidating'
A Quebec coroner is already investigating the death of Éloise Dupuis, 27, who is said to have refused an emergency blood transfusion for a hemorrhage after delivering a baby by C-section at Hôtel-Dieu de Lévis Hospital near Quebec City.
She died Oct. 12.
Coroner Luc Malouin is working to determine whether her refusal was free and informed as required by medical and legal standards.
After her death, Dupuis's aunt, Manon Boyer, filed a complaint with police in Lévis alleging her niece was pressured into refusing consent by a Jehovah's Witness hospital liaison committee.
The committees are composed of Jehovah's Witness elders who are dispatched to a hospital when a member is facing a blood transfusion decision.
According to the faith group, their role is to advocate for bloodless medical procedures and ensure their members' wishes are respected.
Their presence, however, has been criticized by a former Jehovah's Witness, who said it's "intimidating."
By Guest Nicole
(QUEBEC) The Government does not intend to restrict access to hospital rooms to specific groups, religions of the disciples, said yesterday the Minister of Health, Gaétan Barrette.
“You ask me to decide on a person can receive visits from his entourage. You are going away, “said Mr. Barrette briefing. Mr. Barrette has acknowledged that as a physician, he had already faced JW representations to patient.
Earlier in the National Assembly, the caquiste MP Simon Jolin-Barrette had claimed that Quebec clearly gives hospitals the right to restrict access to patients. In addition, a judge should be asked to intervene to assess if a patient refuses treatment rightly whose life may depend, proposed caquiste Member for Borduas.
The young Eloise Dupuis, died last week at the Hotel Dieu de Lévis, refused a blood transfusion because she was a follower of Jehovah’s Witnesses. However, shortly before his death, the young woman had been in the hospital, visiting senior members of the sect. This “Jehovah’s Witnesses Hospital Liaison Committee” had pressured the young woman to conform to the dogma and refusing to receive blood. The Sun reported yesterday that relatives of M me Dupuis had indicated that members of this group were found in the room of the young mother until the final hours of his life.
“We know that a font of blood is present in Québec hospitals,” said Simon Jolin-Barrette, caquiste Member for Borduas.
“[The policy of blood] put pressure on patients and their families, it denies access to people who are not members of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the patient’s room,” reported Mr. Jolin-Barrette. According to him, access to in-patients should fall away. Can not let the “blood police” control access to rooms.
It exceeds certain limits”
According Gaétan Barrette, it is an exaggeration to talk of “blood police”; the opposition would, in fact, create a “police visits.” But the patient is “autonomous in his choice must be done independently.” It is a “situation is dramatic.”
“But to use inflammatory language, when we talk of” blood police, “I think here we exceed certain limits,” said Gaétan Barrette.
A coroner examines the circumstances of his death.
For the PQ member Agnes Maltais, not need a judge. “Decisions on the free and informed consent, he takes daily by doctors, and it faces, in general, this kind of situation. We do not agree with the position that says that they can attack the doctors. The doctors do their job. In this case especially, we know very well that there were lawyers, there was an ethics committee and there were doctors who intervened, “said she summarized.
By Outta Here
3- part Turning Points in History documentary on the period of persecution experienced by Jehovah's Witnesses in Quebec, Canada under the tenure of Maurice Duplessis.
Part 1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_jGrPTbmmg
Part 2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILLA_7ruZ0o
Part 3 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jLEUGUPo78
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