Anti-feminist blogger Jean-Claude Rochefort, 74, has been sentenced to a year in prison for wilfully promoting hatred towards women.
Rochefort openly glorified the Polytechnique shooter, who claimed the lives of 14 women in 1989 as part of an anti-feminist attack.
He repeatedly referred to the killer on his blog, which had a following of thousands of men associated with the “incel” movement, a contraction of the words “involuntary celibates.”
Judge Pierre Labrie rejected the nine-month house arrest sentence sought by the defence. The offence carries a maximum of two years.
Rochefort will also be on probation for three years following his release.
During this period, he will be prohibited from possessing weapons and writing anything on the internet connected to the content for which he was convicted. In addition, he will be banned from going near the Université de Montréal or the Université de Québec in Montreal.
Jean-Claude Rochefort (2010 file photo)
Crown prosecutor Jérôme Laflamme said the conviction demonstrates a growing trend of punishing crimes against women more severely.
“This is an offence that is insidious. [It’s] another example of violence against women that was taken seriously by the judge and the court,” he said.
Speaking to reporters before his sentencing, Jean-Claude Rochefort expressed little remorse for his actions.
He described himself as a “victim,” “prophet,” “martyr” and a “great persecutor” of the Quebec state. He stressed he was only expressing his “philosophical opinions” and that he had no responsibility for the Polytechnique massacre because he “did not kill anyone.”
Rochefort has long been known for publishing hateful comments online.
In 2009, he was arrested and charged with public incitement to hatred a few days before the mass femicide’s 20th anniversary commemoration.
But he got away with it on a technicality: the notion of “identifiable group” linked to the offence, as outlined in the Criminal Code at the time, only applied to distinctions based on “colour, race, religion, ethnic origin or sexual orientation” — not on sex.
The court therefore concluded in 2010 that women were not a group explicitly protected by the section of the law in question, and the charges were dismissed.
However, the law has since evolved — in part because of Rochefort — and the concept of an identifiable group has expanded considerably to include national origin, age, gender identity or expression, mental or physical disability, and sex.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Jan. 27, 2023.