Andre Drouin’s lips curl up in a mischievous grin as he recalls the insults hurled at him at the height of the Herouxville affair in 2007. “Twit, moron, xenophobe, racist, stupid – all of it,” says the retired engineer who penned the infamous municipal charter barring the stoning, burning and genital mutilation of women in this hamlet north of Trois-Rivieres, Que.
But the recent storm over the niqab suggests l’affaire Herouxville was no anomaly. Drouin is now lending his support to a nascent coalition that aims to drum up opposition to immigration and multiculturalism in English Canada. “Three years ago, they thought I was a mad person, but right now I don’t think they think the same thing,” Drouin said.
In recent months, Drouin has spoken to small groups in Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver, where his tough talk on minorities strikes a chord with longtime critics of Canada’s immigration policy, such as Martin Collacott, a senior fellow at the conservative Fraser Institute.
Collacott and James Bissett, both retired diplomats who frequently write on immigration issues, and Drouin are among the founders of a new group that will push for a radical reduction in immigration and a tougher stand on minority accommodation.
Collacott said organizers are putting the finishing touches to a website and will launch the group, tentatively called the Centre for Immigration Policy Reform, in June.