An online petition has been launched demanding that the Lionel-Groulx metro station in Montreal keep the name it has had since the late 1970s.
On Change.org, the petition’s author, Vincent Filteau, said his gesture is a response to a petition put online by Naveed Hussain, who says the metro station should instead be named after late Montreal musician Oscar Peterson, who lived in the Sud-Ouest borough.
Born and raised in Montreal’s Little Burgundy district, Peterson became one of Canada’s most notable musical talents. He died in 2007.
Filteau said that erasing Groulx’s name from the metro map would be recasting history, something he argues doesn’t need to be done. In his opinion, the intellectual contribution and the memory of Groulx deserve to be preserved.
Filteau added that by replacing the name of Groulx with Peterson, the authorities would fail in their duty to protect the population from collective forgetfulness and keep alive the link between the past, the present and the future of Montreal and Quebec.
There have been previous calls to remove Groulx’s name — a prominent Quebec priest, historian and nationalist whose legacy also includes controversial views on race and anti-Semitism that were called out by B’nai Brith in 1996 and by the movement seeking a name change in 2008.
Filteau does not, however, oppose the idea of Peterson’s name for a new metro station in Montreal.
As of Monday morning, the petition has garnered about 4,500 signatures over the past four days. The petition to rename the station after Peterson, which was launched two weeks ago, has more than 18,600 signatures.
Last week, Kelly Peterson, widow of the legendary musician, told the Canadian Press that she was delighted to see a petition asking that a metro station be renamed after her husband.
“I love the idea, I love the idea of Oscar being honoured,” she said last week.
However, Kelly, who lives in southern Ontario, added that it was not up to her to get involved in the politics of Montreal.
— With files from Global News’ Kalina Laframboise