Thursday, July 8, 2010

"Blasphemous Libel of Ernest Davignon"

During my research into the history of blasphemy in Canada, I came across a file in the national archives titled "J.E. Godin - - St. John [Saint Jean], Quebec - Blasphemous libel of Ernest Davignon", RG-13-A-2, Volume 398, File No: 1934-308. The file contains a telegram sent by a man named J.E. Godin in 1934 to the Federal Minister of Justice complaining about the conduct of the presiding magistrate in the blasphemous libel trial of a man named Ernest Davignon. The telegram is here:

A memorandum within the file translates it as "Judge Donat Lalande seems to act as a persecutor in the matter of Ernest Davignon charged with blasphemous libel. Ask that investigation be made." A government official replied to Godin that the presiding magistrate was appointed by the Quebec provincial government and thus his conduct was outside of Federal jurisdiction. The file contains no further mention of the matter.

I thought I might come across the Davignon case while doing my survey of blasphemy cases reported in The Globe and Mail and The Toronto Star during that time period, but nothing came up. It may be worth a more focussed search sometime in the future to see just who Ernest Davignon was and why he was alleged to have blasphemed.

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