Le Journal de Montréal is a daily tabloid newspaper published in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It is the largest-circulating newspaper in Quebec, and the highest-circulating French-language daily newspaper in North America. It was founded by Pierre Péladeau in 1964, and is owned by Quebecor Media.
Laure Gautherin

Preppers Of The World, Mask Up! Survivalism And COVID-19

With the pandemic, survivalists around the world have new reasons to prepare for the day it all comes crashing down.

Preparing for the end of the world has been going on for years. Survivalists and so-called "preppers' sprung up independently and in groups during the Cold War, largely out of the fear of a nuclear disaster. But since then, survivalism has evolved to encompass different fears, philosophies and visions of the future. Of course, it doesn't end well in any of them. But the sources of the would-be apocalypse varies, including war (foreign and domestic), environmental disaster, societal collapse, old-fashioned zombies and more.

But now, in the face of a deadly health pandemic, it seems all of us have gotten a taste of expecting (and getting) the worst. For preppers, COVID-19 may (or may not) be a time to adjust plans and sharpen the vision about how to make it when the ultimate disaster arrives.

Going "Primitive" in Quebec: Survivalism is not about stockpiling toilet paper when the government declares national lockdown. "True early preppers already had theirs," film director Christian Lalumière told Le Journal de Montréal. He recently filmed an eight-episode series called "The Last Humans' that follows a survivalist tribe, Les Primitifs (The Primitives), and aims at debunking the survivalist cliché of the old loner living in the woods, living off his homegrown food and guns.

• The focus is on what has been dubbed the "new-survivalism," a branch of the movement whose goal is mainly to reconnect with nature as an answer to all kinds of crises, from health to ecological to economic. Building a community is a big part of the philosophy.

• A very different kind of a survivalist interviewed by Radio Canada says the pandemic has exacerbated the fear of becoming the target for non-preppers, and people are buying weapons typically used for hunting for self-defense.

Les Primitifs member starting a fire — Photo: Facebook page

It's l'economia, stupido: Italian survivalists say they saw the health crisis coming and were ready for it. Their Rambo skills and stockpiled masks and food stock could be useful for the coming economic crash, unemployment and political chaos. The Italian online newspaper Linkiesta reports that more people are identifying as preppers among those financially hit by COVID-19, as well as those who fear the collapse of the government.

• More and more people are contacting survivalist groups looking to learn about producing their own resources, becoming self-sufficient and other basic survival savoir-faire in order to spend less and have less to worry about while looking for a new job and source of income.

Surviving Brexit, and then COVID-19: Long before the health crisis, another lingering threat had awakened survival instincts of some Britons: the specter of chaos and food shortages induced by Brexit trade shutdowns. As the separation with the European Union approached last December, The Guardian dubbed those stockpiling food as "Brexit hoarders." The arrival of COVID only amplified the new wave of worrying.

• Emergency Food Storage UK quickly began selling out its "Brexit Box," which contains one month worth of freeze-dried food plus a water filter and fire kit. According to the British outlet, demand has multiplied with COVID.

Photo: Emergency Food Storage UK Facebook page

U.S. - Exile from nationwide unrest and natural disaster

In the cradle of survivalism, prepping gear is an ever more fruitful business. According to Business Insider Today, the demand for gas masks, hazmat suits and other survival gear has skyrocketed due to a mix of COVID fear and other national disturbances such as West Coast wildfires and Black Lives Matter protests. Prepping has simply gone mainstream.

The U.S. has long been among the avant-garde in terms of different forms of survivalism. For the wealthiest souls of the Silicon Valley, doomsday prepping means such action as getting laser eye surgery to increase chances of survival, buying multimillion-dollar remote properties in New Zealand, having a helicopter all gassed-up and ready to fly and of course, stockpiling guns and ammo. Surviving by any (financial) means necessary.

SARS revival and everyday survival in Singapore: Any good survivalist will tell you that preparation applies to all kinds of crisis, including a pandemic. But no prepper is more prepared than one who actually went through a health crisis. In his disaster-ready home, A prepper from Singapore who gave his name as Samuel explained to Channel News Asia how the SARS outbreak in 2003 convinced him to be ready for anything to save his family. He knew exactly what he needed when the nature of the coronavirus got clearer, adding items to his impressive survival kit because he resides in a red zone for dengue.

As explained on the Singaporian news channel, prepping is about being ready for anything, from natural catastrophe to kidnapping to heart attack. It is a way of life that must happen before all hell breaks, and it's about saving yourself as well as helping your neighbor.

Final takeaway: Skills and knowledge are at least as important as the equipment. Still, it's never too early to stockpile — masks and all.

Tori Otten

What Swiss Guns Tell Us About American Mass Shootings

Switzerland is behind only the U.S. and Yemen in rate of gun ownership. For Americans, maybe it's not just about the quantity of guns but also their relationship with them.


After the shooting in Las Vegas, social media platforms predictably lit up with calls for new gun control laws. And just as predictably, American gun rights advocates repeated the truism that "guns don't kill people, people kill people." But to better understand why America has a singular malady of homicide-by-firearm, it may be worth looking at Switzerland.

Lausanne-based daily Le Temps reports Thursday that among that nation's 8.4 million inhabitants, there are about 3.4 million legally owned guns — making it the third-highest level of gun ownership in the world, just behind the United States and Yemen. But even though it has a lot of guns, Switzerland also has incredibly stringent gun laws. Anyone who purchases a firearm has to undergo a thorough background check, even when buying from a private individual. Fully automatic weapons are banned. Also, when transporting a gun, the owner must go directly to the shooting range or hunting ground and then back home. Detours, such as to the grocery store, while carrying your weapon are prohibited.

Maybe America's mass shooting epidemic is not just about access to guns.

And yes, famously neutral Switzerland is also keeping the peace at home. It has one of the world's lowest murder rates, and has had just one mass shooting in recent decades: in 2001, when a man opened fire in the parliament house, killing 14 people, including himself.

Switzerland clearly has a gun culture of its own, but a very different one than the U.S. It is based primarily in the country's mandatory military service, where Swiss citizens learn about guns in a highly controlled group setting. Owning a gun for self-defense, or for the sake of owning a gun, is uncommon, Le Temps explains. Even mid-level criminals, such as drug dealers, are generally unarmed.

So maybe America's mass shooting epidemic is not just about access to guns, but about the country's relationship with its weapons. Canada, its northern neighbor, also happens to rank high (13th) on the list of gun ownership, with a rate of 30.8 firearms per 100 residents.

As Mathieu Bock-Côté writes in the Journal de Montréal, the U.S. expresses itself "through an unhealthy passion for firearms." Gun shows, pro-gun rights rallies, gun fashion shows: Americans are obsessed with their guns.

The most impassioned argument against gun regulations is that people don't want the government "taking away" their firearms. Americans need their guns to feel safe — but sometimes also to feel powerful. When someone commits a massacre like Sunday night's in Las Vegas, Bock-Côté writes, he wants "for a moment to feel like the master of the world." Is there anything more American than that?


Second 'Trudeau Mania' Takes Over Canada

Le Journal de Montréal, Oct. 20, 2015

"New Trudeau Mania," writes French-language Canadian daily Le Journal de Montréal on the front page of its Tuesday edition, after Justin Trudeau â€" son of former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau â€" led his Liberal Party to an unexpectedly sweeping victory in general elections.

Outgoing Prime Minister Stephen Harper conceded defeat late Monday, ending nearly a decade of Conservative party rule.

The Liberals seized a parliamentary majority with a record 184 seats and are credited with about 39.5% of the vote. Before the general elections, the party was the third political force in parliament.

“My friends, we beat fear with hope. We beat cynicism with hard work. We beat negative, divisive politics with a positive vision that brings Canadians together,” Trudeau said during his victory speech in his hometown of Montreal. “This is what positive politics can do.”

The 43-year-old pledged to run a $10 billion annual budget deficit for three years to invest in infrastructure and help stimulate Canada’s anemic economic growth, Reuters reports.