Thursday, September 21, 2017

Jagmeet Singh - Manna from Heaven for Bloc Quebecois

Turban and Jazz hands, not a winning combo in Quebec!
The idiot leader of the Bloc Quebecois Martine Ouellet is crossing her fingers hoping and praying that the tactically-challenged NDP go ahead and elect Jagmeet Singh as their new leader.

Now given Singh's high level of support in the party, especially the old guard, the possibility of him becoming leader has me believing that the NDP did some serious polling which indicates that his religion and turban don't adversely affect his chances with NDP inclined voters.
That is everywhere but Quebec, where his religion and his turban represent a burden that the party cannot support.
Already Ouellet is staking out her position that anybody with serious religious convictions is unfit to lead Quebec. Really.
According to her;
"[Singh] says he supports the separation of church and state, but he presents the complete opposite," Ouellet said, in French. "He says he has progressive values, but what he is showcasing are religious values ...
"What we are learning is that after having seen, I'd say, the religious right, there seems to be a rise of the religious left."
When asked if Singh's turban promoted his religion, the Bloc leader said that she did not have a problem with his turban, but rather his religious values.
This sort of political argument, that those who hold deep religious values are unfitting to serve would draw gasps across Canada, but not in Quebec where religious intolerance reigns supreme.
While most of the NDP powers that be don't seem overly concerned with Singh and his turban, not so for Quebec MP's.
"Quebec MP Pierre Nantel declared that Singh and his “conspicuous religious symbols” would not fly with Quebec voters. “It has been shown that people do not want to see conspicuous religious symbols; they are not believed to be compatible with power, with authority,” Nantel told Radio-Canada."
Religion's precipitous fall grace among Quebec Francophones is nothing less than stunning, with weekly attendance at Catholic Church falling from 88% back in the sixties to around 5% today, and where French Catholic churches might very well go the way of the dodo as the older generation dies out.
Among those born to Catholic parents, baptisms have fallen to about 40% and the surprising aspect to all this is the utter disdain that organized religion has fallen into in Quebec.
There's no doubt that Bill 62 will soon pass into law in some form or another, making face coverings illegal, when giving or receiving state services.
The watered-down version of the infamous "Charter of Values" seems to have majority support in the National Assembly as well as widespread support from the public.

The anti-religion climate in Quebec is now coming to a boil from the slow simmer that existed over the last few years and electing the turban-clad Jagmeet Singh as NDP leader would be the death kneel for the party's fortunes in Quebec.
And so the sixteen NDP sitting MPs are in deep trouble and most would be wiped out if a general election would be held with Jagmeet Singh as leader.
Of the sixteen, it is likely that only Guy Caron, Alexandre Boulerice and surprisingly, ex-Ottawa bartender Ruth Ellen Brosseau would survive an election led by Jagmeet Singh.

The soft nationalists who voted in the orange wave for Jack Layton were never solidly NDP adherents and last election saw the party's fortune's crumble to 16 seats from 59 seats after the party came out against any proposed ban or restriction on religious garb.

While the other candidates for the NDP leadership have put some water in their wine concerning Quebec's apparent desire to restrict religious garb by taking the cowardly position that while they disagree with Bill 62, it is a decision best left up to Quebec voters, not so Mr Singh;
"Singh told the Star that he unequivocally opposes Quebec’s Bill 62, and predicted that, if passed, it would be found to contravene the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as Quebec’s own human rights law.
For Quebecers, them's are fighting words...

So the question is as to how many more will abandon the NDP and where these disaffected voters will park their votes come next election.
Clearly, they will go to the Bloc or to the Liberals, but what the split will be is debatable.

I'm betting that of the 13 seats that the NDP would lose with Jagmeet Singh at the helm, the bulk will go to the Bloc and at least for entertainment's sake we can look forward to electing another blithering idiot leader Martine Ouellet to Parliament.

For Conservatives, nothing could be better than the rise of the Bloc once again.
The 20 or 25 members would continue the fine tradition of carping at federalists while contributing and accomplishing absolutely nothing.
Martine Ouellet will parade around Ottawa pompously like the oblivious doufus who leaves the Parliamentary rest room trailing toilet paper out of her skirt, much to the hoots and cackles of onlookers.
While the election of Jagmeet Singh will spell trouble for the party in Quebec, it may mean a rebirth of support across the country with progressives who feel betrayed by Trudeau's empty promises and policy reversals. Mr. Singh may be seen as a bright alternative, someone who can represent the left with unabashed honesty and conviction and that may seriously hurt Trudeau outside of Quebec.

It can all play out nicely and so like Martine Ouellet, I too am crossing my fingers....

Monday, September 11, 2017

English CEGEP's Squeezing Out Anglos

PQ mantra "Nope, we don't need English to  find a job"
Quebec's CEGEP situation has evolved somewhat bizarrely as demand for placement in the few English language CEGEPs in the province has rocketed with demand by Francophones and ethnics graduating from Francophone high schools rising each year, putting a strain on resources and limiting Anglophone enrolment as standards rise.
Unlike French CEGEPs which accept any and all who apply, English CEGEPs have their enrolment capped, with no government, Liberal or separatist daring to increase capacity.
"Quebec City’s only English-language CEGEP has had to turn away hundreds of students due to jam-packed registration.
“A lot of students, around 400 students,” said CEGEP Champlain St. Lawrence campus director Edward Berryman. “We had to say no to them because we’re simply at the maximum capacity.”
Among the college’s students, 75 per cent are graduates from Francophone high schools, 15 per cent are from Anglophone schools and the rest have a mother tongue that is neither English nor French." Link
Admission standards for French CEGEPS
While entry standards for French CEGEPs are pathetically low, where you can sometimes get in without graduating high school, the grades required for entry in English CEGEP are so high (and getting higher) that it is in effect turning them into elite schools.

The inequity in application standards between English and French CEGEPs is stunning and so the English CEGEPs are attracting the best of the best students regardless of language background.

This has the perverse effect of limiting access to Anglo students who may have very good grades, but not good enough to compete with elite francophones and ethnics who opt for obvious reasons to go the English CEGEP route.

Holding the position, as does the academic elite in the English CEGEP system that the schools should be open to everyone does a disservice to the Anglophone community as long as enrollment is limited.

Let us look at the numbers.
Quebec CEGEPSs, both English and French serve 177,000 students of which 27,000 attend school in one of the five English CEGEPs.
(By the way, and not germane to this discussion, but interesting in and of itself is the fact that women make up 58% of the students.)
The 27,000 places in English CEGEPs represents 15% of all CEGEP places in Quebec, which seems rather generous when one considers that Anglophones (defined by those who attended English high school) make up  but 8% of the Quebec population.
But the hic is that half the places in these English CEGEPs are occupied by Francophones and Ethnics who graduated French high school, leaving about 8% of the total places for the 8% anglophones in the province which would seem reasonable, but alas, is not.
Anglophones choose to attend post-secondary education at a rate almost 30-50% higher than their francophone counterparts, so the strain is obvious.
And so for some programs, like science at John Abbot College, applicants won't even be considered without an 80%+ overall average, a hefty burden that only elite students can muster.

Now the English CEGEPs have a gentleman's agreement with the Education department not to encourage Francophones and Ethnics to apply to their schools, so there is no advertising or other encouragement, but they  still face an onslaught of applications.

With the Liberal government committed to freezing enrolment in English CEGEPs, it makes for a difficult situation for Anglo students with good but not phenomenal grades.

And so that takes us to the Parti Quebecois policy convention that wrapped up today and where the subject of access to English CEGEP was hotly debated with the militants demanding that the rules of Bill 101 be applied, limiting Francophones and Ethnics to French CEGEPs.
This idea was fought back by the party elite because they feared the backlash from the over 63% of francophones that back open access.
And so the compromise was offered whereby funding to English CEGEPs would be cut back to reflect the 8% reality of the English minority.

Now I'm surprised that while the reaction in the English media was negative, nobody so far has pointed out the obvious. If funding is cut, but open access maintained, it would mean that fewer students would be admitted, but still include Francophones and ethnics. This would drive down the number of Anglophones allowed to attend English CEGEPs!
Perhaps it would mean that access would require a scholastic average of over 90%!

Now language militants continue to believe that an English CEGEP education automatically leads to language transfers by Francophones assimilating into the English community. It assumes that those who grew up in a French home and went to French school until high school graduation would magically transform themselves into Anglophones by virtue of a two or three year English CEGEP experience. Pedalling this 'Chicken Little' mantra that the sky will fall is stock in trade for desperate losers trying to hold back ambitious and talented young francophones and ethnics.

Language militants have even made a more pernicious argument, that 'mixing' of the communities in CEGEP will lead to more mixed marriages and coupling, thus diluting the precious 'de souche' stock, an idea that just doesn't border on racism, but clearly defines it.
Racism aside, it isn't even true. When English/French or Ethnic/French couples get together, in two-thirds of those cases, the children attend French school.

Now the PQ came up with the comical idea of French CEGEPs offering more courses in English thus allowing for students to learn English and maintain their French heritage.
It's a good idea in theory, but one that could never happen.

I could imagine the friction between outraged student language militants opposing such an idea in their schools as well as the teachers who are largely separatists.
Offering English courses in French CEGEPs would mean hiring English language professors and getting rid of an equal amount of French language professors, something the union would never allow.

And finally, I could only imagine English classes where teachers greeted students to their English class with this scrawled on the blackboard.

Elite French students seek entry into English CEGEPs not only because they want to hone up their English, but also to soak up the atmosphere and help prepare them for living in a world that uses English as the lingua franca. They seek out a school that has the higher academic standards that generates a student body commiserate with their own academic success, something French CEGEPs could never offer.
And that folks, is the sad truth.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Bill 101 Can't Save Quebec Culture

Quebec sovereigntists, language militants and French firsters live with the fantasy that Bill 101 has and will continue to safeguard Quebec language and culture. But 40 years later they are forced to admit that while you can lead a horse to water, you cannot make him drink.

For them, forcing immigrants to adopt French would hopefully transform Africans, Asians, Caribbeans and South Americans into model Quebecers who mimic their hosts not only in language, but also in thought and demeanour.
It hasn't worked before and isn't likely to succeed in the future.
While many foreign communities have adopted Quebec as their new homeland, they largely have kept much of their traditions and culture, something that irks militants to no end.
Some communities have integrated on the English side of the language equation, some on the French side and some split, but whether on one side or the other, most of these communities have kept up their traditions, values and religious affiliation much to the chagrin of purists who demand that speaking French isn't enough and that adopting Quebec 'values' is necessary as well.

Years ago I watched with amusement the Bouchard-Taylor Commission on reasonable accommodations and as Premier Charest said a the time, it was the best entertainment on television featuring many crackpots and racists.
But perhaps the most poignant moment for me came when this statuesque Black Quebecer, an obvious immigrant from Africa complained in excellent French that 'they' (whoever that may be) are demanding that she eat poutine and maple syrup, an allegory that rightly explains language militants expectations.
A little later on in the hearing a North African complained comically that there wasn't enough foot(soccer) on television, again underlining the clash of cultures.

From a solidly white/Catholic Francophone society with a minority English community tucked away in western Montreal, Quebec is moving to a pluralistic melting pot, at least in the greater Montreal area, due to massive immigration and a precipitous fall in the birth rate.
Here language is irrelevant to those who see the 'barbarian' invasion as a threat to what Quebec used to be and blame the immigrants for staying true to their heritage, culture and religion, something bad when it comes to 'les autres,' but something good when applied to Quebecois de souche (old stock)

Generations later, these immigrant communities have stubbornly held onto their own set of values, infuriating language and culture purists who had assumed that these people would lose their religion, taste for ethnic food and cultural mores over time.

While Bill 101 forced these immigrants to adopt French, it cannot transform them into the image of their hosts, crashing the dream that Quebec could be multi-ethnic yet French and culturally homogeneous.
Language extremists are faulted for claiming that the sky is falling, but are largely correct. While Quebec is becoming more and more French, it is becoming less and less Quebecois in culture.

The stark reality is that the only way to stem the cultural derivation of Quebec society is to increase the anemic birthrate among Quebecois de souche, something that even the most strident language militants dare not suggest.
What language purists propose instead is unrealistic, placing the onus on immigrants to reinvent themselves.
Bill 101 was and continues to be popular among Francophones because it relieves them of the responsibility of safeguarding their own language and culture. It remains a convenient cop-out.

Support for safeguarding Quebec language and culture among francophones is strange in that the majority of Quebec francophones (57%) want to strengthen Bill 101, yet a majority (53%) want to be able to send their children to English schools. Over 63% of francophones want the right to an English CEGEP education. It's hard to make head or tails of those statistics.

And so the die is cast.
Unless Quebecois de souche increase their birthrate, Quebec will evolve where historical Quebecers and their society will have to share the province with those who speak French, but who are more religious and who hold different values, customs, food and traditions.

Bill 101 can't save Quebec from going down that culturally diverse road, only a dedicated effort to have more babies can, and that gentle reader, you and I both know it isn't going to happen.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Bill 101... 40 Years of Hate

There's a bit of a media hoopla over the 40th anniversary of the infamous Bill 101 language law, which placed restrictions on the use of English in Quebec and led to the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Anglophones from the province.

A lot has been written and a lot has been said by proponents and opponents of the bill but few on either side are willing to admit the truth, that Bill 101 was an instrument of ethnic cleansing, not language protection.

The author of the law, Camille Laurin, was an Anglophobe extraordinaire, a man who believed that the independence of Quebec could not happen as long as the Quebec English community thrived. Bill 101 by his own admission was an attempt not only to regulate language but an attempt to break the Quebec English community as a political force, once and for all.

And so Bill 101 was not conceived primarily as a language law, meant to redress language issues as much as it was an attempt at ethnic cleansing. The law would put the hated Anglos in their place and hopefully 'convince' them that Quebec was no longer hospitable and that for those who stayed, a promise of second class citizenship.
Laurin filled the Bill with outrageously restrictive clauses that he knew were clearly unconstitutional because he intended to provoke a fight, understanding that every inevitable defeat in the Supreme Court would be characterized as a humiliation, fuel for the separatist movement.
Every time I  think of the hateful Camille Laurin I imagine him conducting a Quebecois version of the Wannsee conference, deciding rather coldly how the destruction of the Quebec Anglo community would proceed.

 René Levesque, Premier and leader of the PQ at the time, never supported Bill 101 as it was written, believing it was too restrictive and vindictive. But his cabinet secretary Louis Bernard, aligned with Laurin, rallied the cabinet to the hard line, leaving Levesque with no other option but to support the bill. That being said, Levesque walked out of the National Assembly when Laurin tabled his bill, a snub that Laurin never forgave.
The PQ understood exactly what Bill 101 would do to the English community and in an interview years later, Louis Bernard admitted that an Anglo exodus in reaction to Bill 101 was a price that the PQ was willing to pay. What he didn't say or wouldn't admit is that this result was exactly what the PQ planned.

Still today, language militants continue to propagate the myth that Bill 101 was 'torpedoed' or 'butchered' by Ottawa instead of admitting that the constitutional challenges that led to the invalidation of many of the punitive aspects of the law were always part of the game plan. They continue to sell the big lie that Bill 101 was the innocent victim of a federalist plot to reduce Quebec's power.

But in both respects, Bill 101 was a rousing success, it chased hundreds of thousands of Anglos out of the province and elevated French to a position of domination over English in public life. It effectively broke the English community's back and when the rest of Canada decided to accept Bill 101 as the cost of keeping Canada together, the appeasement sealed the fate of the English community in Quebec.

I wonder how all the leftist Liberal and NDPers who supported this idea of indulging the separatists in order to preserve the country, would react to Israel creating a law that restricted Arabic?

Israel and Quebec both share some commonalities, they are about the same population and have a linguistic minority. Both are surrounded by neighbouring countries which speak a hostile language. Hebrew is as much at risk in Israel as French is in Quebec.
So what if Israel proclaimed that the only valid language and culture is Hebrew and that public life would henceforth be conducted in Hebrew only.
What would be if Israel enacted a Bill 101 of its own? I'm not talking about occupied territories, but Israel proper. That law might prescribe that Arabic signs could not be erected without a Hebrew equivalent, which would be obliged to be of bigger characters than the Arabic. This would apply all over Israel even in towns and villages that are predominantly Arabic, the same as in Quebec where towns like Hampstead which are 80-90% English must also post French signs according to the law. What if some public services were mandated to be offered in Hebrew only and what if restrictions would be placed on Arabic education.
What bloody Hell would break loose at the United Nations where nation after nation would lambaste Israel as racist, with Canada's NDP and Liberals front and center in the criticism.

Today separatists lament that perhaps Bill 101 was too successful because it addressed the perceived  linguistic grievance, and thus the impetus for sovereignty was forestalled. Boo hoo....

Bill 101 remains the same hateful hammer, a mean-spirited and evil concoction meant to intimidate and punish the English community with the hopeful outcome of keeping English in check.

Whenever I argue with those who say that Bill 101 has nothing to do with hate, retribution or domination, I remind them of the rule that forces an English speaking immigrant student from Jamaica, New York or London, whose mother tongue is English and someone who speaks nothing but English into the French schooling system.
Nothing could be more stupid or cruel, the argument that these people must be integrated into the French side of the language equation utterly laughable and unattainable.
Forcing Anglophones into French schools is the height of vindictiveness, an overt action of hate and aggression, meant only to punish.

Bill 101 was more about destroying the English community than protecting the French language.
It was and remains a vindictive law that successfully persecutes Anglophones for political motives, all with the quiet acquiescence of the cowardly rest of Canada.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Haitian Border Jumpers- Your Tax Dollars at Work!

Border crossers lining up for Quebec welfare payments
There are two types of Canadians, those who believe that a border is a border and potential immigrants
or refugees must go through a process to be admitted to Canada. Then there are those who despite understanding that Haitian border jumpers are breaking the law, remain sympathetic and want Canada to turn a wilful blind eye to the situation and let them in.
It's hard to reconcile the two divergent opinions and the hard and soft positions make for a lively political discussion in Parliament, the media and even across the family dinner table.

So let us examine a few things that are not in dispute or subject to subjective opinion.

Almost all these border jumpers are ineligible for consideration as immigrants, or for that matter refugees.
These people are economic migrants who seek a better home than the squalid conditions in Haiti, which is not a criterion for consideration. Almost half of the men crossing the border have criminal records, an automatic disqualification for entry under any circumstances.

But no matter, the Trudeau government, like the German government under Angela Merkel has sent signals that Canada is open, willing and able to accept those who cross the border illegally and hence the trickle of border jumpers has turned into a torrent. Who could blame those Haitians from taking their chance given their limited options and the very real fear that Trump will finally boot them out of America.

This week the Quebec government has announced that it will give these border-jumpers monthly welfare checks of $623 and more for families.
So far this year 10,000 people, mostly Haitians have crossed illegally into Canada, the vast majority through Quebec. Although the government is reluctant to give hard numbers, it is believed that up to  250 people a day are making the crossing. In July alone over 3,000 crossed into Quebec.

In the end, almost none will be ruled eligible for admission, but it isn't likely that many will be returned to Haiti. After a lengthy immigration process that will include interminable appeals that will stretch out into years, most will go underground rather than return home willingly.

So how much will the ongoing fiasco cost?
It's hard to say, given that we aren't being told how many will ultimately be let in. The potential number of those wishing to come to Canada is staggering and the situation cannot be allowed to continue, even for Trudeau's Liberals who will face a building backlash that will culminate near the next general election.

But let's crunch some numbers for the fun of it, even though it is probably an exercise in futility given that we just don't have enough information, nor can we predict how many will come over the border in the near and far future.

So let us start where we are, with 10,000 already crossed, of which 4,000 individuals and families will receive welfare payments starting at $623 per month. Interestingly, the Quebec government has cleverly omitted telling the truth about the payments to families, who make up the majority of the border-jumpers. Welfare payments for couples run about $1,000 a month and those with children increase those benefits by a couple of hundred dollars.

Now a straight calculation of what the Quebec government has led us to believe is that it will spend  $623 x 4,000 = $2.5 million dollars a month, or $30 million a year and that isn't even adding in the cost of free medicare.

But given that families are being paid more than the minimum, it is safe to say that the real amount being shelled out is much higher and since we don't know that number, let us take a guess.

All 10,000 'refugees' are being covered by 4,000 cheques and so let us hazard a guess and say that of the 4,000 cheques, 2,000 are going to individuals and 2,000 to families of four (adding up to the 10,000.)
So here is a new calculation;
$623 x 2,000 = $1.25 million dollars a month for individuals and $1,200 x 2,000 for families = $2.4 million dollars, making a new grand total of $3.65 million per month or $44 million a year.

Now let us suppose that in the next twelve months, in addition to the 10,000 already arrived, another 15,000 jump the border, which is an ultra-conservative estimate.

That means after all the calculations are done, the so called refugees are costing the Quebec government and its taxpayers over $100 million dollars a year.

In discussing the issue with a friend of mine who supports the open border, he rightly points out that although a $100 million sounds like a big number, it is actually only about 1/10 of one percent of the total Quebec annual budget of $90 billion.
Fair enough.

But $100 million taken by itself is a rather large number and an opposition leader made a very poignant point about what that money can buy.

Earlier this year the government admitted that seniors living in government old age homes (CHSLD) are being given only one bath a week because of the expense.
It seems that a second bath per week would cost $30 million dollars a year, money that the government could not authorize in good conscience because of other 'pressing' needs.

When called out on this fact by Jean-François Lisée, the Premier bristled and said that it is sad the leader of the PQ would dare to make such an association.
I actually think that it was a very good argument, one that brings the value of money spent down to a level where average citizens can understand the real cost of the refugee program.

And that gentle readers is the long and the short of it.
In the end (if there is one) Quebec can expect to dole out over $300 million dollars over the next three years and when the migrants ultimately land, either returned to Haiti, granted official refugee status or gone underground, the cost will ultimately be much higher.