Tuesday, May 22, 2018

SPEAK FRENCH!...The New 'Speak White'

You may have seen this video of a New York lawyer going ape-shit over employees of a New York city salad shop speaking Spanish amongst themselves and to customers, much to the consternation of this nativist who took exception.

 The viral video took the Big Apple by storm and the complaining lawyer learned the hard way just what power the internet can yield.
He was subjected to some good-natured ribbing in the guise of a mariachi band who serenaded his apartment building along with plenty of protesters.
“On Friday, hundreds of demonstrators sang along with the mariachi performers and carried signs that read “Se habla Spanish” or “Racism, no Bueno.” Link

It actually turned unfunny as the lawyer was booted from his shared office space and is suffering a series of vicious public attacks.
A reminder to all about public outbursts and the consequences in a camera yielding society.

I didn't think much of it until a family member living in New York pointed out the obvious, that things like this play out in Quebec more often than we believe.
The only difference being that here, telling people not to use English is not only acceptable but the new normal.

Remeber this story of a teenager who was told in no uncertain terms that speaking English to an Anglo co-worker in the break room was verboten. 
Meaghan Moran, 17, got a job working at an IGA on Sir-Wilfrid-Laurier Blvd. in Saint-Lambert. She was told that she didn't have the right to speak English at the store.
A fluently bilingual Anglophone, she told CTV Montreal she picked up on some language tension one day.
“One of the guys I was working with is English and I knew him and he said, ‘No, talk to me in French because we're not allowed speaking English on the floor,” she said, adding that she quickly heard what her friend and ex-employee Alex Caldwell knew: employees don't feel comfortable speaking English anywhere in the store.
“I was warned by a friend in the lunchroom to watch what I say and keep my English down, because the management didn't like it and she got a warning,” said Caldwell.
That didn’t sit well with Moran.
“It's just about the principle. You should be able to speak whatever you like. I understand if they want to impose (some rules) -- I'm not going to talk to clients in English, I would talk to them in French -- but if I want to talk to my friend on my break in English, I should be allowed,” she said. “It's becoming too restrictive.”
Store owner Louise Menard, who also owns other IGAs, refused an on-camera interview, but explained her reasoning in a phone interview. She said she thinks that when employees speak their own languages amongst themselves, whether it's English, Russian or Spanish, even on their own time in the staffroom, it creates tension and misunderstandings in the workplace.
Menard did emphasize that speaking only French in her establishments is not required, rather it's requested.
That isn't what some employees at her Saint-Lambert store are told, however.
When Moran decided to quit, she recorded her conversation with two superiors.
“If we permit languages other than French to be spoken, what will happen in the employees’ room? We'll have a ghetto. We'll have a small group of Spanish, a small group of English,” said one supervisor.”   Read the entire story
 No mariachi band in front of the IGA grocery store, no food truck serving bangers and mash in protest, just muzzled indifference.

What passes for racism in New York, is considered as enlightened patriotism here in Quebec where the entire legislature, including our turncoat Anglo representatives, voted to demand an end to the infamous Bonjour/Hi greeting.

Across Montreal, I've heard similar stories where English spoken between co-workers is discouraged and where speaking English leads to a hostile work environment, especially in large institutions like hospitals or in factories and businesses..


The New York story is a stark reminder of just how low we have sunk. The above video reminds us that accosting Anglos over French is no big deal.

I'm betting that many French language militants who watch the above video from New York and Montreal are silently cheering them on.

Perhaps the Société Saint-Jean Baptiste would consider making this lawyer an honourary member.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Federal Conservatives Troll for Separatist Support

I shall be upfront about my political leanings and tell you that I will vote Conservative in the next federal election come Hell or high water, which will come as no surprise to longtime readers.
That being said, I cannot say that I'm a great fan of Andrew Scheer the newly-minted Saccharin-sweetened leader of the federal Conservatives.

Although presenting as a kinder, gentler, less dogmatic and more accommodating leader than his predecessor Stephen Harper, his act rings hollow with me as the reality of his ascension to power and his quest to achieve electoral victory in the next election reeks of the same fetid politics of backroom deals with enemies, underhanded and unethical practices that plague modern-day politicians, who sell body and soul for political success.

Scheer won the leadership essentially by having the Quebec milk lobby sign up thousands as newly-created Conservatives in the run-up to the leadership convention. This for the implicit promise of Scheer's support for maintenance of the supply management system that keeps the price of dairy products absurdly high while keeping cheaper American products out of Canada.
The dairy cartel was frightened by Scheer's main competitor for the leadership, the free-trade champion  Maxime Bernier, who was on record calling for the gradual abolishment of the practice of supply management, a fancy phrase for a cartel.

As it turns out the vote was exceeding close with a point-based voting system giving Scheer the narrowest of victory of 17,221 points (51%) versus Maxime Bernier 16,578 (49%). It is estimated that 3,000 of these points were courtesy of the phoney Conservatives recruited by the Scheer forces, which means that had these fake Conservatives not voted, Bernier would have won comfortably.
It was a modern take on the old stuff-the-ballot-box cheat.
Now there are some ostriches in the Conservative party that maintain that Scheer didn't organize the fake Conservative manoeuvre but Scheer more or less admitted to the subterfuge in a speech less than a week after his victory.
"Scheer appeared at the Parliamentary Press Gallery Dinner — Canada's version of the White House Correspondents' Dinner, just with infinitely less media attention and viral moments — in Gatineau, Que. on Saturday night to roast both politicians and members of the media.
Scheer said he was a little bit annoyed at something he had seen mentioned about him in the news: that he was "beholden" to a certain segment of the Conservative party.
"I can tell you I made deals with nobody," Scheer told the audience.
"I certainly do not owe my leadership victory to anybody in the Conservative.." he added, before stopping to pick up a milk carton under his podium and taking a swig. Link
His blasé and humorous reference to what was a despicable act of cheating rubbed me the wrong way and soured me on the man who is in the end, just another cheap politician.

This last week saw Scheer trolling for votes amongst disheartened Quebec separatist voters who hitherto supported the Bloc Quebecois.
"Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer rallied his troops in Quebec on Sunday, promising them there would be more former Bloc Quebecois members joining their ranks. In a speech at a party meeting in Saint-Hyacinthe, he told some 400 supporters there would be more new members like Michel Gauthier, the former Bloc Quebecois leader who announced Saturday he was now a card-carrying Conservative party member."
 It seems that the idea of separatist support for the Conservatives is gaining momentum even in the most strident separatist circles where pragmatism within those circles seems to be coalescing around the Conservatives as the Bloc melts down. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the sitting members of the breakaway Bloc Quebecois caucus bolt to the Conservatives where Scheer stands to welcome them with open arms.
And that makes me uncomfortable because Scheer is promising these potential nationalist/separatists a bag full of goodies in a more de-centralized Canada where Quebec will be offered even more powers at the expense of Ottawa.

I don't like Andrew Scheer, but I loathe Justin Trudeau and his cadre of Liberal drunken-spenders even more.
Sadly Andrew Scheer is in my view nothing more than the lesser of two evils, and so I'll be voting Conservative with one hand dropping my vote into the ballot box while my other hand is holding my nose.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Alt-Sovereigntists Decry English Leaders Debate

Credit: Aislin, Montreal Gazette

Let me be the first to coin the term alt-separatist, or the gentler 'alt-sovereigntist,' those who take the most extreme view of Quebec society and independence, who believe in the total elimination of English and Anglophones in Quebec and this whether or not Quebec achieves independence.
Alt-separatists come in right-wing, left-wing and centrist versions, their overriding shared philosophy is that English and Anglophones pose a dire threat to the future of a French-speaking Quebec society which can brook no language other than French within a nativist Quebecois culture.
Is the term 'alt-sovereigntist,' an over-reach?...I think not.
The alt-sovereigntists are more radical and dogmatic than the mainstream sovereigntist Parti Quebecois and Quebec Solidaire. They remain the strident and radical minority within the movement. I use the term 'alt-' not as a pejorative, but rather in the literal sense of 'alternative.'

Ever since the Parti Quebecois was formed, successive leaders from René Levesque to Lucien Bouchard and now Jean-François Lisée have re-affirmed an official policy of respecting historic English-language rights, even in an independent Quebec.
Those, like Bloc Quebecois leader Martine Ouellet and many separatist journalists, maintain that an independent Quebec would eliminate English from all public life in an effort to francisize Quebec 100%. Former leader of the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste and now federal Blocist(maybe) member of Parliament, Mario Beaulieu is infamous for demanding that no English representations be made at the annual Fete St. Jean celebration, Quebec's national holiday.
These and others of the same ilk are the definition of 'alt-sovereigntists.'

Now alt-sovereigntism represents a legitimate political point of view and like the so-called alt-right movement in the United States, the alt-sovereigntist movement in Quebec is a rainbow coalition of different degrees of militancy and opinion.
At one end you have mainstream journalists like Mathieu Bock-Coté of the Journal de Montreal, who take the scholarly view and argument for the elimination of English from public life to those like Jean-Paul Perreault of Impératif Français, who share a visceral hatred of Anglos and English.

One or two common traits are shared by all alt-sovereigntists, the first being that they act as if Quebec is already an independent country and base their policies and opinions on that false premise. Another is the fact that they all purport that French is the only official language of Quebec, another nose-stretcher that is belied by the BNA Act. Of course, English is an official language (along with French) of the courts and of the legislature, something they purposely ignore.
The famous Bill 101 stepped lightly when it declared French as the official language of Quebec, careful not to use the word 'only' which would invite a court challenge that would ultimately destroy that myth.
By the way, much to the chagrin of alt-separatists, the Quebec Bar Association is now taking the Quebec government to court because (according to them) English is not being implemented in the drafting and passing of legislation as is required.
"The Quebec Bar Association has called on the Quebec Superior Court to declare all of the province’s laws, regulations and decrees unconstitutional.
The provincial bar, joined by the Montreal bar, argues in a 21-page brief that the Quebec National Assembly does not respect the requirement in the Canadian Constitution that all Quebec laws must be adopted in French and English." Link
Of course, alt-sovereigntists are easily recognized by their jargon where nary a political discussion can occur without the infamous catchphrases of 'colony' and 'colonialists' being bandied about in describing Quebec and Canada. Alt-sovereigntists are wont to describe ad nauseam all manner of humiliation that Quebec francophones suffer at the hands of the dastardly English.
Alt-sovereigntists have an over-riding disdain for immigrants not only because many adopt English as their second language instead of French, but also because they are prone to remain religiously observant instead of adopting the national religion of francophone Quebec, which is of course, lapsed Catholicism. Alt-sovereigntists whinge continually that immigrants are bad citizens because they don't readily assimilate and adopt so-called 'Quebec values,' the infamous ''poutine and maple syrup" argument.

At any rate, one of the less admirable human traits is taking a measure of pleasure in other peoples pain. The Germans actually coined the phrase 'schadenfreude' to describe the peculiar phenomenon whereby we actually derive pleasure from other peoples suffering.
I confess that I'm not immune to the effect and admit with a small level of shame that when Quebec ultra-nationalists and alt-sovereigntists suffer a humiliating defeat or a particularly devastating set of circumstances, I garner a healthy dose of guilty satisfaction.

The current meltdown of the Bloc Québécois and their doomed bloc-head (yes!) dear leader, Martine Ouellet, is a prime example of the phenomenon.
For some reason, I cannot help but cross my fingers that the pain and suffering of those involved in the current imbroglio is as painful as possible, for as long as possible.
As the blond says in the shampoo commercial says....  "Does that make me a bad person?"

I've been reading several outraged articles written by various alt-sovereigntists concerning the upcoming English debate by the leaders of the various Quebec provincial parties in the runup to the election, with that same feeling of smug satisfaction as the writers vent and fulminate over the imagined slight to the Francophone majority.
Horror of Horrors!!!!

For alt-sovereigntist, the idea of a debate in English violates the tenet that Quebec is French and French alone. For them, conducting a debate in English validates the notion that Anglophones are a legitimate partner in Quebec society, something that is an anathema to the true-believers.
As I said, I take particular pleasure in reading the screeds of frustrated and dejected alt-separatists and French language defenders who spew their particular version of painful venom.

"The symbolic significance of this debate should not be underestimated. The leaders' debate is the moment when political leaders openly debate the future of our nation. It is an essential ritual. For over fifty years, Quebec has sought to build itself around a strong principle: French is our only official language. It is on this condition that French will not only survive but assert itself in North America. Here, French cannot be one of two languages"-Mathieu Bock-Coté,

" Since 1974, the only official language in Quebec is French. For those who govern it or aspire to do so, respecting this fundamental principle should go without saying."  Josée Legault

"In Quebec, French is the common language of public use, the common language of diversity, the national language, the language of social cohesion, the language of work, the official language, the language that everyone must speak and to learn, the language that includes everyone and is for everyone ...

So why a
"leaders" debate in English!

It's a portrait made with hints of occupation and colonialism: the four leaders of Quebec's political parties, moreover francophones, will debate in English!

A powerful message! By participating in a debate in English, all the leaders convey strongly that in Quebec it is useless to speak French! It's not surprising, therefore, that many allophones do not enroll in French classes and that those who do so, abandon them and that English-speaking universities and CEGEPs continue to award degrees to students who are unable to master French or speak it at all."
These "leaders" tell them that they are right! Impératif-français
Thus the alt-sovereigntists have spoken, whilst the leaders of all the political parties ignore the entreaties.

At any rate, the English language debate begs the question; What will the leaders actually debate?
Will this be a rehash of the French language debate or will it be a debate over the place of anglos and minorities in Quebec?

If it's a debate about Anglophone rights, they may as well skip it. In consideration of Anglophones and allophones, the positions of all the parties are remarkably consistent.
All the parties have pretty much the same position that the English population has a right to exist in Quebec but none of the parties are particularly interested in enacting programs to see the community flourish and expand.
If they say different in the debate, they are conning us.
Never forget that the National Assembly voted unanimously to humiliate Anglophones by demanding that clerks stop using the familiar Bonjour/Hi greeting. Even the Anglophone quislings in the Liberal party voted for this obnoxious insult. Had they had any intestinal fortitude they could have run to the bathroom during the vote, but all decided that their job within the party was more important than defending their community.

The debate will be interesting only to see how good each of the leaders are at spinning the lie that they actually care about the English community. It is an effort at seduction worthy of a Casanova scammer where feigned romantic intentions are proffered in an effort at gaining affection and thus winning English electoral support fraudulently.

Pardon my cynicism....

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Terrorist or Nut-bar... Let's Get Things Straight.

  1. 1.
    a person who uses unlawful violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.

    "four commercial aircraft were hijacked by terrorists"

adjective: terrorist
  1. 1.
    unlawfully using violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.

    "a terrorist organization"
It's important to differentiate between those who fit the label of terrorist and those who murder because of a sad mental defect. When these wanton type of killing events unfold, our definitions are often shaped by our political views.

When Alexandre Bissonnette killed six Muslims in a Quebec City church, many in the rest of Canada were quick to define him as a terrorist and many laid the blame for his supposed radicalization on what they perceived as a racist and Islamophobic Quebec society.

But as it turns out Bissonnette was not a terrorist, just your garden variety mental case.
"The man who murdered six Muslim men in a Quebec City mosque in January 2017 had been suffering with mental illness for years and wanted to kill, a psychologist who evaluated the gunman said in court Monday....
...Lamontagne said Bissonnette harboured violent and hostile thoughts for years – sentiments that were initially directed toward his peers at school who bullied him, as well as toward former teachers.

His hostility eventually became more generalized, Lamontagne said.

Over the last few years, Bissonnette came close to killing himself numerous times, Lamontagne said. He would write goodbye letters and put the barrel of his gun in his mouth.

The killer also lied about his past psychological problems in order to obtain a gun permit, Lamontagne said.
Lamontagne said Bissonnette told him that six weeks before the mosque shooting, he considered murdering people in a Quebec City shopping centre." Globe & Mai
On the other hand, the attempted murder of Premier Pauline Marois by Anglophone Richard Bain which resulted in the death of an innocent bystander was largely described as an act of terrorism by the French media because it played into their narrative of the big bad Anglo.
"It is indisputable that Richard Bain committed an act of terrorism, by any definition of the term," prosecutor Dennis Galiatsatos writes in a summary of the arguments he intends to make before the Quebec Court of Appeal." Montreal Gazette
 Even though the crown prosecutor wants to define Bain as a terrorist for political reasons, Bain was never charged with terrorism, just plain second-degree murder.
"A forensic psychiatrist who interviewed Richard Henry Bain when he fatally shot a man after a provincial election told the jury she doesn't think he's faking a mental illness." Montreal Gazette
Richard Bain isn't a terrorist, sadly just another deranged 'done me wrong' mental case who cracked rather tragically.
So defining whether a murderous act is terrorism seems to have a lot to do with our political views.

The tragic truck-ramming event in Toronto has us all screaming terrorism until we were informed that the perpetrator was, in fact, an Armenian Christian, which had us immediately changing hypothesis that the act was in fact that of an unhinged nutbar.
If that same nut-bar was in fact, Muslim, the label of terrorist would have stuck.

The same goes for the two so-called terrorist acts which took the lives of two Canadian soldiers in two separate incidents, one in Ontario and one in Quebec. Both perpetrators were actually just mentally unhinged.

In Canada, we are lucky in that we haven't had a serious terrorist incident since 1985 when horrifically, 329 people were killed, including 280 Canadians. The flight originated in Toronto, bound for India with stops in Montreal and London. The 747 exploded off the coast of Ireland courtesy of a bomb placed by a group of Canadian Sikh separatists from British Columbia led by Talwinder Singh Parmar. 
Those people define the word 'terrorist.'

Next time you hear of a so-called terrorism act, ask yourself this question ..."Nut-bar or Terrorist?"

These random acts of violence have us frightened because we believe that there's nothing to be done to prevent getting injured or killed, and in most cases that is so.
But two recent incidents during two stressful situations reminded me that to a large degree we are responsible for our own safety and unfortunately some of those who died in the truck-ramming incident might have survived had they paid attention to what was going on around them.

First is a picture of the Southwest airline airplane where one woman died when an engine exploded.

Look at these three idiots wearing their masks improperly, not covering their mouth and nose as is explained by the cabin crew in every pre-flight demonstration. Unbelievable!

Next, I want to talk about situational awareness, taking note of your surroundings and understanding when a situation becomes dangerous.

We've all seen the video of the brave Toronto police officer who stared down the truck-rammer and made the arrest without a shot being fired.

Not many of you noticed the three idiots strolling by what was a most dangerous confrontation.
They casually walk by as if there is no danger when clearly there is a good chance bullets will be flying.

It is called 'Normalcy Bias,'
"When disaster strikes, some people lose their heads, some people become cool and effective, but by far most people act as if they've suddenly forgotten the disaster. They behave in surprisingly mundane ways, right up until it's too late."
 The trio of pedestrians strolling right by the confrontation define 'normalcy bias,'  and unfortunately, some of those mowed down by the truck-rammer failed to act in their own self-interest, freezing instead of fleeing.

I remember shopping in Montreal's tony Rockland Shopping centre when I was surprised by two policemen hugging the wall and slinking around a corner with guns drawn. It didn't take me long to understand that a silent alarm had been triggered. I immediately turned and hurried in the opposite direction but to my amazement, all the shoppers who also saw the cops kept right on doing what they were doing without any reaction!
It taught me a valuable lesson in 'situational awareness' and I have practised staying away from trouble my whole life.

If there is one piece of advice that I can offer it is to PAY ATTENTION to your surroundings and situation and understand that things can be dangerous even if all the others around you don't react.

Don't be afraid to err on the side of caution and more importantly recognize when you need to act.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Quebec Government Fails Families Dealing with Autism

As the grandfather of a sweet and lovable four-year-old who just happens to be autistic, I read with profound disappointment and sadness of the ongoing crisis in the autism community whereby a group of parents announced that they are reluctantly planning to sue the government of Quebec in an effort to get funding for much-needed services.

First let me say that these parents already have their hands full caring for their autistic children, trying their darnedest to cope with the challenges of everyday life and the special needs of a child on the spectrum. The proposed lawsuit is not frivolous, but a necessary step to somehow get the government to live up to its responsibility.
At a press conference on Sunday, parents were at wit’s end and left with no other choice but to take legal action.
They now plan to file multiple civil rights complaints to the Commission of Human Rights.
“We want respect, we want that their rights for education, for living, for dignity are respected,” Taboada said, “and we’re going to go all the way. All the way.”
The Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR) believes the province’s failure to provide proper services and education is a clear display of discrimination based on disability — and that violates children’s rights.
Together, the parents and the centre are also looking to launch a class action lawsuit against school boards. Global News
There is a special strain that parents of autistic children endure and while the situation of every child on the spectrum may be different, some things are shared among all.
First is the pain and guilt of having an autistic child and the overwhelming frustration. Then there is the constant humiliation that parents endure when their child is asked to leave a restaurant or another parent in the playground tells you to do a better job bringing up your bratty child because of an outburst. 
I myself witnessed a bitter old bag sipping her free McDonald's coffee in the Cavendish mall food court, chastise my daughter for my grandson's outburst, telling her to be a better parent and control her child. 
People can be cruel.

Some children on the spectrum can't deal with crowds or noise or bright lights. Some can't talk and expression is difficult. Some have difficulty showing affection and perhaps some don't have affection, every case is different.
Some autistic children on the high end of the scale do well and with therapy can attend regular schools. Some cannot and need a special school and intense behavioural therapy. 

But autistic children, whatever their situation, need therapy and they need therapy as early in life as possible.

It is here that our Quebec government fails horrifically. Our politicians are indifferent to the financial plight of these families because they are hitherto easy to ignore.
The aid provided is laughable. The government only offers a minimum of services between the ages of five and twenty-one. 
What happens before and after?
Therapy must begin as soon as autism is diagnosed, usually at two or three years old
Last year the government announced with great fanfare an investment of a paltry $29 million dollars of which none of the autistic families have seen a penny as of yet. 
In order to get some financial aid of up to $3,000 families must fill out form after form and do hoops to get aid with most families rejected.
As for those limited services and resources that the government does provide, funding is so restrictive that children in need are forced onto waiting lists where they can linger for years without getting any treatment. Families are faced with the burden of funding these treatments that can cost hundreds of dollars a week, or paying for private schools with tuitions upwards of $25,000 a year.
How many Quebec families can realistically sustain that kind of financial burden?
In the meantime, foreign trespassers who breach our border illegally are welcomed with open arms and are immediately provided with a $600 a month stipend until their case is heard, which of course may be years.

How out of touch are politicians?
They spend our money mindlessly on fantasy and vanity projects like lighting up the Jacques Cartier bridge for $40 million dollars or car races that nobody wants to see that cost $30 million dollars.
What taxpayer in their right mind would choose to fund these idiot projects instead of helping families with real problems?

My grandson is doing fine because he has loving parents, grandparents and family who work tirelessly as a team to make sure he gets the treatment he deserves and the daily support he requires.
Our situation is different in that we can afford the tuition to his special needs school and therapists on the weekend.
It is an expense that the vast majority of parents can't afford and I can only imagine the desperation families endure when money or the lack thereof hinders treatment.

Although autism is what this article is about, I have the same concerns for parents dealing with children with severe physical handicaps or illness.
Last year my son-in-law and I drove to a stable in the Laurentians that provided therapeutic interaction with horses for special needs children. 
Some children had difficulty controlling their muscles, some children had difficulty with autism and some were wheelchair bound.
What they all had in common were parents who were trying to give them the best life they could, parents who could use a little help from their friends.

Instead of embracing its responsibility to help these families, the government of Quebec is looking to get away cheap. It's shameful.
If anything the proposed lawsuit will embarrass the government into paying up. 
It should never have come to this.