Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Oh Quebec!.....Say It Ain't So..

I'm no longer writing my French versus English posts but will periodically bring you the bizarre, lighthearted, stupid, inane and downright perplexing stories that make living in Quebec so much fun.
I'm not particularly bashing francophones or Quebec, Anglos in other provinces are just as wasteful and stupid, governed by idiot politicians and clueless civil servants.
But Quebec is my home and that's what this blog is about.
Let's start with a doozy....

World's most moronic fine

I guess the police have too much time on their hands in a tiny town near Quebec City, so police are trolling for obscure infractions to fill their time and perhaps their quota of tickets.
Here's a $107 ticket issued by the Sureté du Quebec, the provincial police.
The infraction?
Not having a little plastic stem covering the valve on a tire.
I'll bet dollars to doughnuts not one in a thousand of you thought that this is a thing.
Now I actually checked as to why the valve stem cap is so important and it comes down to car maintenance and nothing to do with road safety. It's like the cops giving you a ticket for not changing your oil. ...sigh.
$107 bucks...Sheesh!

PQ leader sets bar low, fails anyways...

There's a certain sadness learning that Bloc Quebecois leader Martine Ouellet has resigned in the face of a confidence vote that saw the sad-sack separatist get just 32% of the party members' vote in favour of her leadership.
Caption: "As soon as she's finished her speech, light the fire!"

These type of leadership confidence votes usually happen after an election loss and where leaders usually resign should they not achieve at least 70% support.
Bernard Landry of the PQ  resigned after getting close to 75% of the vote and Thomas Mulcair left after 52% of the NDP members voted for a leadership review.

Ouellet set the bar low, telling all that if she garnered 50%+1 (the infamous separatist referendum threshold) she'd stay on.
Alas, it was not to be and in a long blistering farewell speech, she called out the media and settled accounts with her 'betrayers' in the party, thus inspiring the above cartoon drawn by famed Quebec caricaturist Chapleau.
At any rate, Ouellet returned to Quebec's National Assembly to run out her term as an independent MNA, where she promptly announced that she might deny the unanimous consent required to transform the moribund La Presse newspaper into a non-profit.

Now everyone in the media is discussing the schism between Ouellet and her ex-caucus members who supposedly quit over the principle of whether the role of the Bloc is primarily to promote sovereignty or to defend Quebec rights in Ottawa.
All this is a smokescreen because the real reason that the BQ caucus bolted was because Ouellet is actually bat-shit crazy, a complete shrew who created a toxic work environment. This is widely confirmed by those who worked for her before in the PQ.
Think I'm exaggerating?
The current leader of the PQ, Jean-François Lisée breathed a huge sigh of relief at her defeat and when asked if she'd would be welcome to run for the PQ in the upcoming provincial election, skilfully dodged the question, leaving his position eminently clear.
Bye-bye Martine and don't let the door hit you in the ass..

I've teased in the past over her incredible gaff in a Radio-Canada interview where she displayed an utter lack of understanding between a loan and a loan guarantee, even though the incredulous interviewer tried her best to explain the difference.
Watch the interview HERE for a good laugh if you haven't seen it.

Hydro-Quebec pisses away billions on alternative energy

No surprise that a new report claims that Hydro-Quebec has blown $2.5 billion on alternative energy like wind farms and co-generation over the past few years and will blow another  $10 billion over the next several years. The government with its sound management policy forced Hydro-Quebec to enter into contracts with alternative energy sources that cost at least 9 cents a kilowatt hour to produce while being forced to mothball its own hydro-electric plants because of poor demand. These mothballed plants produce energy at 3 cents a kilowatt hour so it makes eminent sense to our politicians  to buy overpriced energy that is 'green,' 
This is what happens when politicians mix politics with business.
Have politicians learned their lesson? What do you think?
Premier Couillard is pushing a brand new wind farm in Port-Cartier that will produce electricity at 11½ cents, which will then be resold to consumers for 7 cents with a predicted loss of another $1.5 billion over the next few years.

Quebec bar Association Claims all Quebec laws illegal

"The controversy arose from a lawsuit filed in April by the provincial and Montreal bar associations. The aim of the lawsuit is to eliminate confusion arising from differences between the French and English versions of Quebec legal texts, which have equal weight.
The two professional associations have asked Quebec Superior Court to invalidate the province’s existing laws and regulations unless the National Assembly complies with a constitutional requirement that the two versions be identical.
This provoked an uproar among the associations’ members and in the media. A request signed by 118 of the Quebec bar’s nearly 27,000 lawyers forced the association to hold a special meeting on resolutions opposing the lawsuit. The meeting, held last week in Montreal, was attended by about 740 members.
Before the meeting, the dissenters had complained that the midweek meeting would be unrepresentative, since it would be difficult for members from across the province to attend. They abruptly dropped that complaint, however, when the meeting went in their favour.
The resolution to withdraw the lawsuit is not binding on the association, and it passed by only 37 votes, for a narrow majority of 52.5 per cent of voting members, or one per cent of the whole membership.
Still, that amounts to nearly 400 Quebec lawyers voting in favour of ignoring the Constitution, the fundamental law of the land." Read More in the Montreal Gazette

Quebec teachers pressured to inflate test results

"If your school-aged child barely gets a passing grade this year, chances are, he or she may have actually failed the year. Yesterday, the education minister admitted during question period that indeed, if you get a 57, 58 or 59 on a provincial exam, a piece of software automatically rounds the mark up to 60.
The PQ's education critic, Alexandre Cloutier, grilled Sebastien Proulx on the subject yesterday, and eventually forced the ministry's staff to inform Proulx that indeed, 57s, 58s, and 59s were turned into passing grades.
And reports are also suggesting borderline fails on final report cards sometimes also get changed to minimal passes — without the teacher's consent." Read more

Complaints about French at Montreal Grand Prix

At a press conference during Montreal's Formula 1 race a reporter asked driver Lance Stroll a question in French, only to be shot down by organizers.
Before Stroll could answer, the organizer stopped the response and asked the reporter to repeat the question in English because all news conferences in relation to F1 are by policy to be conducted in English only.
The reporter was, of course, indignant that in Montreal, questions had to be asked in English, when the driver spoke French. All this is more of the same, not particularly newsworthy, but this next bit offered by the reporter definitely raised my eyebrows.
"We are in Montreal, a French-speaking city, and I put my question to a francophone driver, so the question is in French," said the representative of the Journal. Link
 Lance Stroll a francophone??????

Lance may speak a passable anglophone French, but a francophone he is not.
This same excess happened when Eugenie Bouchard popped onto the scene and was claimed by the Quebec media as a francophone because she spoke French. The media went so far as to add an accent to her name "Eugénie" before realizing that although she had a French father, she was brought up as an English Montrealer with very good French.
Off the subject, I'll remind readers that in a press conference in Paris at the French Open, a French reporter remarked that he much preferred Eugenie's anglophone accent to that of the native Quebecois. Ha! Ha!

No Sympathy for disgraced Liberal MP

You might remember the story of ex-Liberal MP Gerry Sklavounos who was accused of rape by a woman who had sex with him in his hotel room on more than one occasion. The police investigated and concluded that the rape part of the allegation never happened but for the married politician, the jig was up and he was excluded from the Liberal caucus.   Some of us felt that he was unfairly treated because no crime occurred, other than cheating on his wife and family.
I was somewhat ambivalent about the story, he made his own mess and suffered the consequences, even if he didn't break the law.
But now a story has cast a new light on why the Liberals were so quick to usher him out of caucus.
The story is about a fifteen-year-old who was hit upon by Sklavounos and the story is completely credible.
The girl never complained to officials, wishing to put the incident behind her and it only came out in the investigation the Liberals held in relation to the rape allegation.
The victim told reporters; 
I don't need the weight of a court process now in my life. I have other things  to manage and I need to focus on the positive. I do not want to go there. - Maude-Félixe Gagnon
Not the words of a false accuser, that's for sure.

If you had any sympathy for Gerry Sklavounos, keep reading..

Here's a partial translation of a La Presse  article written by Tommy Chouinard and if you read French, please do him the courtesy of reading the original article HERE
"Maude-Félixe Gagnon became known in the political world in 2013, at the age of 13 years. She announced on social networks her change of allegiance, from the Parti Quebecois to the Liberal Party of Quebec. She said she was disappointed by decisions of the Marois government...
By the end of April 2015, Maude-Félix Gagnon went with a friend to the National Assembly, as she occasionally did, to attend Question Period. She reportedly met Gerry Sklavounos in the lobby of the Parliament Building near the cafeteria. She had already spoken to him at partisan events, starting in 2013. "He said," It would be nice if you came to see the office of the deputy [government] leader."
She went to the MP's office late in the afternoon, alone. Her friend had "gone to take the train back to Montreal," she says. A journalist confirmed this fact, adding that Maude-Félixe Gagnon had told her about her misadventure with the member.In his office at the end of April 2015, the member invited Maude-Félixe Gagnon, a fourth-year high school student, to dinner. "I told him," It would be fun but that I had to ask my mother before. "
The remark did not cool his ardour, she said. He suggested that
after dinner, she go  to his apartment located above the restaurant Louis-Hébert on Grande Allée. "We could play chess in my room," he said. She told him in splendid naivety that she did not know how to play chess.
"He's a handsome gentleman, he's imposing, he has a sense, but I was far from thinking about that," she says. Then the member "put his hand on my thigh." "It was unwanted physical contact," she says. "He asked  personal, very personal questions about my emotional life, about my experiences, about what I had previously experienced, perhaps, with boys," she alleges. "He ended up asking me," Have you ever slept with anyone? "
He  then approached me, I froze and he kissed me on the mouth. "It was unwanted. ..."....She have finally returned home. "I pretended that nothing had happened. "

NHL to Quebec city: No soup for you!

Much to the chagrin of local Quebec city hockey fans, it doesn't look like Quebec city will get an NHL team in the foreseeable future.
According to comments made by Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, there simply isn't a market for an NHL team in Quebec City.
“Quebec is challenged, I’ll put it nicely,” Jacobs said as per The Athletic. “Look at the income base and the population base and there probably isn’t a smaller market, so they’re really going to have to distinguish themselves in some other way. You look at Houston, and it’s the fifth-largest market in North America versus the 105th(market), let’s say. They have a different situation there. Economically they’re challenged and numerically they’re challenged. They just don’t have the numbers. We have enthusiastic fans there – there’s no doubt about that.”   Link
Not helping the situation is the fact that the pre-season game held last year between the Habs and the Bruins in the new Centre Videotron attracted only about 9,000 fans, less than half of capacity.

In fact, the Centre Videotron is becoming quite the white elephant, losing millions because of the lack of activity.
The arena is having trouble attracting fans and concerts by The Weeknd and the Red Hot Chili were cancelled due to poor ticket sales.
How bad is it?
There are just two events scheduled in June, none in July and four in August. The arena is losing money on operations, that is to say, the operators were given a free $400 million taxpayer paid built arena and still cannot make money operating it.

CAQ proposes "Values" test for immigrants

"Choose your Quebec"
"The party leading the race to form Quebec’s next government is doubling down on a controversial policy that would test immigrants for Quebec values before allowing them to stay in the province permanently.
The Coalition Avenir Québec also now says it would rely on Ottawa’s co-operation to expel or relocate undesirable immigrants to ensure compliance with the policy. However, the federal government seems unlikely to support the plan....
...Immigrants would have to pass the values, language and employment test within four years to receive a Quebec selection certificate – a document that is the first step to gaining permanent residence in the province under the immigration program it shares with Ottawa. Those who flunk would be handed off to Ottawa for relocation or expulsion under the CAQ proposal." Read the rest of the story
So what would this values test look like?
I turned to Vigile.dreck for some guidance from its resident enthno-centric hater Raymond Labrie who has some clever ideas.
1- In Quebec, the laws of the country take precedence over the precepts of religions. What do you think of this statement?
2- In Quebec, parents do not choose the spouse of their minor daughter several years in advance (arranged marriages). Are you OK with that?
3- In Quebec, there is equality between men and women. The veil is generally perceived as a desire to inferiorize women. Are you ready to adopt the Quebec vision and give up wearing the veil?
4- Sharia court is considered bad in Quebec. Are you ready to fight its implementation and its application?
5- Abuse of children and one's spouse is condemned in Quebec.
6- If your child wants to marry someone of another religion or ethnicity, do you have the authority to oppose it and do anything to stop it?
7- Do immigrants have to adapt to our customs and ways of doing things, or must they force us to adapt to their own ways through requests for accommodation and legal recourse?
8- In Quebec, there is freedom of expression. Everyone can challenge or oppose an ideology, a religion, an idea, a political party, to elected officials. Do you agree with this statement?
9- In Quebec, a child can freely choose his future job. What do you think?
10- In Quebec, there is equality between men and women.
a) Can a wife stand up to her husband and not obey him?
b) Can she make her own choices, make her own decisions?
c) Can she keep the money she earns and make the use she wants?
11- Does the husband know better than the woman what is good for her?
12- In Quebec, there is democracy. Can someone dictate to his relatives whom to vote for?
13- In Quebec, homosexuals are accepted. Is it good or bad?
14- At the hospital, can a woman be examined by a male doctor without the presence of her husband?
15- In the hospital, can a man refuse to be treated by a female doctor?
16- In Quebec, we advocate the religious neutrality of the employees of the state. Is that good or bad?
17- In Quebec, there is the principle of secularism, the separation of state and religion. Is this a good thing?
18- Is it an acceptable practice for a woman to walk behind her husband on the sidewalk?
19- Can a woman refuse to have another child?
20- Can a woman use contraception without her husband's knowledge?
21- Quebecers love to eat the tasty pork produced in Quebec and which is sought throughout the world for its quality. Would it be better to dissuade us from eating it?
22- Dogs are greatly appreciated as pets. They are considered man's best friend.  Is it a good thing that you approve wholeheartedly?
23- Are you open to changing those practices that hurt us and are poorly viewed in Quebec in order to prove your desire for integration?
24- Quebeckers have a system of values ​​that they favour. Are you ready to adopt as many as you can?
25- Are you ready to condemn and fight animal cruelty like halal, kosher or others?  Link{fr}

No racism here....

In another story of no-racism in Quebec...
"Members of the Maghrebian (North African Muslims) community are less than twice as likely to be interviewed for a job in Quebec, according to the first study of its kind in the region.

Quebeckers of Maghrebian origin who are looking for work in the Quebec City region must send twice as many résumés to get a job as native Quebecers 'du souche," according to a study done by a doctoral student in sociology at the University Laval, Jean-Philippe Beauregard....

..."Equally competent, they are ignored. They do not have the same chance to present themselves in an interview, "says Beauregard. Link[{fr}
Quelle surprise!

Oh well....

Karma's a bitch!  Link

Montreal police crash retro-theme car.

In honour of Montreal F1 race, Ferrari puts out a tribute to our fair city..... Sheesh???

It seems that Quebec laws have been amended to hit offending cyclists with demerit points as well as a fine for riding contraventions, like stop signs and red lights.
This women in Sorel received 3 demerit points as well as a $48 ticket for not stopping at a stop sign.

So here's the thing that cyclists should remember.
It isn't required by law to carry a driver's license when riding your bike.

So be smart LEAVE YOUR DRIVING LICENSE AT HOME while bike riding and keep another form of identification on you.
Actually, you need no ID to ride your bike but must provide your name and address to police upon being stopped.
While police can track down your license with the information provided, they are probably too lazy to go through the work.
You've been warned!!

Hilarious and sarcastic commentary by furious motorist as cyclists ignore bike path.  
Where's that cop who gave out the ticket for the tire cap when you need him?

Further reading...

Quebec's biggest rental scofflaw strikes again. Twenty years of not paying rent.  IN FRENCH 

Government agency spends $100,000 on a conference room table and chairs. Boss tells reporters that it's a solid table. IN FRENCH 

Corruption cops complain Quebec justice slow to prosecute Liberal party fundraisers IN FRENCH 

Nothing to do with Quebec, but I couldn't resist....

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

NAFTA...Time To Throw Mexico Under the Bus

Yes, I know, it isn't the Canadian way to abandon friends and allies but sometimes national self-interest is more important.

Nobody in the docile Canadian media is saying what is painfully obvious, that is that it is time to admit that Mexico is holding Canada back from a successful re-negotiation of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Donald Trump could not have been clearer in outlining his position that he would prefer his to sink NAFTA as it stands and re-negotiate separate trade agreements with Canada and Mexico.
"To be honest with you, I wouldn't mind seeing NAFTA where you'd go by a different name, where you'd make a separate deal with Canada and a separate deal with Mexico.....You're talking about a very different two countries."- President Trump
It's time for Canada to embrace this idea because it's painfully clear that Mexico is going down and will no doubt drag Canada with it, if we stick around.

Let's face it, making common cause with Mexico isn't in Canada's interest anymore. Donald Trump has made no bones about his disdain for Mexico and border jumpers and has promised to take action during his campaign for the presidency.
Media mavens and pundits have continually misunderstood Trump's obsession with doing what he promised.
Upon election, he immediately scuttled American participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trading agreement, exactly as he promised.
Much to the shock of seasoned pundits, he moved the American embassy to Jerusalem, exactly as he promised.
Readers should note that moving the embassy was a promise that Presidents Obama, Clinton and  Bush all made, all of whom who reneged.
When Trump made that same promise, it was widely expected that he too would renege, but he did not, even in the face of tremendous criticism and pressure.

Canadian negotiators should understand his morbid obsession with fulfilling campaign promises will mean that ultimately NAFTA, as it stands, will have to go.

Instead of trying to save the doomed NAFTA agreement, Canada should set itself apart from Mexico and indeed from Europe, Japan and China in negotiating a favourable trade agreement.
Because Canada isn't in the same boat as the other countries that do trade unfairly and which do actually take advantage of America's trade largess.

Europe, China and Mexico all share obscene trade imbalances with America, while Canada does not. Canada doesn't put up as many phony trade barriers against America's goods as does Europe, Japan and China.

Canada/US trade accounts for a staggering US$582 billion dollars with Canada sending the United States US$299 billion and America sending us US$282 billion, a trade difference in Canada's favour of just 3%.
Considering that much of what Canada sends the US is raw materials and oil and that the United States sends us manufactured goods and food, it means that the US enjoys a large advantage in actual jobs related to the trade.
It is perhaps the fairest bilateral trade situation in the world.

But such is not the case with the other trading partners.
Here are the actual trade numbers with the other trading partners, all of which enjoy huge trade imbalances.
  1. China - $636 billion traded with a $375 billion deficit with a 60% trade advantage
  2. Mexico - $314 billion traded with a $71 billion deficit with a 23% trade advantage
  3. Japan - $204 billion traded with a $69 billion deficit with a 30% trade advantage
  4. Germany - $171 billion traded with a $65 billion deficit with a 38% trade advantage
Many of these so-called free-trading partners put up artificial tariffs and barriers against American goods, especially in the automotive sector and Trump is justified in attacking them over protectionist trading practices.

Canada isn't in the same boat as the other countries and shouldn't be lumped in among them.

It's time to make this point and to negotiate a deal that is fair to us and America and if it requires dumping Mexico to do so, we should not hesitate.

The deal is there for the taking, Trump has already said so in no uncertain words. We'd be idiots to ignore his resolve, otherwise, we might find ourselves without a vital trade agreement and perhaps the US embassy in Ottawa moved to Cornwall.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

If You Are a Palestinian Supporter Read This.

When I was in high school, we studied European history and touched on the Hundred Years War fought between England and France for control of France. The war actually lasted for almost 115 years with fighting taking place in spurts and fits with lulls lasting years.
I remember asking myself how could a war last so long, with generation after generation taking up arms in a conflict that seemed to have no end.

Then I reminded myself that the war between the Palestinians and the Israelis is now into its eighth decade with no end in sight. It's unbelievable.

The war started with the British mandate in Palestinian being partitioned into Jewish and Arab sections and the subsequent declaration of the Nation of Israel which was duly recognized in a vote of the United Nations. Arab neighbouring countries of the new Jewish state objected and launched what is now known as the Israel war of Independence. At the cessation of hostilities, after Israel beat back the invading Arab armies, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians left Israel, either driven out by the victorious Jews or convinced to leave by the defeated Arab forces.
And so was born the 'Palestinian problem'  where the refugees were kept in displaced person camps in the various Arab countries surrounding Israel which refused to absorb them into the general population for political reasons.

Sadly, this war has not ended and like the Hundred Years War, it has seen lulls punctuated with periods of intense warfare, but sadly never peace.
The defacto war continues to this day and to pretend otherwise is self-delusion.

In this context, we can understand the Israeli blockade of Gaza and the Palestinians rocket and terror attacks against Israel.
It is a continuing war, plain and simple.

Palestinians use the meagre means at its disposal like rockets, terrorism, bombs and underground tunnels in a somewhat futile attempt to continue the fight. In order to win international support for its cause, the Hamas rulers send children to confront Israeli soldiers and accept the casualties as part of the war effort.
Israel for its part has no problem in inflicting collective punishment upon its enemies.
It is a war.
Blocade, bombing, terrorism, murder, death and destruction.

Over the various battles fought between Israel and the various Arab states, Israel defeated its opponents and expanded its borders in consequence, seizing land from Egypt, Jordan and Syria, growing more and more powerful over the decades
Weary of the battle that has lasted so long and more importantly, recognizing that Israel is just too powerful to oppose militarily, Egypt sued for peace and regained lost territory, abandoning the Palestinian cause in the bargain.
Jordan did so as well, ceding Jerusalem and the West Bank to Israeli control, ridding itself of its own Palestinian problem in the bargain.
While Syria never conceded the loss of its sovereign territory to Israel in the Golan Heights, it did, however, accept the ceasefire and has ceased from engaging in battle or terrorism with Israel ever since.

Just recently Syria has made a secret agreement with Israel to retake its land lost in its civil war abutting this ceasefire line under the condition that Iranian or Hizbollah forces are to be kept away and out of the fight and that the ceasefire line be respected.
Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states are cautiously calling for the recognition of Israel. There is, of course, no love loss between these states and Israel, but because of the threat of Iranian encroachment, the Sunni States are choosing to side with Israel and its army which to them, represents the most powerful weapon against Iranian expansion.
Egypt has accepted clandestine Israel military help in combating its war against Sinai desert rebels and Israel has allowed Egypt to re-militarize the zone. Cooperation.
Egypt has also imposed a blockade and embargo on Gaza, sealing the border crossing and limiting travel and imports because of the Hamas regime's support of Sinai rebels.

It's pretty clear that most of the Sunni Arab world has or is in the process of abandoning the Palestinian cause, for practical political reasons.

And so the Palestinians are left to carry on the war against Israel by itself, a David and Goliath scenario that won't finish well for them. Resistance is futile.

It is perhaps moot to discuss who is right or wrong in the Palestinian/Israeli war. A resolution to the conflict won't be based on right or wrong, it will be based on power and if you are a Palestinian supporter and believe that their cause is just, I won't argue the point.

But reality dictates that the ongoing staus quo of war between Israel and Palestine is more acceptable to the Israelis, given that the Palestinians demands to end the war are totally unacceptable to the Israeli side, especially considering the power imbalance.
And so the Israelis accept that a limited outburst of fighting must take place every few years with the disproportionate harm done to the Palestinian side.
The Israelis cynically call this process "Mowing the Lawn"

Palestinians and their supporters must understand that the two major demands they make won't be ever met by Israelis, preferring instead the prolongation of the war that they are winning at a minimal cost.

Jerusalem will never be divided and ceded to the  Palestinians and the so-called right of return whereby millions of the descendants of the displaced Arabs now living in diaspora will be allowed to return to their ancestral homes in Israel will never happen.

Those who support the Right of Return are dangerous fantasists. There isn't a country in the world that would allow a massive hostile element to be re-settled. It's would be like Canada accepting 25 million penniless and hostile refugees.

As long as Palestinians assert their right to over-run Israel with the millions of descendants of refugees who fled seventy years ago, the war will continue. In fact the Right of Return is so ridiculous that it serves Israel's purpose notwithstanding that most experts believe it is an ambit claim.

Israel has persevered, expanded and become a powerfully successful society that has built an extraordinary economy based on science and technology. It is more powerful and entrenched than ever with the Palestinian cause abandoned by its allies and opposed by its enemies.
War, terrorism, BDS, sanctions, humiliating anti-Israel UN motions has not shaken Israel a whit.  Israel is stronger today than ever.

So for the Palestinians, the question remains, is continuing the war really a viable option?
Sometimes you have to lose in order to win and it is time for the Palestinians to put aside their dreams of grandeur and make the best deal it can.
It is time to accept defeat and sue for peace. Even Ayatollah Khomeini accepted to drink the metaphorical glass of poison to end hostilities.

No, the Palestinians won't have the right to return and it won't have Jerusalem as its capital. Some limited land transfers to Israel around Jerusalem will be painful but not fatal.
In exchange, Palestine can finally become a country with borders and a capital in Ramallah. the embargo and blockade would be lifted and life could finally proceed on a normalized basis. Israel could help indemnify the nascent Palestinian state financially in part by the savings in military spending.
Investment could pour in from around the world and from Israel itself which faces a stark labour shortage. Gaza, which has some of the most beautiful beaches as I remember, can develop a viable tourist industry and restart farming`with Israeli know-how and investment. Gaza would be able to sell produce to Israel and southern Europe.
Concrete investment could be made in hospitals and infrastructure without fear of destruction by Israeli forces. In other words, Palestine could become a viable country.

Those who support the Palestinian cause need to re-assess the situation. While calling for resistance and war, given the military imbalance, how many more decades can the Palestinians endure, and are they as a people condemned to fight another futile and painful Hundred Years War.

Sometimes you have to accept defeat and its consequences in order to move forward.
For westerners who encourage Palestinians to fight this futile battle, they are not the ones paying the price.

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.