Thursday, August 6, 2009

Quebec Language Wars- Vol. 3

For those French language militants who hold that the French language is on the decline in Montreal, here's further proof that English is taking over;


Five bilingual weekly newspapers in the Montreal area are now publishing in French only.

The publisher, Transcontinental Media, says articles in both French and English were taking up too much space in print, but is providing English translations on their websites.

Le Messager in Verdun, Le Messager in Lachine-Dorval, Le Messager in LaSalle, Le Magazine in Nuns' Island and Le Magazine Sud-ouest are the five weekly papers affected by the change.

read the rest of the article CTV news link

Here's an interesting letter/article that appeared in entitled;

(Blackburn soulage les anglophones)
"We have recently learned that tax relief will be available to victims Earl Jones.

Indeed, Federal Minister of Revenue, the Québécois and Canadian Jean-Pierre Blackburn, is ready to propose tax breaks for investors who were cheated by Earl Jones.

He explained that the law allows the Department to waive penalties and interest that apply to taxpayers unable to meet their obligations because of extraordinary circumstances.

The Minister calls for taxpayers affected by the alleged fraud of Earl Jones to contact the Canada Revenue Agency to find a solution.

Tax officials will analyze each on a case-by-case basis.

Did you hear Minister Blackburn offer such tax relief to victims of Vincent Lacroix of Norbourg? If so, please give me the reference.

If not, could the intervention by the Minister, in the case of the victims Earl Jones, be explained by the fact that many of the cheated investors were English, like the anglo woman who
lost more than seven million and appeared on Radio-Canada's 'Télé-journal' and who spoke French very well indeed.

As a fiscal principle that "what is good for goose is good for gander", cheated
Norbourg investors would be pleased to learn that the Federal Minister of Revenue is also thinking of them, even if they were overwhelmingly Francophone. After all, they also have the right to vote and are Canadian citizens. They may even hold a Canadian passport. They'll vote in the next federal election as will their many friends who sympathize with their misfortunes."

Robert Barberis-Gervais and Marcelle Viger, Longueuil, August 1, 2009

In discussing the possible partition of Quebec in the case of independence. Normand Rousseau in an article in an article in writes;

"It's very simple. Quebec's territory represents 16% of the territory of Canada and its population is 24%. So an independent Quebec would be disproportionately small. There is no question of reducing it further, on the contrary Quebec would be entitled to claim Labrador, Acadia, and even the French part of Ontario."

Daniel Sénéchal in an
in an article entitled Fête nationale et nation civique in writes;

"We shouldn't dream, the hyper privileged minority of anglos from Quebec and their assimilated allies have always treated it as an evil and contemptuous duty to stand outside and apart all that is Quebec. Their rallying point-all that is English. Ms. David and others may not even know that Anglos and their ilk are first and foremost Americanized-Canadians, primarily hostile to our symbols, our language and in a broader sense, to our identity."

Luc Archambault in the Tribune libre de Vigile writes

"June 24th is the national holiday of the people of Quebec, a celebration of a sovereign people. July 1 is the celebration of an illegitimate state. It is not one of a nation, because there is more than one nation in this state. It is well and good, a partisan holiday of an abusive state that imposes usurped authority without the acceptance of the sovereign people of Quebec, who alone are capable, on its own territory to validate a legitimate state emanating from itself. This isn't the case in Canada."

Finally, an opinion piece in the newspaper LE DEVOIR. You can read the original in French here

Food Chainstore or Chainstore of voluntery enslavement
(Chaîne alimentaire ou chaîne de l'asservissement volontaire ?)
An Open Letter to Quebec Metro Stores:

Metro is now the only Quebec-owned supermarket and so I tend to give it priority in my food shopping. Alas, I have strong reservations about the direction of your business, which explains why I have abandoned METRO in recent years (more than five years). Two basic reasons, which ultimately join together as in a funnel, are at issue here.

First reason: the music in your supermarket is unbearable. Your propensity to abuse your customers with the songs of the Anglo-American industry is an aberration which goes against, in my view, all the "intelligence" that we could legitimately expect from a company of your caliber and size and I would add: your nationality. We have in our language, in Quebec, a treasure: French songs (from here or elsewhere) of high quality. But you treat your guests as if they were U.S. nationals (or Canadian) or ... 13 years old. Providing such a atmosphere, invites customers to turn on their heels and leave.

Second reason: the lack of respect you have, for the French language
in general, which is largely trivialized, when not altogether treated subservient to the English language.

This is the case with your weekly bilingual advertising flyer. In Quebec, where the official language is French, English is spoken by less than 8% of the population while 82% are francophone. The remaining 10% are Allophones and are obliged under the Charter of the French language, to opt for French (at school, etc.).. METRO behaves as if Quebec was half-English and half-French. This is a social and political
choice that is indefensible, especially for a Quebec company. The phenomenon is even more contemptuous in that this "great bilingual country called Canada (outside Quebec), the same advertising remain stubbornly monolingually English.

Your behavior, which I
bluntly call "colonized" affects numerous areas including your choice of music, which I talked about before, or your house brands that give priority to English. It's an insult, "Selection," "Irresistible," "Merit/Merite ... that we note in passing, the absence of French language diacritical marks, which adds insult to injury,

How about the visual placement of English in the upper and/or left side) of the description of a product (ingredients, instructions, etc..), while the French is usually (though not always) relegated to second place.

And that's not counting the staff who very frequently have the English side of the product rather than the French side
facing customers on the shelves, as if this was an innocuous gesture, perfectly irrelevant or insignificant.

Even your name (!) - Hello, Quebecor! - denies your Quebeckness, as you make sure not to include the French accent on the 'E' in METRO. Do you say "Meeeutro" or "Metro" ... ?

In short, even if your competitors don't behave much better than you - Provigo is arrogant with the systematic
bilingualism of all its floorspace, including the displays - I have long attempted, in spite of everything, to remain faithful to "Metro".
But I ended up getting tired of your ways, which have never changed over the years, quite the contrary. This explains my propensity for many years, to pay a little more (but not necessarily all the time), to encourage small shopkeepers (butchers, fine delicatessens, etc..) who stand for both intelligence, self-esteem and elegance to serve us in French, including, where appropriate, with regard to the music. And sometimes, yes, they offer the simple yet so rare silence, we forget too easily it's delicious properties, even soothing, to the incessant cacophony of urban life.

In the end, I can understand (at least theoretically) why
here in Quebec, a Canadian or U.S. company tries to ram the English language down our throat. In this case, I tell myself that it is up to us, citizens and consumers, because of the failure of our government to act, to adopt the appropriate behavior and no longer set foot in these stores and shop elsewhere. But I lose it completely when it comes to Quebec companies who act the same, Jean Coutu pharmacies and/or Brunet Van Houtte coffees.

(friendly) suggestion, do as you want in Canada, but in Quebec, bilingualism (if not your English supremacy) is absolutely unacceptable.

Be dignified and courageous, people of METRO. And in the future, I believe, you can act as an enlightened corporate citizen. I might add that this may act as an example in the Quebec of tomorrow. It will have a "training effect".

Clearly, all we want is to reverse the policy of putting 8% and 82% (or 92%) of a population on the same level, a commercially wise and intelligent decision... And I 'm not even talking about the extremely fragility of the French language, which, if it is still a majority in Quebec, remains heavily minority in Canada, the Americas and ... on the planet.

In short, the citizen-consumer that I am, asked of METRO one thing only: to stop immediately to play the role of a Trojan horse in our own country. As a result, all the other Provigos and Second Cups in the country of Gilles Vigneault will be required to do so too. And dignity will prevail. Finally.

Jean-Luc Gouin, Philosopher, defender of the French Language

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