For these people, the crocodile tears they shed belie their true feelings of joy and elation that the Olympics have in some small way become a French/English issue.
Let's face it, die-hard separatists view these Olympics as another sad reminder that Quebec is not a country and watching Francophone athletes perform proudly under the Maple Leaf is just about as painful as it gets.
In blog after blog, ones reads about a mythical 'Francophone' team and how many medals they would win under the glorious Fleur-de-Lys. Lists of francophone athletes are compiled and fantasy teams created, one which even claims Roberto Luongo as a francophone!
Understandably, Anglos and the English press are annoyed that these nationalist whiners want to rain on Vancouver's parade (Vancouver's had just about all all the rain that they need!)
Chantal Hebert, a nationally syndicated columnist, takes aim at what she perceives as the 'racist' over-reaction of Anglos in reaction to the complaints over the lack of French at the Olympics. She cites several examples in the comments section of various national newspapers as proof. She included in her piece a sampling of what is being said across the country;
You can see all her 'examples' here or just read a small selection here;
"....Enough already !!!! There was too much French. French speaking people in Canada represent 25% of the population and they got their fair share......I’ve had it with the whining!!!"Pauline Marois, leader of the separatist Parti Quebecois opposition party, picked up on the theme and claimed that these comments were Quebec-bashing at it's worst.
"Give me me a break! The Olympics are a world event, being watched by the world. Most of the world speaks English, so get over yourselves...."
"....Of course it was quite predictable that the whining would start from those who are never satisfied."
"English speaking Canada has the French language rammed down our throats while French speaking Canada shuns English, even making it illegal in parts of Quebec."
"The PQ leader accused certain English newspapers of tolerating anonymous comments on their website "unimaginable, alarming and unacceptable" against Quebec and the French fact." LinkNow as hate goes, I wouldn't exactly put these missives as excessively racist. To me, they simply express outrage and frustration that is justified in reaction to what radical separatists are saying in Quebec.
At any rate, you be the judge.
Let's hear what the French radicals in the Quebec media have to say on the subject. Remember, these aren't anonymous commentators, but leaders of the radical sovereignty movement that are widely published.
Pauline Marois, leader of the separtist Parti Quebecois Link
"Canada has shown its contempt for all Francophones Friday at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games"Josee Legault, syndicated columnist LINK
"Luckily we French weren't asked to dress up as Indians to better make ourselves invisible and inaudible in a crappy show where French culture melted like snow in Vancouver's rain."
Louis Plamondon LINK
"If one wants to end once and for all the insults like that of February 12 in Vancouver, and all the other indignities past and future, there is a solution. This solution is that Quebec becomes a country, a real country, French language, with its own athletes and national teams at the Olympics."Mario Beaulieu president La Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste (SSJB) de Montréal Link
"This only adds insult to the long tradition of discrimination against Quebec athletes by Canadians.....More and more Quebeckers must realize that we should have nothing to do with this country. This farce has gone on long enough. There are one too many peoples living in this country."
Louise Prefontaine LINK
"Oh they were beautiful, the thousands of Canadians, waving their scarlet cloth, believing that for one night, Canada was something else other than the dissolute cancerous outgrowth of American-ness, having succeeded in getting rid of the culture of Latin French that sullies its divine land from coast to coast....
Oh weren't they adorable, these Quebec athletes, all dressed all in red, standing in the middle of the track as embellishments for the mercenaries paid to cite their tearful "I Believe" between ads for McDonalds and Purolator."Richard Nadeau, spokesman of the Bloc Québécois
"The message that Canada sends us repeatedly is that the Quebec nation, a nation with a francophone majority has no place within the Canadian federation."
..."the only real option open to correct this historic injustice that has been reinforced by Vancouver's Olympic Games is, indeed, the outright independence of Quebec and nothing else
VIVE LE QUEBEC LIIIIIIIIIIBRE !!!!!!!But not everyone thinks that French is under-represented in Vancouver. In an article reprinted in Le Droit written by Nathalie Alonso for the foreign press agency, Agence France-Presse, she gives an alternate perspective.
"Defenders of the French believe that the Games organizers in Vancouver have made real efforts to promote the French language, despite the criticism of Canadian politicians after the opening ceremony of the Games.
Vancouver is an English speaking city, where the second language is Mandarin, because of the very large Chinese community. But French, the official language in Canada and the Olympics is still very present during this fortnight of competition.
"It's very different from the Beijing Games," says Christine Sotteau, Director General of the Federation of Francophones of British Columbia (Vancouver area). "We as Canadians, are entitled to have a true representation of the French in the Olympics, not only because it is the official language of Olympicism."
The Olympics will not make Vancouver a French city, but French has indeed conquered the public arena since the start of the Games and not only on the signs.
A little away from hustle and bustle of downtown, the Plaza de la Francophonie has over 100 performances by francophone artists, and broadcasts competitions in French in a bistro-like atmosphere.
And despite the criticisms made by Canadian politicians, including English, regretting the lack of French during the opening ceremony on February 12, Francophones in Vancouver and elsewhere are generally satisfied.
On a visit to Vancouver as part of his mission to bear witness for the Francophonie, Switzerland's Pascal Couchepin shared the disappointment concerning the opening ceremony, but otherwise, the commitment towards French was successful on the ground, he said .
"Over the last couple of months, we resolved those problems over bilingual announcements at Olympic venues, all are French and English, including bilingual volunteers," he noted.
Even Alexander Paulin, Montreal songwriter who describes himself as a "defender of the French language" was "surprised" by the presence of the language of Molière during the Games, both in the reception by volunteers and in the signage .
"Upon arriving in Vancouver, I expected to find myself in uncharted territory," says this artist who is present every day at Quebec House, representing 'La Belle Province' during the Olympics.
The controversy surrounding the opening ceremony denotes that the subject is touchy and that the defence of French is a thorny issue in a bilingual and multicultural Canada, highlighted by the weight of the Quebec separatists in the federal Parliament in Ottawa.
"It's good that it is the Canadians who are publicly highlighting the lack of French during the Olympics," said Pascal Couchepin, former President of the Swiss Confederation, which has three official languages: "It's a problem in cultural policy. In Canada, French is a struggle everyday.