English Canadians are mighty sore at the uproar coming out of Quebec over the lack of French at the opening ceremonies of Vancouver's Olympic games. The comments sections of most Canadian newspapers are replete with anti-Quebec harangues that reflect Canada's impatience with what they perceive as more whining and complaining emanating from a province that always seems to want more.
For those who read my column faithfully, you know that I'm the strongest of defenders of Anglo rights and someone who spends a great deal of time denouncing the pettiness and vindictiveness of Francophone extremists.
That being said, it doesn't mean that I dislike Francophones, the opposite is true, otherwise I wouldn't live here in Quebec and in the case of the Olympic opening ceremonies I am going to come down squarely on the side of the whiners who said that French culture was under-represented.
First of all, the most virulent criticism coming out of Quebec came from people who already hate Canada, the ultra-nationalists, sovereignists and language extremists. These people want the games to fail and relish the fact that there was some English/French controversy. They'll do anything they can to inflame emotions and sow dissent. It is they who screamed the loudest using words like "contempt" and "humiliation. Unfortunately it is these people who get the news coverage and it's natural that Canadians react defensively in the face of cynical and cruel attacks.
But every time Canadians throw up their hands and say "To Hell with Quebec!" I get defensive.
I remind these Quebec bashers that in terms of numbers, there are more federalists residing in Quebec than there are in every single province in Canada, except Ontario!!!!
In the last federal election 62% of Quebeckers voted for a federalist party and considering the size of it's population, versus every other province, Quebec cast more votes for federalism, than all but Ontario!
So when people write off Quebec because of what they hear from radicals, they are being disloyal to their fellow proud Canadians that reside in Quebec, both French and English and that includes myself.
The snub to Quebec at the opening ceremonies was hard to digest, not for extremists, who fed on it, but for loyal Francophone Canadians living in Quebec and across the country.
It's as though you go to a family function, a wedding, confirmation or Canada Day party and the host mentions all of the family except your branch of the family because you don't share the same language.
Was there a snub? Indeed there was, if you didn't see it, you are blind.
Quebeckers were every bit as excited as the rest of the country to host the Olympics, not one peep was heard about the Federal governments financial contribution and it's billion dollar security bill. The only ones complaining seemed to come out of the west coast.
Most Quebeckers didn't make a big deal of what happened, they wanted the games to succeed no matter what.
Quebec athletes are proud to put on the red and white and compete for a united team under the Canadian flag. Nobody can ever accuse our province of under performing when it comes to athletes and achievement.
If VANOC believed that the Olympic games belonged to Vancouver and British Columbia alone I could understand their actions, but they even failed on that account. If they wished to showcase their province alone, they excluded the Chinese and Indo-Canadian communities that far outweigh it's native population.
But from coast to coast, Canadians rightly believe these games are hosted by Canada and all it's regions and inhabitants. It was incumbent on the organizers to be inclusive and representative of all and on that account they failed miserably.
Instead of defending their actions for the debacle of the opening ceremonies, they should be re-tooling the closing ceremonies.
And a piece of advice to them.
Reduce the prominence of the Indians in the closing ceremonies, we've had enough of that farce.
Let's see the true face of Canada, which is 23% Francophone. Let us see and hear from Blacks, Browns, Chinese and Indo-Canadians as well.
Canada (and BC) is not just a country of English White Protestants and Natives, it is so much more.....
VANOC should show Canada for what it is, not what they wish it to be.