Saturday, February 6, 2010

Watchmaker has No Time for Language Police

A reader, "Mitch" suggested I write about the Hudson watch dealer who has run afoul of the language police, the OQLF, because of an English only web site that he uses to sell refurbished watches around the world. He received a letter from the language watchdog agency demanding that he provide a French language web site to compliment the one that he runs in  English.

Thank you Mitch for the suggestion.

I had already viewed the story on the local CTV news channel and at the time, nearly fell out of my chair when I recognized a face from the past.

I haven't seen Darryl Lesser in over fifteen years when we played hockey together in a weekly pickup game of hockey at the Bonaventure ice rink in Montreal.
I couldn't help remarking to my wife that Darryl had aged somewhat from the strapping young man that I remembered, a comment to which she rolled her eyes in a not so silent rebuke.

Back then Darryl was just getting into the watch business. He would regale the locker room with stories of his adventures scouring  flea markets across the Townships in pursuit of discarded watches going for cheap. He proudly showed me his first genuine ROLEX watch that he picked up for a couple of bucks. I guess he has pursued things quite successfully, from the looks of things.

To small independent entrepreneurs and Anglos in particular, setting up a complementary web site in French is an expensive affair, especially when the business conducted targets an English or international clientèle. Aside from the initial cost, there's the pesky problem of translation, French being a particularly hard language to write, considering the male and female case. Translators are very expensive and the cost can run into thousands of dollars annually, a bitter pill, when there is no return.

Treating small entrepreneurs like large corporations is something the government is guilty of doing  and while it makes eminent sense for large companies to have a bilingual web site, it is isn't always reasonable to demand the same from tiny enterprises, specialized and home-based businesses.

If you think that this issue affects only small Anglo companies and entrepreneurs you'd be wrong. I'm reminded of a conversation I had with a highly placed member of a non-profit group that offers roadside assistance to travellers. (Figure it out yourself.)

I suggested that with so many members consulting their web site to plan trips (especially to southern Florida), it would be a natural to offer hotel accommodations. I went on to tell him that they could save money by just creating a link to another web site that specializes in hotel bookings (and earn a royalty.)

Alas it was not to be, he explained. The hotel web site in the United States doesn't offer a French interface and as such they could not link up legally, since they'd be making money. They had already rejected the idea based on legal advice. Argghhh!!

Darryl the watchmaker has threatened to move if the harassment continues. He needn't bother.

He can just change his company's head office to another jurisdiction. It's a simple matter to incorporate a company federally and to use a post office box or a Mailbox store in Ontario as an official address. Mail can be forwarded right to your home in Quebec. You can file an Ontario tax return and you can do all your work in front of your keyboard in Quebec quite easily, completely legally. (After all, don't you sometimes talk to a service tech in India on behalf of a Canadian or American company?)
The same can be done in Plattsburgh and a US address is also a viable choice.

The OQLB is powerless in the face of modern technology and in the virtual world of the Internet, rules like mandatory French web sites are laughable and impossible to enforce when people use little creativity.


  1. As the web site administrator for Darlor Watch, I thank you for posting your story.
    I had considered posting a French version of our site, but the cost could not be justified, especially since we rarely sell in Canada, let alone Quebec, and free web site translation tools are offered by almost every search engine site! We will most likely "move" our office from the Hudson P.O. box to a Hawkesbury or Plattsburg one.

  2. bien fait le when somebody said he his no second class citizen it's very offending to french people
    specially like me who took the time to learn your language

    he had 12 year of free time in only one language he should consider himself lucky not to have a vomitting french version how ba that would be to his reputation if he had such french web site he can move his little behind to someplace else if he don't like french people I won't cry for its lost to an other 9 province and last I think poeple in quebec most be to poor to even bother to buy his watch is in it bye on that

    best regard andre

  3. Having lived in Quebec for so long it's difficult to have a tame response to this story. Please fight back on this one and do not comply with the tongue-troopers. The language policies in this province are a travesty supported by the ignorant and the bigotted. Speak your language (it's still one of the official languages of this country) and post your signs as you please. Are they going to fine every single one of us? Then so be it, let the world finally get a good look at the institutionalized racism and xenophobia that is synonymous with this province.

    a montreal ethnic

  4. While I tend to think that language laws were a good thing for french-canadians (before that we were often forced to work in english, even in settings where most were francophones), I do agree with you that harassing small businesses and independent entrepreneurs goes too far.

    This is not reasonable, this guy sells most of his stuff outside of Quebec, why should he be forced to have a french version of his web site? Nobody is disadvantaged by this, at the worst, this man loses some "potential" french speaking customer. Et alors?

  5. Andre,
    If you took the time to learn English, it certainly doesn't show in your comment.

  6. +1 BeeGee,
    not to mention "he can move his little behind to someplace else if he don't like french people"

    I don't think he has a dislike for french people, they just aren't buying his watches, therefor doesn't need to create a site just for them

  7. Enkidu,
    Native populations in this country are required to work in a language other than their mother tongue - where do you get your sense of entitlement?


  8. @ "ethnic"

    Excuse me, but when a minority in a province forces a majority to speak its language (in this case English), it is simply absurd. It's no longer like that, though, since we voted language laws here.

    As for the native population, I am entirely sympathetic to their plight. If I was working in a "reserve" and was asked to talk their language, it would be understandable in my point of view.

    One group's suffering does not void other groups past plights. And the fact that native populations are treated badly in Canada, their language, culture and health being threatened, is certainly not an argument to shut down francophones and tell them to "speak white". It should rather shame us as canadians, that we treat so badly those who were here first.

  9. Enkidu,
    Look at it this way - the language laws that were passed in Quebec did to the anglophone and allophone communities what the original English and French settlers did to the native populations. They became a marginalized population politically and culturally. The 'speak white' line is more than a little distasteful considering it's no more than a usurpation of the experience of non-white cultures that have suffered around the world due to European colonization. The French, of course, can be counted among those forcing Catholicism and speak white policies in places like Algeria, Vietnam and even right here in Quebec with the natives and now their other minority populations.
    If you feel an attachment to a sense of being Canadian maybe you should be concerned that the Canadian charter of rights and freedoms is not applicable in this province.


  10. @ "Ethnic"

    The "speak white" line is distateful, but was told to us white francophones by anglophones in the past...

    The language laws did injustice to anglophones and allophones? Oh, you would have preferred that we continue on the road to assimilation, right? It would have been so right and just.

    This is ridiculous, here you are, complaining about language laws, and we are communicating in english, the language of the most aggressive colonizing force of the 20th century.

    English is not threatened by this in any way by these laws, it is spoken everywhere in Montreal. There are excesses in the application of the law, yes, and I denounce them as well. But not to the point of suggesting the laws abolition.

    BTW, don't try to pin France crimes on us, it is dishonest. You're just trying to depict Canada's francophones as evil and domineering. Given that we've been treated like a minority up to the '60, this is ridiculous.

    And again : one people plight does not void other people sufferings. If you cannot understand that french-canadians want to make sure they'll continue to exist as a culture,this discussion is useless. You have no capacity to put yourself in another's place.

  11. @ Ethnic

    Oh, and if you want to blame someone for the bad treatment of canadian natives, I should remindm you that they are under federal jurisdiction even here in Quebec, and that most of them have been forced to learn english, not french.

  12. Enkidu,
    If we were having this discussion in English at my place of employment and the 'wrong' ears were to hear us, it would no doubt result in a warning at the least, or perhaps a fine. If the language laws are in place to protect against assimilation then the same courtesy should be extended to others as well, don't you think? We could start by allowing parents to enroll their children in the official language of their choice. I don't see how that is threatening in any way to the future of Francophones in Quebec. Basically, the present provincial majority is enforcing a system of assimilation and cultural integration that was never imposed on it, even by the dreaded British. This is a fact that can be clearly demonstrated by the gross lack of bilingualism everywhere in the province except for Montreal ( although good luck being pulled over by an SQ cop that doesn't need two crutches to string a crppled English sentence together, even in Montreal).
    If you don't think that qualifies as domineering then I'm afraid that you also have trouble putting yourself in someone else's shoes. Granted, we're not 1930's Europe but the tax funded OLFer marching around with a tape measure to ensure French is bigger, along with the educational restrictions are closer than I ever expected or wanted to be in my life.
    This is not intended to offend you. I'm just sharing how I feel as an ethnic Quebecer and even if I don't speak for everyone, I assure you this sentiment is quite prevalent in the ethnic community of Quebec.


  13. As for the native populations of Quebec, I have a hard time imagining the Catholic spires on the reserves are the result of papist British conquerors, nor do I recall the crown having anything to do with the onset of the Oka crisis, except maybe in stepping in when it got out of hand. The French presence in Quebec is the result of the same political forces that brought the British here. Quebec was a French colony, no different than any other colony where local populations were disenfranchised and had their lands expropriated by the Dutch, Germans, the British, and even our very own garden variety French Quebecer. The prevalent and disgusting hypocrisy here is that these very same colonizers are now shamelessly claiming the status of victims of colonization and imperialism.


  14. @ Ethnic

    English was never imposed on french-canadians? Are you kidding? You know nothing about history here, my friend, to write that.

    But you're missing that the anglophones don't really need laws to enforce english unilingualism, they're the majority, of course newcomers will choose english over french! This is why we have no other choice than use laws here, although I do think that we should be more flexible.

    "This is a fact that can be clearly demonstrated by the gross lack of bilingualism everywhere in the province except for Montreal".

    First of all, writing that there is a "gross lack of bilingualism everywhere in the province" shows that you think english should be imposed on everyone here. What about the gross lack of bilingualism everywhere else in Canada, except, perhaps, in New Brunswick? Will you defend the francophones in the rest of Canada, who have no access to services in their language? I doubt that greatly. And BTW, if you think all of us should be speaking english, I'm sorry, but this is a call for our assimilation.

    Second, you show that you have no knowledge of the reality in most Quebec regions, Up to the PQ's election in 1976, there were anglos communities all over the province, and english was pretty well spoken everywhere, although not by all quebeckers. You find traces of that in the villages names, in the local expressions, hell, even in Quebec's way of speaking french right now, we use a lot of english words and expressions.

    BTW, being a Montrealer, I have many friends you would describe as "ethnic" (greek-canadians, italian-canadians, jewish-canadians, indian-candians, african-canadians, etc.), and it's funny, but I never heard them complain about this. You know why? Because when they or their parent choose to come here, they understood that french was the main language in this province. Otherwise, they would have gone in another province, there is plenty of choice, you know.

    The thing is, I sympathize with the anglophone community, and I agree that the "language police" exaggerate and should not persist in such a misguided "witch hunt". But I do not make the mistake of exaggerating in the other direction, which is also misguided, and coming from anglophones, in my opinion, rather dishonest.

  15. @ Anonymous

    You know what? You're simply not honest. I never said that the french were all nice with the natives, nor that we never made mistakes here, But if you want to blame someone for the natives actual bad conditions, look at the level of government responsible for them, which is the federal government. Your remarks about Oka is not only full of prejudice (the feds helping us? when years of neglect from Ottawa contributed to the problem. And ask the Mohawks if they liked the Army's intervention!) but is is misguided as to the point you were trying to make : that we were forcing the natives to speak fench, which is NOT the language they use in the Mohawk Community, ha ha! And I suppose all those problems the natives have in other provinces (bad environmental conditions, among other things) are french-canadians fault? What are we to you, some convenient scapegoat? Man, I'm a federalist canadian, but discussing with you makes me want to separate!

    As for what the catholic church did to the natives, this church is not a french-canadian club, you know, or are you going to tell me that catholic bishops in the US are french too?

    Again, for the third and last time, one's people suffering does not void other's people suffering. You think it's hypocrite to complain about the treatment we had from the british in the past, because we made others suffer in the past? Then according to your logic, every anglophones in Quebec should just shut up and bear with it, since they also made other people suffer (and certainly not only the remnant people of France former colonization here).

  16. Actually my reference to the lack of bilingualism in Quebec is to illustrate that the linguistic legislation adopted in this province has been more onerous to allophpone and anglophone communities than anything the French had to endure under so called British oppressive moves to assimilation.
    Your admission that until 1976 there were anglo communities across Quebec of which there are only traces left now is part of the proof in the pudding that something has gone drastically wrong in this province and needs some investigating, at the very least.I've heard Turks say that 'there were once Greeks here'.
    Again, I can't speak for everyone but when my parents moved here they came to a bilingual province. They viewed this as a source of enrichment. They identify as (fill in the blank)- Canadians. This is also the case with more recent Canadians, including those that came from previously French colonies and are Francophone. The thing is, most of us came here to escape the fruits of imperialism in our own countries and not to take part in a fight between two big dogs arguing over a single bone.
    Canadians are free to enroll their children in a school of either official language everywhere except Quebec. As a Canadian I expect to be afforded the same right here. I have no desire of living in a self-imposed linguistic ghetto or reservation in which I feel as if I'm a second class citizen and in which I might be penalized for speaking one of the languages of this country.
    No doubt you might respond with the common 'move to another province', but I was born and raised here. This is my home and I feel as much entitlement to this land as the oldest family residing in the Beauce, a claim which many in that area would no doubt contend with bared teeth. As such, despite what might be dramatic economic problems, I'm happy and hope for unceasing waves of immigration because I feel like I'm finally gaining a voice and any social tension that might arise from it has been long overdue.
    I'm sorry Enkidu, but I would have had more sympathy with your argument if you were from Vermont. As it stands, I don't think a bilingual province is a threat to anyone except to the demagogues that stroke their egos by polarazing the people of this province.

  17. "... than anything the French had to endure under so called British oppressive moves to assimilation"

    Excuse me, but the simple fact that you write this proves you know NOTHING about canadian politics and history. And that you don't give a sh*t about french-canadians.

    So called? Who are you to make that call, to judge what oppression we suffered from, when you or your ancestors did not live this one?

    As for the anglo leaving Quebec, It's certainly not by our design, they CHOSE to leave. It's sad that they feared us so much, but what do you want me to say? That was their choice.

    Comparing this to what the Turks did to the Greeks is dishonest, but coming from you, not at all surprising. Why don't you invoke a nazi analogy, while you're at it?

    Any immigrant can enroll their kids in the language they want elsewhere in Canada? Priceless. As if they would choose anything else than english.

    Bilingualism is only a reality in Quebec and New-Brunswick. It's not a threat to french-canadians, as long as being able to live in French here is not threatened. But up to now, bilingualism looks to me as another word for assimilation, since it is usually invoked by anglos who cannot speak anything else than english.

    I'm from Quebec City, where there are no anglos to speak of, and I'm bilingual (trilingual, in fact, since I manage a bit in greek). Here in Montreal, I've seen a lot of anglophones who don't know a word in french. I can understand that from old timers who were raised in a different reality, but from newcomers, it is not acceptable. Give them the choice, they will live in english. Period. Their bilingualism will be between their mother tongue and english, as I've seen all to often. Sorry, but to me, this is not acceptable. If they choose to live here, they have to speak the majority's language, just as they have to when choosing other provinces.

  18. Well Enkidu, had the British policies been as effectively created and enforced as the ones that consecutive Franco-centric governments began instituting in the seventies, the Quebec linguistic landscape would be much like Vermont - completely Anglophone.

    I also did not mean to equate Turkish attrocities of the early twentieth century to the anglophone experience here, although both routes seem to have been quite effective in depopulating areas of what was perceived as an undesirable cultural group.

    I did not bring up the Nazis nor equate Quebec to them, even though the well known racist and Nazi sympathizer Groulx is still hailed as a national hero in Quebec. Draw what conclusion you might from that. Groulx, as I'm sure you know, was a Catholic priest and in Quebec the Catholic church WAS an exclusive French club and was used as a tool for colonization in the same way that the Spanish used it in Latin America.

    Whether a new immigrant chooses English over French schooling in any other province is not really the point that I was trying to make. Only that a Francophone born elsewhere in this country is free to pursue an education in the language of his choice. This is a freedom that is obviously not accorded here.

    I believe you are correct in assuming that given a choice immigrants would enroll their children in English school, though I suspect many French families would make the same choice. I'm sorry if you find that unacceptable, but to me it is just part of the markings of a democratic society that is part of a country that holds firm to the principle of two official languages.
    When you say by choosing to live here, here really means Canada to almost all immigrants who are not infected with the local concepts of regionalism.
    I believe that if Quebecers want a free and fair society within Canada then a fully bilingual province will be the only route. The only other possible option would be cessation from Canada, an option that has been rejected twice, even with the electoral fraud committed in some ethnic neighbourhoods in the last referendum.
    Which leads me to my earlier statement of happily welcoming as many new immigrants as possible in this province who choose to identify as Canadians. In my opinion and hopes, it will give the ethnic minorities of this province a voice and might one day politically offset the majority and some of its oppressive policies.

    When I think that I get taxed more here than anywhere else in Canada so that part of my hard earned income is spent on the payroll of the likes of the OLF while the roads I travel on have holes the size of tombs, I'm not really inclined to give too much of a shit about a majority that holds accomondation talks to discuss how unfair it is that we pay more for Coke because the Jews want their foods to be Kosher.

    Hopefully Enkidu, we still have the Habs in common.

  19. @ Anonymous

    I'm sick and tired of hearing people like you complaining of the fact that french-canadians do want to survive as a culture.

    Being a bilingual province would be that path to a fair and free society? Wrong, my friend, it would be the most certain path to assimilation, what the anglophone establishment always dreamed would happen, getting rid of those pesky frogs.

    As for the catholic church being a tool for colonization, this is total bullsh*t. When did that happen? The church was quite rigid and did impose upon immigrant, but if you want to blame someone, why don't you write to the Pope? We did not write those rules.

    As for your linguisic freedom here in Canada, I would like to see how would the anglophone community react if there were a large portion of the immigrant population who would, say favor educating their children in their language (not english) and imposing their language on everyone else. Think of how some american are reacting to the growing number of hispanophones in the south, you'll get the idea.

    As for Groulx, you can bring him up as you want (or the Church) I don't care, as most Quebeckers. This is the past, and if you think anglophones did not have their nazis sympathizers, you pick and choose, my friend.

    Concerning electoral frauds during the referendum, I can tell you that I was there as an election officer in 1995, and that I saw fraud on your side as well. I was pleased to see that the anglophone election worker who was at my side was as scandalized as I was by frauds on any side...

    You know what, I'v had enough. You're one of the most dishonest persons I've read about this topic, you pick what suits you, exaggerate the rest, and you don't even have the courage to sign your venomous comments other than anonymously. You want to hate french-canadians and spill your prejudice about us? Be my guest. You're the best ally separatists can hope for, seeing how you hate and despise the french-speaking majority of this province, they use people like you to sell us the idea that we would be better off outside of a country where,apparently, we are still treated like second class citizens. Hopefully, this is not the case. Anyway, I can say that I've seen several old english people here who have a much better attitude than yours.

  20. I don't know, we still have the metro station as the constant reminder. Your analogy about the language of instruction is unfair, really. Within the Canadian context either of the two languages would be acceptable and instruction in both preferable. I think what's happening here is that you might unknowingly be masquerading as a federalist when and only if this province is run as your own independent nation - a case of having the cake and eating it too. I would personally prefer seperation than the unjust and hypocritical status quo of a group of minorities residing on the politically inexpedient file in Ottawa, and as fodder for the political forces of this province. Despite what your Levesquian charlatans might have told you it's quite evident that francophones outside of the province are treated much better than anglophones and allophones are treated within the province, if only for the freedom to chose their language of education. So much for the current anglo conspiracy to assimilate when allowing your cultural education to continue anywhere in the country. Obviously, the smelly glove is a better fit chez nous.
    Funny you should bring up the South, but I think if you replace the language on any of the accomondation talk videos you might think you've found yourself in bizzaro world Alabama with roving Herouxvillistes on pick-up trucks, and children being banned from soccer fields because of their religion.
    Please don't slather the term second class citizen as it might refer to Francophones in this province - it hasn't been a reality in our lifetimes. Unless by second class you mean the gross over-representation of white Francophones in public sector jobs throughout the province, or the taking over of once English schools to force more immigrants into Quebecois indoctrination.

    Besides, think of the upside of bilingualism, we might one day be elligible to win a contest in this province that isn't regulated by lotto Quebec, not to mention that me might have gotten the GST cut too. We might even hire and draft the best personnel for the Habs without any consideration to what language they speak, but only for their merit (and a possible cup, of course). I don't know about you, but after reading the OLFs latest efforts in belittling an already beleaguered community, it already sounds like a cornucopia of utopian brotherly love and understanding, where all kids can kick a ball around a field despite their unobtrusive religious head gear.


  21. @ Anonymous

    I agree that Groulx metro station should be renamed. But then, there are streets in Montreal named after anglophones who were prejudiced against francophones to the point they were violent... Do you want to rename them as well?

    My analogy about the language instruction is unfair? How is that? Man, you're making it up as you go along! "It is quite evident that francophones outside of the province are treated much better than anglophones and allophones are treated within the province"? Oh yeah? Prove that, because right now, it's empty pretense. They have "the freedom to chose their language of education"? In Alberta? Saskatchewan? And what about service in their language? That's total bull. Prove it, otherwise, shut up. It's not because it's not illegal to use french in those province that french is present or available. That's what you don't understand : anglophones don't need laws to assimilate us, they're the majority, and they are playing very well the immigration card.

    I am not surprised that you cannot grasp that I can favor federalism while wishing to preserve my culture survival. But if anglos were all like you, had the same tendency to see things and black and white, the same attitude, complaining and despising french-canadians, the same tendency to dishonest exaggeration in order to "prove" that they're re greatest victims of all time, and that no one else should complain, man, I would become a separatist instantly.

    I mention parts of the US where spanish is becoming the main language to show you that any linguistic group can feel threatened when becoming the minority, and now you equate us with the worst bigots over there? How's that for dishonesty? If you hate us so much, why are you insisting on staying here, again?

    I am not against bilingualism, you would have gathered that if you used your brain to other things than finding new ways to depict us as evil. I read, write and speak english, and I have probably read more english and american literature than you, who probably never read any french authors. But while I think the OLF exaggerate, I know for a fact that before the language laws were voted, we were on a path to assimilation. We have to be more flexible about it, but not to the point of abolishing the laws. You don't like it? I can understand. It is not the best way to encourage people to use french, we will have to find more positive ways to do it. But when the patient still needs his crutches, it's not the time to remove them. Nor is it the time to pretend he was never sick in the first place, because it inconveniences you.

  22. "Under the law, parents whose first language is French have a constitutional right to have their child educated in French where there are enough students to warrant it. They also have the right to govern these schools themselves."

    You can read the rest of it here:

    What makes the needs of the Francophone minority superior to the needs of any other minority in this country? Especially so that these needs trump the constitutional rights of citizens of every other ethnic group inhabiting this country? Like I said previously, if Quebec is to be a part of Canada then all its inhabitants must be accorded the same rights as any other Canadian. Since two democratically held referendums affirmed the majority's desire to retain its Canadian identity, no matter how flawed the process, the only option to a fair society is the institution of required bilingualism within the province. That would mean that Franco-first legislation such as 101 would have to be flushed.

    "If you hate us so much, why are you insisting on staying here, again?"

    I won't try to convince you that I don't hate Francophones because obviously, it's a foregone conclusion for you. I stay here because this is my home and I will not be bullied by a xenophobic element that sees me as something other than a Quebecer/Canadian. I have as much of a right to be here and to exist in the language of my choice as you do because really, you are not a member of an indigenous population here, but nothing more than an immigrant like myself. There are hundreds of thousands of us that do not fall under the umbrella of "us" that you use. We are not here because you graciously allow us to live in your back yard, but because we are Canadians that are free to live anywhere we damn well please within the borders of this country. To put it more plainly, I reject the concept of Quebec being the sole domain of Francophones. I view the linguistic legislation as illegal and immoral within the greater context of this country and even if I have to catch heat from a cop when I refuse to communicate with him in French when I realize he's unilingual, or even if I'm forced to protest by spray painting Dorchester over Levesque, or STOP over ARRET, then so be it.


  23. FYI, the francophones are a majority in this province, and with the english community, we're part of the "two founding nations". In my view, this gives us some say, although you're right in pointing that natives have a greater claim about this... But let's see... when did I see most anglophones fight for native rights, other than blaming Quebeckers for problems with their native communities, turning a blind eye on problems in other provinces? Right, never.

    Well, at least, it is clear. You want us to assimilate, period. It's nice to know where you stand. You're as extremist as Patrick Bourgeois and his ilk, just on the other side of the issue. Frankly, I'm tired of people who can't have a reasonable discussion and who resorts to gross generalizations and exaggerations..

    Hopefully, you're the exception. Most anglophones and allophones I talk with are decent, moderate people, with whom a reasonable, honest discussion is possible. And who don't demand to be served in english in parts of the province where 99 % of the people are francophones.

    Good luck with the spray painting, I see that you like to act in a nice and "mature" way...

  24. You don't get it. I'm not an Anglo. I don't care about your lillies or your roses. I see both imperialist powers for what they are and the present push for a unilingual Quebec or its status as a possibly independent banana republic is only neocolonialism in my opinion. You don't accomondate me despite your assumtion of doing so and the extensive talks of whether you should allow me to a wear a hijab or any other religious symbol I please. I work for myself, buy my home and pay my taxes like other immigrants in this country, and just like you.
    You cannot circumscribe my activities or desires as long as they are legal under the legislation that makes this country what it is - not legally anyway, or morally. Which is why I suspect that you like to parade the role of victim as if any ills suffered to previous generations of Francophones should serve as justification for treating others equally bad, or worse.

    Claiming my legal rights as a Canadian does not make me an extremist. If moderate to you equates to docile, pliable, easily dominated and willing to exist at the whims of a majority that makes the spoken and written word of a language illegal, and even sets up a policing entity to enforce this, then no, I'm certainly not moderate nor am I decent. By the way, maybe you would like to find me another state in this wide world that makes the language of its minority illegal. The only example I can think of is Turkey and its imposition of enforced assimilation on the Kurds.

    The only dishonesty here comes from you. Case in point:
    " I can tell you that I was there as an election officer in 1995, and that I saw fraud on your side as well."

    Which side is that? You claim to be on the federalist side. And where is the documentation of the fraud committed by the no side? The yes has been well documented, even if smothered.

    As for generalizations,

    "Most anglophones and allophones I talk with are decent, moderate people, with whom a reasonable, honest discussion is possible"

    Thanks for your vote of confidence and your sympathy as long as we agree that you will be a member of the ubermensch of the province. I suppose that next you will tell me that you have Jewish and Black friends too. Well, good for you. You want to be a Canadian as long as you can reserve the right to trample on the rights of others as you please. For all you know, I might be one of those with whom you have these discussions, especially if you live in a Greek area. If you have kids, I might even be teaching them History at one of the CEGEPS I work at.

    You want a unilingual society? Then seperate! Until then give me what's mine, what I pay for and what my parents swore allegiance to when they became Canadians - give me my rights!!!


  25. In 1995, I was an independist, I changed sides 10 years later. Sorry if that confused you, I should have been clearer. But I was there, and I saw people on the no side voting twice, some were trying to "help" old people to vote, who didn't even know why they were there.

    It might not be documented, but there was fraud on the "no" side. And I could also mention how the feds rushed procedures to deliver citizenship to new immigrants, thus using them as voting fodder. Not very honest.

    What are you, stupid or what? I am not against english being spoken in Quebec, I said so several times, I just want to make sure french remains the main language, since it's the majority's language. And yes, in a country like Canada where the overall majority is english, this is not possible without any recourse to laws.

    The day french-canadians invade another country, you can call us imperialistic. Till then, this is simply (again) a gross exaggeration. You cannot criticize a people already occupying a land, because they define a certain number of necessary requirements for citizenship in their society.

    Again, you compare us with the Turkish government, who takes arms against minorities, another example of your utter lack of nuance in your "thinking".

    You want your rights? What you want tramples on MY rights as a french-canadian to be able to use my language on a land my ancestors largely contributed to develop. What you want is the ability to live and work in english only, anywhere in the province. We are, then, and will remain, adversaries. Frankly I despise people who have such a narrow-minded mindset. I am ready to make compromises with the anglophones, what you demand is total abdication from us. This will never happen.

    I greatly doubt we ever talked, and if it did happen, I would have said the same things, unless you're an hypocrite and have the "courage" to express your real thoughts only when hiding behind no identity at all.

    Funny, you're greek and have the audacity to spit on french-canadians past plights, because, again, it inconveniences you? That's sad, if this is the case, from someone who should have some inkling of what is to live under another people's rule. But let me guess, your suffering trumps everybody else's, right?

  26. "It might not be documented,"

    Well if it isn't, then it's an irrelevant statement.

    "The day french-canadians invade another country, you can call us imperialistic"

    Just where do you think French Canadians came from? Do you imagine you sprouted from the mud of the St. Lawrence in time immemorial? I don't think so pal.

    "What you want tramples on MY rights as a french-canadian to be able to use my language"

    Not really, since I've clearly stated my wish for a bilingual province.

    "What you want is the ability to live and work in english only, anywhere in the province"

    Again, I distinctly said bilingual.

    "I am ready to make compromises with the anglophones"
    This isn't a matter of concessions. This is either Canada, or it isn't. Since it is, the rights of ALL citizens have to be respected. In our case it means BILINGUALISM for the province of Quebec.

    "what you demand is total abdication from us"

    By abdication, are you suggesting that the majority is graced with some type of providential royal right?

    "you're greek and have the audacity to spit on french-canadians past plights"

    The Greek historical experience has nothing in common with that of French-Canadians. For one, Greeks did not embark in a program of colonization that found it in control of vast tracts of native lands in North America, Africa and Asia.

    "You cannot criticize a people already occupying a land, because they define a certain number of necessary requirements for citizenship in their society"

    Agreed, if that people are part of a SOVEREIGN nation and guess what??????? Just because we have a National assembly, it does not mean Quebec has sovereign status.

    "have the "courage" to express your real thoughts"

    Thanks, I try to do so daily especially in my classrooms where I try to undo an entire hightschool curriculum of provincial propaganda.

    "you compare us with the Turkish government, who takes arms against minorities,"

    Like I said before, the methods may differ but the result has been similar. Both types of coercion have succeeded in ridding a majority of what they view as an unwelcome minority. Coercion, whether at the tip of a gun or at the tip of the pen retains its essential characteristics.

    "What are you, stupid or what? I am not against english being spoken in Quebec, I said so several times"

    No, I'm not. I understand you perfectly. You are not adverse to me speaking English as long as it does not become my right to educate my children in English. It's very gracious of you but sadly, not nearly enough.

    "a land my ancestors largely contributed to develop"

    Your ancestors were not the only ones. A full third of modern Francophones are actually the descendants of Irish immigrants that were assimilated. There were also Anglophones who contributed to this province and in later years all manner of Europeans, Africans, Middle Easterners, Asians and many others. Unless you imagine that the development reached its appex before we all arrived. We all contribute.

    Either way, it would all be a rosy picture for you if you were part of a sovereign nation. In Canada, I have a certain rights that should be accorded to me in any province, even Quebekistan.

    So make up your mind - you are either Canadian even if that curtails your dominant position and allows others the same rights as yourself ( a good option really because there's no sense in being greedy), or you can start beating the drum with the jeune patriotes come St. Jean - but you can't have both.

  27. As I can see, you keep picking and choosing and exaggerating what suits you.

    So we have to judge french-canadians on what the french did before and AFTER conquest? If I were to you the same logic, O Kyrios anonymous, I would have to remind you that the Greeks, from Antiquity to the Byzantine Age, were conquerors themselves. I guess it was payback time when the turks came in. For a history professor, you have a very short memory.

    Bilingualism was invented by Trudeau to cut short the independantists movement. Problem is, it was never applied other than "in theory" in other provinces. So for me, anglophones complaining about the lack of it here are simply not honest about it, seeing as they don't care that it's not applied elsewhere. It's just another way to whine and complain that they have to learn another language here.

    I'll make a deal with you. We'll be as good as the other provinces in providing service to the anglophone community. Should we cut funding in anglophone university to keep up with their level of service?

    BTW, aren't you officially an english-speaking quebecker? If that is the case, the law does not forbid you to send your kids to english school. Your whining and complaining is all for show, then? And in any case, I fail to see what is the problem, precisely, about this : I went to french school from primary to university, and I'm bilingual, for crying out loud!

    Comparing us who simply want to preserve our culture with what the Turkish government has done from time to time to their minorities is insulting and shows, again, that you're not able to think rationally about this. Frankly, I pity your students, if you teach them this simplistic way of seeing things.

    You think I don't know that french-canadians were not the only founders of this country? You think that I ignore the contribution of the Irish people? Who do you think I am, someone like you? You know, instead of inventing crimes that we are supposed to have done, why don't you talk to irish-canadians and ask them if we were so evil with them. I happen to live in a borough where there is a large community of irish-canadians and there are a lot of them who speak english, as well as french. Funny, they don't rant all day long about the evil french-canadians.

    It's totally useless to discuss to you, you're simply unable to go beyond your "self-righteous" anger.

    You don't want to talk rationally? Fine. But you know what, you just pushed me back to being a separatist. With people like you who have no will to discuss calmly and finding ways to compromise, there is no hope for a unified Canada.

  28. You're right, the Greeks were once conquerors, although I didn't know we were going that far back. I don't see the relevance to this discussion.
    I fail to see the exaggeration in what I say, but you might be helpful in pointing it out. Like I said before, I don't equate French Quebecers to brutal Turkish policies, but it is interesting that the only other political entity that we have both been able to come up with to this point that bars a minority group from its language is Turkey.
    I'm sorry if you find that offensive but I think you would be better served taking this up with the powers that be in this province instead of me simply because I pointed it out.

    "And in any case, I fail to see what is the problem"

    A major part of the problem is that the restrictions placed on anglophone education are choking enrollment and forcing the closure of school after school. In the not so very long run this will effectively erase an entire community from this province. The annoying part is that these restrictions are only in place in this province for that very express purpose. I would think, by your discourse, that you might sympathize with that.
    I'm not a supporter of any concept of a unilingual Quebec whether it is English or French.
    I don't see what you find irational about an officially bilingual Quebec, I mean minus the occasional insult you throw my way, you seem to have turned out fine despite your bilingualism. (And don't think I didn't notice the bit of Greek you threw my way which was much appreciated although marred by the rest of the sentence)

    Historically, Catholicism and the proestant English may have brought the Irish and French together but that still didn't stop the OLF from handing out tickets to Irish pubs for their unilingual Irish beer coasters. You must be able to see how ridiculous this is.

    You say I'm not being rational but from my point of view you want me to compromise what my status as a Canadian grants me. I'm sorry, but that's not something I'm willing to relinquish for Quebec or anyone else. It's unfortunate that you cite me as the reason for returning to the dark side but considering your vision of this province, the quest for sovereignty is only an honest option for you.

    Maybe we can find some common ground on some other discussion at some other time...

  29. @ Anonymous

    My friend, you were the one who brought up the Turks, not me...

    The problem that I see with your brand of bilingualism is that it is mainly the french-canadians who are asked to be bilingual. For me, this is simply a subtle call for assimilation. Somehow, you were even implying that bilingualism should be the rule everywhere in Quebec, even where there are no anglophones. I'm sorry, but you were not really even-handed in your comments, so I reacted as well.

    You cannot ask us to be more nice to the anglophone community than the other provinces are with their french-canadian community. Have you checked what happens there for francophones? Oh, sure, there aren't any laws against using french, but they just don't need, they just impose the majority's language by not using anything else. Here, anglophones have access to schools and universities where they can learn in english, and I find it difficult to believe they have a hard time having service in english, at least in Montreal and adjoining regions. And in the eastern Townships. And in the Sherbrooke region.

    I'm sorry that the anglophone community has problems here, and if you took some time off from exaggerating things and throwing insults at my culture, you would have realized that I am against the OLF witch hunt. I think it's a good thing language laws were voted in the past, in order to stop the absurd situations where french-canadians were forced to use english (and only english) to work, because some anglophones were too lazy to learn the province majority's language. But it is absurd to harass small business owners, and to make such a fuss about how big are the french letters compared to the english ones. And coasters? They're harassing pubs because of coasters? I think someone at the OLF has too much time on their hands.

    But again : those who are already english-speaking can enroll their kids in english schools, financed by the Quebec government, mind you. It's not perfect, but compare that to the francophones situation in other provinces... And stop comparing us to the turks or any colonial force. We're not trying to colonize anyone, we simply want to survive as a culture in North America.

  30. Look at it this way, if Alberta had a Francophone minority comparable in size to that of the anglophones in Quebec during the seventies, and they were subjected to the same draconian legislation that was enforced here, you would no doubt have a better understanding of why so many of us feel politically and culturally marginalized over here.

    You're right in thinking that I'm a supporter of bilingualism for all of Quebec - I'm not merely implying it. I believe that if you want to work in this province you should be required by law to demonstrate a good knowledge of both languages, even if you live in Chicoutimi. The same would have to apply to someone in Westmount as well. If my small ethnic group has not lost its culture here then I don't believe the millions of francophones will be threatened either. I see this as the only viable option for a Quebec within Canada.
    As it stands, Quebec's linguistic legislation stands in stark contrast with the principles that we hold dear as Canadians and with the freedoms guaranteed to us by the charter of rights.
    It's a simple solution - cessation would grant Franco-first Quebecers a legal solution to all this. The only problem is that they voted against it twice. So when a new immigrant arrives in Quebec, Canada grants him the right to chose the language of instruction for his children. Quebec is not in a legal or moral position to deny him that right as a province within Canada.

    Look, we're on different sides of the table but don't mistake my opposition to 101 as an anti-French sentiment. My comparison to Turkey lies in the comparable linguistic policies that have been enforced to target a minority. If you can think of another example, I will be happy to use that. French Quebecers are also descendants of the same Euro-centric colonial waves that brought Europeans to this continent which is why I loathe the claim that French Quebecers are something more than the immigrants that arrived in later years or are somehow imbued with a natural ownership of this land.
    If the right to a French education was denied to a Francophone in Alberta you would find me on your side demanding my rights from those other imperialists.
    I can understand your fear of assimilation but in the case of Quebec, even as a bilingual society, I think these fears are unfounded.


  31. Oh, but there were sizable french-canadian populations in the rest of Canada in the past, and they were denied french education and service in the past, and many of them were assimilated. Biligualism became an official principle here in Canada only when we got fed up and created an independantist movement.

    The day all the other provinces are bilingual, I'll consider advocating bilingualism everywhere in Quebec. Till then, as I said, bilingualism has usually been invoked by anglophones to get us speak their language, that's it. Sorry, but most of the bilingual canadians are french-canadians.

    How many times do I have to say this ? They don't need laws in Alberta (or elsewhere) to deny french-canadians services in their language. They just don't offer any services, they're the majority over there, they know the french-canadians over there won't have a choice. And they know the immigrants over there are not foolish enough to pick another minority's language in their integration process.

    Well that's about it. Thank you for this discussion, it made me realize that there are no other option for us than secession. I thought we could compromize with our canadian brothers, but from what I see, each side has chosen radical positions...

  32. this is Daaryl from Darlor watch

    no one owns the WORLD WIDE WEB. If my clients were hindu , i would go back to school and learn hindu, If i had a store front I would LOVEEE to have all french and a tad of english as Quebec deserves it's own heritage and to protect their wonderful language but let's get real here hmmmm 3 billion people versus 7 million or so French speaking quebecers hhmmmmmmm what should i do! ENGLISH! it's the international language for business. I am fluent in francais mon ami's je parle francais tres bien avec une bonne accent ! but my clients are not from quebec and i tried everything to entice Quebecers to purchase my items but to no avail. i did antique shows, had ads in french news papers and ran ads as well but i gave up years ago as my last name is not French and the stay to their own and not a big deal with me at all. as well with the few talented watchmakers here in quebec I was not accepted in the small circle of certified watchmakers as my name is Lesser and not Francais so again I gave up trying. not a dig but the truth. THE OLF ARE NOT the proud owners of the WWW and they must realize this important fact. they never questioned Hydro Quebec when all the doucments were in English when the state of New York bought power from us a few years ago. can you imagine that, the OLF tell hydro that the billions of potential dollars contract had to be in french for the americans? this is what i call talking on both sides of your mouth. Leave us alone and let us do our business the ethical and proper way and we will sell more and you will collect more taxes for our shoddy roads and paint peeling hosiptals. i love my province and ALL the people in it ...ALL of them but again it is the WORLD WIDE WEB not the Qurbec WIDE WEB

    on a closing note they really used as spatula to scrape to bottom of the barrel to send me a threatening letter and i mean the veru bottom of the barrel, single employed watchmaker working from his residince, no wonder the world laughs at us:-(

    all my best to all of you anglais et francais :-)

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  34. This "ethnic" person is a vault of wisdom. Having read the exchange with the raving Kebeker lunatic, it seems the Kebeker refuses to acknowledge that the indigenous peoples had their land, culture and LANGUAGE stolen from them first. We should all be speaking Mohawk and other tribal languages and fuck this French crap.

  35. Raving Kebeker? actualy his comments were well researched... and he's right for fuck's sake!

    You are a troll, never satisfied by any answers even the reasonable ones.

    Another anonymous dude!