Friday, June 11, 2010

Bill 101- A Francophone Prison

We'd all like to believe that we all stand equally before the law and are imbued with commensurate rights guaranteed and afforded by  the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Quebeckers get a double dose of protection with the Quebec Human Rights Charter.  Both acts created to ostensibly protect our basic human rights, regardless of who or what we are.
But with all the glorious prose and good intentions of both those Charters, it isn't quite true.

You see, If you are an immigrant or are born to a Francophone family in Quebec, your rights differ from those of someone born to an Anglophone family.

That's right, Anglophones and others don't share equality before the law, not in Quebec, anyways.

If you are an Anglophone, you are born with the inherent right to receive a public education in either French or in English, your choice. For everyone else, it's tough nougies, French and French alone is your only education option, thanks to Bill 101 the language law passed by the separatist PQ government back in 1977.

In other words Francophones and Allophones are discriminated against because of language,there's really no other way to look at it, unless you're a constitutional lawyer.

Here's what the Quebec Charter of Rights says about all discrimination. Notice that language is specifically cited;
Discrimination forbidden.
10. Every person has a right to full and equal recognition and exercise of his human rights and freedoms, without distinction, exclusion or preference based on race, colour, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, civil status, age except as provided by law, religion, political convictions, language, ethnic or national origin, social condition, a handicap or the use of any means to palliate a handicap.
Now I'm no lawyer, but clearly language may not be used to discriminate against anybody. Notice that there is no proviso that limits this protection, as there is the after the word 'age', which adds the proviso-"except as provided by law." It seems to me that this proviso needs to be added to the 'language' reference, if Bill 101 is to be legal.

No matter, the Supreme Court of Canada has already ruled in this matter at least three times and has come to the conclusion that language discrimination is permissible. So much for the concept that we have any real real Charter rights in Canada. At any rate, even if the Supreme Court found the practice illegal, there is an escape clause (Notwithstanding Clause) that permits provinces to bypass inconvenient decisions. How very Canadian!

As an Anglophone Quebecker, I don't think much about the Bill 101, it hardly affects me or my family.

We are the privileged class.

Aside from compulsory French signs in public, which don't offend me at all, the world turns nicely for me and my fellow Anglos.
We are educated in English, enjoy unlimited television, radio and press in our language and we can live in communities that are just about as English as we want. We can receive services from the government and our towns and cities in English and can be treated in hospitals run almost completely in English. English entertainment, be it movies, theater or music, is widely available, as is service in most  stores and restaurants.  Our children and their children are also guaranteed these same rights.
Like I said, life is good.

For Francophones, despite all the moaning and groaning by nationalists, life is also good, everything, but everything, in the Province is offered in French and one can easily get by speaking no English, which most Francophones don't..

But for some Francophones, it's not enough. Speaking French in Quebec is fine, but not so much when one leaves the province. Some parents want their children to become bilingual and that's where they come into conflict with their own government, which has a different view.

For the government and French language nationalists, bilingual Francophones are not in the best interest of the preservation of the French language and so Bill 101 was enacted not only to force ethnics into French schools, but to keep Francophones out of English schools. This, coupled with the fact that English language instruction in French schools is kept at the most rudimentary level, leaves Francophone students functionally unilingual. There is hardly a high school graduate from a Francophone institution who can order breakfast in Toronto.

Ever since Bill 101was enacted, Quebeckers have become less bilingual, a happy result for nationalists who wish to to impose the "barefoot and pregnant" syndrome, where people are deliberately starved of a skill in order to control them from leaving home.
Nationalists remind us that Quebec is surrounded by a sea of English and that French speakers make up just 2% of the North American population, yet just 35% of Quebeckers can carry on a conversation in English.
In Europe, where English is native only in Great Britain and Ireland, the rate of bilingualism reaches up to 90% in some countries.

A good comparison to Quebec, is the country of Denmark, whose 6 million inhabitants speak a language that is shared only in Greenland and one part of Germany. But the numbers are small, less than 100,000 speak Danish outside the country.  If Quebeckers think French is in danger then Danish must be on its death bed.
But in Denmark English is embraced as the language of internationalism and schools teach the language early and successfully. 90% of Danes can speak English and they speak it very well.
Graduate school classes throughout the country teach business courses exclusively in English to prepare students for the real world. Danes don't seem to be particularly afraid of becoming Anglophones or having their culture destroyed by English.

The all-encompassing fear and the major argument among Quebec proponents of the ban on English is the premise that bilingualism leads to assimilation, a false assumption if you'd  ask the Danes.

While the entire world sees the benefit of learning English, Quebec stands with countries like Islamist Somalia that forbid the teaching of English.

Not all Francophones  in Quebec are pleased with being dictated to. Last week the leader of the small conservative party the Action démocratique (ADQ)  demanded that English actually be taught in schools with the goal of getting students to become bilingual. Gérard Deltell, the leader, expressed his distress at the low rate of bilingualism among the young.
This brought out the traditional naysayers who actually used the excuse that making children bilingual was too expensive and that there is a profound lack of qualified teachers.

Switching an additional class or two into English from French has no added costs and as for teachers, here's some advice. Hire ANGLOPHONES! They are already bilingual. When I went to English high school in Montreal, most of my French teachers were Francophones who spoke almost no English!

How does the PQ react to all of this?
By announcing that they will extend the language ban to English Cegeps (junior college) where Francophones are enrolling after high school, in order to learn English.

And so the language nationalist propaganda machine drones on and on, repeating the message that English is dangerous and that bilingualism leads to assimilation. 
After forty years of getting this message hammered home, most Quebeckers (but not all) accept it as Gospel.
Those who are brave enough to break out of the language prison are seen as having betrayed the 'collectivity.' Francophones in English colleges and universities make language nationalists ill. 

Pauline Marois' quote this week, says it all.
"It is not acceptable to send this message, that it is possible to have free choice."
And that is the essential question.

Do citizens have an obligation to serve to state, or does the state have the obligation to serve its citizens?

In banning free choice, it obvious what the answer is in Quebec.


  1. I don't think your comparisons are really valid. So Quebec makes immigrants go to French schools. So what? Immigrants know this going in and nobody forces them to come to Canada. Why shouldn't Quebec try to school its immigrants in French just like Ontario, B.C., Alberta, etc school immigrants in English. What exactly do you think Franco-Quebecers should do? School immigrants in English and reduce their share of the provinces language group? Now as for Denmark and Quebec, the former is a completely separate and independent country with no other linguistic community. Quebec is just a province of another country of which over 75% do not speak French. A very poor comparison. You do have a valid point though about Francophones being allowed more access to English learning. I don't know about the 'barefoot and pregnant' thing though. Didn't 900,000 French-Canadians move to New England? Those people had virtually no education or job skills at all compared to Francophones today but it didn't stop them from leaving.

    The Toronto guy.

  2. RE: "So what?" Immigrants know this going in and nobody forces them to come to Canada"
    Immigrants don't know this coming to Quebec. When you are an immigrant, you think Canada, a democracy, a land of opportunity...English and French in Quebec. You think French is a beautiful language and you are willing to learn it. It is only when you live here; you realize just how ugly the French language has become.
    You never imagine that French is:
    • going to be shoved down your throat,
    • you will be treated like a second class citizen,
    • Your children and grandchildren will have lost their rights to learn the language of their very own immigrants mother’s tongue (English) because she had a bit too much to drink and married a francophone father. A lifetime hangover, a life sentence in Quebec for sure!
    • You won't be able to have a choice in the type of software that you use on your computer at work.
    • Forced to speak and work in French.
    • forget upward job mobility unless your last name is Francophonish or your fluently bilingual
    • If you want something in English, you have to jump bureaucratic hoops to get it.
    • You will be faced with endless delays of justice for years trying to get your child an English education, while court cases spin their wheels in mud until they are stuck in the cogwheel of political la.. la.. rationalization land, justified oppression of our very own francophone children for several more years until you totally lose your mind, where you feel you need to tell Toronto guy....have a little empathy dude. “So what”...How smug of you to care so little about anyone other than yourself. God forbid, you would be transferred to Quebec forever for economic reasons, and then we’ll see you change your tune.

    You know, even, when you go through the citizen ship process, the issues concerning the education of your children is not clearly spelled out. If you are new to Quebec, you don't know all the politics of Quebec until you live here and try to enrol your children in school. We learned the hard way that Quebec is a dictatorship and that we are living in some kind of time warp of back-assward thinking, incomprehensible to most of the global network. At least, the makes an effort to address these issues that no one wants to talk about. We are very appreciative of his/her efforts for a fantastic blog to address the injustice. Now, if we can only get the rest of the dysfunctional family of Quebec and Canada to deal with this issue head on and stop sweeping this issue under the rug. Quebec needs to move into the new millennium and get with the rest of the world. Quebec is not so special, so distinct, so justified to take the rights of others. Francophone’s outside of Quebec should not be entitled to anything less than what Quebec allows for the Anglophone minority community. Quebec will not be able to support their lunacy without the financial support of Canada. If they want to leave the confederation, well let them leave but don’t give them a dime and make Quebec fend for itself. We’ll see how far Quebec gets living in its own little cocoon, while the rest of the world moves forward. I don’t imagine very far.

  3. ''Now I'm no lawyer, but clearly language may not be used to discriminate against anybody. Notice that there is no proviso that limits this protection, as there is the after the word 'age', which adds the proviso-"except as provided by law." It seems to me that this proviso needs to be added to the 'language' reference, if Bill 101 is to be legal.''

    Maybe you can explain why during hundred years, the francophone majority was forced to work in english, to speak to the foreman in english, pay his rent in english, all that on his own territory, where it's the majority ! Et si la discrimination basée sur la langue n'est plus, expliquez moi pourquoi les plus francophones sont de loin beaucoup plus bilingues que les anglophones du Canada ? La meilleure chose qui puisse arriver est que le Québec devienne un pays comme les 193 États reconnus ! Vive le Québec libre !

  4. All I have to say about your thinking is that is simply racist !The problem of immigration is maybe more the recognition of the degrees than your sentences stain of prejudge. English doesn't mean successful ! You just have to watch the ancient english colonies !

  5. I love when Torontonians come along pretending they 'get' Quebec and know so much more. It's not a question of 'forcing' people into French schools, it's taking away their freedom to choose. In Ontario, BC, can choose to go to a French school, should you want to. Quebec? No dice. Now, living in a province where the vast majority speak what at least can be called a form of French (who are we kidding, really?), you'd be a fool not to learn the language, but that's your business. Not the government's.

    Thus said, well written entry. Bill 101 has done nothing in its 30 year existence other than drive people out.

  6. 2 of 2:

    As for the Denmark example, I don't think it's a poor comparison to Quebec. The proof is in the pudding because statistics in Quebec show bilingual workers fare better than unilingual workers, bilingual Francophones faring best. If one wants to be in commerce that limits its market to Quebec, then English is barely necessary, but that is a confined and limited market. To cater to a larger and therefore more lucrative market, the reality is English is essential.

    I'm Jewish and all my grandparents spoke Yiddish. My father spoke it fluently having always address his parents in Yiddish. My mother spoke it proficiently, yet my parents didn't teach it to my brother and me. We learned Hebrew in parochial schools.

    Yiddish was widely spoken among the Jews of Europe, but its use has greatly deteriorated over the last half century. If language is so life-and-death, why didn't my parents pass down this part of my heritage to me? I grew up in a very Jewish neighbourhood and only one family passed Yiddish down to their kids, my contemporaries.

    Will Judaism die without Yiddish? No! We survived without Hebrew for over 2,000 years. Hebrew was only resurrected and modernized when Israel became a nation in 1948. Before that it only existed in the scriptures and as the language of prayer in the Synagogues. Yiddish only came about in the latter half of the second millennium and its use is deteriorating early in the third.

    As for Quebec, bilingualism will not choke off the Francophone culture or milieu. There is a collective determination to preserve not only their language, but way of life, and that collective will is what would prevent anyone from succeeding at assimilation as was tried in the past.

    A recent commentary indicated that while immigrants are forced to send their children to French schools and the necessity of communicating in French is essential, there is nothing that can force English speakers and immigrants to "live" in French if they choose not to.

    I was a young teenager during the Bill 22/101 days and I saw then the prison the language strictures created right from the start. It's only too bad it took around 25 years for the Francophone community to realize the confinement caused by this language legislation, and this hopefully will lead to an easement in the future.

  7. 1 of 2:
    T.O. Guy:

    Listen to another MTL-turned-T.O. guy. Nationalism was an important ingredient in at least keeping immigrants out of English schools that already exist. The other was job protection. Indubitably immigrants preferred English schools to French, and the teachers' unions, namely in the French sector, were concerned about job protection. These unions were therefore shoulder to shoulder with the nationalists, but their agenda was job protection.

    Had there been full freedom of choice as per J-J Bertrand's Bill 63 enacted by the Union Nationale in what proved to be their last mandate as the governing party, enrolment in English schools would flourish while French schools would likely close over time. At least that was the perception of the separatists, and they may not have been wrong given the demographics in Quebec since the 1980s.

    In all fairness, there are still some brave souls that leave Quebec for at least a while to learn English. One worked on my team and had to handle about 80% of her calls in English. Being from Chicoutimi, it takes a certain intestinal fortitude to do this; on the other hand, her significant other from Quebec City was bilingual, in the hospitality industry and took job offers outside Quebec. His first one was in Victoria, B.C., of all places! I give them both a lot of credit for having ventured far out of Quebec the way they did.

    Before leaving our team this gutsy Chicoutimian told us it was the goal of her and her companion to eventually open an auberge in Quebec City, but market to Ontarians and the northeastern U.S. It's a niche market that has not been overly exploited, and I wished her the best of luck. At that point, she and her companion were heading for Point-au-Pic as he accepted a job offer at Manoir Richelieu.

    Sadly, these are rare stories, but it goes to show that those who are resilient will find a way to circumvent the constraints imposed by government. Unfortunately, not all of us are blessed with a strong will or character, but it goes to show where there is a will there is a way.

  8. Good article. And Anonymous at 6:12AM is spot on. Being a child of immigrants myself, I can totally vouch for the view expressed in that post. This sentence encapsulates the feeling of most immigrants who end up in Quebec:

    "You think French is a beautiful language and you are willing to learn it. It is only when you live here; you realize just how ugly the French language has become. "

    On another note, live streaming of the world cup on

    Currently playing: South Africa - Mexico

  9. And Marois' statement...

    "It is not acceptable to send this message, that it is possible to have free choice" just a shame. It shows her true colors and her party's true colors.

  10. For Anonymous at 08:04 who says:

    "All I have to say about your thinking is that is simply racist !The problem of immigration is maybe more the recognition of the degrees than your sentences stain of prejudge. English doesn't mean successful ! You just have to watch the ancient english colonies !"

    When you replied to my post in the other thread, I thought you were serious. Now that you reply with this exact copy & paste, I know now you are not. You are pathetic.

    However, I like to humor you one more time. You ask to " the ancient english colonies" for measure of success. Now I give you Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. Please find me former or current French colonies that can match them.

    For adski: RSA 1 - 1 MEX Final. Not that the blog owner cares. He only watches hockey. :-)

  11. "Not that the blog owner cares. He only watches hockey. :-) "

    His loss :)

    Big day tomorrow. England-USA and Argentina-Nigeria. Holland-Denmark on Monday.

  12. Here is an excellent article where the Netherlands is described in a similar manner as Denmark is by the editor of this blog.

  13. All I can say is that my family and I are happy that we have more rights than all the separatists in this province, which I am so proud to point out. When someone asks " why did you not send your kids to a French school ?" which I proudly reply , " its because both political parties in Quebec feel that as an Anglo I can make my own decisions, its too bad that they do not trust Francophones, that is why I have one more right than you".

  14. Reply to anon at 6:12 AM:

    You need to get over yourself. Am I not correct that schooling in French is a requirement to immigrate to Quebec? If you don't like it leave. Immigration is a privilege, not a right. You say that immigrants in B.C. etc, can get educated in French if they want to. That is disingenuous at best. Like Chinese immigrants in Vancouver are flooding into French schools there and ignoring English ones. That is just ridiculous. Why should I be concerned about the 'plight' of Anglos in Quebec who don't even have their own political parties, vote Liberal, and are the major ANGLOPHONE beneficiaries of official bilingualism? What do I need French here in Toronto for? I could easily live with a language deal with Quebec being exclusively French-speaking and the rest of Canada abandoning Trudeau's imbecelic and wasteful bilingualism. By the way I have had to reject employment opportunities from the corporation I work for because I have no desire to relocate to Quebec.

    The Toronto guy.

  15. @anonymous,

    'Now, if we can only get the rest of the dysfunctional family of Quebec and Canada to deal with this issue head on and stop sweeping this issue under the rug.'

    At first before even considering all of this, the English community of Quebec needs to come together, address the issues and reform from its ashes the only party that can truly defends them: Alliance Quebec.

    Maybe I'm not well placed to say this according to my Francophone status however, this is my opinion now and only time will tell us how well the anglo community can sustain itself with Charest at its head.



  16. No discussion, french is in Québec to stay ! And the Bill 101 too !

  17. Just give us a rest with the free choice, it don't exist anywhere ! Not in public system ! Send your child to a private school in english but pay all the fees ! The majority doesn't have to pay for his assimilation ! And for your information, you always making the cantor of liberty and freedom, how it disturb you so much that the francophones want to live in french on their territory ? You represent the most radical imperialism by thinking english is the center of the world ! Go say that to Kel Tamasheq people in the desert that the Superbowl is watch by the world ? Which world ? Your restrict one ? The only english speaking one ?

  18. 1 of 2:

    Alliance Quebec is now defunct; furthermore, it was NOT a political party, but an advocate organization that looked out for the best interests of Anglophones in Quebec.

    In my opinion, Alliance Quebec was a toothless, clawless tiger, a pussy cat really. Simple diplomacy was not enough. Howard Galganov was much more feisty, but it was only too bad he didn't enter the fray 15-20 years earlier when this all started.

    On the other hand, the Anglophone community in Quebec is getting exactly the democracy it deserves. Many Anglophones talked a good fight, but when push came to shove, the community did not collectively get up and fight.

    Too many of us left, including me, but that was because I saw too many people bellyaching about the whole thing rather than taking action. Big talk, no action. My own parents admitted that whatever happens in Quebec, they were sitting ducks. OK, they were getting on in years and their careers were more behind than ahead of them, but I was still in high school and CEGEP.

    My whole working life lay ahead of me, and I felt by staying in Quebec, I wouldn't be a sitting duck, but a dead one. Well, perhaps it would not have been THAT bad, but I feel it would have been harder to get a job, keep it and possibly get promoted.

    Whatever the case, I couldn't stand the politics in Quebec, I made that clear once Bill 22 was legislated and decided after my cheap post-secondary education was finished, I'd drain Quebec of my brain and apply my new-found knowledge and skills and pay my taxes where my offerings would be more appreciated.

    You might say I chose 401 over 101. Terry Mosher, aka Aislin, the cartoonist for the Montreal Gazette, drew a caricature of the despicable Camille Laurin, Bill 101's author, and looking at the audience, Laurin says "You paranoid, silly will all look back and laugh at all this in Etobicoke, Calgary and Coquitlam. Well, I'm one community west of Etobicoke.

    I'm in Mississauga, run by a mayor born in Gaspésie (Port Daniel). She has been our mayor for 32 years, will be turning 90 next Valentine's Day, and plans to run for four more years in the election this coming November.

    Hazel McCallion is our mayor, a soon-to-be nonagenerian who can run circles around Gérard Tremblay and would leave ANY Quebec politician's head spinning! Under Hurricane Hazel's tutelage (there's that word again!), Mississauga is DEBT-FREE! Taxes are based on municipal and regional needs, nothing more, nothing less.

    Interestingly, Hazel is a separatist of sorts. In the larger municipalities surrounding Toronto, we not only pay city taxes for libraries waste collection, road repairs and other assorted infrastructural needs, but we also pay taxes to regions serving several municipalities within the region for police and fire protection mostly. Hazel feels Mississauga carries Peel Region also serving adjacent Brampton and East Caledon, municipalites north of Mississauga, and she's right. Unfortunately, she can't win this one, but she's not going down quietly. Too, Mississauga was about ¼ million people when she took over the government, and it's now almost four times bigger.

  19. 3 of 3:

    Perhaps, at long last, the legislation has run its course and its shortcomings are finally starting to manifest to the point they can't be ignored.

    On the other hand, Premier Goldilocks is siding with the linguistic and separatist zealots, and it is THAT that I don't understand. If the majority of Francophones are in favour of a more fortified English program in their schools, if immigrants aren't living in French the way the government would like, and if they would like tourists to keep coming to Quebec, I cannot understand at all why Goldilocks has decided to answer Bill 104 with something more cruel and inhumane than Bourassa did in the mid-1970s. Even the PQ Bill 101 removed language testing and inhumane obstacles to attending English schools and left it at English speakers who have roots. Bill 103 is a huge step going backwards 35 years. It makes me sick to my stomach how Goldilocks is pandering to the most mean-spirited and smallest minded element of society after championing the "no" side of the 1995 Referendum.

    The only conclusion I can draw is that Goldilocks is swallowing himself and his views whole for the sake of political survival. He is already drawing a lucrative federal MP's pension as a former cabinet minister, and he has just about completed 12 years as an opposition leader and premier. Upon leaving office he'll also receive a lucrative Quebec MNA's pension. Being fluently bilingual and forever having the title "The Honorable" prefixing his name, he can easily work for Heenan Blakie or some other top-notch law firm that loves employing former PMs and cabinet ministers (Trudeau and one of his closest ministers, Don Johnston, have both worked for Heenan Blakie, and theirs were the marquee names on the letterhead).

    In addition, he can become a judge, or probably be invited to directorships for publicly-traded companies and crown corporations. He'd have tremendous opportunities outside of politics, earn another income stream, or even several in addition to that second lucrative pension he can start drawing on the day after he leaves office. Even if he does nothing else he's set for life as his two politician pensions will be fully indexed to the cost of living each and every year for the rest of his life.

  20. 2 of 3 (Instead of 2 of 2):

    Anyway, I am digressing from the topic at hand, but I'm also pointing out how compared to Quebec, Ontario runs as a much better oiled machine than Quebec can imagine, hence my no longer fearing retribution should Quebec choose to separate.

    Bill 101 is proving to be counterproductive and dysfunctional. English has not disappeared off the face of Quebec beyond the forbidding of its unrestricted use and the fact English schools exist for the privileged few. Immigrant and French speaking kids are forced by Bill 101 to go to French schools, but many speak English to English-speaking friends or families (i.e., those from the U.S., U.K., Australia, etc.), they go to English movies, watch English TV shows and read English books. Quebec can restrict the use of English, but they can't eliminate it.

    Come to think of it, I was shocked one time on a trip in Quebec City with my companion. We stopped for supper at a St-Hubert chicken restaurant in Ste-Foy. At the next table, this group of 4-5 women in their 60s making a point of speaking English to each other. They were obviously Francophone, and I was a bit perplexed at what it was they were doing.

    Later on, I guess they overheard my girlfriend and me speaking English, so one of those ladies asked for some help with the word "anxious". I don't recall if they had trouble with the spelling, definition or the pronunciation, and I explained their dilemma mostly in French--that surprised THEM! They went on to explain they formed an English club amongst themselves to try to improve their English. I must say I was most can I not be? Here were four women who went through the transformation of the Quiet Revolution in Quebec, lived in a part of the world where maybe 4% of the population speaks English at home, and they saw the importance of English.

    On another occasion just a couple of years ago, my companion and I went to St-Denis St. in Montreal when I was in town. They have nice shops there, and I figured if language was a problem, I can carry my own. Everybody on St-Denis spoke English, even one sales clerk who struggled to do so! 20-30 years ago, there would have been no way...Français seulement!

  21. Don't you find it peculiar that Duceppe hasn't talked much about his recent trips to the US, ROC, and the EU, and how the “international community” totally turned its back on him, yet he issues a letter where he tells the international community to brace itself for another referendum?

    Despite the fact that polls haven't been favorable to the separatists lately (on 101 and on secession) and that Quebec is about to become the 8th most indebted jurisdiction in the world?

    Why isn't it Canada that is trying to kick Quebec out of the federation, like the richer Flemish who are trying to drop the poorer Walloons in Belgium?

    Isn't it the stronger economy that usually tries to drop a weaker one? Texas, Alberta, the oil-rich Norway that refused to join the EU? Why is Canada going counter to the world trends and insists on keeping a province that manipulates the federation, blackmails the federation, and drags the federation down?

    Canada should be separating from Quebec, not the other way around. No?

  22. Reply to adski:

    You make some good points. Getting rid of Wallonia would be great for Flanders. Getting rid of Slovakia was the best thing that ever happened to the Czech Republic.

    The Toronto guy.

  23. One thing to consider in letting Quebec go is that it will be the end of Canada. Not just Canada as we know now, but also English Canada.

    There is a separatist movement in Alberta. Granted, it is still very minor but they will certainly ride the momentum created by Quebec independence. Obviously, Alberta is economically very capable of being independent and its citizens are not happy that part of their wealth flows out of their province.

    Legally, Newfoundland & Labrador is the province that has the biggest right to secede. Newfoundland was a separate dominion until 1949. Prior to that it was Canada's equal. Newfoundland & Labrador is also not happy with the federal government as Premier Williams points out many times. It also can support itself with its offshore oil resources.

  24. Reply to Troy:

    You make some interesting points. Peter Brimelow noted much the same in his book THE PATRIOT GAME under the chapter, 'the other fault lines'. I would mention that Canada was the zealous suitor to a reluctant Newfoundland in 1949 and the actual vote that brought her into confederation may well have been rigged. There really is no reason why Alberta couldn't become an independent country. In fact it would be much better off since it wouldn't have to pay out equalization payments to other provinces or ever have to worry about a federal government it didn't vote for bringing in another NEP. Perhaps Canada is simply too geographically vast and thinly settled to be a single country, even without its linguistic dysfunctionality. Canada's major population clusters are all separated from one another. You have the Pacific coast group, divided by the Rockies from the west group, who in turn are cut off by the Canadian Shield from the big population centers in southeastern Ontario. Likewise Atlantic Canada is separated by water from the rest of the country. Curiously the only populated area that is not divided by geography is southern Quebec and Ontario and ironically right there you have the language, cultural and social division of Anglo and Franco. These issues of spatiality, regionalism and geography might not be paramount if Canada's population (with or without Quebec) had an extremely strong national identity but it doesn't. Even your term "English Canada" is sadly pretty much redundant. Go for a walk in Toronto or Vancouver and you won't see much that is Anglo about either place. That's another new division too - an urban-rural divide.

  25. I was in Denmark last summer and went to see a music festival. GroenFest. There were about 10 bands playing, all of them Danish bands. Every one of them sang exclusively in English.

  26. adski,

    Read the next editorial on June 14th, i.e., lack of Anglophone representation in the Quebec Government. I address the idea of a "festivus for the rest of us", i.e., an "English Canada" political party. BTW, I despise the term "English Canada" but this seems to have become the preferred buzz term for ROCEC (i.e., the rest of Canada excluding Quebec).

  27. ''jbk said...

    I was in Denmark last summer and went to see a music festival. GroenFest. There were about 10 bands playing, all of them Danish bands. Every one of them sang exclusively in English. '' What's the point ? Who know these bands ?

  28. The point is, can you image a festival that would tour all of Quebec, consisting of only Quebec bands, and all of them singing only in English? I don't think it would go over very well.

    Who knows these bands? Some of them are pretty famous and very good. Volbeat is pretty popular in Europe, and was on tour with Metallica at the beginning of 2010 in Canada and the US. Tim Christensen is very famous in Denmark (he also has had one of his songs covered by Celine Dion).

    My point is, I don't speak a word of Danish, and when I went to Denmark, I was amazed at how well the Danes spoke English. Not once did someone tell me they don't speak English. Yet, to each other, they speak Danish. They understand that learning a second language is a good thing and won't ruin their culture. They come off as very open minded, unlike many people here in Quebec.

    The same thing is also true about Norway, Sweden and Finland.

  29. It is undoubtly less of a problem to be unilingual English than Danish, yet I am of the school that says one simply never speaks enough languages.

    In Prague, I found Czechs to be quite cold on my first visit. On my second trip there, I brought a Czech phrasebook and people were smiling, switched to English or German.

    Similarly, I have been four times in Denmark and have always tried to speak as much Danish as I can. It enhances my experience there, makes my vacations more local...

    Last month in Iceland, my rudimentary Icelandic was only necessary once yet everyone who dealt with it, even the border agent, was all smile about it.

    But don't, please don't, speak French to me when I am outside Québec. As a Saguenay resident, I speak enough of it at home.

  30. Well, this sentence really resonated with me:

    "You think French is a beautiful language and you are willing to learn it. It is only when you live here; you realize just how ugly the French language has become."

    I don't know if I have much to add to the comments above, but I have to say as an American who moved here five years ago very excited at the prospect of living in Quebec, I have come to the point where I can wait to get out. Don't know whether I'm moving to Ontario or back home, but I am sick to death of the attitude and the politics in Quebec.

  31. Concerning this quote:

    "Maybe you can explain why during hundred years, the francophone majority was forced to work in english, to speak to the foreman in english, pay his rent in english, all that on his own territory, where it's the majority ! Et si la discrimination basée sur la langue n'est plus, expliquez moi pourquoi les plus francophones sont de loin beaucoup plus bilingues que les anglophones du Canada ? La meilleure chose qui puisse arriver est que le Québec devienne un pays comme les 193 États reconnus ! Vive le Québec libre ! "

    Does this mean that the Jews living under Nazi Germany 70 years ago would nowadays be allowed to discriminate against the Germans in return, and force people to go to the synagogue and eat kosher and speak Hebrew? Answer is no. past is past. We cannot have a Quebecois French dictatorship as a response to the past. People who come to Canada should have the choice where to send their kids, whether French, English or Esperanto schools, whatever dude!
    The more you try to force French upon people the more it backfires. I think it is sad to see the state of things in Montreal. It could be so much more of a modern city if it were not for the "silent revolution" that drove people elsewhere. I, as an immigrant from Germany am sometimes ashamed to show the city to my friends and relatives in its state of disrepair, garbage flying around everywhere, corruption and collapsing bridges. I think it is just plain dangerous to drive under those rusty things if you ask me. I risk my LIFE on the roads here. And I personally believe it is because of the nationalists that scared the money away. Correct me if I a wrong.
    But you know, I am tired of Nazis. I had to learn about them in school 10 times over in Germany and I really dont want more Nazis or Nationalists in Quebec. please. If this continues to be a problem, then I might just have to move to Ontario.
    Personally, I love French and I love the charm of bilingualism. So just keep it that way and don't mess it up and make everything Nazi ok?

  32. I'm a quebecker that his mother tongue is French and next year I'm going to an English college to be perfectly bilingual or erase my mother tongue because I have only one thing to say French suck like Quebec does !

  33. Actually English is still an official language of quebec, whether they will except it politically or not. All Laws still have to be posted in English and French to actually be laws of Quebec. Despite everything the Govt of quebec wants to ignore and the duty the Supreme court of canada does not have the guts to enforce. QUEBEC has 2 official languages. The quebecois chauvanists will one day meet there match in the rest of canada who will enforce the English as an official language of quebec. Its not as far away as you think, quebec's share of the canadian population is shrinking the french speaking population of quebec is not shrinking as fast, but they are depending on immigrants from French speaking countries to strengthen their hold on quebec. The french speaking immigrants and their children will learn english and not be loyal to it either. As for an independent quebec, partition will sever most of their economic links and most of the english majority areas of quebec will remain in canada. There is no way an independent quebec can prevent partition.

  34. "Maybe you can explain why during hundred years, the francophone majority was forced to work in english, to speak to the foreman in english, pay his rent in english, all that on his own territory, where it's the majority ! Et si la discrimination basée sur la langue n'est plus, expliquez moi pourquoi les plus francophones sont de loin beaucoup plus bilingues que les anglophones du Canada ? La meilleure chose qui puisse arriver est que le Québec devienne un pays comme les 193 États reconnus ! Vive le Québec libre ! "

    So you are admitting that francophones working for Non francophones were actually given a job, that they were actually given accomadation without discrimination. Forced to speak the boss and the landlords language, isn't that the norm in most places. If as customers renters didn't like to speak english why did they not shop around for where they were able to negotiate in French. After all English speakers in quebec have to the same now and even though they pay a disproportionate amount of taxes higher then their population they are discriminated against when applying for a Quebec civil service job.

    As for their own territory, France gave Quebec up after their lost the war for the small island of Guadeloupe in the Carribean. Funny you mentioned their own territory, when many parts of Quebec were opened up and settled first by the british. Like Western Quebec and Eastern Townships. Before confederation most of Northern Quebec was not even part of Quebec.

    Problem with these Mouvment Francais types they make up alot of their own history and English media never counters them.

  35. The French have the rights to support their language and their CULTURE. French withdrawal meant the language froze;the contact of anglophones modified the language as well.The case is very similar in the Basque country, with the difference that they a lot more serious about it: (unfortunately) THEIR VIOLENCE MADE THEM RESPECTED THEIR RIGHTS. I wrote a thesis on the subject.

    THE FRENCH LANGUAGE IS AN "ADSTRAT": latin word which means a language cohabitating with another.
    Ontario is not sincere with its bilingualism.White English males are predominant, immigrants are next, the Spanish, black people and then the French.HYPOCRISY & REVENGE ARE IN CANADA A NON PROGRESSIVE COUNTRY!

  37. FRENCH CANADA IS NOT ENGLISH CANADA. They were deprived and now they are florishing under their language and CULTURE. (PEOPLE ON THIS SITE ARE OBLIVIOUS OF CULTURE).- A lot of people from France and other French SPEAKING country are attracted to them. Quebeckers are open minded, artistics, and doers. Live and let live. The problems they had with the anglophones will remain a terrible scar and their history is written differently. The anglos have torched buildings & churches(Place d'Youville),have rioted, fired them from their jobs and laughed at them with their language and forced them to go to the war England put up with.

    You are a terrible Francophobe:if you are born French in Canada we don't owe you anything at all. 5% of people live well in Toronto, the rest are swimming like rats to stay above water and you don't even know it ! The other thing: you have to be smart to speak and write well French. Obviously it is not your cup of tea!


    If you don't like to hear about other people's cold war, you choose the wrong place to live in.Don't be too sensitive, the whole world suffered from the Hilter's tragedies. Germany could have a better place for you,once well educated. If you want to progress you better go to the USA where the pursuit of happiness is possible. Ontario is a very negative province.

  40. Eh! le petit Français qui fait des allusions à ce que les Francophones sont moins bilingues que les Anglophones ! Tu ne sais pas de quoi tu parles !!!!!Les Anglais bilingues ne veulent pas parler français. Le français est une langue plus difficile à parler (provenant du latin), ils ont peu d'opportunité et l'Anglais est connexe à l'allemand. Finalement, l'attitude du Canadien anglais est une majorité politique écrasante et ils en profitent depuis quatre siècles !Tâche d'étudier un peu...

  41. Moi j'ajouterais que les Anglais ne veulent pas apprendre la langue française. Les langues ne sont pas des sujets prioritaires pour les Anglais du Canada: les sports et les sciences de l'ordinateur ! Ils n'apprennent pas non plus la philosophie. Les médecins parlent de la vie avec un revolver dans la bouche. Ce sont des gens affreux, des gens qui proviennent de garderies... Ils se croient rois partout, un peu comme l'argent américain.

  42. reply to:


    What you racist delusional french people do not realize is that you have abused us so much in Quebec in the past 40 years that we may just decide to take our rights by force. That would leave NO ROOM in Quebec for you and yours ... if you push it to this extreme.

    Wolfe was never abused by you people so he was nice to you in the treatment of Quebec City. trudeau was one of you so played during the War Measures Act in 1970.

    If we ever get the authority, you will become racist boat people and nobody will want you in their country.

    Happy New Year!

  43. Was my comment to harsh on these pretty little racists?


    Why is yet another article NOT Found (a 404) on the Gazoo? Ah, right, even the last few English Language Newspapers left in the province are run by Francophones that want to hide us from the truth.
    Next time Editor, do as I do - as soon as the article is published, take a copy (if it isn't in already !) for yourself on this blog so that we actually have a reference.
    I have done this many times on my own blog in Cambridge ( because this is a very disturbing phenonmenon.

  45. Very nice article, as an immigrant in Qc Canada for 15 years ...coming to Canada was a dream ... i did the interview in my country and i was NEVER told about the "Quebec situation" how it wants to separate etc... i didn't even know that there was such thing as "french Canadian" when i came in Quebec me and my family was in such a shock we couldn't even understand the language here, i come from a bilingual country with French an English ... i thought i could go to school in English here i was very disappointed to know that you had to be born an English Canadian to be able to go to English school the worse is even the language here with the "supposedly french" doesn't get you anywhere it is not even french that they speak here we knew some real french people from France who could not even understand the french quebecois speak ... but thankfully i kept my English and i do my everything watch TV read in English i am working to perfect my English, i regret that people from my country knows English and the real French language better than i do and i live in a part of Canada that instead of going forward makes you go backward ...everywhere you go for a job they ask if you are bilingual and if you don't know English you work with people around the word how can you communicate the worse problem immigrant face here is Job which we face the worse discrimination ..i will move to Ontario in a couple years from now ...after 15 years i don't think that staying here has ever benefit me it's the worse place to live in but i got a chance to meet some wonderful people...

  46. It's funny to read people saying we are not talking a correct french. Have you never heard about accent, dialect from different regions?

    Brit's must think the same about you.

    People here are whinning about discrimination from the french people, but all they do is french bashing. It's funny, I married an anglophone, we speak both languages at home and I never heard a complaint from her or her parent. Maybe this kind of thread are the refuge for lazy people with intellectual limitations. Learning many languages can only open your mind to others. And you know what, if you're not happy, you can move from here. We will be more than happy to keep anglos with open mind.

    J.A. Brown Are you the guy with the little square mustache under his nose? Because what you are proposing sounds like the same he had to propose.

  47. the bottom line:
    quebec is a prison for the french people who fell for the bullshit of rene levesque and all the nazi thinking leaders that came after him.

    the other bottom line:
    polititions have to kiss quebecs ass to get votes and will sell their mother go get elected.

    I hope someday the shroud or ignorance will be shaken off and the the french canadains will break themselves free from the nazi style control that has slithered in to their lives and offers nothing but speaking french...

    But if they really want their own country, baffin island would be a perfect place.