Now the incident took place in Eastern Ontario, but the supervisor was based in western Quebec and she was a bit uneasy testifying in English, although she was quite bilingual. I told her not to worry and just tell the truth.
During the proceedings, my supervisor testified that it was she herself who hired the employee, so she was hardly prejudiced. She went on to describe a litany of problems with the employee, including missed shifts, tardiness, laziness and rudeness to clients as the reason for the firing. In her words, "she was the shittiest hire I ever made."
The judge looked up, perhaps unaccustomed to such language, but took it in good stride.
"Let me make a note of that " he said. "S-H-I-T-T-Y E-M-P-L-O-Y-E-E" he repeated, as he wrote on a pad before him officiously, in mock seriousness. I could only imagine the scene!"
The complaint was eventually dismissed and when I got the news, I asked the supervisor into my office to congratulate her on the victory. I asked her if she learned anything from the affair.
"Yes, I'm not not going to be hiring any more Black people!"
Sometimes, it isn't about language, nor about race, colour or creed. Sometimes you get fired because you're just a shitty employee.
Last week I read an article by sportswriter Serge Touchette who complained that Francophones don't get enough chances as coaches or assistant coaches in the NHL.
"It would be too easy to blame the NHL of racism against French coaches, but it's reasonable to ask serious questions." LINKArgghh.......
The writer complained that jobs were scarce for Francophone coaches and perhaps if Mario Tremblay, who recently departed as assistant coach on the New Jersey Devils was English, there'd be a pile of offers waiting for him.
It's always easy to blame language and it happens all to often in Quebec, especially with francophone sports writers, who see a grand NHL conspiracy to keep Francophones out of the league. It is a ludicrous scenario, but one that rears it's ugly head much too often.
In the French media. 'Crying wolf' in relation to language, is not uncommon.
(By the way, I offer links to explain some of the idiomatic expressions that I include. For native English speakers they are 'easy as pie' to understand but may be unfamiliar to the many francophone readers who populate this blog)
That being said, Francophones are not the only ones guilty of falsely complaining of discrimination, we Anglos are guilty as well.
Every now and then we hear complaints that Anglos are under-represented in the Quebec civil service with just 2% of the jobs as opposed to the 8½% of the general population.
Is this because of discrimination?
It's an easy argument to make, but one that is false. Most Anglos prefer to work in an environment where they can use their English. It isn't more complicated than that and it isn't about racism or discrimination.
Last week Concordia University in Montreal asked the downtown borough council if they could close down a street to hold a concert to celebrate Frosh week. The council refused, in spite of the fact that the student council agreed to hold the concert earlier and move it to a more commercial street block, one where most of the business' are related to the school.
The council didn't budge, notwithstanding that streets are closed all the time for the Grand Prix, the Just for Laughs Festival, parades, etc.etc.
Some grumbled that the school was refused the permit because they were English.
I can tell you from personal experience that living around the downtown school is a nightmare and it actually caused me to move away. Unlike McGill (which is also a downtown university) which has a large quad, Concordia has no campus, it is a complex of tall buildings, smack dab in the middle of downtown Montreal. Students, to put it bluntly, are a pain in the ass to the locals.
Its likely that the borough objected to another drunken party in the streets and it happened to have nothing to do with language.
Finally, I came across this piece in a blog over at Coolopolis, where someone wondered if the requirement to post the name of the pharmacist on the front door of the pharmacy was somehow a plot by the governing body to highlight those pharmacies which were Jewish or Anglo owned so 'good francophones' could avoid them.
Hmmm.....I don't think so.