Wednesday, April 20, 2011

PQ Convention - Blah...Blah...Blah!

Reading news reports of the events at the PQ convention last weekend I am reminded of that famous New York Yankee baseball manger, Yogi Berra who once said; ""It's déjà vu all over again,"

Each PQ convention seems a clone of the previous, the only question at issue is whether the current leader survives or is cast aside in another cruel act of political fratricide.

Alas, the lovely Pauline was indeed confirmed as the leader, receiving a 93% approval rating,  impressive when one considers that she scores in the mid-twenties with the general public.

The day before her reconfirmation, Marois sat silently by as delegates voted to ban English public signage, holding her tongue, lest she upset the militant dogs ahead of her leadership review.
Readers may remember that this particular clause in Bill 101, among dozens of others, was overturned by the Supreme Court, years ago.
The delegates wanted to re-implement the very same clause and use the famous "Notwithstanding Clause" to opt out of the inevitable court defeat.

In most politcal parties, it is the 'Young Turks' wing of the party that pushes for radical new policies, but in the case of the PQ, it is the old and frustrated who most want to push the envelope, sensing that like Moses or Martin Luther King, they will never see the Promised Land.
"And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!"

Of course Pauline and the other PQ elected members were aghast at the idea of re-implementing the draconian policy that could best be described as lose/lose gambit.

As soon as her leadership was reaffirmed she set forth to scuttle the newly minted motion.

First she sent party bigwigs out to the podium to soften up delegates.
Makko Kotta told delegates then that "...We can reduce, but not outlaw English. We are on a quest for a new nation and this resolution can be potentially divisive"
...How generous!
"PQ language critic Pierre Curzi and former PQ language critic Louise Beaudoin were dispatched to send a message to the hard-liners through the media that the PQ in power would not revisit the sign issue.
"It is a position which could effectively be perceived as radical," Curzi told reporters at a hastily called news conference in the corridor. "We find it does, indeed, send us down a perilous path." LINK
After the delegates had been suitably cowered, Marois hit the stage to put the coup de grace on the proposal by calling for a new vote;
"I have no desire to get embroiled in another legal debate on the question of the language of signs, given that we have lost all the way to the United Nations.
"What I want is for us to put all our energies into winning our battles. I ask you to reject this proposal."
"With that, the party made a stunning flip-flop - agreeing to not touch the existing law: Bill 86, adopted by the Liberal government in 1993, allowing English on signs as long as French is predominant." LINK
It was a cunning piece of strategy, cynical but nonetheless effective. Marois let the militants run wild and then after receiving their blessing, undid the damage.

One thing the party did do was to re-affirm their intention to restrict access to English cegep to those ineligible under the terms of Bill 101, thus rejecting the conclusions of the Quebec's most senior language body, charged with defending the French language, the Conseil supérieur de la language française. In a report published just weeks before the PQ convention, it concluded that "...attendance in English cegep has virtually no effect on language shifts" 
As far as language militants were concerned, this unacceptable conclusion meant that the bloom was off of the rose of this hitherto august body which they attacked mercilessly in the press as a sellout.

No matter, it wasn't really about defending French, it was more about punishing the English 'colonialists.' 
I daresay that if Rene Levesque and Lionel Groulx popped out of the grave to advise them the same, they would reject the notion as well. 
To delegates, anti-English resolutions are just too delicious to pass up and no convention would be complete without a few nasty proposals, putting Anglos in their place.

One of the proponent's of the ban on English signage told reporters that it is 'normal' to have only one language on commercial signs, after all, he pontificated, when one goes to Italy, one doesn't expect to see English signs.
Hmmm.....No reporter dared to challenge the remarks by reminding him that Quebec is not a country, but rather a province in a predominantly English-speaking country! Ouch!

And so with a renewed sense of purpose and conviction that Quebec would soon be a sovereign state, the delegates left the convention in an upbeat and confident state of mind, oblivious to the reality that they'll be back again next year and the year after that and in ten years as well, ad nauseum.

The broken record continues to play the same tired tune over and over again, with the general public sick of hearing it, while to hardliners, it remains a rhapsodic symphony!


  1. Would extending Bill 101 to junior colleges survive at the Supreme Court? Section 23 is only for primary and secondary schools. Methinks not!

  2. Those marching morons (a.k.a. péquists)! Maybe for the sake of Anglophone students, such a restriction should pass thus enabling Anglophones to have a fighting chance to make it into CEGEP.

    A major purpose of forced French school going back to the 1960s was primarily to protect the jobs of French speaking teachers. It's not as if the federalist (yap on) PLQ is going to expand English language CEGEPs to accommodate the expanding needs of said institutions of barely higher learning.

    Paul Simon's first line in his song Kodachrome is "When I think of all the crap I learned in high school, it's a wonder I can think at all".

    While I can somewhat attest to this, the real raison d'être for CEGEP is to give the French kids two years to catch up to the English kids. In Michel Gratton's book "French Canadians", Gratton fiercely attacked the teaching establishment and their vile, ridiculously useless courses taught in (French) school. Math and science were forsaken for complete and utter drivel that taught absolutely NOTHING! RIEN!

    Where Gratton didn't attack the Catholic French schools, he berated the Church with the vim and vigour of a runaway train, and especially Paul Émile Cardinal Léger, a man he described as one to be feared more than revered. To me, that part of Gratton's book was certainly its climax.

    Sadly, the dénouement appears to be the Great Charter of Charters that Premier John James "Goldilocks" Charest, like a scared puppy dog with tail between its legs, won't change a comma of.

    Like the German judges tried at the Nuremburg tribunals in the late 1940s, they had zero courage, they were spineless jellyfish who sentanced millions to death for not being of the ilk of the Nazis. Premier John James "Goldilocks" Charest has about as much courage as those judges did, but unlike those German judges, will never be sentanced to life in prison.

    Even that sentance was not carried out. In 1961, a movie was made on the Nuremburg tribunals starring the likes of Richard Widmar, Maximillien Schell, Judy Garland, Montreal's (and the defunct Baron Byng High School's) own William Shatner and many other famous Hollywooders. At the end of the movie, of the 99 judges who were tried and sentanced, by 1961, not one of them was still in prison. So much for justice for the millions who died in the name of rabid Nazi racism.

    Little by little, the freedom by the PQ to spew racist rhetoric without restriction very well can lead to a repeat of Nazi Germany, much like what Slobodan Milosovitch did in the former Yugoslavia back in the early 1990s. He was the result of fettered and festering hatred going back decades, even centuries.

    If left to stew and ferment, Quebec can turn into another former Yugoslavia, and based on the elephant in the room all the currently existing political parties choose to ignore, I wouldn't be surprised if Quebec turns into another Yugoslavia, or Northern Ireland, or worse.

    This is yet another major, major reason why a federal party that does not ignore the "orphaned Anglophones" of Quebec (a term coined by Robert Libman in a recent article he placed in the Gazette) and fortifies the aspirations of Anglophones in all of Canada first. How long can we continue to ignore the elephant in the room before it tramples on everyone in the room to death?

  3. Anglo Montrealer,

    It might not survive the supreme court, but the PQ knows that they will get away with it for at least a few years until supreme court hears the case and makes a decision. For example if the supreme court of canada had heard the case of bill 101 in terms of English school education in 1977-78 and made the decision by 1980 alot of English schools would have been saved or at least their lives extended until the 1990s 2000s. The supreme court ruled against bill 101 in favour of parents who were canadian citizens and had gone to english school in Canada. Their children were eligble later for English school. This was 7 years after that bill 101. Similar story to the appeal against bill 103-105, it is going back to the supreme court and will take another few years. Supreme court could have told Quebec Government that children going to unsubsidized private English school could get access to English public school by just one year, but still referred to the Quebec government to modify the law.

  4. Given that the PQ has already initiated two referendums and "lost", I think they're best hope is for the rest of Canada to have a referendum. I'm pretty sure then, Quebec would become a nation as the ROC is sick and tired of supporting these ingrates.

    Following that referendum, I propose the island of Montreal begin the democratic process to separate from Quebec and re-join Canada. I'm sure the PQ would have no problem with that.

  5. Funny, I didn't hear anything about creating jobs or attracting foreign investment and creating wealth in Quebec from this PQ POW-WOW. These radicals are so hell bent on creating their White, French,Catholic utopia that they are completely oblivious to the World around them and to the challenges and struggles that face working middle-class Quebec families every day. They are so disconnected in their little bubble they might as well be on another planet. At this rate, the next election will be another slam dunk for the Liberals even if they ran a stinking monkey as their leader. Does anyone in that room know how hard it is to create a job that pays a decent wage to support a household? Do any of them realize that because of the impending retirement Tsunami, Quebec is literally staring down the barrel of a financial shotgun and these twerps are replaying racist, discredited arguments from the 1960's?? Get a life!

  6. Editor: “One of the proponent's of the ban on English signage told reporters that it is 'normal' to have only one language on commercial signs, after all, he pontificated, when one goes to Italy, one doesn't expect to see English signs.”

    The pequsites have always been such an authority on deciding what’s normal and what’s not. How about this world normality – nearly all other states in the world adapt to the citizen in terms of the language. The official language(s) is/are normally the one(s) spoken by the population. Here, the state decides, and people have to adapt. I don’t think this is “normal”.

    Anglo Montrealer: “It might not survive the supreme court, but the PQ knows that they will get away with it for at least a few years until supreme court hears the case and makes a decision”

    This technique has been well described in Fearful Symmetry by Brian Crowley. Quebec governments have often resorted to this tactic – they’d pass something unconstitutional and keep it alive for a short period of time, until it’s shut down by the Supreme Court. By then, the desired damage is done.

    Marco: “Given that the PQ has already initiated two referendums and "lost",”

    Which means that we are now in a best-of-5 situation. They lost 2, now they have to win 3 in order to win the series. If they lose another one, we’re going into a best-of-7.

    Otherwise, what do we get? 9 lost referendums, and squeaking past the 50% margin on the 10th try, and that one stands? And no more referenda from then on? The pequistes have it all figured out, don’t they?

  7. In regards of the extension of Bill 101 to CEGEP, I think there are two factors that I hope will prevent this plan from happening:

    1. CEGEP students are in the age of majority. Therefore, any restriction for them to attend an educational institution (particularly on language basis) will be a human rights violation. The political impact will be much bigger than for primary and secondary education. The Quebec government will quickly becomes the black sheep in international community.

    2. Many young individuals in the francophone community aspire to go above and beyond the social and physical boundaries of Quebec. They perceive that having university education in English is their way "out of the 'hood". Therefore, English CEGEP is their first step there. Even though it is not impossible to go to English universities after French CEGEP, the obstacle that they need to overcome is much harder rather than if they have 2 years of English pre-university preparation.

  8. Troy, a question for you, since you probably know more about the Regions mentality than me:

    The fact that English Cegeps do not exist outside of Montreal, would you say that it’s reasonable to assume that the youth up north might back the English Cegep ban out of spite, on the principle that if we can’t go to one, you shouldn’t either (and that way keep the others from mastering English, based on the “if I can’t, you can’t either” logic)?

    What do you think?

  9. The convention, usually very arduous for PQ leaders, was a stunning success for Marois. Not only did she get a massive stamp of approval from the delegates, but she also strongarmed them in dropping their ridiculous and unworkable proposal. It's looking good for the PQ in the next election!

    Of course here nobody is going to agree with me, but I find it reassuring that there is still at least one political party where discussion and dissention is allowed, in contrast to the Québec Liberals and the CPC's artificial, choreographed conventions is support of their glorious, autocratic leaders.

    As for the application of Bill 101 to CEGEPs, don't hold your breath. The PQ itself is quite divided on the issue and I don't think they have enough popular support to push it when they get elected. By then there will be more pressing issues I'm sure.

  10. @ adski

    "The fact that English Cegeps do not exist outside of Montreal"

    There are english cegeps in Gatineau (Heritage), Lennoxville (Champlain College Lennoxville) and Québec (Champlain College St. Lawrence).

  11. Well until 2012, there will be a flood of allos and francophones into english CEGEPs and adult eductation. You will see alot of High School students that are age 16 drop out from French High School and go to English adult education just in case they won't be eligible for English CEGEP. The PQ is creating a self fulfilling prophecy by starting a panic. Also if they do modify bill 101 to extend to the CEGEP and adult education level, then that could mean that students who attended English adult education and CEGEP, when they are parents should be eligible to send their kids to public english elementary and highschool

  12. "It's looking good for the PQ in the next election!"

    > Opinion polls can be deceiving, especially in QC.

  13. I think this all plays well for the Liberals. If they can do a good job of portraying the PQ as radicals, totalitarians and fiscally irresponsible they might actually win another election or at least keep the PQ to a minority. Not sure why the PQ think it is a good idea to push a divisive motion that the majority of he population is against? They should wait until they are in power before describing how they are going to trample the charter of rights and freedoms.

    As for the hockey series analogy for referendums, it's not apt (even though I do like a good Hockey analogy). Once they win 1 referendum they will be free of the shackles of English colonial imperialism (like you point out at the end). It's more like the stupid kid in the class who repeats an exam over and over until she/he finally can put together enough "correct" answeres to pass. Much like this stupid kid, a sovereign Quebec will have no clue how to deal with what comes next.

    No one, and I mean no one, ever talks about the benefits or hardships of a sovereign Quebec. Mostly because there are no benefits except to fully outlaw English (why is that beneficial again?).

    Have fun rebuilding the Champlain bridge in Quebecistan. Like the new billboard sign says "Say Your Prayers." On that topic I have no problem with the sign, I think its funny. I also think it's impressive that the Catholic church is thinking 21st century with funny adds for a fund raiser. Having said that, if the sign was in Hebrew, or god forbid, Arabic, this would be discussed in the National Assembly and heads would role.

  14. Blah, blah, blah indeed.

    I have a question for all you government scum bags, politicians and union scum bags combined, in the province of Quebec, Canada. How can you continue to put future generations heavily in debt by your excessive greed? You should all be ashamed of yourselves.

    See folks, they will all be retired with a nice big fat pension. They really don’t care about the future. Just pathetic, all of them.

    Here are some facts for some of you revisionist clowns (politicians, government scum…) to suck on.

    Use of English and French. The Founding of our Canadian Nation

    On TV, on Feb. 6, 1990, Don Boudria, MP, endorsed the politically correct fraud by stating that:
    "…. Canada is a bilingual nation" with "linguistic duality", and that "since the *Quebec Act of 1774" …. "both founding nations are" …. "equal partners".


    In addition to the English nation, the Indians and Eskimos (each composed of several tribes/nations), and the Scots, Irish, and Welsh nations, plus French Canadians, all of them British, NONE OF THEM A FRENCH "NATION", played a part in the "founding" of Canada. Some of them played a very significant part! The French Nation (not British) did absolutely nothing! It had chosen at the Treaty of Paris, 1763, to abandon all its once held North American territory, "New France" (except for the two small islands, St. Pierre and Miquelon, just south off the centre of Newfoundland) in exchange for the sugar rich island of Guadeloupe.
    Before the arrival of Europeans, there were already over 30 different Aboriginal tribes/nations and languages in what is now Canada, which was then, and still is, multilingual. Now, the common language is mainly English, and has been for some 250 years!

    1867. British North America Act. (BNA Act). A new "Nation of Nations". The country, CANADA, created.
    Section 133: The French language authorized, with English, for official use, however, with reference only to the following three places (to include their respective written records):
    (1) The two houses of Parliament. (Senate and House of Commons).
    (2) The Legislature of the Province of Quebec, and the courts of the Province of Quebec.
    (3) Any court created under the BNA Act. E.g., the Supreme Court of Canada (which, actually, was not established until 1875).
    No mention of the use of French for official purposes anywhere else. Generally, except for example by royalty on occasion, English only used for official purposes at senior levels!

    Blah, blah, blah indeed.

  15. Hey “DrunkGuyReneLevesqueKilled said...”

    I was wondering if you could tell me a little about the killing of he drunk person by Rene Levesque. I’ve heard a little about it but not much. I am told Levesque was drunk, killed the guy who was walking, while Rene driving in Hull... and got off scott free...

    Any info would be great.


  16. The Drunk Guy Killed by Rene Levesque was Edgar Trottier 62, a WWII veteran. He was killed by a drunk driving Rene Levesque on Sunday February 6th, 1977 after "having a few" at friend Yves Michaud's home. Here are some articles on the matter:

  17. Hi adski,

    You are wrong if you assume I know much about life outside Montreal. I have never lived in the rest of Quebec outside the Island.

    However, your thought may hold water. Some ignorant youth may also not be able to look for opportunities above and beyond. Basically they are the young and intellectual versions of 'barefoot and pregnant'.

    However, for youths in Montreal and Gatineau, I do believe the story is different. The exposure to the outside world is too big to ignore here. Just look at all French Canadians that fluorish in the NHL, in Hollywood, in Wall Street, in Las Vegas. In that way, I still have my optimism.

  18. They should rename Rene Levesque blvd. after Edgar Trottier. Both were drunks but at least Trottier fought for his country in a war.

  19. If forced enrolment in French language Cegeps is a bad idea the only effective opposition to a PQ preparing for power, or in power, must come from the francophones and allophones whose freedom will be restricted. Sure anglophones are affected because lower enrolment might impact English Cegeps etc, and we have the standard violation of rights discours but the Liberals will never take the risk of endorsing such secondary anglo concerns in public. And you already know what the PQ will say.

    This battle must be fought primarily by francophones. Mississauga Guy suggested that protecting teachers in the french language system was a primary reason for restricting access to english schools. Perhaps to some minor degree but the real impetus behind this idea came from a group of nationalist politicians, theoreticians and activists - Camille Laurin prominent among them - who concluded in the 70's that the power of attraction to english required government intervention, otherwise it would be impossible to create a Quebec "as french as Ontario is english". Anglos are naturally offended by that concept because it ignores history and the modern reality of Quebec - which we all know has NEVER been as french as Ontario is english. But no one listens to the anglos when we oppose these putative nation builders. Their achilles heel is their own ethnic "nation" which will soon be required to speak up on this issue. This will be an interesting test for the solidarity theme which the PQ loves to preach. Pass the popcorn and stay tuned.

    Incidentally @ Missisauga Guy and others who would like to be considered rational people - and with great respect for freedom of opinion - why don't you can the Nuremburg trials and other Nazi analogies in your comments. They are wrong and just plain silly. Such comments only serve to diminish the credibility of any sensible comment that may be included with the Nazi Germany stuff. In the meantime, until you dial back the ranting, you are a textbook example of Godwin's Law. Congratulations ! For the sake of the more thoughtful readers of this blog, and others who have anything more than a grade school understanding of modern history - just can it, please .

  20. "Incidentally @ Missisauga Guy and others who would like to be considered rational people - and with great respect for freedom of opinion - why don't you can the Nuremburg trials and other Nazi analogies in your comments. They are wrong and just plain silly. Such comments only serve to diminish the credibility of any sensible comment that may be included with the Nazi Germany stuff. In the meantime, until you dial back the ranting, you are a textbook example of Godwin's Law. Congratulations ! For the sake of the more thoughtful readers of this blog, and others who have anything more than a grade school understanding of modern history - just can it, please."

    Great point. I've tried to express this recently and all I got for my trouble was more defense of the Québec = nazi analogy. IMO it ensures that your "cause" will only attract extremists and kooks, as shown by sunday's rally.

  21. Sandy: I can't imagine any one person out there is claiming Quebec, as it stands today, is comparable to the Holocaust or Nazis Germany during the 1940's. That would be a little absurd, no?

    I think the point you and some others are missing are the parallels years before Nazism peaked or even came into existence for that matter. Vienna during the 1920's and 30's is very reminiscent of Quebec today. If you disagree, I suggest you read up on some history books, or even novels recounting that period of time. Quebec has become the perfect climate for stirring intolerance into hate, and hate into violence. The "Milice Patriotique Québécoise" is a good example of where things are headed. I'm sure you and others just think of them as an radial extremist group, a bunch of unimportant crazies not worth a second thought and certainly not representative of Quebec society. Well that is how the Brown Shirts started.

    I'm also sure people in Bosnia made comparison with Nazism before things turned violent and were laughed at for drawing such parallels.

    What is going on in Quebec is dangerous. Much like playing with gasoline and fire. You might not get hurt, but the extreme danger and risk are certainly present and should not be ignored.