Sunday, July 31, 2011

It's Good to Be Back!

When  I first went off for vacation, I reluctantly removed the pre-screening of the comments section in the belief that it wouldn't be fair to readers to keep their missives in limbo for hours and hours or sometimes even a few days.
I say 'reluctantly' because it left the door open to abuse. On the positive side, it allowed comments to be published almost immediately.

Surprisingly, only one comment warranted being yanked!

And so I've decided to keep things as they are, with comments published without pre-moderation. The benefit of having your stuff published immediately seems to be worth the gamble.
That being said, I'll still read the comments and keep an eye out for abuse.
If you spot something that clearly deserves to be withdrawn, please send me an email (
Don't complain about abuse in the comment section. It just clutters things up.

I have decided to continue posting on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
The burden of posting each day was a bit too much and I'm much more comfortable with three posts a week, which will hopefully allow me to concentrate on quality.

Each Friday, I will attempt to deliver a compendium of stories that will give readers an extended weekend read.
I've renamed this post as "Weekend Report" which will replace the traditional (and popular) "French versus English." The name change reflects that other stories, not necessarily about language will be included. It will include anything that I believe is of interest and will allow me to offer a much meatier post.

A note on Anonymous Surfing.
Believe it or not, access to this blog continues to be blocked by certain organizations, including the BELL CENTRE.
I guess free speech only counts for which is not blocked. ...Humm
At any rate, there is a simple work around.... anonymous web surfing.

Anonymous surfing may help you avoid being blocked by hiding your IP address, which identifies from whence you came.

Simply go to one of the sites below and paste in the web address of the blocked page you want to access in the box provided. It's painless and free. 

Better still here's a website with a gazillion anon proxies....

It also works for sites like Facebook or YouTube which are sometimes blocked by employers at the office.
Here's a video explaining all this on YouTube

As you know, the Quebec government has in the past forbidden certain companies from offering an English-only website to Quebec customers. Quebec based customers are steered away based on their IP address.
This was the case with Urban Outfitters which offers all North American customers the same English website and which was the subject of a post of mine.
I tried the website this morning and it is no longer blocked, but it is little comfort to Quebec customers as the company will not ship into Quebec because of language issues.

Some newspapers have gone to a pay model which blocks content based on your IP address as well. The Montreal Gazette has adopted such a model which is exceedingly frustrating because indexed stories on search engines don't have a note attached indicating that the story may be blocked. (le Devoir does do so.) This is because the newspaper does allow some limited free content based on usage, so you may or may not be blocked.
That being said it is extremely annoying to be blocked from a story after starting to read. It is a bit ratty of the newspaper to do so.
Now as a Gazette print subscriber I am entitled to the online content, but after filling out the necessary online forms, I remain firmly blocked. The password and user name the newspaper sent me, just doesn't work!

Out of desperation I used an anonymous web proxy and it worked just fine.

I suggest that if you can afford to pay for the content, please do so....but.

I'm glad to see readers adopting an online personna so that readers can track who is saying what and can reply to a name instead of 'Anonymous@12:21'
Here's a blog piece that I wrote as a  reminder on how to create a pseudonym.

A note about my post about Jack Layton.

It seems that many readers were offended by my post accusing Jack of misleading Canadians as to when he first learned about his new cancer.
I guess that I remain in a minority in believing that hiding a major illness from constituents is unethical.

Fair enough.

Readers are entitled to their opinion as I am to mine. Some questioned whether I was alienating regular readers by taking such an (as it turns out) unpopular position.

All I can say is that I'd be offended if regular readers agree with all that I say. There's nothing wrong with disagreement among friends and those readers who disagreed with my position are entitled to express their position as forcefully as they want in the comments section.
It goes to Jack's popularity that so many rose to his defence.

But readers, let us be honest.
Do you come here to hear your own views parroted and to get a rehash of the same safe tripe printed in the mainstream media?

The most useful element of the blogesphere is that opinions which are not politically correct can be aired.
Readers come here for something they don't get in the mainstream press.  As such, they should be prepared to suffer the slings and arrows of a politically incorrect opinion that they sometimes disagree with.

At any rate, all I said online is what many Canadians whispered around the water cooler or in private.
And I'll tell you something else;
The article generated a lot of hits outside regular readers. I get to see, via tracking software, what type of keywords led readers to land on the article.
The vast majority were lines like these;'
  • What kind of cancer does Jack Layton have?
  • How long does Jack Layton have to live?
  • How long has he had this cancer?
  • Is he telling the truth?
I think many people share my view that we aren't getting the real story. Perhaps it isn't polite to ask, but politeness should not be in a journalists repertoire.

I still remained surprised that so many people objected to a straight piece which asked a pertinent, albeit uncomfortable question. Jack Layton is not a sacred cow, he remains a politician, not a saint, and like all politicans he has a propensity to lie. It's the nature of the beast.

Jack Layton looked and sounded shockingly bad and has been sick a lot, longer than he admitted. He most likely lied when he said that he only found out about the new cancer the week before.
It is not a credible version of the truth.

By the way, for all the readers who are outraged that I dared question the integrity of Mr. Layton, it seems that voices are now being raised in the mainstream press, perhaps emboldened by bloggers like myself who jumped on the inconsistencies in Layton's story. Globe and Mail

Ultimately the truth will come out and I'll bet dollars to doughnuts that my version of the truth will be vindicated.
If I am right, I hope all the commenters who blasted me will have the honour to do the same.


  1. For the gazette, ihave been reading it on ipad with the account i have online for them, i am surprised you had such difficulty connecting, i have been using it for the last 5 years. The iPad app version is really great, i use the app also for the national post.

  2. > I have decided to continue posting on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
    > Posted by Editor at Sunday, July 31, 2011.

    Today is Monday. No post. Explain yourself, Ed.

  3. @ Apparatchik
    Gimme a break!
    This post went out early because I'm not used to Blogger's new interface.
    I hope your criticism is based on the fact that you miss me.
    At any rate, the 3 posts per week is a minimum commitment and I will probably be posting a bit more often...depends.

    WED post.... Why Thomas Mulcair will be a better leader than Jack Layton. "ooommph!

  4. Dear Mr. Editor, please tell us you are working on yet another piece focusing on the crumbling infrastructure in Montreal.

    Also, I initially found your piece on Layton a little harsh. I agreed with you, I just thought it was a little harsh. In retrospect, as Canadians we tend to be a little too polite. After further reflection I think you were bang on.

    I didn't vote NDP, however, I must admit that Layton would make the best PM in a scenario where he was arbitrating between Harper and the Liberals (not these Liberals mind you). I say this because I feel he is the only leader who is capable of being considerate to different points of views.

    Unfortunately that is not the way our system functions.

    If Jack leaves, Canada is in bad shape. The NDP will be a complete waste, as they are a gang of clowns and the Conservatives, who already do whatever they want will be completely uncontested...

    But hey, those are my 2 cents... (or 2.12 cents USD, hehehe) :)

  5. I second that. I think a piece about about Montreal's crumbling infrastructure (which hasn't even reaching the tipping point yet!) would make an interesting introspective read on the province of Quebec.

    Don't forget the woman who died by a falling slab of concrete on Peel street, or the man in St.Laurent who died when the parking garage ceiling collapsed on him, or the Laval overpass deaths. Or just any of the countless other examples in recent months of roads, bridges and buildings.

    It's all relevant too, just like a parent who dangerously neglects its children because he or she is on crack, the Quebec government neglects its "children" (we, the citizens) because it's on crack (read: language restrictions, language police, referendums, obsessed with cleansing the English language, etc). We've reached the point where the federal government needs to step and take control, much like a social worker with a neglectful parent.

  6. > I hope your criticism is based on the fact that you miss me.

    Indeed. With Vigile in financial trouble because of its legal fees and you on vacation because you're presumably a human being, I've found myself pondering — hypothetically of course — what the discourse would be like if all the federalists and separatists inexplicably disappeared...

    > At any rate, the 3 posts per week is a minimum commitment and I will probably be posting a bit more often...depends.

    It is to be devoutly wish'd.

    > [...] Thomas Mulcair will be a better leader than Jack Layton. "ooommph!

    I'll believe it when I see it. Then again, they all laughed at Cristopher Columbus... but that was before all the wonderful land, power, glory, and melted native gold he brought Spain.

  7. Interesting article published in late June in The Economist

  8. To discuss Apparatchik's point further:

    Really, the discussion in French vs English in the blogosphere has been decreasing quite dramatically since the defeat of BQ and the resignation of PQ MNAs. Or maybe it is just summer?

    The quality and the genre of the topics in Vigile is not very amusing aymore. They are talking quite a bit about Israel, about U.S. debts, about Greek economic crisis. Ho-hum. Not exactly my favorite subjects.

    Louis Prefontaine and Angry French Guy are taking long break, it seems. Louis is particularly crushed by the Orange Crush.

    Who else? SSJB, same old same old. Montreal francais is now Quebec francais, however the expansion does not seem to be followed by increase in traffic. Imperatif francais stays with its own drivels, plenty of them are irrelevant.

  9. Who on Earth needs Quebec? CANADA DOESN'T!

    I saw that whole thing on the collapse of the Ville Marie expressway and just blew my stack. Between equalization and other assorted tax funds Quebec bleeds from the Real Canada, Quebec can't even keep its bridges suspended. It's now a race to see which bridge collapses first, the Jacques Cartier or the Champlain.

    Seems that humming bridge with the late queen's name is holding up better than the other bridges, and from the big plaque I see when I cross that thing (not often), it was built in the 19th Century and it's still holding up better than the two built in the latter half of the 20th Century!!!

    Now Quebec wants federal money to keep its bridges up? FAGEDDABOUDIT! Quebec takes federal money and throws it on complete foolishness, like language legislation, and even the moronic Official Languages Commissioner now wants to sic language police in Ottawa. Why the hell should Ottawans in private industry have to worry about "official bilingualism"? The public sector is listing with Francophones on the port side, and we anglophones on the starb'rd side are paying for it.

    QUEBEC IS....

    ...a financial burden on the Real Canada;

    ...a society of crybabies who only care about what they can squeeze out of the Real Canada's coffers, and nothing more.

    ...a fascist state that only care about their own «pur laine» people and minorities are regarded as an annoyance they want to convert to their pea-brained, narrow ideology.

    ...a society that only stays part of the Real Canada because "Canada" is an internationally recognized moniker, trade mark and name of excellence in the world community.

    ...a society that collectively does not love Canada, but stays on because the cost of their separation would cause them financial and economic ruin.

    Do we really need Quebec? The way I see it, we would be a much more socially and economically advanced country without that albatross around our collective necks!

    Take your language legislation, Bouchard-Taylor Commission crap, crumbling infrastructure and crushing debt the hell out of my country!


  10. Quebec nationalists and language supremacists are still around, going strong in their jealousy of the status the English language enjoys in the world.

    Still peddling the same fake concern for "la diversité linguistique", where the real thorn in their side is not a lack of diversity, but the fact that it's not French that is the lingua franca.

    Why not Spanish? Why not Portuguese? Why not Arabic or Mandarin? As if they care about any of the above. They don't give a rat's ass. This whole thing is about l'anglais, and l'anglais only.

    Yes, I am also concerned about the dominance of the Anglo-American culture, but as my friend said: "the French can't be trusted on this issue. They don't care for diversity. They just want English out of the way so they can take over". That's probably right on. So if you're German, Swedish, Chinese, Japanese, Congolese, Portuguese, or whatever, and you want to talk about linguistic diversity, I'm all ears. But if you're French, don't bother, matey.

    And curiously, Swedes, Germans, Danes, Chinese, Japanese hardly ever bring up this subject. Curiously, it's always the French that do. Concerned about diversity. My ass.

  11. Yeah ADSKI....all frenchies want to purge all anglo from QUebec....yeah,all of them. /roll eyes

    Its so hard to be part of a minorities of 450 millions of peoples, isnt it?

    So Hard.

  12. @ Mr. Sauga

    Do the other Canadian provinces get federal funds to repair and maintain their bridges?

  13. Hi Sauga, I completely agree with most of your points, however, there are just a few points I'd like to add

    - "...a financial burden on the Real Canada;"
    This is because the feds have allowed this to happen. They somehow think that by showering Quebec with billions upon billions of dollars will somehow improve their relationship. NOT A CHANCE! The only thing it does is anger the other provinces and get further spat on by the sovereignist camp

    - "...a fascist state that only care about their own «pur laine» people and minorities are regarded as an annoyance they want to convert to their pea-brained, narrow ideology."
    I'd say it's just plain racism and bigotry. Comparing Quebec to Mussolini's or Hitler's fascism is just ludicrous. Quebec wants to maintain a French speaking society, not necessarily a White, French, Roman Catholic one.Quebec tries as much as possible to obtain immigrants from francophone countries and half of them end up leaving Quebec to go elsewhere. Low immigration levels and low birth rate=decreasing population, which leads to decreased relevance in national politics. Quebec is trying so hard and failing at becoming a melting pot. Oh well, I guess another reason to create a federal party that caters to the needs of the majority of Canadians which live OUTSIDE Quebec.

    - "...a society that collectively does not love Canada, but stays on because the cost of their separation would cause them financial and economic ruin."
    It's not that they don't "love" Canada, per se, but that it doesn't truly represent francophones' best interests because of the great many perceived distances between the 2 solitudes. Many of them believe that Canada is one of the greatest democracy in the world, however, it does not suit their interests because they believe the interests of English Canadians always come first, which is far far from the truth as we all know.

    The matter of the fact is that NO ONE NEEDS QUEBEC and if Quebec doesn't change its ways, it will always be dependent on another state in maintaining a basic economy.

  14. Cunningham: You tell me if other provinces get fed funds to repair and maintain bridges. If so, you can be sure the money DOESN'T go to idiotic things like language legislation.

    Anyway, you missed my point, or are looking to start a senseless argument. Considering how much more crosses from Ottawa eastward over the river far exceeds what comes in, so you figure with all the money I'm paying into the federal system, those obsessed language zealots and fascists would invest in their infrastructure before it completely crumbles as opposed to worrying about too much English in Quebec.

    In the greater realm of the Americas and the trade bloc we should be forming with them (esp. Brazil that is economically growing like a weed), French will get you nowhere when the population is speaking a hell of a lot more English, Spanish and Portuguese.

    Mandarin and Hindi now have far, far greater linguistic impact than French does now. It's the economy, stupid!

  15. Anglo Montrealer:

    I only saw this after responding to Cunningham, and now, gosh darn, golly geez [a fave expression of Happy Days' Richie Cunningham], I have to stay up even later to respond to you. No matter...I'm on holiday this week.

    Yes, A.M., I KNOW that all the fed parties have kow-towed to the separatists for the last 50 years hence the self-fulfilling prophecy that it pays the seppies to perpetuate their behaviour in this way. I'm hoping now that Harps has learned his lesson, and by kow-towing to the seppies, he lost half the miniscule representation he had before May 2nd. He can pay it back by telling Quebec to f--- off and give them NOTHING. Let them start paying back for all the goodies they ingratefully received the last 50 years.

    If Harps brings in the new parliamentary reforms as he said he would with a majority mandate, Ontario will move to about 120-odd constituencies from the current 107 and Quebec will hold at 75, and only because Mulroney made stupid promises that Quebec's 75 seats were guaranteed even if the population drops. Harps FINALLY learned it's more important to appease the province with 40% of the population than the one with 22%. Do the math!

    You want to call me a racist, a bigot? Interesting how now Premier John James "Goldilocks" Charest labelled [then Reform Party leader] Preston Manning that way when he was running as leader of the Progressively dying Conservatives in the 1997 federal election.

    When it came time to help a child who simply could not function in French school, where was your precious buddy, Premier John James "Goldilocks" Charest, to help this child who ended up having to go to Delaware for an English language education? Why didn't he or anyone else help this child when Sections 81 and 85.1 of that great Charter of Charters, Bill 101 make provisions for children with learning challenges and needing support on humanitarian grounds? Why didn't Premier John James "Goldilocks" Charest exercise those parts of the law? LOOK WHO'S CALLING THE KETTLE BLACK!

    Furthermore, if Quebec is this tolerant society re the French, why do the police taunt the people of colour in Montreal North so much? Why is the unemployment rate of French-speaking non-whites so much higher than «pur lainers»? Why did it take one franco hillbilly in some hicktown called Hérouxville to cause Charest to avoid a can of worms costing the taxpayer $5 million with a stupid commission handed to loyal cronies of Charest who were well-paid to travel around Quebec in style to come out with a formal report response some half-wit just as easily could have answered verbally through a microphone for $5 million less? Why is certain religious clothing intolerable for officiating, let alone playing, soccer? Is it any wonder so many immigrants to Quebec leave after discovering how they are being programmed in ways real provinces wouldn't dream of? Is it any wonder these people finally learn that the Quebec government demands a social contract for immigrating, that they are coming to Quebec, not Canada, and they don't WANT to live the way the Quebec government demands they do so?

  16. Anglo Montrealer, Part 2 of 2:

    Why don't French-speaking parents outside Quebec have to ask permission to have their children enrol in French schools? Why do English-speaking people in Quebec have to ask permission of their government to allow their English-speaking children attend English schools (i.e., obtain a certificate of eligibility)? Careful, A.M., it is NOT I who came up with all this fascist crap nor is it I who refuses to hire French-speaking people of colour or don't like their religious garb.

    Quebec fails at this "melting pot game", but they keep trying to impose it. Duceppe said in the English debate last April that the goal is to ensure "a Quebecer is a Quebecer is a Quebecer". I never have been, nor do I wish to become one of "them".

    Quebec chose two scapegoats for their 200 years in the Dark ages (1760-1960). The correct one was the Roman Catholic church who kept their parishioners ignorant and pregnant, coupled with politicians like Maurice Duplessis. The Church advocated that being the "small bread" of society was fine while the Protestants followed the doctrine of their work ethic of work hard and prosper.

    My maternal grandfather came to Sherbrooke almost 100 years ago with next to nothing but some clothes, had a relatively large family (7 children) and set up successful enterprises not far from Sherbrooke where he finally settled. My grandfather died young, and his young son, my uncle, took over the family businesses during the height of the Great Depression when the assets were pledged to the hilt, turned the businesses around and hired townspeople who likely would have starved to death, along with their families, if not for him.

    Were there harsh taskmasters amongst the so-called English business empires that ran Quebec? Some, I imagine, but was it their fault they had smaller families, got educated, and didn't settle for being the "small bread" of society? Put the blame under the steeple and the politicians who took advantage, not the minorities who were responsible for giving these small bread poor the means to have jobs.

    Finally, A.M., if Canada doesn't work for Quebec, leave. Without Canada, Quebec is sunk! The civil service in Quebec is WAY overrepresented by French speakers compared to the non-French speaking population, and Quebec doesn't hire proportionately in its civil service those very well-paying jobs people in the private sector can only dream of! Same at the federal level, and in Ottawa city government. I know youngsters who left Ottawa because they felt job prospects there were poor without French right in Ottawa.

    Based on what you say in your ode to "two solitudes", fortified by what Reed Scowen wrote in his book on the subject, there is no pleasing the two sides, so why bother trying anymore? 3 of 4 of those South Shore bridges in Montreal are on the verge of collapse. Why should the feds give them more money? They got the lion's share for the last 50 years, didn't shut up their fed bashing, and spent it on stupidity like language legislation and enforcement.

    Quebec spazzed out when MacLean's called them the most corrupt part of Canada, yet shortly thereafter the French media parroted what MacLean's wrote, only in French instead of English. What hypocrites!