Friday, September 9, 2011

Weekend Update Volume 35

Quebec aghast at PM's unilingual director of communications
Angelo Persichilli, an ex-columnist for the Toronto Star, will become the prime minister’s communications director. Mr. Persichilli speaks English and Italian, but no French, much to the consternation of Ottawa's French media, who complain that of late, briefings from the PMO  have too often been in English only. LINK

Apparently Mr. Persichilli is no fan of Quebec either. In a column he wrote last year he said, among other things, that;
"Many are tired of the annoying lament from a province that keeps yelling at those who pay part of its bills and are concerned by the over-representation of francophones in our bureaucracy, our Parliament and our institutions."  Read the story in the Toronto Star
After the Quebec media went apeshit over the appointment, the Prime Minster reacted, not backing down on the appointment and dumping Persichilli, but rather with the announcement that Andre Bachand, an ex-Conservative MP from Quebec, will become his 'special' Quebec adviser. ....
As the Church lady on Saturday Night Live used to say sarcastically, "Isn't that special!"

More Quebec- bashing?
Coming on the heels of a decision to remove two paintings by a Quebec artist hanging in the Department of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa in favour of a portrait of the Queen and the news that the armed forces will revert to its 'Royal' appellation, comes the announcement that the Queen's portrait will soon hang in Canadian embassies around the world- Ouch! Ouch!

Who's really happy about McGill's Number 1 ranking?
As we all know, McGill was named by QS World University Rankings as the best University in Canada and seventeenth best in the world, outpacing the University of Toronto which finished 26th, still pretty good.
So who is happy about that fact?
While it's natural that Ontarians are rankled by U of T's second place position, many Quebec nationalists are also quite irked that the best position any French Quebec university could do was 137th place (Universite de Montreal.) They complain that McGill is over-financed by francophone Quebecers. The fact that between 20-25% of students and a good deal of faculty is French is of no consequence to militants who see McGill's success as another humiliation.

A story in the Toronto Sun was interesting for its cheerfully skewed headline; "McGill, U of T top university rankings."
"McGill University and the University of Toronto both made the top 25 in an annual ranking of universities worldwide."
The story even got the facts wrong when it listed the top ten universities of the world. A reader pointed out the error, which still wasn't corrected as of yesterday!  Read the Story defends middle east tyrant
Leave it to to defend the indefensible.
Starting off with the optic that anything that is western, NATO, American or Canadian is bad, it's easy to understand why the popular separatist website would run stories defending Bashar al-Assad, the president of Syria who is warring against his own people, having already killed over 2,000 citizens in his war to crush opposition.
In an article posted on the website entitled "Lies and Manipulations," author Pierre PICCININ tells us (I'm not making this up) that life is pretty normal in Syria. 
Another article "A different Testimony" claims that the democracy movement is infiltrated by jihidists and armed extremists.

Other stories defending the regime;

Nathalie Normandeau gets a $150,000 gift
The taxpayer's league is up in arms at the $150,000 Nathalie Normandeau will receive as a result of her resignation from Quebec's National Assembly.
The 'departure' bonus is ostensibly paid to members leaving Parliament to help them transition back into private life, but is paid even if the member resigns of his or her own volition and even if the member has already secured a job or is eligible for a pension.
The case of Jean-Marc Fournier  is particularly galling. The present Minister of Justice retired in 2008 and received a transition bonus of $145,000, but returned to Parliament in a by-election, two years later. 

In discussing the issue, Mario Dumont, the ex-ADQ leader, was forced to admit embarrassingly on his own show, (which often rails against government waste,) that he too accepted just such a payment, even though he had a television job lined up..

As for Nathalie Normandeau's abrupt resignation, I'm not buying her excuse that it was just her time to go.
While I have no specific information, rumours are floating that her resignation has to do with her present boyfriend, ex-Montreal police chief Yvan Delorme who also resigned abruptly in the face of allegations over improperly given contracts.
Is something about to break? 

Readers are reminded of Frank Zampino who resigned similarly from his number two job at Montreal city hall. Also citing  'personal reasons,' Zampino actually quit ahead of a scandal  that was about to break over water meters and his close ties to Tony Accurso. Link

Will Francois Legault's new party run a candidate in the upcoming by-election for Normandeau's seat?
Don't count on it.

PQ objects to bilingual bonus
The city of  Gatineau. (Hull+ suburbs) is coming under fire for encouraging city workers to become bilingual, this time by speaking English in addition to French.
The city is offering a bonus of 45¢ an hour to any employee that can speak English as well as French.
The city, which is the fourth largest in Quebec, sits just across the Ottawa river from Ottawa and counts many anglophones as citizens, especially in the former towns of Aylmer and Buckingham which were merged with Hull in 2002.

The Parti Quebecois is fuming and is saying that such a bonus is discrimination against francophones who don't speak English and sends the wrong message about the working language of Quebec.
Yves-François Blanchet, a PQ Mp, has demanded that the Quebec government step in to end this 'dangerous precedent.'  LINK{FR}

Lola going to the supreme Court
I'm sure readers are well aware of the case of Lola (a pseudonym) the ex-girlfriend of a famous Quebec Quebec billionaire (ahem..) who sued for palimony following their breakup. Lower courts have already provided a generous allocation for child support, but Lola wants a settlement based on her contention that she was 'married', by way of a common-law marriage, something not recognized in Quebec.
When the Quebec Court of Appeal agreed with Lola, the government of Quebec   appealed the decision to the Supreme Court.
By the way, the Quebec Court of Appeal has a reputation for kooky decisions, many overturned in the Supreme Court.

Without getting complicated, readers are reminded that Quebec runs it's own version of Canada's Common Law called  Civil Code of Quebec.
Specifically, Quebec does not recognize common law marriage, unlike the rest of Canada. 
Quebec's position is that partners are free to marry or free not to marry and that there is a difference between living together and being formally married. 
Those who choose to marry  are subject to the benefits and responsibilities that it entails. Conversely a couple that choose not to marry, are not bound by marriage provisions. 
Most importantly, it means that in the case of a break-up, there is no requirement for alimony, other than child support and no automatic right of inheritance or claims on pensions upon death.
However, the Quebec government does offer non-married couples the right to contract in a civil union,  much the same as a marriage.
The government of Quebec has reviewed aspects of the law periodically and confirmed that this is the way it want things to be.
Clearly this position is at loggerheads with the rest of the country, but it remains interesting to see where the Supreme Court will go.
Put your money on Quebec's position. I can't see the Supremos rejecting one of the cornerstones of confederation, the fact that Quebec runs a similar, yet different common law.
It's going to be interesting.
School supplies irk Parents
And finally, I know this tidbit has nothing to do with the gist of this blog, but I thought I'd include it just the same.
A few Quebec newspapers ran articles this week on the excessive demands put on parents in relation to school supplies. LINK{FR}
Here's a list of articles that are required for a certain  GRADE 1  class in Montreal;
  • School agenda
  • slate
  • 6 notebooks for ink
  • Calligraphy notebook (Calypso)
  • Plastified Project workbook
  • Project workbook
  • 2 workbooks
  • Binder
  • Headphones
  • Scissors
  • 4 Glue Sticks
  • 15 Duo-tangs
  • 20 Pencils  HB
  • Erasable Crayola Crayons
  • Crayola Crayons  (16)
  • rubber bottoms for chair legs
  • 2 pencil cases
  • 4 'Staedtler' erasers
  • 2 index  files
  • Tokens used for calculating
  • Deck of cards
  • 5 erasable 'Pentel' markers
  • Washable marking pens
  • 20 plastic sheet protectors
  • 6 document holders
  • Plastic ruler (30 cm)
  • Re-usable school bag
  • 2 Red 'Papermate' pens
  • Pencil sharpener with reservoir - 'Staedtler'
Deck of Cards?
I wonder if Hold'em has become a mandatory course.

Any parents out there know how much all this crap costs?

I'm sure this goes on across Canada and reflects a disrespectful attitude by out of touch educators towards parent's pocketbooks. A complete overuse of props, instead of good old fashioned teaching.

When I went to grade school (and you?,) all that was required was about 6 Hilroy or Canada type note books, a couple of pencils, a sharpener and an eraser. 
My family's back to school shopping consisted of a trip to the old Miracle-Mart in Laval and an outlay of about $5 .
What more do you need to learn to read, write and do arithmetic?

And by the way, the pencil sharpener I used didn't have a reservoir to catch the shavings and cost about a nickel!

Know something else?
I bet we were all better educated than today's kids!


  1. That school supply list is retarded! What more is there to say about that? Editor, you've been holding out! Sounds like you're from my neck of the woods because I knew that Miracle Mart very well! Actually, my elementary school sold supplies right in the school, and I'll bet yours did as well!

    As for Harper's communications director, GOOD! While it's "proper" for such a person to be bilingual, it's even more important the best qualified person get the job. There are enough translators in Ottawa to fill the void. As for English-only communiqués, ask me if I care. Journalists in Quebec are supposed to be bilingual these days.

    If Quebec can't stand the fact McGill is #1, they can eat their hearts out! McGill focuses on education, U de Q à all over Quebec is filled with a bunch of nationalist bozos!

    Platinum parting gifts for MNAs and MPs? What else is new? Same old drain on public finances. How about Harper's appointments of defeated candidates last May into the senate? When Harper was head of the National Citizen's Coalition, he scoffed his head off over the patonage appointments. He's now just as two-faced as the rest of them! Mulroney raked Turner over the coals for carrying out Trudeau's parting patronage appointments during the 1984 election campaign and ended up handing out more platinum parachutes than Trudeau ever did! Simply put: Politicians are given a license to print money, and they're all very generous with themselves...with OUR money! It's that way has always been that way...and long after we're dead, buried and devoured by the mico organisms that feed off our carcasses, it will still be the case!

  2. "The Parti Quebecois is fuming and is saying that such a bonus is discrimination against francophones who don't speak English"

    I guess I shouldn't be surprised about separatists being against education and knowledge.
    If people become smart enough to think for themselves, they might not fall for the racist propaganda so easily.

  3. My personal story on the school supplies:

    Three years ago my son started school. However we had not received the Certificate of Entitlement for him to go to the English school. So he was registered in a French school. We went to the school and we got the list of school supplies. It was not that much different with the list on the article. Bottom line, it was quite a long list.

    Just about a week before school started, EMSB called us and told us that the CoE was approved and my son could start at an English school. From the English school we also received a list of school supplies. However, the list was only about 1/3 or 1/2 as big as the one from the French school.

    I am not bashing the French school system, I am just telling the fact I experienced that the French school asked for a lot more school supplies than the English school did.

  4. Do they still sell "Cahier Canada" in Quebec? Or have they made a law against that yet?

    I mean after all, it's spreading federalist propaganda to our francophone kids, probably making them want to goto an english school.
    I propose that a full committee be appointed to look into the matter, funded by federal money of course.

    How dare they use a country's name!
    If we lose another referendum, I'm blaming Hilroy! Hilroy and the ethnic vote.

  5. Couple years ago, Jean-Luc Mongrain went on a well-derserved tirade regarding school supplies for a 1st grader. Classic Mongrain. Note the bureaucratic organizational chart at the beginning of the wonder nothing gets done is this province.
    Video is in French but a must-see.

  6. More supplies that a private school requires even!