Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Defending Quebec Values?

Jean-Marc Fournier...begging Conservatives for changes.
Recently the Quebec justice minister, Jean-Marc Fournier went to Ottawa on no less than two occasions to demand beg that Ottawa soften the Conservatives new crime bill, C-10, to reflect the values of Quebec society.

Mr. Fournier has the backing of the Quebec corrections industry, the experts and the media, who almost all universally opposes the government's plan to get tougher on crime.

But despite the almost blanket condemnation of the crime bill in the Quebec Press, the question whether Mr. Fournier's position actually reflects "Quebec Values" remains open.
Do the majority of Quebecers really support Quebec's kid glove approach to criminals or does the public support the get tough on crime proposals of the Conservatives?

While Mr. Fournier has a brief to speak for the Quebec government, he is also telling all who'd listen, that the Quebec government's position, vis-a-vis crime and punishment is backed by most Quebecers. Hmm....
Quebec’s Justice Minister left a meeting in disappointment and anger after his federal counterpart again rejected his demands for changes to Ottawa’s crime bill on Tuesday, saying: “I don’t recognize myself in this Canada.”
Jean-Marc Fournier said his province and the federal government have two visions of justice after Rob Nicholson refused during a meeting in Ottawa on Tuesday to change provisions of Bill C-10 that deal with young offenders....Mr. Fournier said Quebec’s values of leniency and rehabilitation for young offenders were being shunted aside in favour of tougher sentences. Link
Of course the following reaction from separatists was to be expected;  
In Quebec's national assembly Tuesday, the Parti Quebecois argued that the province's pro-Canada premier, Jean Charest and his justice minister get no respect from Ottawa.
"It's clear: the values of Quebec and of Canada are different," said PQ Leader Pauline Marois.
"But the Canadian Constitution — which we never signed — is clear: criminal law is federal, and is created by a Parliament in which Quebec will become an ever-smaller minority." LINK
Réjean Pelletier, a professor of political science at Laval University in Quebec City, said that Quebec and Ottawa are likely to continue disagreeing on crime matters, especially the treatment of young offenders.
“Ottawa’s strategy on justice issues just doesn’t fly in Quebec,”  Link
Running point for Ottawa's attempt to get tough on crime is Quebec Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu who was appointed to the Senate almost two years ago by Harper with a mandate to spearhead efforts to get tougher on criminals.
The mild mannered senator is an-ex Quebec civil servant whose comfortable and ordered life was shattered by the brutal murder of his daughter Julie, who was kidnapped and murdered after being held captive for a 12-hour session of brutality and rape.
Hugo Bernier, who murdered Julie had been convicted of rape two years earlier, but was paroled just three months into his sentence and murdered Julie while on probation.
One of the key spokesmen for the Conservatives’ tough-justice agenda is Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu, a retired senior Quebec civil servant. Named to the Senate last January, the 62-year-old Boisvenu founded the Murdered or Missing Persons' Families' Association after the 2002 kidnap/rape/murder of his daughter Julie. In 2005, after he and his wife Diane lost their only other daughter in a traffic accident, Boisvenu wrote Survivre la innommable (Surviving the unnameable). In it, he wrote of the lack of support for the families of victims of crime. The book has become a touchstone for thousands of Quebeckers facing similar losses. He has been relentless in his criticism of lax police work and the judicial system’s lack of consideration for victims of crime and their families. Since becoming a senator, Boisvenu has been touring Canada to explain why the system punishes victims and their families — and how the Harper government is proposing to change it with a series of bills that end early parole and further limit judicial discretion. Link
Mr. Boisvenu represents the other side of the argument, the opinion that doesn't get much play or support on television or in the Press in Quebec. It's the opinion that believes that coddling criminals is the wrong thing to do and it actually reflects the attitude of most Quebecers who fall into line with what most ordinary Canadians also believe.

From his website;
“The problem isn’t crime, but recidivism. I’ve toured federal penitentiaries and provincial jails across the country...60 percent of the inmates are serving a second or subsequent term — that’s what’s costing us. As in education, it’s not success that costs us, but dropouts. Criminals returning a second, third, fourth time — they cost us because we’ve failed.

I have three terms in my vocabulary when I talk about the Canadian prison system:

Tough justice -Let’s not confuse laxity with tolerance.
Responsibility - The criminal is responsible for his rehabilitation, not the state. All the privileges the prison system currently offers — television, the trailer (conjugal visits), retraining programs — must be earned. The criminal must merit these privileges as a function of his rehabilitation.
Imputability - No payroll without participation, without effort. No unmerited automatic parole. Everything must be earned. We have a prison system more or less managed by committees of criminals. We’re buying the peace. That’s what’s costing us.
We must re-establish a set of conditions in our prison system so that these individuals have no desire to return. The first priority of the prison system should be the protection of the population, followed by the rehabilitation of the criminal. We’ve got it backwards!
To counter Mr. Boisvenu's position, his opponent's have made some pretty bizarre claims and stooped pretty low with some nasty personal attacks.
He has been berated publicly by some in the Press as having no legitimacy in the debate because he is unelected. This ironically from an unelected Press who usually complain that senators are lazy and do nothing to earn their salary.
He has also been cruelly accused of being vengeful because of his personal tragedy, and overly biased as a result.

But almost 80% of Quebecers say that they want a tougher approach on crime. Link{Fr}
So it appears that when it comes to values pertaining to crime and punishment, Quebecers fall neatly in line with other Canadians who also want harsher treatment of criminals by the same wide margin.
It seems that the only people out of line with these 'values' are those in the Quebec government and in the press who mislead the public by falsely claiming that Quebecers back their soft on crime approach.

Finally there's been some pushback. Marc-Bellemare, the ex-Liberal justice minister who accused the Charest government of political interference in the selction of judges, came out sharply in favour of the crime bill.
"The Conservatives' Bill C-10 will enhance the credibility of the judiciary in Quebec, where the fight against crime is the last priority of the Charest government." Link
He went on to counter the arguments made by opponents of the Bill;
Minimum sentences- "Is there one Quebecer who is against a minimum sentence of a year for a coach or a summer camp instructor who sexually abuses a minor? I would like to meet him" 
Publically identifying a teenaged criminal "The court has to approve  this. I have five children and I'd like to know if there's a 17 year old bum who killed two people, at risk of recidivism, living three blocks from my home. " 
Adult sentences to minors -"It's not automatic, as Minister Fournier suggests. It's for cases of extreme violence. The Crown must apply and the judge must agree... " 
Reduced discretion for judges- "For 30 years, Ottawa has increased the maximum penalties for a host of offences, but it isn't reflected in the severity of sentences. In reality, judges can choose between one and 14 years in prison. That's overly discretionary. " 
Quebec values- "Minister Fournier did not speak on behalf of all Quebecers in Ottawa. I think Quebec values ​​are consistent with this bill." 
Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu- "I agree with him when he said that Quebec is soft on criminals." 
The 'defense lobby'- "Where was the lobby when I heard Guy Cloutier tell the parole board that he never was attracted to children and then released after serving 29 of the 42-month prison for which he was convicted? " LINK{Fr} .
Finally on Mario Dumont's nightly conservative talk show, Eric Duhaime did a nice job debunking the theory that Quebec's soft approach on crime and punishment is somehow more successful than elsewhere in Canada.
It isn't..

The idea that Quebec 'values' as pertaining to crime are different from Canadians is another great lie being shopped by a media that tries to sell their opinion as fact.

The Press and the politicians would have us believe that Quebecers are happy with revolving door prisons, just like they try to convince us that we should be afraid of bilingualism and that English store names should offend us.

As the old song goes; 'Tain't so, Honey, 'Tain't So!


  1. Editor: I came pretty close to beating you to the punch. I`m reading all this until finally, in the next-to-last paragraph, you mentioned the scourge of bilingualism, a problem tantamount to the Bubonic Plague in least the way the media sets the scene.

    I think Quebec is softer on crime than it is on berating those who dare speak English in Quebec. I`m thinking of ex-Hab Saku Koivu and how he dared to speak in English and not French, especially after showing such gratitude for the treatment he got in a Montreal hospital while fighting stomach cancer by buying them some cancer apparatus out of his own pocket.

    Many hockey players, especially the home-grown talent from Quebec, refuse to play for the Habs after tasting the normalcy of life and society beyond the confines of the Ottawa River. The media gangs up viciously on players for whom they develop a distaste, just like they do anybody and everybody else they decide to vehemently dislike.

    Quebec is a vindictive, jealous society, but interestingly, as I mentioned in my last entry on Monday`s blog (perhaps I was a bit telepathic as I did not know at that moment what today`s topic was going to be) about how Karla Homolka is getting the luxury of living in virtual camouflage within Quebec society. There isn`t a square millimetre of swamp land in Ontario that woman can stand on without the implied disdain of the public hounding her, and probably the same all over the real Canada. She even was interviewed on TV, a luxury the English media wouldn`t even THINK of doing.

    Look at the former FLQ members who are all free as birds in the wild after killing a man and holding another hostage, a foreign diplomat, for several weeks.

    When I come to Quebec, I`ll almost see something about a hostage taking somewhere on the Montreal news. It`s a constant. You don`t hear of this much in Toronto. The buzz term for an organized crime slaying in Quebec is a`settling of accounts`. I don`t think I`ve ever heard that term in Toronto, or if so, it`s very, very rare.

    So much for the `benefits` of mollycoddling criminals. If Quebec doesn`t like the Tory crime bill, too damn bad. They`d rather prosecute and persecute language violators. They`d rather focus their finances on language enforcement than paving and fixing roads, and other infrastructure, and of course, prisons.

  2. Quebec "values" and Canadian values or any other Western society for that matter, are pretty much the same. The PQ is up to its old trick of trying to make everything a wedge issue.  Canadians out West like dark gravy poutine, Quebecers like brown gravy poutine. Ha! We must separate! Right?
    Same old song but no one is listening anymore. I for one would like to see harsher sentences for repeat criminals. There are limits to rehabilitation. 

  3. Doubt that Harper will give Quebec anything but lip service on this one. They campaigned on eliminating the registry and won a majority. They are going to destroy it. Same for C10 on crime and also for the toonie per vote given to political parties. Quebec will just have to get used to playing second fiddle to the ROC for the next few years.

  4. Quand allons nous définitivement détacher ses deux Nations qui évidemment ne pourront jamais fusionnées.Une totale nuisance mutuelle.

  5. Though I do not support most things the Quebec government stands for, I fear Stephen Harper and the conservatives more in this case. There are so many provisions in the crime bill such as warrantless wiretaps and other provisions that are being hidden.

    I for one support the abolishment of the gun registry as warrantless home searches were permitted of whoever had a firearm registered. I am not even a gun owner.

    In this case I am not going to blindly support the conservative crime bill because Quebec is against it.

    Civil liberties are being taken for granted by all stripes of government, liberal, conservative, even NDP. We've already seen as anglo and allo quebecers what losing them entails. Bill 101 is one of those laws that curtails civil liberties. So is this crime bill.

  6. "Quand allons nous définitivement détacher...."

    The sooner the better as far as I am concerned. The two solitudes will never come to a mutual understanding and tolerance of one another for a plethora of reasons. As in any bad relationship, time to move ahead. The time for counselling is over and the differences are irreconciable.

  7. "The sooner the better as far as I am concerned. The two solitudes will never come to a mutual understanding and tolerance of one another for a plethora of reasons. As in any bad relationship, time to move ahead. The time for counselling is over and the differences are irreconciable."

    Here's a question:
    Do you think that the maritime provinces and the western provinces have the same values? Is it possible that the differences are just as important? I mean, language can't be everything...

    I like to think (or hope) that it's our differences which help make us stronger as a whole. Each member (province) has to be willing to compromise, and to consider the needs of the others. I can't just always be "me me me", which has been the case for this province for a very long time.

  8. I can certainly understand why Quebec politicians are against mandatory minimum sentences. It means that if (ok, when) they're found guilty of corruption, they'll serve more jail-time.

  9. "Do you think that the maritime provinces and the western provinces have the same values"

    I believe quite a bit more similar that between the West and Quebec. Maritimers and Westerners usually get along quite well, as has been my experience.

    "I can't just always be "me me me", which has been the case for this province for a very long time."

    As I said the differences are irreconciable. Quebec has utilized both political weight and issues such as language and culture to achieve their ends. (threats of separation being the most utilized) This is thought as contemptible in much of the rest of Canada. Further, this attitude seems to be one or entitelment by Quebec.

  10. I never saw this as a specifically Quebec/Canada issue either and I'm very glad you did an exposé on how the Crime Bill is yet another attempt by our politico-media complex to tell us what to think than it is some doctrinal difference rooted in the country our mercenary and land-thieving ancestors left.

    That being said, I need to do more homework on the details surrounding the Bill even if at first glance, I'm neither an advocate of stereotypically harsh and sometimes arbitrary approach associated with "Texas-style justice", nor am I in favor of a docile free-for-all joke where "leniency" is the punchline.

    Realistically, I imagine sober moderation isn't in the cards either way. Howling to be freed from the yoke of an oppressive power, or, perhaps on another network, parading grief-stricken victims and relatives to recount their ordeal, are both guaranteed to get better ratings than meticulously researching collections of studies and critical non-partisan parsing of statistics.


  11. > As I said the differences are irreconciable. Quebec has utilized both political weight and issues such as language and culture to achieve their ends. (threats of separation being the most utilized) This is thought as contemptible in much of the rest of Canada. Further, this attitude seems to be one or entitelment by Quebec.

    The only thing that is irreconcilable is pushing around one's political weight and when that fails playing political theater to get one's way, rather than appealing to reason. Bullying, and conversely battered person syndrome, both have their roots in short-circuiting reason.

    There's more to the supposed issue than meets the eye.

  12. Bullying

    Would that be if we don't get our way we are going to leave?

    "battered person syndrome

    Would that be, we need laws such as 101 in order to preserve our threatened language and culture or we need more transfer payments due to the "fiscal imbalance" created through our own overly generous social programs?

  13. A common trend among Quebec politicians is to revert to Quebec society being so different than from the rest of Canada and different from English society. It's nothing but a political tool they use to get elected and or get re-elected. It's really starting to mess with everyone's mind.

    As I work in charter bus tourism industry, I have the opportunity to travel in Canada and I can say without a doubt, Quebec is no different from the rest of Canada, besides speaking French. Politicians hungry for more powers and separatists looking to make Quebec it's own country have been lying to Quebecers about them being different from the rest of Canada.

    As soon as they don't get their own way, they stamp their feet and put the 'Separation' issue front and center. Something must be done to finally put this to rest !!! Thankfully, even francophones are tired of listening to all this garbage now !!!

  14. @ Anonymous 2:35
    Correct on both points.

    @ Anonymous 4:32
    The "we're so different" arrow is the only one left in the seppie quiver and its days are numbered. I agree that we have more in common than our self-appointed intelligentsia would have us believe. We all have to eat, drink, sleep, and poop. And while some francophones still buy the garbage, many more are realizing just how much our nationalist elites have been screwing us over all this time.

  15. Quebec is a *little* different from other provinces.

    Take Alberta, so stuck in its ways that it's been voting the conservatives in for 30 years with no interruption. Before that, Alberta voted in Social Credit with no interruption for another 30 years. Soc. Credit and Conservatives both being right-wing parties, you see that Alberta people don't exactly show a lot of open mindedness.

    In Quebec, it's the exact opposite. They went from Union Nationale in the 40's, to Liberals in the 60's, to PQ in the 70's, To Liberals again, to almost ADQ recently, and right now it seems like the CAQ might steal the show on both the Liberals and the PQ.

    Alberta and Quebec are exact polar opposites of each other; it might be why there is so much anti-francophone sentiment emanating from this province.

    I haven't lived in Quebec, but if I compare to Ontario the lifestyle is very different as well. Alberta is the very definition of the urban sprawl and suburban lifestyle; downtown is absolutely dead after 5 PM on weekdays to the point where Starbucks isn't even open downtown in the weekend or after 5. The downtown is where people work, but afterwards they go back to their suburbs and that's where they get their entertainment as well as do their shopping. There isn't even major movie theatres in the downtown area, and the major malls are all located a fair distance from the downtown.

    In comparison other metropolitans like Ottawa, Toronto, Hamilton and Montreal (which I've visited, though I haven't lived there) have an entirely different dynamic ; people actually do go downtown and do things there.

    But then, it might actually be Alberta that is the "Société Distincte" rather than Quebec. Thoughts?

  16. Calgary Anon: "They went from Union Nationale in the 40's, to Liberals in the 60's, to PQ in the 70's, To Liberals again, to almost ADQ recently, and right now it seems like the CAQ might steal the show on both the Liberals and the PQ."


    Albertans might have not changed, but neither have the Quebeckers. The quiet revolution hasn't removed a trace of the attitudes inculcated and cultivated in the Quebec population by the Catholic church and the ultra-conservative elites prior to the 1960's. If anything, the quiet revolution gave an outlet to these sentiments and made them worse by putting the power of a modern state behind them.

    The Union Nationale, the PLQ, the PQ, the ADQ, and now the CAQ - it's all a continuum and a repository of the same values and attitudes. A fancier and more shiny packaging maybe, by inside it's the same stuff.

    Consumerism and materialism might have displaced the Catholic dogma, but the underlying anglophobia (fear of English speakers) mixed with a contradictory infatuation and obsession with the English language (an almost schizophrenic attitude comparable to loving to dance but hating professional dancers, or accepting them as long as they dance in Boston, New York, or Toronto, but not in Montreal, where the only ones allowed to improvise dancing under controlled conditions are our elites); cultural grandiosity, superiority, and arrogance mixed with the contradictory cultural insecurity and inferiority; the besieged fortress mentality; and the cynical Outremont elite manipulating it all... it's all alive and well. Very well, in fact.

    The pigs might chased out the abusive farmer in the 1960's, but once in the manor, they had nothing to offer but more of the same shit (they did put golden finishings on the walls in the newly taken over CN offices, in the purest display of vanity and the "now it's our turn" attitude of Orwellian pigs). De Tocqueville was puzzled how much the newly emerged "elites" in the post-revolutionary France took after the Ancient Regime. Well, he shouldn't have. Orwell understood it much better, as he penned the Animal Farm.

    Plus que ca change, plus que c'est la meme chose...Au Quebec, et partout ailleurs...

  17. @Adski

    Bonne observation.Je dirais que vous avez une vision assez juste de l'état actuel de notre société.Sauf que nous ne détestons pas les danseurs professionnels pour leur talent mais bien parce qu'ils veulent nous faire valser tandis que nous voulons du tango.

  18. Completely agree with you adski. But I've always found Orwell more sardonic than de Tocqueville...

    Your last paragraph actually brought back a memory I thought was gone forever. My grandfather (French-Canadian side) once told me how horrified he was on election night in 1976 to hear his own employees and fellow compatriots engage in lustful self-congratulation (which he says was not without a tinge of lunacy) upon learning the results. I think it's fairly easy to deduce who they'd voted for.

    "Finally, those TMR and Westmount mansions will be ours!" they all gleefully roared. Clearly someone had taken a snippet out of the FLQ manifesto from a few years earlier.

    That was 35 years ago.

    As municipalities, TMR and Westmount don't even have the square footage to accommodate the millions of French-Canadians who in 1976 believed it was their right to have a palatial home in an exclusive neighborhood. As it stands, most of the guys working Grand'pa's shop floor in 1976 have either died or are in a nursing home. I wonder how many of them got their wish.

    Granted, I deplore the historical discrimination against French-Canadians by English-Canadians. I say this both as a French-Canadian and an English-Canadian... and even as a spectator-immigrant-Canadian.

    We've certainly made some genuine progress, but I'm not so sure it couldn't have come about more harmoniously.

    My French-Canadian relatives were always distrustful of the nationalists who they believed were peddling nothing more than snake oil to a ragtag population that the politicians secretly held in contempt

    My family didn't suffer culturally because of a longstanding attitude that put a premium on rigorous multilingualism and cultural integration... for which I am most grateful to be the product and beneficiary.

    Today I can't help but roll my eyes at the bigots who say "it's not personal bilingualism we're against, it's institutional bilingualism we need to fight in order to preserve our culture". I can't stand them because I know it's possible to grow up at least perfectly bilingual and bi-cultural in this city, and what they want is to take it away. And if you think about it, what that really means is that they're promoting "sovereignty" rather than genuine cultural protectionism. And it infuriates them when I remind them that I succeeded so they can too. Ad hominem attacks speak louder than the words they use.

    @ Jason Gendron
    Ça change quoi dans le fond? Faut-il être orgueilleux au point de s'opposer farouchement au rigodon qu'on essaie de nous faire avaler? Souvent nos chers amis seppies invoquent "la diversité" comme leitmotiv. Pourquoi ne pas faire valse et tango? Il me semble que sur une piste de danse nous serions vachement plus avantagés à connaitre deux danses plutôt qu'une seule...

  19. "Il me semble que sur une piste de danse nous serions vachement plus avantagés à connaitre deux danses plutôt qu'une seule..."

    Sauf que si vous vivez à Vienne,la valse prendra le pas sur le tango.

  20. > si vous vivez à Vienne,la valse prendra le pas sur le tango.

    Encore une fois, ça change quoi? Moi je saurai comment faire dans un lieu comme dans l'autre. Pourquoi pas tout le monde? Pourquoi s'en tenir à un tel attachement nativiste? La liberté pour les uns n'est pas liberté pour les autres. Pour certains, la liberté consiste à faire ce que je veux faire là où je veux (et d'en être capable). Pour d'autres, c'est la possibilité de faire comme bon leur semble chez eux. Je ne comprends toujours pas comment un environnement compatible avec ces deux notions de liberté constitue un grand mal. "Tout en français pour faire plaisir à grand-maman" ça va finir un jour. J'aimerais mieux que ce soit remplacé par un environnement où l'on s'efforce (comme moi même j'ai fait) à apprendre et la valse et le tango.

    Désolé mais je ne comprends toujours pas l'importance de se ranger derrière des symboles.. L'érable, la couronne, et même la fleur de lys, ce sont, comme sur Facebook, des applis virtuelles faites par d'autres qui s'attendent à ce que je me les approprie pour exprimer mon individualisme (et pour les enrichir eux... pas moi). Quelle boutade, leur dis-je. S'il faut absolument jouer au jeu nationaliste, mieux vaut s'exprimer couramment dans autant de langues possibles afin de pouvoir sacrer son camp quand ça ne fait plus mon affaire.

  21. I think the rationale is that there is already little incentive to learn French if you live in Quebec ; like others have said before, it opens up only a few countries where one could probably make himself understood in english anyway. So why bother?

    The only incentive is that it facilitates dealing with the locals. The "problem" with rising billingualism is that it removes this incentive. If all the francophones know how to speak english, then unilingual anglophones will no longer need to bother to learn french. In the long term, it will force francophones to live in english outside of their homes in order to accomodate anglophone coworkers/customers.

    Inevitably, it will lead to the disparition of a distinctiveness in the world. In this globalization world where everything is slowly becomming corporate and homogenized, I think it's worth preserving different cultures before they become extinct.

  22. if the Quebec culture goes extinct and that's a very big IF!! then it's no great loss... To me Quebec culture boils down to the right to be STUPID!!! Any culture that promotes rabid hatred of les Autres deserves to die..

  23. And yet, it is the Quebeckers that are intolerant and racist, and their paranoia is misplaced.

  24. "In this globalization world where everything is slowly becomming corporate and homogenized, I think it's worth preserving different cultures before they become extinct."

    The Quebecois couldn't care less about preserving other cultures. Most of them would be very happy if the English-speaking community of Quebec disappeared. They are also doing absolutely nothing to help preserve or protect aboriginal languages and cultures within their borders.

  25. Anon December 15, 2011 11:56 AM: "In this globalization world where everything is slowly becomming corporate and homogenized, I think it's worth preserving different cultures before they become extinct."

    Ok, prove that you mean it. Organize your people to apply pressure on L'Assemblée nationale to adopt a motion requiring Cree and Algonquin wording on all signs in Quebec.

    Once this happens, I'll believe you.

  26. Well, I don't live there, but I was under the impression that Quebec offered education in some native languages. Is that not true?

    As for Cree and Algonquin on signs, it makes as much sense in Quebec City as french does in Vancouver.

  27. "it makes as much sense in Quebec City as french does in Vancouver. "

    Why? If your mission, your raison d'etre, your politics, your proclamations and declarations are all about saving languages and cultures, it would make sense to promote other ones as well. Saying you're about "cultural diversity" while you're promoting French ONLY smacks of hypocrisy and dishonesty.

    Quebec is all about protection of "endangered" languages, BC isn't. Thus, it would be fitting for Quebec City and for Vancouver to display signage in Cree.

    But I know what you're going to say next. You're going to say: but Cree is not an "official" language. But as soon as you say that, you are no longer protecting the weak, you are protecting the official, i.e. those who have enough political power to offcialize themselves. In which case they are not so weak, are they? To become official one must be strong enough in terms of political power. Which means that the entire argument of "endangered language" on which Quebec language policy rests is one big fat lie.

  28. Meant to say it would be fitting for Quebec City and NOT for Vancouver to display signage in Cree (or in any non-official language)

  29. Well no, I think that we should encourage natives to learn their ancestral languages and retain their cultural links. In my opinion, the residence schools were a horrible injustice visited upon them.

    But what would be the point to have Cree in Quebec City? No one speaks cree there. It'd be an empty facade. Same as french in Vancouver.

    English is special as it is the language of tourists, media and big companies : there's nowhere where it's useless.

    A bit off topic : I think the efforts to preserve culture should be aimed at retaining a living culture, and not a dead one. There are francophones in Nova Scotia who do the tap-dancing and singing of their grandfathers, it's all very quaint and rural.. and it has some value, but in the end the culture has to grow and adapt to modern times as well if it is to survive.

  30. "But what would be the point to have Cree in Quebec City? No one speaks cree there"

    What is the point of having French, double in size of all things, in Pointe Claire? Or in Parc Ex? Or in parts of Ottawa? Hardly anyone uses French there.

    The point of having Cree in Quebec City is the following: Quebec stands for promotion of "linguistic diversity", and one of the means of "promoting" of one "endangered" language known as "French" is a sign law. Thus logically, the sign law should be expanded to include other languages, some of which are REALLY endangered.

    "I think the efforts to preserve culture should be aimed at retaining a living culture, and not a dead one. "

    And let me take a wild guess - the French culture across the RoC is a "live" one. While all the non-French cultures in Quebec are "dead" ones. So cleanse Quebec of all non-French stuff, and promote French to death in the RoC.

    The problem with this is: who will make a call as to the "viability" or "morbidity" of a culture? Let me take another wild guess - it will be you, right?

  31. Well sure, but only where it makes sense, such as in or close to the actual concentrations of cree/algonquin/mohawk and others. Esperanto is dying or dead too, but no one is proposing to plaster signs in Toronto in it. You're being very disingenuous by proposing language on signs in areas where no one can read them.

    What is Pointe Claire, by the way?

    Also you totally missed the point about my aside about dead/living cultures. It wasn't related to the current discussion at all; I was mentionning it because we were discussing aboriginal culture. Ever since natives have been allowed to practice their culture again, there's been resurgence of old traditions; it's good that they were able to do this before the older generations died and the culture was lost forever. But realistically, there needs to be more than just repeating old traditions if the culture is to remain a living one. But this has nothing at all to do with signs.

  32. Pointe Claire is a borough in west island. Hardly anyone uses French there or in the near vicinity, as Pointe Claire sits in the middle of the non-French half of Montreal west of St Laurent blvd. Yet the borough was pressed into an expensive renaming campaign back in the day (back when people neither used nor even spoke French there). Amongst other things, the government required adding a hyphen between Pointe and Claire on signs that had "Pointe Claire" on them since Pointe Claire without the hyphen was deemed insufficiently French.

    But you say "it must make sense", yet from that point of view, francizing signage in Pointe Claire made as much sense as plastering Cree all over Quebec City.

    So why was it done in one place and not the other? Clearly, making sense is not all there is to it.

  33. If you're trying to get me to say that plastering a unilingual english town with unilingual french signs isn't douchey, you're going to be disapointed.

  34. Everything in Quebec should be in Native languages. It is the French and the English together who brutally wiped out the peoples and their languages which are actually in danger of being lost. It doesn't matter if one, ten or five hundred people speak native languages or how much money it would cost or how much time it would take to learn. Any Francophone who thinks everyone should speak French due to "respecting those who were here first" should really bite his tongue and bite it hard. Let the French hypocrites have to live according to their beliefs of "respect" for the "culture" here in Quebec. The culture that the French themselves have been systematically trying to wipe off the face of the earth for hundreds of years. Hypocrites. Karma is a bitch.

  35. Momo, I wasn't aware that the french had been trying to "systematically trying to wipe off" native culture. What exactly are you referring to? The residence schools were a federal, anglo-canadian venture, and the french themselves have been gone for 250 years. Back when the french were still here, they had friendly relations with the natives.

    Nowadays there are native-language schools protected by provincial law; it's not something every province provides. Look up the law here :

    So what exactly do you mean? Can you point to specific things? I'm eager to learn.