Friday, December 23, 2011

Quebec's Extraodinary Public Servants

As a foodie, I do have a weakness for cooking shows, especially those that are realistic and provide useful information to part-time hobby cooks like myself.

The only French language show in the food genre that I watch regularly is Radio Canada's l'Epicerie, which is a show about food, rather than cooking and includes background on how and where our food is produced with an accent on Quebec and Canadian products.

A couple of weeks ago I was lounging on the couch and decided to run an episode which I had recorded earlier, certainly not looking for content for this blog!
The first story was about meal preparation at some of Quebec's public senior citizens homes, which I have to admit, I didn't have much interest in watching.

When I think of these institutions, visions of dreary and grim establishments manifest in my mind. Prison-like institutions built for seniors who cannot afford private placement and where warehousing these seniors is done as cheaply as possible. Places where elder abuse would not be surprising and where 'inmates' would be fed a cheap diet of Kraft Dinner, Jello and processed cheese sandwiches, then and trundled off to their unkempt rooms as early as possible.

Why did these visions run through my head?
Dunno, but we see so many grim stories of elder abuse at senior homes that I'd assume that if it were to take place, a public institution with uncaring and bored state employees would be the first place where it would happen.

My hopes weren't lifted when the hosts told viewers that the daily budget for food, three meals and two snacks was a paltry $6.00 per resident.
Six bucks! Considering that a large coffee at Starbucks goes for around four bucks, I could only  imagine the crap residents were fed.

That gentle reader is when my eyes were opened, to a world I never imagined existed!

A world where industrious government employees work hard and efficiently.
A world where innovative government employees work smartly!
A world where caring government employees consult and listen to those they serve!
A world where dedicated government employees take pride in their work!

Yes readers, this world does exist!
In Quebec you might ask?..........Yes.

The television story went on to chronicle the inner workings of the meal delivery system in several senior citizen homes in Quebec and viewing the story of these dedicated public employees doing a superb job brought tears to my eyes.

First correction.
The institutions aren't dreary, neglected or unsanitary. Not by a long shot.
Residents seem to be happy and living fulfilled and interesting lives. The caring staff are attentive and hard at work placing the welfare of residents first.

As the story rolled on, I felt a little embarrassed for making so many  wrong-headed assumptions.

The management of these public senior homes have bandied together to purchase food in bulk and save up to 60% from what we pay in the supermarket. The food budget is fixed, so they spend what they have and no more. The government isn't going to underwrite deficits, so close attention is paid to spend so much and no more. How refreshing!

Nutritionists prepare monthly menus in consequence to what can be bought, whether it be fresh vegetables when cheaply available in the summer or frozen during the expensive winter months. Stretching a budget is raised to an art form, something generally unheard of in government.

The menus provided are outstanding and positively impressive. Nutritious and healthy, they include meat, fowl, and fish and are tailored to the preferences of seniors, most of whom were born in the thirties.

Dedicated chefs prepare meals for hundreds of residents as if it was for their own family. Special attention by administrators is made to listen to residents through regularly scheduled meetings that discuss preferences.
More tomato soup. "Yes we can do it!"

I don't want to go overboard, but I was duly impressed by the evident pride shown by all of those interviewed for the story interviewed.
I don't think administrators of these homes provided a budget for yoga or hotel stays for their employees, nor do I think there's money available to send a team to the Bahamas or Hawaii to study how things are done there.
When I think back to the English Montreal School Board defending expensive trips abroad, I shudder.



Things can get better. I don't know what type of leadership exists in these institutions but it should be bottled and sent around to every government department.
I'm sure things aren't perfect, but what goes on here is so much higher above the bar of your average government department, that if replicated, it would likely save taxpayers  billions of dollars.

Alas to dream.....

And so readers,  while I promised to remain positive until the New Year, alas, I have to tell you another story at the other end of the kindness spectrum.

Each year local newspapers bring us a bunch of hard luck stories in an effort to drive donations to local Christmas holiday charities, be it the Salvation Army or what not.
I'm usually immune to these tales of woe, which I find overly exploitive, but it does not stop me from donating anyway.

Here is perhaps the nastiest and cruelest story that I've read all year. If you don't want to feel sad, skip past it.

Marisol Turcious is a 39 year old mother who is dying of cancer. Thirty-nine years old!
She is already in the latter stages of the disease and in palliative care, she doesn't have long to live.
Friends and family have contributed around six or seven thousand dollars for funeral expenses and a lap top computer that she uses to record messages for her four children, aged three to eighteen.

Marisol records these messages during periods of lucidity, the strong painkillers affecting her mental abilities, most of the time.
Two weeks ago her children were given permission to spend the night with her in the hospital.
That night someone broke into the modest apartment and robbed it of everything, the laptop, the money and anything else of value.
Marisol is devastated!

As I read the story, an unbelievable rage built within me. Really, WTF!

Readers, I don't know what to say...I think you'll agree that this is one SAD SICK story...

The crime remains unsolved, what else is new?
Our police are too busy giving out tickets to be concerned.

Here is a picture I clipped sometime this year. It says alot.

Translation- THIEF- We're immigrants, We don't have riches

Kinda makes the hulabaloo over Randy Cunneyworth's lack of French a case much ado about nothing.

Let's think about that as Christmas approaches.

******************************

Before I go for the year, let me remind you of a typically Quebec news story. One that will provide a smile and a grimace.

A Châteauguay couple, whose home was burgled found their camera, part of the stolen loot, in a local pawn shop.
After calling the police, they were informed that it would be quite an ordeal to prove ownership and as such the police wouldn't bother seizing the property.

So what did the police advise them to do instead?
Buy back the camera, cops told them, after all, the pawn shop was only asking 50 bucks! Link{fr}
Arghhh.....

******************************

Loyal readers, I'll be off for a while, but I've prepared a very interesting post for New Year's Day.

It's an offbeat quiz geared towards Anglo Quebecker or expats and as you nurse your hangover, you might find it a spot of fun.

By the way, a special thanks to all those who make this blog interesting by participating in the comments section.
I've been told by friends, it is the most interesting part of the blog and I heartily agree.
Whether you support my position or are a strident opponent, conversation, arguments and vehement online disagreements are always better than violence.

People continue to ask me to censor insulting posts, but as a libertarian, it's not something I'm keen to undertake.
For or against.... speaking out is a democratic imperative and yes, insults do serve their purpose and contribute to an understanding of what people are actually thinking and feeling.
To me, the important thing is to provide a different type, a forum for all.

Sometimes it's hard for anglos to tolerate those harsh sentiments offered by French language militants who post here, but more often than not, it's the other way around.

Thanks to all who participate in the comments sections, it is you all who make for an interesting read.

 Merry Christmas!   Joyeux Noël!

Happy New Year!   Bonne Année!

78 comments:

  1. A nice positive story to end the year editor, it's nice to remember that the media only shows us the worst and the negative side of things, while anything positive usually goes unmentioned.

    Editor, I'd like to thank you for reminding us that we too, are at home here in this province, and for giving us a forum where everyone's opinion can be expressed without being censored.

    À tous les Québécois qui fréquentent ce blogue et qui y contribuent en français; malgré le fait que nous ne sommes pas d'accord sur plusieurs points, je respecte énormément le fait que vous continuez à exprimer votre opinion ici, et j'apprécie le débat.
    On m'a déjà dit que ce n'est pas ici qu'on règlera les problèmes du monde, mais la discussion nous permet de mieux se comprendre, de mieux comprendre ce qui nous motive dans nos choix et nos opinions, et peut-être même de rapprocher les "deux solitudes".
    Je tiens à souhaiter un joyeux noël, une excellente année, et santé et bonheur à vous et à vos familles.

    To the editor and everyone else who comments here, I'd like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Thank you all for the interesting, sometimes heated conversations. Stay safe, and I hope to comment with you in 2012!

    I want to leave you all with a bit of humour.. A sketch from Le Bye Bye de RBO 2007, Pauline Marois wishing the nation a happy New Year in both french and english.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9pbzh04wEc
    Definitely worth the watch if you want a laugh :) Happy holidays everyone!

    ReplyDelete
  2. These are my thoughts on the series of events that happens these couple of weeks. I think they are rather long so I will cut them in several parts.

    First off, I seriously plea to the Editor to put some more moderation in the comments sections of your blogs. I know what you mean by freedom of speech. I respect that and I do not expect otherwise. I share your believe that all opinions in whatever language should be posted in their entirety so that both sides of the argument can be known and readers can have themselves informed.

    Also, I need to applaud you on that decision since sites and blogs ‘on the other side’ do not generally permit that. On Vigile, the owner actually decides which comment to include and which one is not. Therefore, there is no dissenting comment on all the posts there. Louis Prefontaine deletes everything not in French. Imperatif Français does not even allow direct comment. All comments need to go to the owner first.

    However, I do have problem with trolls. Trolls are those who do not have a real purpose but to piss people off. They contribute nothing to the discussion, they do not have any argument and they are distractions to the flow of discussion. While you are accommodating, or even accepting, all opinions, trolls actually take advantage of your accommodation and ruining the very freedom of speech you are trying to uphold.

    That tactics work, I think. By trolling the comments sections, the trolls manage to muddle the discussion flow so that a number of good points are lost since next comment usually made in response for the trolls’ nonsense. By allowing the trolls trolling, you allow the discussion quality to be degraded.

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  3. On French vs Economy

    It is just a fact of life that the English language is the de facto lingua franca of the business world. There is no way around it. While one may argue that Mandarin Chinese is most spoken language in the world, that fact accounts for native speakers. For a language that is commonly known in the world (first, second or foreign language), English is definitely it. English is spoken by 1.5 billion people while all dialects of Chinese are by 1.2 billion. French, BTW, by 200 million.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_languages_by_number_of_native_speakers

    Geographical location of Quebec exacerbates that situation. There is no way, no way at all that Quebec can, or will, economically survive without any knowledge of English. What the separatists do not want to know is that for every product and service that they enjoy, there will be someone translating the languages. That is one of the reasons that prices in Canada are higher than in the U.S., even when the currencies are at par.

    Now the majority of some major financial institutions are gone, and they will not come back, notably Sun Life, BMO and RBC. While they still have big operations in Quebec, the operations are just shadows of what those were pre-Bill 101. Nevertheless the operations are still there and I know that significant portion of those operations are done in English. Not just those finances, but there are many, many businesses in and around Montreal need to work in English.

    Now, back to the idea that businesses should do their businesses internally completely in French. Of course it will be just another useless layer of cost. And for what? Companies work on WIIFM principle. Why would they do that? What stops them to move if that is regulated? Speaking of which, separatists really put the obstacle to succeed in their own community. Let us see. Companies need to spend more on language, sports team need to have bilingual staff, singers need to sing in French. All the while, competitors outside are not burdened by such restrictions. Therefore, they actually want that the competitive advantage of this province be reduced. The province does not have comparative advantage, for sure. Not with the taxes and the unions. Now it needs to lower the competitive advantage too.

    One other thing to add. If those francophones working in English environment feel uncomfortable, why do they not report it internally first? If that does not work, make a report to CNT. But before all, why did they accept employment in such place? The so-called “employees” making anonymous calls to media or to separatist groups feels rather suspicious for me. And so why are those militants complaining if the employees themselves do not say anything?

    My team here consists of around 200 people, mix between anglo-, franco-, and allophones. Our working language is English. Everything written is in English. Francophones can speak French but if one person speaks English all switch to English. Among our francophone colleagues – including the boss – I do not see any resentment. If the militants have their way, then fine. Maybe we should just pack up to Waterloo. With that goes provincial revenue of 200 making at least 60k p.a. Our team really does not belong to Quebec. Each one of us is one or two reporting chain away from someone in Waterloo or Toronto.

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  4. On Companies in Quebec

    I think the rhetoric about companies operating in English in Quebec is reaching a rather dangerous level. Tree Stump keeps remaining us that Bombardier gets an exemption from Bill 101. Turns out that that fact does not sit well with the separatists. Instead of being grateful that Bombardier is located here (Bombardier is the second largest Quebec corporation, after Power Corporation), this poster actually resents that Bombardier provides 4000 jobs by serving English-speaking clients. And I know for fact that they are well-paid jobs.

    http://quebecfrancais.org/node/3612#comment-726

    Another hysteria is aimed towards National Bank of Canada. Look at the comments below. One poster even suggests that NBC move to Ontario if it needs to communicate with anglophone customers.

    http://quebecfrancais.org/node/3623?page=2

    It really blows my mind. They actually wish that Bombardier and NBC to move out of Quebec than to continue its practice. Do they have any idea what is in stake here? Do they have any slightest idea how many jobs will disappear from Quebec and how much of provincial revenue will be reduced just by that?

    I guess it is true after all. Separatists would rather live in poverty in French rather than tolerate English. Either that, or they really do not understand reality. That begs the question, who are they, what are they, what are they doing for living? Their perception is so much detached from the real world.

    On that note, Mario Beaulieu and his MQF is launching a campaign against NBC. They encourage people to withdraw their money from NBC and to move their accounts elsewhere. This gets me scratch my head. Move money from NBC to where, exactly? NBC is the biggest bank in Quebec. There is Desjardins, but it is not a bank. Also, they admonish Desjardins for allegedly promoting English unilingualism.

    http://quebecfrancais.org/node/3060

    So, move the money where? The only alternative I can think about is Laurentian Bank. Other than that, all other banks are headquartered in Toronto. Moving the money to any one of them really defeats the purpose of the boycott.

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  5. On Randy Cunneyworth

    Professional sports teams is just that, professional. Meaning that the players and staff are working, rather than just playing, for a living. Therefore a professional sports team are for-profit entity. While winning is good for a team, as a profit entity its purpose is to generate revenue and to increase its value.

    It is then can be argued that success for a professional team can be measured two ways, on the field / ice / floor / pitch and off. On the field success is easy to measure. Just look at the team statistics. Off the field success is measured by the team’s financial statements. While the two things are related, they are not necessarily correlate linearly. For that reason we had the Maple Leafs which were the perennial losers yet the highest-valued hockey team in the world. There were also the Ducks and the Hurricanes, the champions who found it difficult to sell out their arenas.

    The point of the long exposition is that a team (Canadiens in our case) needs to manage their success in two ways. Now, back to Randy Cunneyworth. While it is true that the coach needs to be able to bring W to the team, he also needs to be able to communicate well with those outside of the organization. Therefore, IMO, while the coach does not have to be a francophone or a perfect bilingual, he does need to be able to answer questions in French.

    Add to that the fact that his promotion is actually a double whammy of disappointment. First, Mr. Cunneyworth is a perfectly non-French speaker. Second, he is also a relative unknown in NHL coaching. If the team hire a unilingual Mike Babcock, for example, I think that the management has very good reason to deflect the criticism. Even if they hire Kirk Muller, he is a known name here. Guess they missed the boat on that. Beyond that, I think something is systematically wrong with the Canadiens management, all the way to the time of George Gillett. Look at Alain Vigneault and Claude Julien. They are both ex-coaches and they met at the Finals.

    Having said that, I also think that the separatists blow this issue – or anything in regards of French vs English for that matter – way out of proportion. The Montreal Canadiens is still a privately-held entity. Just like a hotel or a restaurant, the owner can actually do whatever he wants with the team. If the patrons do not like the changes, they can just stop visiting such establishment. But it will not be that easy to not going to the game, will it? Calling boycott on Molson products is also ridiculous. Molson-Coors is the fifth largest brewer in the world. The boycott will just be a drop in the bucket.

    As well, I resent the fact that separatists make their complaints without offering any concrete solution. The notion that there are hundreds of francophone coaches ready to step up is laughable at best. If a coach that speaks fluent French is necessary, then who? Who should coach the Canadiens and willing to do so and potentially will perform better than Mr. Martin and Mr. Cunneyworth?

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  6. On Immigration

    This is not very relevant, but what the hell, I am already writing anyway.

    For one reason or the other, Quebec has the power to select its own immigrants. To stay with French language thread, it selects those who are able to speak French. Therefore, Quebec selects significant number of immigrants from Haiti, Maghreb, Lebanon and francophone sub-Saharan Africa. I by any means do not mean to be racist, but I say that they are not the ‘right’ immigrants to choose, at least economic wise.

    IMO, the higher quality immigrants come from East, Southeast and South Asia. They are highly educated in marketable domains and they have enough of assets to bring in. In other Canadian biggest cities, we can see how people from Chinese or Indian heritage contribute to the development of the cities. Meanwhile, Montreal holds the highest percentage of unemployed immigrants.

    Point is, once again, language overweighs economy, and the result is there to be seen.

    Have nice and safe holidays, everybody.

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  7. Great blog Editor, keep it up. And Troy, you made some excellent points.

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  8. Editor, I have really enjoyed your blog having found it only recently. Keep up the good work!,,

    Also I must say, Troy I totally agree with your comments and I just cant understand why the separatists refuse to accept this blatantly obvious reality that one needs to embrace english to have a chance at succeeding in this day in age. Hopefully they will come around before it's too late.

    PS. Since I work in the aerospace field, I can say that if Quebec were to separate, not only would Bombardier leave (which they threatened to do), but so would many other companies that are linked to them. This would be tens of thousands of high paying jobs as a minimum.

    Be careful what you wish for!

    Happy holidays.

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  9. "...but I say that they are not the ‘right’ immigrants to choose..."

    L'affirmation clée de vos 12 paragraphes.

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  10. Troy: “I seriously plea to the Editor to put some more moderation in the comments sections of your blogs. I know what you mean by freedom of speech.”

    Maybe Editor wants to publish these comments. Trolls increase the volume of comments, so the blog looks more read.

    Troy: “That begs the question, who are they, what are they, what are they doing for living”

    These organizations may be getting their money from the Quebec government through some backdoor channels. And if not this (PLQ-run) government then for sure from political parties like the PQ.

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  11. Thanks Editor for another excellent year.

    Your many investigative posts provide a moderate and refreshing break from the otherwise steady stream of one-sided polemical sludge peddled by apologists and crypto-bigots.

    The fact that your blog has emerged when it has -- both in the context of our country's own history as well what appear to be your own golden years -- is also of great value to anyone who really wishes to understand the other half of this debate from a grounded, seasoned, and local perspective. You present a legitimate (if not largely underrepresented) group of citizens; young and old, rich and poor, anglo, franco, and allo. And although I bemoan the lackluster quality of some of the troll-type comments, I realize the importance of representing frustrated provocateurs in this forum as well. As many before me have pointed out, you let others speak freely where most other sites practice partisan censorship and deny this most important debate both the roots and wings it so desperately needs for the needless antagonism to one day reach its inevitable end. Once again, I hope the fortuitous meeting of our current political landscape and the desire for meaningful change will be shaped in no small part by the live-and-let-live common sense you advocate here.

    My hope is that you will continue this blog for many years to come, and perhaps more importantly that you will continue to be inspired to present us with posts having the investigative depth we have become accustomed to. It isn't easy to nail practically each post, and I'm sure I speak for many of us when I say it's deeply appreciated reading.

    My only humble recommendation (if I may be so bold as to make one while on your turf) is about audience. This blog is great, but I often wonder what it would be like if these posts were able to reach more French-language readers who just aren't comfortable reading English.

    No, I haven't lost my mind. As a francophone and part-French-Canadian who has little patience for nationalisms in general (and even less for our homegrown varieties in particular), I think your ideas - so expertly expounded on here - would provide much-needed food for thought for tens if not hundreds of thousands of francophone Quebecers who desperately need to be weaned off the unquestioned nationalist diet served up daily. I should think that following the separatist movement's "annus horribilis", you might at least consider the necessity of operating a split-run/translated mirror blog as a means to this end, at least starting in 2012. Great books are translated to reach wider or targeted audiences all the time; I don't see why great blogs can't be either.

    Should you ever consider this with the seriousness I hope you will, I would be glad to provide support in the ways I am able.

    Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, et Bonne année.

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  12. Thank you Editor for this upbeat post to end the year and Troy for your very interesting comments. Happy Holidays and Joyeuses Fêtes to all.

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  13. Je vous annonce une bonne nouvelle pour 2012 :Je ne viendrai plus "troller" sur ce blogue.Mes interventions "chocs" avaient simplement pour but d'épicer et d'animer un peu plus ces "débats" portant sur la dualité linguistique du Canada et en particulier celle du Québec.

    Débats,qui plus souvent qu'autrement,sont plutôt mornes et ont tendance à susciter l'unanimité chez vos participants,considérant que la majorité d'entre vous avez un ennemi commun à abattre :Le francophone de souche.

    Cependant,je tiens à remercier et à féliciter l'éditeur de ce blogue pour avoir démontré une certaine ouverture d'esprit en me laissant "troller" en toute liberté sur son blogue.

    Merry Christmas,Happy Chanukah and...Bonne continuation :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. @Troller 12:11

    C'est dommage que tu aies œuvré si fort pour te faire une réputation de "troll" par moyen d'interventions "choc" plutôt que de faire valoir le bien fondé de tes arguments. Un débat s'enrichit tant par la force des idées promues que par la façon dont ces idées sont véhiculées.

    À part le fait d'avoir des participants de diverses orientations dites fédéralistes, je considère que bon nombre des intervenants sur ce blogue ont des idées très différentes sur la dualité linguistique de notre province et, de surcroit, de notre pays (tu n'as qu'à lire mes propos, par exemple, qui plus souvent qu'autrement sont diamétralement opposés à ceux de ton meilleur ami Mr. Sauga).

    C'est d'autant plus dommage que tu te voies comme l'ennemi-commun-à-abattre-parce-que-francophone-de-souche. Cela ne fait que perpétuer l'autovictimisation voulant qu'un bon francophone est celui qui se fait marcher dessus. Étant moi-même de trois origines différentes (chacune ayant ses propres forces, lacunes, et complexes), je suis en mesure de dire sans contredit que l'"empowerment" passe par la responsabilisation individuelle.

    L'harmonie à laquelle aspirent francophones, anglophones, et allophones ne sera chose faite que lorsque nous aurons appris le vrai sens des mots "respect", "intégration", et "audace". Ayant moi-même fait de mon mieux pour mettre à profit ma propre situation afin d'établir un équilibre entre mes trois "identités", je sais que l'on peut y arriver, sans avoir à renier quoi que ce soit de ce que l'on est. Et ça ne m'a pas affaibli; au contraire, ça m'a enrichi - à la fois culturellement et économiquement. Ça ne fait pas de moi un mollasson colonisé et assimilé, mais un citoyen qui finalement n'est pas tellement à l'avant-garde du temps. Ça m'a fait apprécier d'autant plus ma propre autoresonsabilisation rapporterait beaucoup plus que de monter aux barricades pour que d'autres puissent demeurer complexés.

    C'est ainsi qu'en nous quittant j'espère que tu puisses au moins garder à l'esprit que ce ne sont pas tous les fédéralistes bilingues qui souhaitent abattre le michant canayen-français. Il faut certes demeurer vigilant, mais il faut y aller au jour le jour et au cas par cas.

    Ce n'est pas en rabaissant l'autre qu'on réussit à faire valoir son point de vue. Si le mouvement indépendantiste doit s'effriter (ce que je souhaite ardemment), j'aimerais que son legs à tous les Québécois sera celui de ne jamais oublier que la discrimination et le repli sur soi sont tous deux des côtés opposés mais complémentaires de la même médaille d'acrimonie. En respectant nos différences et en s'entracueillant, peut-être bâtirons-nous une communauté meilleure.

    Joyeux Noël à toi.

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  15. Since the editor is going on vacation, this story should be brought to people's attention:

    http://www.montrealgazette.com/health/Medicare+limit+English+communications/5905089/story.html

    First the CSST, now Quebec Medicare. Refusing to offer English services after a certain cut-off period. Even if that person CANNOT communicate in French, and the health services person speaks perfect English, they will simply refuse out of some racist bureaucracy.

    Imagine if in Ontario, health services REFUSED to communicate with persons in French, even they they could. Imagine the outcry.

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  16. If health services will not be offered in English, does Quebec not have a moral obligation to state that fact in all of its advertising to tourists?

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  17. How will they know who is an immigrant? Aside from the semantics immigrants will just ask for service in english. Even Bill 101 was suppose to guarantee english service. In the end this is just a ploy by Charest to get reelected. He also knows that he has the anglo and allo vote out of no other alternative.

    The only way to stop this is partitioning Quebec and creating a Sovereignty association between Montreal and Quebec. That would totally drive all the seppies and MMF types. They would not know how to react.

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  18. Isn't this comment a bit redundant?

    "where our food is produced with an accent on Quebec and Canadian products"

    Aren't Quebec products, by default, also Canadian products?

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  19. to all federalists and separatists who comes on this blogs

    à tous les federalistes et séparatistes qui viennent sur ce blog

    Merry Christmaa/Joyeux Noël

    and/et

    Happy New Year/Bonne Année


    let us put our political standpoints aside for the holidays and have a good time

    mettons tous nos point de vue politique de coté pour le temps des fêtes et passons du bon temps

    Santa Claus/Père Noël

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  20. I don't believe in Santa Claus.

    Scrooge

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  21. Maybe the ghost of Christmas future should visit Jean Charest and Pauline Marios.

    Ps - Santa Claus is a federalist, he dresses in red and white, like the Canadian flag. All the separatists are on his naughty list!

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  22. 1 of 2:

    With all the lemons given to the fascist Quebec government, and quite deservedly, it's refreshing to read this story about conscientious parapublic employees, but in all fairness, many try to do good even if the overall system is lousy...unfortunately until they realize their good work is all for naught.

    I was going to covertly mention to editor through his e-mail address about the new RAMQ policy of not dealing in English with new immigrants after a limited time, but Angloman seized the moment and beat me to it overtly. I figured this bitter pill should wait until the new year, but...

    What sickens me to my stomach is that all this merde is taking place with a supposedly federalist government.

    Editor, who are you? Who the hell are you? Forgive what may appear to be paranoia, but the more I read about you, the more creeped out I'm getting, and I'm sure I'm not alone. You say or seem to be good friends with Charest (yes, that one I refer to as John James "Goldilocks"), and you have said you cross paths with Pauline Marois on an ongoing basis. You're either an MNA, a parliamentary assistant, or a senior bureaucrat, likely in the Quebec government or perhaps with the feds.

    Older readers may remember a TV commercial from decades ago when former CFL tough Angelo Mosca of the Hamilton Tiger Cats promoted Shick razor blades. He said they gave him the most comfortable shave he ever had, and after identifying himself, he gruffly challenged anyone who thought he was lying to tell him to his face. Actually, many did, but I imagine mostly in jest.

    Anyway, Editor, even if you're some kind of double agent, it really doesn't matter to me. In fact, I'd consider it a favour if you could arrange to put me in a room with your good buddy, John James "Goldilocks" Charest anywhere, anytime. I'd be in his face all day and all night long for the traitor he is.

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  23. To conclude, a still sleepless Mr. SaugaSaturday, December 24, 2011 at 4:49:00 AM EST

    2 of 2:

    Yes, John James "Goldilocks" Charest is a traitor. That uglier-than-a-bulldog bitch troll heading the OQLF is HIS appointee. The post of Minister Responsible for Bill 101 should have been abolished upon John James "Goldilocks" Charest having been elected the first time, but instead he has another troll who supports what the CSST and RAMQ are doing.

    Now there are two government departments who won't deal in English with the Quebec public inside of one year, so what department is next? As inevitably as night follows day, this is going to become a routine ongoing policy.

    I imagine it will be the RAAQ and driver's licenses, etc. Nothing new there. When I went for my license in 1975, the bureau in Vimont, Laval addressed me in French and I didn't respond to anything they asked me because I didn't understand them. They finally figured they better address me in English if they wanted to get through the process, they better address me in English, and they did so but cursing me under their breath. No matter. It was my last year of high school, and I made up my mind the year before I was going to leave Quebec after finishing my cheap CEGEP and university days were done.

    I followed through, and my only regret about the rest of Canada is we haven't thrown Quebec out of confederation. The Real Canada is a democracy, and it's a disgrace we host a fascist state the likes of Quebec, a spiteful, hateful antagonistic society. It sadly has come to the point I'm almost ashamed to say I was born there, but my contemporaries know today's Quebec is a shadow if its former self.

    Even at this time of year, I can't shake my feelings despite the laurel the Editor wrote for this day's blog. A day or two ago, I placed an outbound call to an elderly Quebec client who made it clear she was not happy that I, a maudit anglophone, dared call her, criticizing how she couldn't understand me, and how she wanted "quelq'un qui parle français, un francophone". I wasn't speaking Afrikaans to her, the old bitch.

    Fortunately, most (but by no means all) my Quebec callers are patient when I have a problem with my French, but I'm getting better with time. I think I sort of take after the late Nick auf der Maur, an author and part-time Montreal city counselor who ran for the Conservatives under Brian Mulroney in 1984. In one of his Gazette articles he wrote when he was campaigning that while the 300 or so supportive people he met daily on the hustings were uplifting, it's the one negative, critical person he'd meet during the day that would stay with him.

    Old biddies like that one I spoke to that day reset my whole mood for the day, and my composite of bad experiences have shaped my opinion of Quebec for most of my life. I guess we can't all be Hugo Shebbeare, but he's obviously a younger man than I am and has yet to develop the wisdom to figure out the difference between what he can and cannot change. I'm not stating his is a foolish man, far from it, because he certainly has a challenging profession, but it often does take time to learn life's lessons. I hope though he doesn't get disappointed with age!

    Happy holidays to all!

    Always feisty, Always

    Mr. Sauga

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  24. To Quackbecer said...

    You said : "Ps - Santa Claus is a federalist, he dresses in red and white, like the Canadian flag. All the separatists are on his naughty list!"

    :)

    And we say : "n'oubliez pas que le ciel est bleu et que l'enfer est rouge..."

    Michel

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  25. Exactly, Michel. Fire is red. So be careful or else you'll get burned.

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  26. So, as people who pay attention to my posts will already know, I don't live in Kweebec or Canadia anymore. I am visiting my family to celebrate JC's birthday and was at a friends house, who told me about the RAMQ issue about serving new immigrants in French.

    Honestly? What's the big deal? Regardless of what you want to believe, Quebec is a French province. I wouldn't expect to be served in French in the Flemish part of Belgium or the Italian part of Switzerland, so really; who cares?

    Also, from what I understand, to receive English documents from RAMQ, all you need is to pick up the phone and request them (yes, I know a pain in the ass but, a solution nonetheless).

    So really, I don't see the big deal here. If anything, it could probably save some much needed $$$ (albeit, a minuscule amount) that we all know this province is starving for.

    Happy Birthday JC!

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  27. "Happy Birthday JC"

    Is it Jean Charest's birthday?

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  28. To Mr.Marco:

    What's the big deal?! I don't think you understand the details in what is happening here. This is RAMQ staff whom are FLUENTLY BILINGUAL, able to read, write and converse in English.

    Now they will bureaucratically look up your file and determine if you have the "right" to be addressed in English. If you do not, they will suddenly STOP communicating with you in English--even if you speak ZERO French. This is not about having English-speaking staff, it is about telling staff to refuse to help certain people based on what language they were born with.

    This is as childish as a toddler saying "Nah, nah, nyah, nah, nyah...I can't hear you. I'm covering my ears! You're invisible until you say the secret password!!"

    This goes beyond silliness and childishness, this is black and white discrimination and government sanctioned bigotry. This violates basic human rights. Disgusting is too light a word.

    Of course this is the same "distinct nation" of Quebec that brutally tortures animals, and has no care in enforcing laws or punishment for those were abuse animals. Did anyone see on the news about how horses are killed for meat in Quebec (one of the few regions on planet earth that does this! Much like asbestos mining). I knew they were talking about Quebec on the news before they even announced the location. Only in Quebec do human and animal rights go out the window.

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  29. ...to Anon of Dec 24 @ 6:44pm: Premier John James "Goldilocks" Charest's birthday is six months away, on June 24th...how fitting his birthday is on St-Jean-Baptiste Day, la fête national, Seppie Day, whatever you want to call it.

    It's supposedly Jesus Christ's birthday, although THAT too is quite disputable. Retracing astrological phenomenen has proven Jesus was born circa 3 B.C.

    Anyway onto more pressing matters, such as the Editor not more being a little less descreet in his identity. He's friends with John James Charest and he has also written he passes by Pauline Marois periodically. That sounds typical of a senior government official or even an elected MNA...or MP.

    In any case, I stand by my convictions no matter whether I'm profiled or not. I am not ashamed by my convictions and views, and if anyone wants to dispute them, I'll do battle anytime, anyplace anyhow...all day and all night.

    François Legault boasts he'll be able to reverse Quebec's fortunes and through his guidance Quebec will be a contributor to the equalization program as opposed to its biggest recipient (and yes, loyalalists of the sovereignty movement, I know it's less on a per capita basis than the other recipients). As for Ontario, there too will be those who talk about the measly $300 million Ontario received, but think of that as a measley dividend because Ontario is still the biggest NET contributor by far to the Equalization program.

    BTW, I regularly state the name of John James Charest, not to berate him the way the separatists seek the pettiest monikers to attach to their detractors, but to point out that despite his partial non-French heritage seems to have been abandoned in the name of doing what he has to do to preserve his political status.

    Sadly, far too many a politician swallow their principles and themselves whole for the sake of the vote or the funds that feed them. The last, and as far as I'm concerned, the only Canadian politician since my birth who has served altruistically, is Stanley Knowles. I would give Joe Clark honorable mention, but I'm not 100% sure about him hence the honorable mention only.

    In the U.S., I'd give that honor to President Harry S. Truman. He placed a placard on his desk reading "the buck stops here"...and from all I have read and heard about him, he lived by those words. Probably the main reason he served but one term. Too doggone honest.

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  30. ...to Mr. Marco: CANADA is a bilingual country, and there are many, many people still living in Quebec who are not mother tongued in French, me and mine included.

    CSST and RAMQ will still be operating partially in English, but they are targeting those they will speak to in English and those they will not. Sorry, but that's sick!

    Ontario provides ALL services and ALL public literature and government publications in French, and Ontario's French minority is MUCH smaller than Quebec's English minority; furthermore, Ontario, for over two decades now, has more French schools than Quebec has English schools, and that disparity keeps on growing with every English school that closes every year in Quebec, and it's all due to Bill 101, the Great Charter of Charters of modern day fascism.

    Don't EVER call Quebec a "French province" lest Quebec remains within our confederation! The way I see it, Quebec should be labelled under the generic term, "jurisdiction". The government of Quebec is constantly acting in defiance of the confederation, and has for decades. I just don't see why this constant defiance should be tolerated by those who support Quebec with couhtless billions of dollars and very little gratitude in return.

    It's high time Quebec proves it can stand on its own. I am colossally skeptical it can, especially without the support of the minorities, especially those in the western half of Montreal. As a separate and sovereign jurisdiction, Quebec can abandon English altogether...or can it? A separate Quebec will inevitably become unilingually French with French as an official language of Canada being abandoned, and you can be assured Quebec would have to address all its continental neighbours in nothing but English. How paradoxical!

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  31. I am no longer a resident of Quebec, but much, not all, of my family has remained or returned. Their choice, not mine.

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  32. I must actually include three other names to my list of honorable politicians that I didn't think of in my comments of 12 hours ago, and they certainly deserve honors next to Stanley Knowles, a long-time serving MP. Add the only 3 MNAs who all walked out on their leader and the National Assembly in just one day: Richard French, Clifford Lincoln, and Herbert Marx. That happened 23 years ago this past week.

    Clifford Lincoln, born in the small African island nation of bilingual Mauritius, made an impassioned speech best known as "Rights are rights are rights". To see the full text of what he stated in the Assembly, go to http://politicallyincorrectandproudofit.com/index/clifford-lincoln-s-rights-are-rights-speech

    One most dishonorable MNA who should have joined the three wise men above, but instead swallowed his principles (and those of the constituents he represented) for the sake of his job was John Ciaccia. He served the predominantly English bastion of Mount Royal, but chose the cowardly, chickenshit way out and did not vote against Bill 178, the first use (abuse, really) of the Notwithstanding Clause in the Canadian Constitution of 1982.

    I reiterate what I've written previously time and time again: Bills 22, 178, and 115, (the law that none other than John James Charest replaced the unconstitutional Bill 104 by the PQ) were laws written, read and passed by supposedly federalist Quebec governments. Like Tweedledum and Tweedledee of Alice in Wonderland fame, I cannot tell them apart. The only thing that differentiates federalists from péquistes is one party holds referendums on separation while the other doesn't.

    The Editor of this blog, a self-proclaimed good friend of Premier John James Charest, tried to "sell" us readers that Premier John James Charest was supporting the allegedly small elite of "language fanatics" by hiring more language police, and appointing the head of the OQLF who fits right into the model of the "language fanatics".

    To counter the argument of caving into the will of the "language fanatics", I again reiterate what [former MNA and senior Quebec bureaucrat] Reed Scowen wrote in his book "Time to Say Goodbye": The Quebec majority WANTS it this way.

    Governments rarely give into a few roaring mice, but because this roaring mice, a.k.a. the "language fanatics", would quickly rally the French speaking majority, the Editor's good buddy, Premier John James Charest, beats the collective majority making up Quebec society, to the kill.

    Let's face it, dear readers, there aren't any Franco federalists left. If there are, they are few and far between, or they're too timid to speak up amongst their own.

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  33. > there aren't any Franco federalists left. If there are, they are few and far between, or they're too timid to speak up amongst their own.

    Cart before the horse, Mr. Sauga. Many ethnic French-Canadians are actually quite tame by nature; it's the fearmongering done by our cultural evangelists that expertly plays on our insecurities that never fails to rally us toward the language protectionism side of the great language divide. It's the exact same force that operates with right-wing hawks in the U.S.: play the security card and a huge number of people will be putty in your hands.

    I disagree with the first part of your assertion about few francophone federalists left. If this were true, many francophones wouldn't have switched sides and voted NDP this year, after supposedly pledging undying fealty to the Bloc. Federalism and Quebecers' own view of their relationship with Canada is undergoing a process of re-examination, and I think this is both a healthy and necessary exercise. Even the separatists' polemical writers are sitting up and taking notice of the younger generation's lack of sympathy for the old pride-based arguments that fed the boomers' attachment to the cause.

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  34. What I do agree with is that there still exists enormous pressure to conform and that this pressure is both propagated and exacerbated by our self-interested francophone media.

    Give it a few more years and more of us will awaken from this half-century slumber of unilingualist protectionism. When we realize how petty we've been (about what is still a very legitimate objective), we'll scrap what wrong.

    Don't forget that we descend from a group of people that at one time let itself be led by a group of extreme Catholics whose rhetoric claimed to be saving both our race and our souls. The imagery was supposedly trashed with the Quiet Revolution, yet I maintain that it was merely replaced with different symbols, the "Eden" remaining our idealized view of New France. We'll need a few decades more to shake loose the shackles of this most Judeo-Christian storyline, and finally grow up. When we do, I'm sure you and your grass-is-greener-in-English-Canada crowd will have much to gain from our perspective.

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  35. As the owner of a restaurant i employ several french delivery drivers and waitresses , this week on of my drivers a hard core seperatist accidentally stepped on a tray on tomatoes ....my cook responded by saying ..and i quote " thats why your a stupid pepper farmer"

    I laughed pretty hard.

    The driver was angry ... very .

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  36. @Anonymous 5:46 PM

    As an arch-federalist myself, I can't help but find that an extremely shameful and cheap shot.

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  37. @appartchik

    I've worked with the types mentioned by anon 5:46, they are pretty politically incorrect. They usually get shocked the 1st time you respond back politically incorrectly but they do become alot more friendly when you break the ice that way. I imagine that the seppie also made some comments about anglos and or allos and this was just payback

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  38. Strenuously rebutting, Mr. SaugaMonday, December 26, 2011 at 11:54:00 PM EST

    ...to Apparatchik: Being Jewish myself, don't ever...repeat...EV-VER lump Judaism with despicable Catholic lies of that 200 year period concluding with the Quiet Revolution that took place in the early 1960s.

    The Roman Catholic church royally SCREWED its parishioners promoting and perpetuating ignorance, uncontrolled baby bearing and a plenitude of coersion...and of course blaiming the Jews and the English for all their woes. There was no shortage of perpetrators of these reprehansible lies, the most Hitleresque of all being Abbé Lionel Groulx.

    The most colossally disgusting thing about Groulx was how revered he was. [Former Le Devoir editor and PLQ leader] Claude Ryan overtly and proudly stated that everything Groulx wrote and said captured the very essence of what Quebec was, or at least what it was meant to be. To Claude Ryan, Abbé Lionel Groulx WAS Quebec--at least French speaking Catholic Quebec. Too, Groulx was an extremely rabid anti-Semite.

    Too, Apparatchik, if your bretheren are as benevolent as you want me and other readers to believe, why don't they stand up against all this history repeating itself, i.e., more language police hired to harrass the Ma and Pa businesses, government departments that are ever decreasingly speaking English to those who are appraoching them (and boy, is this going to continue in other government departments to be sure). This is all history repeating itself but for one very fundamental difference: In the late 1970s, it was a separatist government that overtly promoted attacking everything English, and now 3½ decades later it's a supposedly federalist government playing monkey see, monkey do.

    That, Mr. Apparatchik, is NOT progression, it's REgression! Do you understand the difference?

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  39. @Anonymous 6:43 PM

    My key point is that you don’t reward or repay a historically undervalued people – whether kept that way by their own or by an external opponent – and expect anything other than rancor. Having said something analogous to a Black man, a Jew, or a disabled person would have been met with more reprobation, even on this thread.

    @Mr. Sauga 11:54 PM

    With all due respect, I wasn’t intending to refer to any non-French-Canadian group of people in my earlier statement. Respectfully, though, I must state that on a different thread and on a different blog, I’d have a few vociferous criticisms to pummel Zionism with. I suppose both settings – made up of differing times, places, and actors – demonstrate that even when an official objective is arguably noble, certain influential elements within any group can lose sight of what’s essential and descend into base fear-driven mind control… and drag the whole group right down with it.

    Yes, I agree, the Roman Catholic Church screwed us in more ways than one. On the other hand, I also wonder whether there would be any noteworthy French-Canadian/Quebec presence (let alone nationalism) today had it not been for the role played by the clergy in those times. People with political orientations like mine might even ask in what way it might have been possible for our area of the country to have retained a French character while working dutifully toward the Canadian “whole”. And to this, one can posit several scenarios, virtually all of which will remain speculative. Such is the nature of woulda-coulda-shoulda.

    The key thing is that our evolution has progressed (or, as some might have it regressed) to form a national consciousness around our largely St Lawrence River-based agrarian history. Historical circumstances conspired to make “les Anglais” distant colonial administrators while maintaining a very insular and sheltered world view. To use an Ashkenazi Jewish analogy, we only started making it out of the shtetl a few decades ago. And to use another apt Jewish parallel, some of us preferred the path of internationalism, placing greater value on Haskalah-type philosophy, while others fell back into the same old ghetto mentality that in their view meant safety from the corrupting outside forces of assimilation, arguing that only in a nation-state of our own could we truly flourish.

    I for one don’t get what was so great about Groulx – or his arch-nemesis Henri Bourassa, for that matter. Both were opponents on one front but carbon copies on others. Every nation wants to make its influential cast of characters into iconic heroes; yet George Washington was a slave-owner, and David Ben-Gurion so much as admitted that his project required dispossessing native Palestinians of the land that was theirs. I agree with you that the vast majority of French-Canadians don’t speak up, and I find it unfortunate. Mostly though, I suspect that it is because they naturally haven’t been taught to empathize, let alone view the general idea of surrendering French language protection as being a good thing FOR THEM. As yet, no provincial figure has had the gumption – or the craft – to formulate and sell the notion that it is possible for us to be a thriving French-language society that can also securely promote an equal, complementary, and integrated presence of English. As I read the tea leaves, it’s a bit too soon for that. And when the separatist movement itself so openly admits – for the first time ever – that it’s in desperate need of direction, one can rightly wonder whether we’re on the eve of the just and mature reckoning on the language matter Federalists like me have wished for for generations, or whether we’ll capriciously dig our heels in deeper and persist in our ethnolinguistic bubble.

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  40. One final note before I go:

    > This is all history repeating itself but for one very fundamental difference: In the late 1970s, it was a separatist government that overtly promoted attacking everything English, and now 3½ decades later it's a supposedly federalist government playing monkey see, monkey do.

    Good sir, I would ask that you kindly recall that Bill 63 was passed by a Union Nationale government, and Bill 22 under the Liberal government that followed. Yes it was the Parti Québécois that brought in the Holy and Sacred Charter of the One Official Language, but it was again the weak-kneed Bourassa II government that did Bills 178 and 86. As far as I’m concerned, the provincial Liberals have historically been nationalist snakes about as much as their opponents have been – either for electoral gain or out of doctrinal belief. So you see, it’s not a case of a “supposedly” federalist provincial government “suddenly” changing its stripes – the name of the game for 40 years has been to try to look more pro-French than the next guy.

    > That, Mr. Apparatchik, is NOT progression, it's REgression! Do you understand the difference?

    I do. It’s the difference between hating on the immigrant waitress for not serving me in French and immersing myself in great French literature out of genuine love for the language. But the transformation can’t come from the top down. Like so many revolutions, it’ll need to go from the bottom up. And I for one believe it’s already begun.

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  41. Richard Martineau applauds Mario Beaulieu:

    http://martineau.blogue.canoe.ca/2011/12/25/debout_1

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  42. On a more benevolent note, Mr. SaugaTuesday, December 27, 2011 at 11:57:00 AM EST

    ...to Apparatchik: Having been a long-time contributor to this blog, you've earned a diplomatic approach to your middle-of-the-night contribution.

    Too often, and in most cases rightly so, Christo-Judaic scriptures and ways of life have their parallels. Both religious groups follow the Old Testament and observe SOME similar values; however, I cannot stomach, in any way, shape or form, Judaic responsibility for the heinous actions taken by the Roman Catholic church. I don't want the words Jewish or Judaism in the same sentence as Catholic when the Church in Quebec enforced a most reprehensible doctrine against its own people.

    At times I found Orthodox Judaism was presented to me in a coersive manner very remote to what the Roman Catholic church imposed upon its parishioners, and THAT was enough to put me off of that degree of Judaism. In spite of that, I'm still proud of my heritage even though I have taken a more secular and liberal appraoch to religion.

    I haven't forgotten about Bills 63, 22, 178 et al. Interestingly, Bourassa showed the late ultra separatist, Pierre Borgault Bill 22 before tabling it in the Assembly, and Borgault warned Bou-bou how the s--t would hit the fan when it's tabled. It certainly was! Bill 22 was the determinant in my decision to leave Quebec, and I was in the middle of my adolescence. I bided my time, finishing my high school, CEGEP and my degree at Concordia U. The day after my convocation, I set off for Ottawa to set up house as I found an apartment weeks earlier.

    When the crunch came, I was extremely upset, believe me! I was leaving my parents to live somewhere else for the first time, and our Chomedey house was the only one I ever remembered from my early childhood, the home where I did all my growing up. So after ten years of anticipating that day, it was really hard!

    I finally got used to living on my own, eating enough hot dogs and canned food until it all started tasting like Alpo and I finally, in desparation, started to learn how (aaaaack!) cook.

    In other words, I learned how to live effectively on my own, and I'm not the least bit sorry I left Quebec. As stated earlier, Bill 22 was the determinant that made up my mind to leave Quebec, and Bill 101 was the icing on the cake.

    Finally, in prior visits to Montreal in recent years, I have seen some positive cracks in the language armor. Merchants on rue St-Denis and other French bastions have been more cordial to English speaking customers. Same for the fortified portions of Quebec City. The younger ones are not militant as much as the young when I was young, and hopefully this will continue to be a trend. Then again, I see the outlaying areas as being the same, so the Montreal city-state concept is not necessarily a stretch.

    Either way, I will not return to live because Quebec is fiscally in wretched shape, and I don't see them taking very good care of their aged population effectively. I do believe David Foote, the author of Boom Bust and Echo, in his prediction of there being intergenerational battles in the future once the post-Boomers start running the government and the country. The rest of the Western World will not be immune from these battles, but I feel the fiscal shape in Quebec will be that much more pronounced.

    We'll have to wait and see, I suppose.

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  43. "Ainsi, à la question «Seriez-vous plus fier du CH si l'équipe était constituée d'une majorité de francophones?», 71% des répondants ont dit oui."

    http://www.cyberpresse.ca/sports/hockey/le-canadien/201112/24/01-4480786-le-canadien-doit-miser-sur-plus-de-francophones.php


    Now imagine if Atlanta Daily asked Georgians if they would be prouder of the Atlanta Braves if the team was majority white, and 71% Georgians said yes? What would you think about the Georgians? And more importantly, what would you think of the establishment mainstream press in Georgia that throws these kinds of surveys at the population and is not ashamed to publish the results?

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  44. @Mr. Sauga

    > I cannot stomach, in any way, shape or form, Judaic responsibility for the heinous actions taken by the Roman Catholic church.

    I’m not asking you to admit that Judaism is responsible for the backwardness of French-Canadian culture any more than a moderate Muslim should be held responsible for the backwardness of certain segments of Middle Eastern cultures. I simply ask that you consider that cultural and intellectual backwardness justified by selective interpretation of scripture and religion is nothing new.

    > I don't want the words Jewish or Judaism in the same sentence as Catholic when the Church in Quebec enforced a most reprehensible doctrine against its own people.

    Again, the toxic mix of religious populism and political affirmation can easily spiral out of control no matter the time, place, or creed. Protecting tribal customs at the expense of our own evolution? I’m not so sure how honorable or beneficial such an “ideal” is in the long run.

    > At times I found Orthodox Judaism was presented to me in a coersive manner very remote to what the Roman Catholic church imposed upon its parishioners, and THAT was enough to put me off of that degree of Judaism. In spite of that, I'm still proud of my heritage even though I have taken a more secular and liberal appraoch to religion.

    You’re not the only one, and I suppose that’s the wider point I’m making. It’s possible to have a liberal and non-extremist approach to one’s own identity, whether it be religious, linguistic, ethnic, or otherwise. But it’s also important to recognize that identity is prone to change with time, and that this is not something that ought to be fought or kept frozen, but rather embraced. I’m sure that Quebec can be proud to be a post-unilingually French society just as much as it is a proud post-Catholic society. For better or for worse, nobody today disputes the historic role our religion played (and in many ways continues to play) in our development. Also, I happen to be of the opinion that it’s time for Quebecers to see one another as grown-up siblings within the much larger family tree around us and confidently open up to our long-lost relatives.

    > Bill 22 was the determinant in my decision to leave Quebec, and I was in the middle of my adolescence. I bided my time, finishing my high school, CEGEP and my degree at Concordia U. The day after my convocation, I set off for Ottawa to set up house as I found an apartment weeks earlier.

    I suppose that was a different time and place from me. I for one spent my adolescence and early adulthood continuing to hone my English- and French-language skills because I come from a mixed family background that has always historically put a strong emphasis on bilingualism as both a cultural and economic necessity, long before Trudeaumania declared it “cool”. If I ever left Quebec it would be because I have been so thoroughly disgusted by our way of doing things that I believe we are irreparably going down the road of the damned. As it stands, I am increasingly encouraged by the silent majority of Anglophones and Francophones in this province who I feel are rightly marginalizing the old and tired language argument in favor of real progress.

    > I have seen some positive cracks in the language armor. Merchants […] have been more cordial to English speaking customers. […] The younger ones are not militant as much as the young when I was young, and hopefully this will continue to be a trend. Then again, I see the outlaying areas as being the same, so the Montreal city-state concept is not necessarily a stretch.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see this greater openness culminate in a language showdown soon, probably resulting in a temporary re-tightening of the screws. Still, I would see it all occurring within the context of a separatist supernova after which our province can finally begin to confidently assume its rightful place within our confederation.

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  45. Mr. Sauge wrote on Christmas Day, 2011 at 3:01 PM

    " A separate Quebec will inevitably become unilingually French with French as an official language of Canada being abandoned, and you can be assured Quebec would have to address all its continental neighbours in nothing but English. How paradoxical!"

    No, I don't think so. lf Quebecois right now cannot see how anti-English policies are hurting their province, they won't see how the same will continue to hurt them as an independent nation. They'll insist using a French-first or French-only policy, even when it clearly discourages businesses from Canada (no longer the "rest of" Canada, but just Canada) and the United States from starting up new businesses in their country. And when the government is willing to look the way in the case of an important business (e.g. Bombardier), other French nationalists will force them to toe the line. Keeping English out of Quebec is more important to them than making Quebec prosperous.

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  46. "Keeping English out of Quebec is more important to them than making Quebec prosperous."

    The Quebecois have always had an appetite for eating their young. On the flip side, the young could eat the old if it comes down to their economic survival. (which it will) Quebec is not part of Canada except on paper and for the brown envelopes they collect in the mailboxes. The Quebecois do not resemble even to the slightest the people in the ROC with their distorted sense of entitlement, corruption and bigotry towards minorities.

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  47. > On the flip side, the young could eat the old if it comes down to their economic survival. (which it will)

    I completely agree. Being somewhat younger than older, I can tell you that while "our generation" values its "Frenchness", we seem to lack the virulent nationalism that characterized the boomers' coming of age in the '60s and '70s. Our attachment to our on-paper relationship with Canada might be ambivalent at best, but even many Quebec nationalists are of the opinion that if it ain't broke, there ain't nothing to fix.

    And for the record, even some young and convinced separatists I know dislike our trademarked xenophobia.

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  48. FYI, I just returned from a two-day getaway and decided to go on a media fast and not take my laptop with me.

    This most recent banter is interesting because I was born around the tail-end of the "it's not necessary to learn French" attitude; in fact, I didn't start learning French in school until Grade 3 (the last year that took plaace because my Grade 2 friends started learning French when I did) and I couldn't go to French public school even if I wanted to. Back then, only Catholic schools had French instruction, and not being Catholic, I therefore couldn't go to French school at all!

    In short, I'm part of that "over 50" crowd described in that talk show segment on the portal link a few weeks ago with Céline Galipeau. We will become a dying breed over time and so more immigrant kids will become better at French because of their kids then going to French schools, the kids in English schools becoming better because of the intensified French in the English schools, etc.

    Too, the Quebec government will lean on the future generations to live in French anyway, if Reed Scowen's prediction is correct. The government, too, will likely withdraw English services altogether. The CSST and RAMQ have already started doing that! Other departments, to be sure, will follow.

    Sometimes I don't know why Quebec doesn't create an anschluss with France just like Austria and Germany did in 1938. No, maybe not because the French would look way down their noses at Québécois! Waaaaayyy down!

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  49. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=pXki2s0E_HM

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  50. Who really gives a sh*t about French. The language is in decline and of minimal importance in North America where the Francos (well, to be more exact..the native french speakers who speak french regularily) only amount to about 2% or less of the linguistic community.

    Time to get a grip on the realities of the situation with regards to what language is of real value.

    Leave Quebec to be 100% french and then the ROC can dispense with the silly pharce of the country being bilingual which it certainly is not. Of course, this would mean isolating Quebec on their island of Joual.

    Look, if the internal workings of Bombardier are conducted in english, the handwriting is on the wall for the French language. The current government of Canada is appointing unilingual anglos to key posts such as the auditor general, which is just another barometer of the destiny of the French language in Canada.

    Its really tiring to see people expend energy debating the value of the French language in North America. En pratique, il n y davantage pas avec le Francais dans Amerique Nord.

    Some will just have to get over themselves.

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  51. In pondering the last comment. It seems to me that French is a disadvantage as compared to Spanish, Mandarin or other languages of more global importance.

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  52. "No, maybe not because the French would look way down their noses at Québécois! Waaaaayyy down!"



    Just like Ashkenazi Jews do with their Sephardic "brothers".


    See this:

    "Some Jewish Israelis of European or German ancestry (Ashkenazi) are described as viewing themselves as superior to Sefardim, and of maintaining an elite position in Israel society,[117][118] and some describe the attitudes of Ashkenazi as racist or racism"

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racism_in_Israel

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  53. @4:38

    Yep, restaurants are ok...But the roads and bridges are another story, aren't they? Montreal ain't all that great.

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  54. ''This is a great country because of this city, without Montreal, Canada would be hopeless.''

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=pXki2s0E_HM

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  55. That 42 minute documentary posted yesterday aft is excellent, but distorted. Indeed Montreal has great culinary flair, better than Toronto's for sure, and I get mine when I come into town, about once a year now.

    It touched on the point of the language complications, and the party town stuff, etc, but there is more to life than that.

    I've written myself blue in the face about the greater importance of Spanish and Mandarin, but French WILL survive because the society there will keep it alive. I don't see French dying out for at least 100 years, but I don't think it would phase out for much, much longer. With the government pushing the issue, it won't die out.

    Hebrew was a dormant, unspoken language for 2000 years until Israel resurrected it almost 65 years ago. Even then, it had to be tweaked quite a bit because of all the new things that manifested over that two millennium period.

    In terms of Ashkenazic vs Sephardic Jews, yes there are cultural differences and there are always those in ANY and EVERY culture that will consider themselves better than others. Didn't Trudeau once call Bourassa a hot dog eater? In Québécois speak, isn't a "pepsi" a low-class compatriot? It applies in all communities where derogatory labels are posted by conceited self-proclaimed snobs look down their noses at others. It's called a superiority complex!

    I was flabbergasted by the way Israelis took in Falashas (the black Jews of Ethiopia) and sadly how many treated them were then racially persecuted, of course, for being black. They were taken into Israel because of the persecution they were facing in Ethiopia, and as far as I'm concerned, they're part of the brotherhood (in the Jewish community).

    As far as I'm concerned, we as Jews cannot afford to act this way because with world Jewry being half the size of Canada's population, and so thinly spread about the world, the risk of elimination is always imminent. Sadly the lessons of just 80 short years ago are already being forgotten.

    Similarly, the multigenerational white, Roman Catholic, French mother-tongued population making up Quebec isn't going to disappear so fast because they're fighting it from happening, and they are not a diaspora like the Jews are. Language laws or no language laws, it's not as if French will disappear, so any talk about certain languages being more "important" than others is really a nonstarter. What is antagonizing about all this is the perception that getting rid of other languages and ways of life is what will help French in Quebec survive. No, it won't.

    I still stand behind what I said about Quebec ridding itself of minorities and making French truly unilingual and homogenous. Actually, it was Trudeau who said if Quebec separates, Quebec will have to use more English...naturally! The backlash outside Quebec against French would likely make English the only official language outside Quebec (and the Acadians can stand on their heads over it, no matter) and America is English, soooooo...outside Quebec, in North America, it would be English...period!

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  56. "Its really tiring to see people expend energy debating the value of the French language in North America. "

    The ruling elites of Quebec push for never-ending negotiations between Quebec and the RoC. That way, they ensure that the issue of language is in the spotlight. Essentially, they build up a non-issue into an issue. It's like marketing, in a way.

    William Johnson called this a "doctrine of special status", and noted that this is a doctrine of permanent strife. Once one concession is satisfied another one pops up. And it doesn't just pop up quietly, it pops up with fanfare, in front of cameras and reporters.

    What's sad is that the spineless Canadian elites used to cater to this. They still do, but less and less. Hopefully, soon they'll stop paying Quebec any attention, and only then this could be over. But as long as the parent pays attention and dotes, the child will keep breaking toys and screaming for attention.

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  57. To anonymous @ 12:10 AM

    "Yep, restaurants are ok...But the roads and bridges are another story, aren't they? Montreal ain't all that great."

    Sorry to burst your bubble, but Montreal is no longer a mecca for food any longer. Almost all its famous restaurants just live off their past glory and name, with the quality of food sub par at best.

    Ben's Deli, before it closed and torn down, was a perfect example. Even Schwartz's has gone way downhill, their smoke meat is dry as sawdust and lost its magical zing about 15 years ago. Laurier BBQ has been terrible almost as long, and the Gordon Ramsey revamp has actually made it worse. The 55 year old Yangtze Chinese burnt down earlier this month, and its new replacement in NDG is, for a lack of a better word, absolutely putrid (unfortunately I had the displeasure of eating there Christmas eve). I can think of so many more examples, but it's sad to see so many landmark Montreal restaurants go down the toilet for quality...

    At least Chalet BBQ is still great. Probably one of the few restaurants I will miss when I eventually leave Montreal. Even most of the famous bagel places aren't what they used to be, sad.

    There's really little left of Montreal that you'd want to stick around for. Even heritage landmark buildings are disappearing left and right, usually neglected, abandoned and/or burned down "accidentally" to make room for condos. Funny how Montreal and Toronto have slowly swapped identities since the separatist movement. Maybe we should call Toronto "New Montreal". :)

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  58. > FYI, I just returned from a two-day getaway and decided to go on a media fast and not take my laptop with me.

    Glad to know you value human relationships more than your anonymous buddies on the Internet.

    > This most recent banter is interesting because I was born around the tail-end of the "it's not necessary to learn French" attitude […]

    Isn’t it sad that that attitude should ever exist at all, irrespective of the language concerned?

    > […] Back then, only Catholic schools had French instruction, and not being Catholic, I therefore couldn't go to French school at all!

    That and the fact that as an immigrant (or immigrant-descended) kid, you wouldn’t have been welcome in French school anyway. There is indeed a shameful and racist period of our recent history that we are still unable to readily admit to. But the truth will one day set us free.

    > […] I'm part of that "over 50" crowd […] We will become a dying breed over time and so more immigrant kids will become better at French because of their kids then going to French schools, the kids in English schools becoming better because of the intensified French in the English schools, etc.

    You always want your kids to have more than you had, I suppose. My only concern is using immigrant children as linguistic hostages because your own people can’t literally crank ‘em out fast enough. I’m completely in favor of both official and individual bilingualism. I have a huge problem when people say you need to strengthen one language by weakening the presence of the other.

    > Too, the Quebec government will lean on the future generations to live in French anyway, if Reed Scowen's prediction is correct. The government, too, will likely withdraw English services altogether. The CSST and RAMQ have already started doing that! Other departments, to be sure, will follow.

    This means war.

    > if the internal workings of Bombardier are conducted in english, the handwriting is on the wall for the French language.

    … or maybe it’s a tacit admission of failure. I for one believe that you should be able to run your company any way you like and in any language you like anywhere in the world.

    > Who really gives a sh*t about French. The language is in decline and of minimal importance in North America where the Francos (well, to be more exact..the native french speakers who speak french regularily) only amount to about 2% or less of the linguistic community.

    I’d be interested to see you come to Quebec and use that argument to successfully convince five million of our citizens to just give up on their language.

    > The ruling elites of Quebec push for never-ending negotiations between Quebec and the RoC.

    Adski, you and I both know that this is nothing more than a bunch of high-level bureaucrats ensuring their own job security…

    > Funny how Montreal and Toronto have slowly swapped identities since the separatist movement.

    A disturbing observation. Thank you.

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  59. Free bus/subway service on Christmas and New Year's Eve? Bah humbug. Ze STM shall not give out free transit. Who cares if every other Canadian and North American city does it. The spirit of giving is NOT the Quebecois way.

    http://www.redflagdeals.com/in/toronto/deals/c/travel/free-new-years-eve-transit-roundup/

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  60. "I’d be interested to see you come to Quebec and use that argument to successfully convince five million of our citizens to just give up on their language."

    Not suggesting they abandon their language. The choice of language is human right. On the other hand, the discrimination of bill 101 against the minority English language in Quebec is an infringement upon the rights of the English.

    Note that if you read further in the same post.

    "Leave Quebec to be 100% french and then the ROC can dispense with the silly pharce of the country being bilingual which it certainly is not. Of course, this would mean isolating Quebec on their island of Joual".

    In this fashion the majority in Quebec can have their language in any quantity or quality they want. At least, with this, the anglos in Quebec would either assimilate or relocate, forcing the issue. Is this not what the French want in Quebec? Of course, in the ROC, the Official Language Act could be abandoned entirely as it really hasn't done anything but discriminate agains the anglo majority (well, really only against unilingual anglos wanting a job in the federal civil service) The small number of Francos in the ROC could similarily relocate to Quebec and live their days totally in French. This would leave no more language debate as the two regions would be linguistically autonomous.

    Got a question for you Apparatchik... If you suddenly had some sort of brain malfunction and could only go forward in one language. Would it be English or French?

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  61. "Would it be English or French?"

    Les Québécois choisissent le français et prennent les moyens légitimes afin d'assurer sa survie.Si les angryphones ne sont pas heureux de vivre dans une province francophone,ils n'ont qu'à prendre la 401...Good riddance :D

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  62. @ Anon. at 11:37 AM,

    Hey Press 9...you've returned! Didn't you say that you were not going to post here anymore, or is that just another one of your lies?

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  63. "Les Québécois choisissent le français et prennent les moyens légitimes afin d'assurer sa survie"

    The question was not addressed to you. But, as you seem to wish to respond to a question not directed to you. Read my whole post where I suggest exactly what you wish. French in Quebec and no more "maudits francais" in the ROC. Happy now?

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  64. "or is that just another one of your lies?"

    Il me reste un peu moins de 12 heures avant 2012.

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  65. > The choice of language is human right. On the other hand, the discrimination of bill 101 against the minority English language in Quebec is an infringement upon the rights of the English.

    I agree that parts of it are. That’s why I don’t advocate a complete repeal of the Law, but rather a more pragmatic and less dogmatic approach to ensuring the continued survival of the language in Quebec.

    > In this fashion the majority in Quebec can have their language in any quantity or quality they want. At least, with this, the anglos in Quebec would either assimilate or relocate, forcing the issue. Is this not what the French want in Quebec?

    My point is that nobody should have to be forced to “assimilate” in the sense of having to give up any part of who or what they are just because they’re not part of the majority wherever they happen to be living. Yes, I am a pragmatist – an Anglophone living in Quebec and a Francophone living elsewhere in Canada should make it their business to learn the opposite language – but I am strongly opposed to the idea of having to assimilate or relocate either group because of something as random as a border drawn on a map.

    > Got a question for you Apparatchik... If you suddenly had some sort of brain malfunction and could only go forward in one language. Would it be English or French?

    That’s a very difficult question for me to answer because I can’t remember a time I didn’t speak or understand both languages, much less *belong* to both language communities. As a result, I can’t fathom continuing to live my life the same way if I were suddenly impaired as suggested by your hypothetical scenario. I have cultivated personal, cultural, and business ties in both languages and as a member of both communities. Perhaps my answer would be different if I lived anywhere else in the country, but my own environment is by necessity and circumstance a bilingual one.

    Asking me to forsake one language for the other is difficult if not impossible.

    Giving up English means giving up an essential part of not only what I feel connects me to other Canadians and North Americans, but also a language that allows me to carry on both business and personal relationships with people in countries my ancestors probably didn’t even know existed. It is a gateway to the dominant cultural, political, business, and technological current of our time, not to mention the many fertile bases from which it sprung. For the communicational opportunities it provides alone, I believe it has both intrinsic and extrinsic value that any thinking person should neither embellish nor diminish, whether artificially or polemically.

    Giving up French is also synonymous with abandoning an essential part of what it fundamentally means to be Canadian and ultimately what connects me to Europe and to history. Locally, it lets me see our back woods and artisanal heritage without the translated filter that accompanies so many assimilated collective memories around the world. Even our speech patterns – ranging from folksy to formal to overly uptight – are a persistent reminder of the many dualities and contradictions of human existence which inhabit us all. The fact that French as a world and diplomatic language retains significant clout – though admittedly far less than it once did – is also an eloquent and chilling reminder of the transience of all human hubris, conquest, power, and glory.

    So in response to your question, I can forgo either language and apparently enjoy a sufficiently fulfilled existence, but knowing what I know and having lived as I have lived, I couldn’t and wouldn’t do so willingly. In the grand scheme of things, French might indeed be “a useless appendage” and English “an overrated phenomenon”, but the reality of it, as far as I’m concerned, is much more nuanced and lies somewhere in between.

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  66. > Les Québécois choisissent le français et prennent les moyens légitimes afin d'assurer sa survie.

    Désolé Press 9, mais en tant que Québécois, je ne pourrai jamais trancher ni d’un côté ni de l’autre. Je ne suis ni nationaliste ni assimilationiste car je connais trop bien les lacunes de ces deux écoles de pensée. Pour moi, la survie d’une façon de faire (ou de parler) dépend à la fois de sa valeur intrinsèque et extrinsèque. Tout comme les séparatistes essaient de me vendre toujours un nouveau pays alors que nous en avons déjà un qui fonctionne très bien, les unilingues (anglos ou francos) ne pourront jamais me faire cautionner l’idée qu’avoir à ma propre disposition un seul véhicule de communication m’enrichirait plus que d’en avoir deux.

    > Si les angryphones ne sont pas heureux de vivre dans une province francophone,ils n'ont qu'à prendre la 401...Good riddance

    À ce que je sache, les Canadiens ne sont pas tous rentrés en France lorsque les Britanniques ont débarqué chez nous.

    Partir, c’est fuir. C’était vrai autrefois et ça l’est encore aujourd’hui.

    À vrai le dire, je crois qu’on encadre mal le débat ; c’est vrai que quelques-uns de nos amis « angryphones » croient toujours à un idéal unilingue anglophone tout comme nos amis seppies croient à un idéal unilingue francophone. Étant moi-même un produit du métissage de ces deux cultures, je ne crois pas tellement que le « secours » se trouve dans le repli sur soi, mais dans l’éventuelle reconnaissance et promotion mutuelle de nos traditions linguistiques. Est-on moins Québécois lorsqu’on s’efforce à parler anglais sans accent ? Est-on moins Ontarien lorsqu’on fait de même avec le français ?

    Quant à moi, je ne m’emmêle pas dans des débats idiots portant sur des crises identitaires façonnées par des politiciens soucieux de se garantir un boulot. Je considère qu’il y a une plus value à s’ouvrir à des opportunités et j’en veux à mes représentants politiques Québécois qui continuent à me faire croire qu’ils me rendent service en refusant à mes concitoyens les mêmes opportunités que j’ai eues. Je dirai à mon tour « bon débarras » lorsque ceux-ci prendront le même chemin que nos évêques et curés qui eux aussi se voulaient « bons protecteurs » de nos âmes. Je suis assez vieux et mature pour faire ce que j’ai à faire et personne – politique, médiatique, tyrannique, religieux ou autre – n’est à la hauteur de me dicter comment faire.

    Bonne année.

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  67. @ anonymous 12:23 PM

    Admit it, you simply cannot stay away. You missed us.

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  68. To Press 9/Anon
    I hope you don't feel that you were chased off this blog, that certainly wasn't my intention. I stand my belief that without engaging those who disagree with ones opinion, we are talking to the mirror.

    At any rate I do find many of you comments, particularly the sarcastic ones particularly enjoyable.
    I hope you'll stay and I hope you'll sign your posts and take credit for them.

    Sinon, merci pour votre contribution et Bonne année....

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  69. Merci Éditeur

    Bonne année à vous!

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  70. "So in response to your question, I can forgo either language"

    Well, a very eloguent post which dances around the question. I can understand what you are trying to say...but...at the same time, you did not answer the questions black or white. Only in tones of grey.

    I can only ascertain, from your respone that for business and economic reasons you would lean to the English but for reasons of the heart you might lean towards the French.

    The question is still unanswered. With only one language available to you to move forward; Which one would you chose at the end of the day?

    There is but only one answer to the affirmative.

    Which one?

    Bonne annee a vous.

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  71. > Well, a very eloguent post which dances around the question. I can understand what you are trying to say...but...at the same time, you did not answer the questions black or white. Only in tones of grey.

    Simple: it’s like asking you whether you’d rather live out the rest of your life with your left arm or your right arm. You might be right-handed and forgo the left arm, or you might have a stronger left side and sacrifice the right. But after living with both for a few decades, you can’t make a choice like that as easily as you suggest.

    > There is but only one answer to the affirmative.

    That, dear Anonymous, is where you are sorely mistaken.

    The fact that hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of our countrymen are unilingual is proof that one could get by, I simply choose not to imitate them in their decision. The fact that hundreds of thousands, if not millions, are bilingual is proof that such a choice isn’t merely a passing fad.

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  72. "Simple: it’s like asking you whether you’d rather live out the rest of your life with your left arm or your right arm"

    Well given the two options it would the right hand for me as I am right handed. This would prove to be more of utilitarian choice given that one had to chose. Easy, actually. Remember the option is...one or the other and not both.

    Same as the question I asked you...One or the other. Which one would you choose to retain as being the most useful and of the most benefit?

    I don't think Apparatchik, that you really want to answer the question as the choice would put you one one side of the fence.

    They say 17% of people in Canada are bilingual..I am wondering what really constitues being bilingual. I know many kids who have been in full immersion programs all their lives and can't follow a complete episode of TLMEP...Any bilingulism they had seems to erode rather quickly (as you might well imagine I am from the West. This beggs the question of why bother with these expensive programs at all being that in the end, they have little if any impact.

    The entire OLA is a total pharce (expensive as well). Canada is not a bilingual country, will never be one (at least French/English). Any politician or bureaucrat who tells you otherwise is telling you a lie. (lots of liars it would seem). Even Harper himself had formerly condemned the OLA and bilingualism as "the God that failed". I doubt his spots have changed with the recent nominations he has made.

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  73. "I know many kids who have been in full immersion programs all their lives and can't follow a complete episode of TLMEP.."

    I know a guy from Ontario who spent a year or two in French immersion in ON and today he can do no more than name a few colors in French. Did he learn some French? Yes. Did he retain any of it? No. Why? Because French is more of a political issue in the RoC than an actual language spoken on the street that you can practice and develop.



    "Canada is not a bilingual country, will never be one"

    According to recent studies, English-Cantonese/Mandarin bilingualism is now more common in Canada than English-French bilingualism.

    Despite the bureaucratic God that totally failed but still looms over us all sternly and angrily (with Quebec and Ottawa firmly behind it and ready to fight for its preservation tooth and nail), the real life keeps following a more natural course.

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  74. > I don't think Apparatchik, that you really want to answer the question as the choice would put you one one side of the fence.

    I’ve pondered your question for the last day or so and the more I think about it, the more I think your question is both implicitly and explicitly about divisiveness than it is about unity. And you’re absolutely right; I don’t think I belong on either side of the fence. That’s because I don’t even think there should BE a fence.

    > […] 17% of people in Canada are bilingual […] what really constitues being bilingual. I know many kids who have been in full immersion programs all their lives and can't follow a complete episode of TLMEP

    That says more about the immersion programs and those kids’ desire to keep the other language up than it does about the virtues of bilingualism or even bend-over-backwards-inclusive nationalism per se. If the quality of those immersion programs is poor, those kids have obviously been shortchanged. THAT is the problem that needs to be addressed, as far as I’m concerned, and not the notion or relevance of bilingualism itself.

    > […] Any bilingulism they had seems to erode rather quickly […]

    Again, we’re not targeting the problem, but only its visible side effects.

    Lack of practice in virtually any endeavor is a sure way to lose one’s ability in it. How many psychologists remember everything they learned in eleventh grade algebra? How much chemistry will a historian remember (or inversely, how much history will a chemist remember)? Use it or lose it. Besides, the internet provides a wealth of resources, and many French-language TV channels are available from coast to coast. With a little effort, initiative, and encouragement, those same “immersion” kids could keep their French up throughout their lives and be able to follow not just TLMEP, but appear on it one day and speak to Guy A. (however much one might dislike his politics) – en français.

    > The entire OLA is a total pharce (expensive as well).

    Protecting the weak from the strong always requires resources. Some people think universal healthcare, old age pensions, welfare, and EI (particularly for “professionally unemployed” seasonal workers) are expensive farces too. Society makes choices I don’t always agree with, but I’m stuck footing the bill just the same. I just happen to draw the line when populist rhetoric meets institutionalized harassment.

    > Even Harper himself had formerly condemned the OLA and bilingualism as "the God that failed".

    I don’t know that I agree; I personally happen to be not just a firm believer in that particular God, but an individual keeper of its orthodoxy, and I sure as hell haven’t failed in life. Perhaps you’re right and Canada (and a hypothetical post-secession Quebec too, for that matter) really doesn’t need to be a bilingual country at all. But then I cynically look at how many people have been suckered into buying big screen TVs, smartphones, and tablets, and I think that perhaps the problem is not one of need but merely one of marketing.

    > According to recent studies, English-Cantonese/Mandarin bilingualism is now more common in Canada than English-French bilingualism.

    So be it. In fact, I’m wondering why our country hasn’t led the charge and started teaching children Chinese from kindergarten onward (probably a sensitive political issue, but alas…). And although I wouldn’t advocate removing the unicorn from our coat of arms and replacing it with a dragon anytime soon, I would strongly support a trilingual education system.

    How else will our grandchildren communicate with our Asian overlords?

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  75. "I’ve pondered your question for the last day or so and the more I think about it, the more I think your question is both implicitly and explicitly about divisiveness than it is about unity"

    Unity never entered into the equation. Simply..what language do you think you would wish to retain if you had only one option. Thats it , thats all. What one, if you will, personally would be of greater benefit to you personally or for that matter for you children of grand children.

    "Protecting the weak from the strong always requires resources."

    You really think that? The OLA is as much political as anything else. PET brought it forward to pacifize the Quebecois French and undermine the separatists with regards to issues of National Unity. The huge costs have been underwritten by the Canadian Taxpayer with the tangible benefits going to one side at the expense of the other. Of course in Quebec, you have a law that clearly disrespects and denigrades the minority, sanctioned by the majority. Interesting that Grahame Fraser and company at the OCOL don't seem to have a lot to say about what is going on in Quebec (hyprocrisy).

    "But then I cynically look at how many people have been suckered into buying big screen TVs, smartphones, and tablets, and I think that perhaps the problem is not one of need but merely one of marketing"

    Marketing...the people of Canada seem to have suckered into the "myth" of bilingualism. So, I can only assume you are positive on spending more money on programs that are predisposed to failure.

    "Use it or lose it"

    Can you not get it through your skull that French is non-existent outside of Quebec and NB. French spoken in the home in AB 0.7%, SK 0.4%, BC 0.4%. NL 0 %. French is simply not relevent outside of Quebec and perhaps parts of NB, yet, the federal government mandates bilingual services far exceeding actual need. Ridiculous.

    The whole issue is really a non issue and should be treated as such. Unfortunately, the debate will continue with tax dollars being wasted on useless immersion programs which provide no tangible results or benefits.

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  76. Anon: "PET brought it forward to pacifize the Quebecois French and undermine the separatists with regards to issues of National Unity"

    A reading of William Johnson's "A Canadian Myth" over the Christmas break has vindicated PE Trudeau in my eyes. Yes, Trudeau did create the OLA, however he did it on much different terms than those that took the program to the extreme. In Trudeau's vision, the OLA was not meant to become a god and a sacred cow, it was not to be a money pit, and it was to apply to the RoC as much as to Quebec. The successive governments (especially that of the clown Mulroney) in futile and naive attempts to pacify Quebec took the OLA to the extremes at which it is now, and allowed Quebec to opt out and instead apply a law totally opposite in nature - loi 101.

    Let's also remember that in the past 50 years, only two Canadian premiers knew how to tell the Quebec ruling class where to stick it. Both came from Quebec, and one of them was Trudeau. PET and Chretien were the ones that weren't afraid to point out contradictions, hypocrisy, ambiguity, and childish entitlement of the Quebec elite, while Anglo elites in the RoC and Quebec crawled around on their knees (especially Mulroney and his entourage).

    Here is an amazing line from Trudeau's article from 1992, on the eve of the Charlottetown Accords referendum. It was printed in MacLean's and L'Actualite.

    "Consider that for the past 22 years, the province of Quebec has been governed by 2 premiers. The first is the "profitable federalism" man. We will stay in Canada if Canada gives us enough money, this premier urges. Of course, however, adds the Allaire report, which he offered up, the rest of Canada must cede us just about all its constitutional powers, except of course, that of giving us a lot of money.
    The other premier was the "sovereignty-association" man. He demanded for Quebec all the powers of a sovereign country, but insisted that this country not be independent. His referendum question postulated precisely that a sovereign Quebec would be associated with the other provinces, and that the Canadian dollar would continue to hold dominion.
    Always back to the money!"

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