The press in the Rest of Canada has been having a field day portraying this perceived selfish and stupid attitude as being a 'French thing' something that right-thinking Anglos have eschewed.
While in Quebec, many many articles are published in the mainstream Press supporting the student strike, outside Quebec, you'd have to search high and low to find one editorial or op-ed piece in support.
In fact, the tone of most of these article has become nastier and nastier as the French/English divide over the strike has been played up to portray francophone Quebecers as stupid whiners, buttressing the already entrenched opinion in the RoC that Quebecers are greedy and selfish.
And so while Quebec journalists debate the merits of the strike and disruptions, their contemporaries in the RoC write derisive and condescending articles condemning francophone attitudes of entitlement that to many francophones, has the perceived ring of Quebec-bashing.
This by the way, is in contrast to the foreign press, which has been more and more sympathetic since the imposition of Bill 78. Read a report
Typical of the reaction across the Op-Ed pages of Canada is this from the Edmonton Journal;
But one of the most stinging rebukes came off the pen of Barbara Kay, of the National Post in an article provocatively entitled "Quebec’s mindless mobs reflect French/English divide""The masked thugs in Quebec who are smashing windows, planting smoke bombs on subways and harassing bona fide students deserve no one’s sympathy.These are vandals and anarchists who embrace the culture of victimization — much like the sovereigntists in the Parti Québécois and the Bloc Québécois." Link
"In case you haven’t noticed, the massive protests in Quebec have been rather one-sided, culturally speaking. As the mindless mobs fill the streets day after day, protesting the injustice of having to pay a few hundred dollars more in tuition, you will find that amongst them, almost nary is heard an English-language word.....If I had to choose one comment made by readers in the RoC that best summarizes the prevailing Canadian attitude towards francophone Quebecers, it is this;
......anglos are culturally tuned in to the rest of the country; they are far more realistic than their bubble-dwelling franco peers about the cost of tuition elsewhere."
"The cheapest tuition in Canada and yet they whine. They learn young in Quebec....the Province of miscreants and malcontents." -Martin EllacottYikes!
Now being disliked by English Canada is one thing, Quebecers largely feel the same way about Canada, but being mocked and scorned, is quite another thing completely.
Remember the furor over the Maclean's article that called Quebec the most corrupt province in Canada?
It seems that Maclean's is about to do it again. This week they will publish another controversial story highlighted by this provocative cover. (It will appear in the June 7th edition)
It's very likely that once again Quebecers will be furious at their portrayal as a bunch of pathetic losers.
Our good friend Gilles Proulx flew off the handle in response to being questioned about the Barbara Kay article;
But of course making all sorts of racist statement about anglos is always just fine in the Quebec media.
At any rate, I read with fascination an op-ed piece in the Montreal Gazette by a francophone student who attended the very English Dawson college and who complained bitterly that the students didn't support the strike.
"Over the past 15 weeks, the student protest against tuition hikes has been a major event in Quebec. But how many of those thousands of students out on the streets every night are from English CEGEPs? The answer: none, or close to none. Not a single English CEGEP went on strike, not even for a day.....So we English are 'uninformed' and have 'closed minds,' all because we believe that destroying a provincial economy, perturbing the transportation system and causing general mayhem is not justified over a few hundred dollars in tuition.
.... I was truly disappointed with how poorly involved my school was, politically.
In the week leading up to the strike vote at Dawson, I saw some divisions emerge but, I have to say, not very many of us were on the red-square side of the issue. If it wasn’t enough being hated by three-quarters of the student body for wearing the red square, you had the occasional student who came screaming at you that you were going to make him lose his semester.
This state of being uninformed, and not wanting to be informed, was the most annoying part of it. Not to generalize, but I felt like many anglophones didn’t have open minds and were unwilling to listen to those proposing strike action." Read the article
Yes the two solitudes continue to reign.... I am right and you are wrong!
I was a bit surprised seeing this attitude from a Dawson student, even a francophone and to me the writer represents anecdotal evidence that there is a real chasm between many Anglos and Francophones that is based on strictly on culture.
I puzzled over her attitude until the end of the article when the writer tossed off this;
"As for me, I have decided to study at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) next fall, in communications and art history. Seeing how involved UQAM has been in the student strike, I will probably be much more satisfied there, politically speaking."UQAM- Art history and communications! Arghhh......