I'm not sure if the rest of Canada and even those in Quebec supporting the unrest understand the gravity of the situation and the fragility of our democracy.
At any rate, I'm going to leave the student uprising alone today and focus on the utterly moronic language parade that wended its way through the streets of downtown, with a cadre of delusional whiners, protesting the supposed evil influence of English on the hitherto linguistically pure and chaste French Quebec.
I cannot think of a more fitting analogy than that of Emperor Nero fiddling while Rome burned.
The guided tour, led by the Frick and Frack of the French language movement (Mario Beaulieu and Denis Trudel) visited the various institutions and stores accused by these fantasists of anglicizing Quebec by virtue of their English names or by their employment of unilingual anglos.
The idea for the parade was the brainstorm of Denis Trudel who mentioned rather honestly, that they had to do something different, because the student protest was stealing their thunder.
("Il fallait trouver une façon un peu plus originale de manifester, puisque les étudiants nous mettent un peu de pression,....)
At any rate the turnout was what I predicted last week, somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 people, most of them, aging separatists of the 70's. This was the feeble turnout after enough free publicity by a fawning media to fill the Bell Centre twice.
Just for comparison, the day before, twice as many people marched in Quebec city to mark the tragedy of fetal deaths......Really.
It remains a sore spot with me that nobody, but nobody, in the mainstream media ever asks these clowns why nobody shows up to their demonstrations.
I would not give credence to this event had the media left the story alone or given it the coverage that it merited, but no, the pitiful march by a bunch of pathetic losers is highlighted in the media as a significant event.
And so it behooves me to point out the banal and sad aspects of the parade and to expose the fact that these get-togethers have morphed into racist anglo-bashing hate-a-thons, where publicly denouncing English and Anglophones has become a blood sport.
Where is the Quebec Human Rights Commission to denounce these excesses?
It seems that everyone is protected from hate speech in Quebec, everyone that is, except Anglophones!
Think I'm exaggerating or taking a hyperbolic flight of fancy?
Here is the evidence, a rather long video of the parade.
Permit me to critique it for you. You need not watch the video or speak French, I shall offer a concise summary of the salient scenes of stupidity.
If you want to reference what I've said, I've added a time code related to my comments;
Mario Beaulieu complains that McGill University is a force for Anglicization. "Paid for with OUR taxes!"
Exactly what should be done he doesn't say. Perhaps McGill should be converted into a French school or perhaps absorbed into UQAM, so that it can truly represent the Quebec educational reality!
Mr Beaulieu starts in on stores and businesses that have trademarked names like "STARBUCKS COFFEE" and "OLD NAVY" spreading the lie, first enunciated by the OQLF, that Bill 101 requires those institutions with English sounding trademarks to add a French modifier, for example "Les Cafés Starbucks Coffee"
Of course nothing in Bill 101 provides for this and in the 35 years of the existence of the law, not one company has ever been cited or even (to my knowledge) received a warning from the OQLF re modifiers.
The modifier campaign is a well orchestrated attack meant to embarrass and intimidate companies into doing what the law does not provide for.
Mr Beaulieu asks his minions if they are 'interested' in shopping at a store called "STYLE EXCHANGE" a backhanded way of calling for a boycott. He calls for the company to change its name into French.
Mr Beaulieu tells the nose stretcher that English signs are hiding the linguistic reality of Montreal, when in reality, French-only signs distort the truth. On the street where Mr. Beaulieu is holding his parade, I imagine that about half the shoppers are speaking English.
The Big Lie....rinse, repeat.
Mr Beaulieu leads the crowd in a chant demanding that government services and businesses use French exclusively. The chant demanding French, also targets the metro, radio, cegeps, hospitals, Revenue Quebec, SNC-Lavalin, 'Banana Republic,' 'Starbucks.' etc. etc.
When he calls for the store "MEXX' to become French, he displays his ignorance, probably thinking that it is an English name.
It is here where he takes a dangerous 'virage' attacking stores and businesses with proper names that don't sound French. This gentle readers, is where the event takes a dangerous turn into the land of racism and intolerance.
The question to be asked is how do you translate 'MEXX' into French and why should you.
How or why should you translate 'REITMANS,' and does 'HARVEYS.' need to become 'Chez HERVÉ.'
The idiot then complains about 'INSIDE EXCHANGE,'(sic) and also takes a shot at 'BELL CANADA' which everyone knows dropped the 'Canada' from its name in Quebec a long, long time ago.
Mr. Beaulieu demands that LEVI'S change its pronunciation from 'Lee-Vies' to the very French 'Lee-Vee'.
Mr. Beaulieu demands that "TOMMY HILFIGER STORE" become "LES MAGASINS 'TONY' HILFIGER" even though the store doesn't have the word 'STORE' in the name. BTW, 'Tony'....really?'
Mr. Beaulieu asks his crowd if they'll shop at 'BIRKS,' another proper name that irks him to no end.
The crowd shouts "NON" they will not shop there, one lady commenting that it's too expensive.
Complains about "MOORES"
Exhorts the crowd not to shop at "FUTURE SHOP"
On and on it goes....QUIZNOS SUBS, CENTRE HI-FI, blah...blah..blah!
Of all the nonsense above, nothing but nothing, reflects the disconnect from reality that these idiots embrace as is this attack on SNC-LAVALIN by Denis Trudel, who complains that a Francophone president has been replaced by a unilingual anglophone.
Mr Trudel is saddened by the fact that the 'flower of Quebec' business is sullied by an English president, ignoring the fact that the company is in a tragic free fall.
The hasty change of leadership was precipitated by the scandal enveloping the company in relation to millions of dollars in under the table payments to Libyan interests close to Moammar Gadhafi.
Of no matter to Mr. Trudel is the fact that the company's shares have dropped 34 per cent, wiping out $3.3-billion worth of SNC-Lavalin's market value!
All that matters to the language zealot is that the multinational be run by a francophone!
And so let's all chant "SNC -En français!" -"SNC -En français!" - "SNC -En faillite!" Hurray!!
Bloc Quebecois leader Daniel Paillé takes to the microphone to complain that members of Parliament elected from Quebec shouldn't be allowed to ask questions in English in the House of Commons in Ottawa.
I imagine this includes Irwin Cotler and Francis Scarpaleggia, both MPs representing largely anglophone ridings!
Mr. Beaulieu reminds us that Bill 101 isn't racist, but actually the opposite, a law that is inclusive!!!!
He then finishes with a flourish, "Vive Le Quebec, Vive le Quebec Francais et libre!"
Two readers sent me emails saying that the entourage was heckled mercilessly as it made its way through the streets.
I can't verify this officially , but it probably makes sense as they were traveling through hostile 'English' territory and I did wtnesss a bit of heckling in the video.
At any rate, you'd think that I'd be immune to such stupidity, having witnessed such foolishness over and over again, but alas, it still stings.
It 's hurtful to think that people in the guise of promoting themselves, feel free to tear down others
I take solace that these misguided fools are the stark minority, with most Montrealers bilingual, tolerant and more importantly, too busy to indulge in hate.
Despite the student riots, despite the intolerance of a few language militants, despite the corruption and stupidity, I still love Montreal and our community.
There's just something mystical and addictive about Montreal, a certain je ne sais quoi., and if you don't believe me just ask any ex-pat who deep down misses his or her city of birth.
And yes, that includes you, Mr. Sauga!