Monday, November 19, 2012

Disinformation Campaign Used to Camouflage Quebec Economic Disaster

I'm reminded of that upbeat television commercial from the Bank of Nova Scotia reminding Canadians that "You're Richer than You Think!"
No matter how you cut it, it certainly doesn't apply Quebecers who are actually much poorer than we think.

In the war of statistics, one can convince anyone of anything as long as the recipient is attuned to the message being flogged, regardless of it's veracity or accuracy.

In this respect Quebec nationalists have raised the disinformation campaign to an art form with consummate con-artists like Jean-François Lisée telling Quebecers that all is well and that reports of economic disaster are federalist plots to discredit Quebec.
It is a message that resonates with most Quebecers and why not, who really wants to hear the bad news?

And so Quebec militants have created a potent disinformation machine, complete with spokesmen who dazzle us with selective, faulty and downright dishonesty, coupled with phony-baloney pseudo-reputable organizations that cloak themselves in an outward appearance of legitimacy, when in fact they are nothing but dishonest facades, whose sole mission is to cloud the debate with the help of a complicit media that never questions their credentials.
"Such is the case of the insufferable Institut de recherche sur le français en Amérique (IRFA) an organization that uses the word "Institute" to give itself a false and bloated appearance of something which it is not. Aside from its minuscule size, it mimics the work of the SSJB, Mouvement Quebec Francais and Imperatif Francais in promoting the French language and the cause of sovereignty.

THE IFRA is a tiny French language lobby group, run by a university student consisting of a website, post-office box and a personal cellular telephone number.

The website shows a couple of academic separatists forming a 'scientific committee' which includes Marc Termote, a demographer and renowned language militant, and employee of the OQLF."
Other separatist propaganda organs like organization  Institut de recherche en économie contemporaine (IREC), 'Institut de Recherche et d’Informations Socio-économiques' grind out statistical nonsense that the French media eat up, giving Quebecers a false economic sense of security.

Here'a an example of the type of slanted and bogus reporting that Quebecers are treated to on an ongoing basis.
A recent Journal de Montreal article focused on the fact that 65% of 4,499 students entering kindergarten and who couldn't speak French, were born in Quebec. Link{Fr}.

They even included a table which was more interesting for what it did not say.

The table shows the six principle countries of birth for these students.
Here  is the problem, there are two.
The article's first line says this;
"In 2007-2008, 65% of 4499 children who needed support for learning French (SAF) on entry to the school were born in Quebec.
As you can see in the table presented above, it lists a different percentage for the Quebec born, that of 37.3%. What gives??

But even if it is a typo or I am getting it wrong, and the real number of these students born in Quebec, but unable to speak French when entering French kindergarten, is as the article indicates,  65% of 4,499 or 2,900, in all.
What number does this represent as a percentage of all students entering French kindergarten?
It is the essential point that the article never addresses and herein lies the disinformation.

Is it a crisis or not? How do we know, if we don't know what percentage the 2,900 represent in relation to the total number of students entering kindergarten.

I did a little checking of my own and have found out that about of 75,000 student enter French kindergarten each years, making the problem students involved at around 4%. Link

Quite a different story, and let's be honest, did they really expect English children forced into French schools (which represents 20% of the total) to be proficient in French?

This is just the latest example of  what I like to call, 'separatist statistics', disinformation, half-truths and outright lies, numbers and facts that never stand up to scrutiny.

The greatest economic fiction sold by these organizations is that Quebec is not really poorer than the rest of Canada, the argument being that the lower disposable income available to Quebec families is based on the collective decision to pay higher taxes in order to fund richer entitlements.

It's a good line, but hardly true.

In fact almost all the so-called Quebec entitlements, including $7 a day child care, extended parental leave, free prescription drugs and low tuition fees can be attributed to the $8 billion subsidy Quebec receives from Ottawa in the way of transfer payments.

Quebec can argue that  it is entitled to this money, but the reality is that in the present federal economic model,  Quebec has its social programs paid for by Ottawa while Alberta does not, that is a fact.

Yet despite the evening-up subsidy, Quebecers remain poorer than Canada's other big provinces, something that no statistical sleight of hand can mask.

Here is  a simple table based on the average family income that I defy separatists to discredit. It is based on Statistics Canada data and an online tax calculator.

But even the disparity in the above table doesn't tell the whole story, although Quebec families have 17% less disposable income (after taxes) than Ontario families and 30% less than Alberta families, the situation is aggravated because disposable income in Quebec doesn't go as far.

Almost everything except housing costs and electricity costs more in Quebec, a lot more, further reducing family buying power.
But even the historically higher housing cost for homes in Ontario and Alberta has been offset with rising prices, and while Albertan and Ontarian families paid more for their homes over the years, the rise in value more than offset the investment.

Just about the only place Quebecers save is in electricity where the average family pays about $500 less than Albertans and $600 leas than Ontarians. Link
But all this is wiped out by the differences in sales tax and gasoline prices which cost the average car-owner in Quebecers about $350 more than Albertans and about $200 more than Ontarians. You can double those costs for two-car families.
Provincial Sales Tax
QUE- 9.5%......ONTARIO.. 8%......ALBERTA 0%

QUE- $1.38......ONTARIO..$1.20......ALBERTA $1.04 
There is a simple truth that the apologists won't admit.
Quebec families are poorer than those in Ontario, B.C and Alberta because they collectively don't produce as much wealth, and the wealth that is produced is taxed at a higher rate, this despite having the vaunted social programs paid for by other Canadians.

When militants tell us that we are poorer than other provinces because we are richer in social spending, it is like everything else they tell us, an ounce of truth and a pound of malarkey.

Social programs contribute to Quebec's bloated spending, but are by no mean the entire story.
Aside from the bloated and wildly expensive government itself, Quebec lavishes subsidizes to provincial businesses to the tune of 6 billion dollars a year, three times what Ontario spends despite being almost double our size.
In effect Quebec is forced to 'buy' jobs for its citizens through subsidies because Quebec industry is not competitive. The best example of this is the half a billion dollars the government pours into the pork industry each year, despite the industry operating at a loss. Link{fr}
Percentage of  revenue use to pay debt  from

Don't forget the double-whammy of agricultural subsidies coupled with higher food prices, propped up by cartel-like marketing boards that fleece Quebec consumers.

And let us remember that Quebec pays the highest percentage of any provincial budget towards debt repayment.

But Quebec apologists have steered the conversation away from reality, convincing Quebecers that their lower standard of living is an honourable thing.
Like the Church of old that told Quebecers that the meek shall inherit the Earth, Quebecers are fed the line that their reduced wealth is an admirable sacrifice for the betterment of society in general.

It is a less than half-truth, it is a lie.

As long as the media discusses the merits of a descriptor in front of the name of Canadian Tire, the problems of wealth creation, productivity, exploitation of natural resources and government overspending are ignored, as Quebecers continue their economic decline.
As long as Pauline remains obsessed with symbols like the Canadian flag in the National Assembly  rather than attacking the economic challenges that face us, we are doomed to sink lower in the Canadian pecking order of wealth and when the Maritimes pass us, we will have truly crossed the Rubicon.

In Quebec, as the old saying goes, the more things change, the more things stay the same.

The priest of yore who told Quebecers not to complain and accept their humble lot in life are today replaced by a new cadre of economic gurus, who are telling Quebecers the exact same thing.

This blog is not about Israel or Gaza, but nobody can be insensitive to what is going on in the Middle East. I'm not going to comment other to say that our problems here in Quebec seem so remarkably petty compared to what is going on over there.

Imagine the terror that all civilians feel on both sides of the Gaza/Israeli border when rockets and bombs rain down.

I'd like to ask readers to take a moment to imagine a rocket or a bomb landing on your street or neighbourhood.

These people have real problems, ours in Quebec and Canada,  are manufactured nonsense.

Francophones, Anglophones and Ethnics, we are blessed to live where we do. 

Imagine that we have energy, time and the inclination to discuss a flag in the National Assembly as if it has the slightest importance or meaning.

Again, I'm not going to write a blog piece about what is going on over there, but readers are welcome to comment.

The only thing that I will offer an opinion on, is Amir Khadir, someone who we've heard nothing from ever since the beginning of the conflict in Syria which has taken the lives of 29,000 civilians as well as 10,000 combatants.
Mr. Khadir took part in an anti-Israel protest in Montreal yesterday and while he tried to make impartial comments, his presence spoke volumes.

That Mr. Khadir is an Israel basher is fine, there are many.
It is his hypocrisy that is just so galling. Link


  1. Regarding your “special note”, I’d like to point out this video of a bomb exploding right by Anderson Cooper during his live reporting from Gaza City for CNN today. I’d also like to point that a gay man is doing his own reporting as an actual journalist (unlike right-wing American conservatives such as O’Reilly or Hannity). I’m sure most of us would have been out of there in a heartbeat and hiding under a table! Yet he carries on professionally without skipping a beat, calmly continuing to present information on the situation.

    1. Wow! You'd think it's uncanny how for months prior to the recent Israeli retaliation, there was complete incidents. WRONG! For the last several months, Hamas has been firing rockets on Israel, but of course nobody, BUT NOBODY, is reporting about that, save the Israeli media. Finally, after hundreds of rockets have landed on Israeli soil, Israel strikes back and suddenly the politicians and the media from around the world are all getting into the act.

      The British PM immediately asks for calm in Israel. The media only in passing mentions two Israelis are killed, but gives a blow-by-blow description of an Israeli bomb lifting dirt and debris that went up and came down on a house and killed two children. So naturally, the Israelis are baby killers. Never mind the fact that Hamas plants its rockets among residential neighbourhoods in Gaza. Never mind that Hamas uses women and children as the outer ring of a blockade making them the most vulnerable to an attack, daring Israel to fire on them.

      Hamas are the biggest cowards. They use women and children as sacrificial lambs rather than come out and fight the battles themselves and protect their most vulnerable members. The sad part is most of the world hates the Jews because pound-for-pound they re the smartest, most productive people in the world. They HAVE to be because for centuries attempts have been made to kill all the Jews. Israel has been a state going on 65 years, and has been at war at least once every decade. The Palestinians may have removed their constitutional declaration to kill all Israelis, but does that mean that decree still doesn't exist in their hearts, and minds, and souls?

      Much of the land acquired by Jews to create Israel started in the early 20th Century with the creation of the Jewish National Fund. The birth of Israel was through a U.N. decree. The Israelis chose to create a civilization and infrastructure by leveling the sand dunes and building their civilization. It took a plenitude of work and toil to make the civilized society Israel is today. It took cooperation and the financial help of the Jewish diaspora all over the world to assist in the building projects.

      On a per-capita basis, Israel has more university educated people than any other country in the entire world, including the U.S., Britain and Canada too! Israel has more doctors, scientists, engineers and even playwrites on a per-capita basis than anywhere else on the planet.

      If anyone reading this comment thinks Israel can simply pick fights at will and just because they "feel like it", I suggest you get your head examined. Thankfully the Canadian government has been a great friend to Israel realizing that Israel is doing whatever it has to do to defend what is Israel's, especially its people. There are over a million Arabs living in Israel, and they choose to live there. If Israel was so bad, why would they live there and not return to their countries of origin. As long as they make positive contributions, they have every right to live there and improve their lots in life.

    2. A small note, and I will let this die.

      "There are over a million Arabs living in Israel, and they choose to live there. If Israel was so bad, why would they live there and not return to their countries of origin."

      I was under the impression that the Arabs living in Israel were from Israel, as in they used to live there before the Israelis came. Where are they supposed to go?

    3. Mr. Sauga, I agree 100% with everything you wrote above. It bothers me to no end that no one reports on what the Palestinians do until the Israelis finally decide to respond. It may be conflicting but as a gay man, I felt the need to point out Mr. Cooper’s brave actions.

      I’d also like to mention that, as surprising as it was to learn of Yannick’s lack of contact with Jews in New Brunswick, I grew up with Jewish neighbours and we even celebrated combined Hanukkah/Christmas celebrations when I was a kid. I’ve been to Israel twice, first on an exchange program and then later as a kibbutznik (not far from Netanya). I don’t think any of my gay Jewish friends have ever done that.

      In case people don’t know, to my knowledge, Brooklyn (NYC) has the world’s greatest number of Holocaust survivors, followed by Israel and then Montreal. Per Tourism Montreal information about the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre:

      Montreal is also notorious for its vibrant Jewish community; the city of Montreal accepted the third largest number of Holocaust survivors in the world. These are the people that established the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre in 1976 with the mandate to sensitize, preserve and remember. The centre is a place to learn the history and meet and listen to a Holocaust survivor.

      Hence, this might be why the topic tends to come up frequently on this blog.

    4. Yannick, I’m sure that if you really wished, you could have looked up the events that eventually led to the Israeli Declaration of Independence for yourself. In short, displaced Arabs could have gone to neighbouring states such as Transjordan but they were refused by their compatriots because the Arabs wanted to “push the Jews into the sea”.

    5. We're talking about Arabs who chose to remain in Israel, though, not the refuge camps. I'm well aware of the history behind Israel.

    6. Yannick,

      If you seriously want to know about Arabs who are in Israel, see

    7. John, thanks for the link. It's a very interesting synopsis of the period.

    8. I appreciate the link, but I would have rather obtained an answer to my question. The people who's ancestors have lived in present-day Israel for centuries, what is their "country of origin"?

    9. Yannick we're not like all those Quebecoise people on welfare, we sleep at night and work during the day.

    10. Yannick,

      Rather than give you a lengthy history lesson and deal with your assumption as to ancestors having lived in Israel for centuries, you were directed to a site that would inform you.

    11. The website lacks coherence and seems to attack the idea of a Palestinian on many fronts. I've found two passages who come close to be relevant, but closer inspection reveals that they are not.

      The first one tries to put the blame of the eviction of Palestinians on their own selves, since they decided to leave Palestine/Israel during the war. Fair enough, but as I mentioned earlier, I'm not interested in the refugee camps with regards to my question, rather I'm interested in the 16.5% or so of Israeli citizens who are of Arab descent.

      The second one tries to imply that just about everyone who lives in Gaza today migrated there between 1948 and 1967. Let's say I accept that at face value just to speed things along. I'm talking about the people who don't live in Gaza - the people who are citizens of Israel proper, who were in Israel and were not evicted about the war of 1948, and their descendants. Not Palestinians proper - Palestine is a geographic expression relating to Gaza and the West Bank.

      What's their country of origin? The link unfortunately says nothing about this.

      Note that I'm interested in Sauga's answer, as he's the one who made the claim.

  2. Replies
    1. If rockets landed on my street it would probably be the actions of the PQ or Amir Khadir. Scary thoughts!

    2. I wish we had an equivalent to a PQ Iron Dome...

    3. JJ, it has come to the point it's redundant to write about Amir Khadir. He is a blatant anti-Semite, and his family as well think like primal animals. The sky is blue, the grass is green, and the Khadirs are a bunch of boobs. Roses are red, violets are blue, and the PQ endlessly insidiously lie with statistics. Redundant facts, part of life, always has been, always will be.


    4. "I wish we had an equivalent to a PQ Iron Dome..."

      We do - it's called intellect.

    5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    6. Looks like Editor-Dome just shot down an S.R scud missile right there.

      See...we're all good. ;-)

    7. Its funny how anybody who dares criticize Israel is an anti-semite. It seems to me that the Palestinians are the ones who have been suffering a lot more than the Israelis essentially treated like second class citizens..with Israel continually taking away more and more land from them. I am really tired of the pro-Israel stance of both the USA and Canada..I would love a much more balanced view of whats really happening there. When I first moved to Montreal I was shocked when I realized that my supposed community newspaper..the Suburban was full of pro-Israeli articles.

    8. complicated: You're absolutely right. Most Palestinians are treated second class, but by whom? You blame that on Israel. WRONG! The Palestinian Authority goes around the world begging for funding to support its poor, persecuted people. They have gotten plenty of money, but like Reaganomics, the Palestinian Authority practices supply-side economics, i.e., the trickle-down theory.

      When he was alive, Arafat took very good care of himself and those closest to the vest - HIS vest! Once the elite ensured they were well endowed with palatial homes and all the best amenities, high-end cars, adequate food to feed themselves and their families and fly anywhere and everywhere in the lap of luxury, THEN, and only then did they share what was left of the wealth with the commonfolk. The leftovers added up to a little bit of nothing, and even then those closest to the authorities got the best of the worst leftovers.

      complicated, as I mentioned above, Israel doesn't have the luxury to attack simply when they "feel like it". Thank God for the stances of the USA and Canada. The European Union is the largest supplier of funding to the Palestinians. With Mubarak gone and the Turkish government deposed for a Muslim Brotherhood government, Israel now has at best peace with Jordan. Peace with Mubarak when he was president of Egypt was at best cold, but it was peace. Now the relationship is dicey. In summary, the Europeans are no great friends of Israel, Russia is no friend of Israel, the Asian countries don't run to Israel's side and we all know where the Arabs stand!

      As for the Suburban, it was founded by Sophie Wallock and is now run by one Beryl Wajsman, both Jews. The Gazette better watch itself because it's owned by Canwest Global, i.e., the descendants of the late Izzy Asper, a Winnipeg Jew. If you want, anti-Israel newspapers, pick up just about any other newspapers in Canada, especially the French ones. If you think the Palestinians aren't getting a fair shake, donate money to the many Palestinian charities that exist. Otherwise, you are an anti-Zionist and you're just another small-minded ignoramus barking up the wrong tree.

    9. Complicated, I'm not even going to pretend that I have the slightest grasp on the full scope of the conflict in the middle east. But I do know that it's been decade after decade and the violence still hasn't ended. Where do you get the ego to factionalise yourself?

    10. Captain Resident Evil, I didn't see S.R's comment but it can hardly be worse than what John Johnson wrote.

    11. No, he's right - the PQ has already proven itself to be partial to violence in a variety of forms.

      He's only speaking the truth.

    12. Please show me where the anti-Israel newspapers are..all I ever see are pro-Israel commentary. Our entire continent has always been 100 percent on the side of Israel because the Jewish lobby is so powerful. And anyone who dares even question it is quickly labelled an anti-semite..thats always the quick reply to shut everyone up. I am sick and tired of hearing pro-Israel propoganda in the bothers me greatly that a local community newspaper is co-opted to spread more pro-Israel commentary..that is deception.
      The suffering of the Palestinian people over the past several decades far outweighs any inconveniences that Israelis have had to deal with. There are countless UN resolutions against the Israeli government over the past 40 years which rarely gets reported in the mainstream media.

    13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    14. Yes Complicated, it is strange that you can't find too many North American newspapers that are in favour of Palestinian suicide bombers on civilian Israeli buses. The whole thing smells of conspiracy. In the U.N., the number of thugocracies is at least equal to the number of functioning democracies, so most of what they do is highly suspect. That's why I don't care that we didn't get a temporary seat on the Security Council. Everthing you need to know about the UN is covered by the fact that Libya under Khadafy was on the UN Human Rights committee.

    15. Not agreeing at 100% with Israel's actions doesn't mean that you are pro-Hamas or pro-terrorism. Like many conflicts it's not all black or white (like the one we know so well).

      I understand that Israel has the right to defend himself but what justifies the thousands of civilians killed? Seems like in the opinions of a lot of pro-Israel, those deaths are just small collateral damage...

      Also, the control of Israel over Gaza is very large (Crossing of people, Crossing of good, Tax system). You can check it here. It doesn't excuse terrorist actions but I can understand why Palestinians are mad at Israel.

    16. The main issue for me is that Israel is trying to assert it's sovereignty over these stretches of territory without providing equal services and rights to the inhabitants.

      Either the people living in Gaza and the West bank are not part of Israel, in which case Israel should remove all its troops, tear down all the walls, remove all the checkpoints, etc... and only then can they have the moral high ground by retaliating against the attacks of a neighbouring, sovereign country, or the West Bank and Gaza are part of Israel, in which case its citizens are protected under rule of law, should be able to vote in Israeli elections, and have access to all of the services offered to Israelis.

    17. Agree totally Yannick. The reality is that Israel keeps on taking more and more Palestinian land for new settlements. It treats the Palestinians like second class citizens..there is mass unemployment and poverty within this zone as a result of repressive Israeli policies.
      Diogene - Funny how you dont mention the thousands and thousands of Palestinians who have been slaughtered by Israeli forces over the years..about how miserable life is for Palestinians because of Israeli policies..

    18. Personally, I don't see anything funny about the whole situation, but hey, that's just me. We're discussing why newspapers aren't sympathetic to Palestinians and I point out that a lot of their actions don't invite sympathy, which also explains why their lives are miserable and why some innocent Palestinians get killed because of the actions of groups like Hamas and the PLO before them. If they had any brains, they'd renounce violence, and tell the Israelis they wanted to work together. That would put world opinion on their side and pressure on Israelis. But no, they prefer the barbaric approach, pledging to destroy Israel. Live by the sword, die by the sword. And, by the way, if I had to live in any country in the middle east, it would be Israel, because as bad as you think their behaviour is, every other country is worse.

    19. I am just really sick and tired of how Canada and the USA and the mainstream media bend over backwards to defend Israel. Yet when you really look at who is suffering the most..its clearly the Palestinians. What option do they really have other than to fight back? Israel keeps on encroaching on their lands..treats them as second class citizens..totally ignores UN resolutions. Hamas and the PLO are demonized and yet few people criticize the barbaric acts of the Israeli military. And if one dares criticize Isreal well then you must be an anti-semite. But its ok to be anti-Arab or anti-anybody else but heaven forbid you are labelled an anti-semite. I am not going to comment on this anymore as this is not the point of the forum..

    20. “The main issue for me is that Israel is trying to assert it's sovereignty over these stretches of territory without providing equal services and rights to the inhabitants.”

      My doesn’t that sound vaguely familiar, in the-closer-to-home-context?

      On the subject of the Israeli-Palestinians conflict, I am a disinterested third party, so to speak. I am neither a Jew nor an Arab, but I have friends in both. I can only say that I have yet to remember one time when Israel provoked some kind of conflict just for the hell of it. It strikes to defend itself and it has every right to. I also express this all the time my Arab friends. I do feel that if just once they (the Palestinians) were to turn a new leaf and rather than resort to violence and hatred as they always do, they would try to work with the Israeli’s, they would have so much to gain.

      If they really really loved their families and wanted peace and what is best for them, they would try resolution rather than conflict.

    21. If they really really loved their families and wanted peace and what is best for them, they would try resolution rather than conflict.
      Exactly. If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, then the Palestinians are insane. The violence route doesn't hasn't achieved anything but increased hatred and distrust. Time to try something new.

    22. I think we can all agree to that, Diogenes and AnnecTOTE.

    23. "Agree totally Yannick. The reality is that Israel keeps on taking more and more Palestinian land for new settlements. It treats the Palestinians like second class citizens..there is mass unemployment and poverty within this zone as a result of repressive Israeli policies."

      Actually, if you read up on the 2004 unilateral disengagement, you would see that Israel pulled out its troops out of Gaza and its colonists out of Gaza and the West Bank. Not to say that the Palestinians have the control of their state, but this does seem to indicate a step in the right direction.

    24. Dear readers and contributors of this particular thread: It's obvious complicated has an anti-Zionist fixation. He cannot come to terms that plenty of buckshot is fired at Israel, and Israel keeps her hands behind her back until Hamas gets too close to larger populations (like Tel Aviv). This usually happens for several weeks before Israel retaliates, and NOTHING prior to Israeli retaliation is shown on film, let alone mentioned.

      As for the media, while watching the CTV News last night, three little children were shown on camera injured, a brief look at an ongoing funeral for several members of a family killed in the recent crossfire and a few people running and crying in fright. Poor Palestinians, b-a-a-a-d Israelis. All that was shown on the Israeli side in the film was some building blown up, but NADA about the Israeli deaths except a very, very brief verbal mention.

      Get your facts straight, complicated, of course unless you can't handle the truth!

    25. Complicated is the most conflicted person I've ever, ever seen in print. He refuses to see right from wrong and looks for excuses for both the seppies and HAMAS. Must be terrible to feel as he does - I feel sorry for him. I can't even imagine living inside his head - it must be a constant struggle to retain his sanity.

  3. OK, at the Editor's invitation, I stated my piece on the goings-on in Israel which are far more serious than the insidiousness Lisée and others of his ilk are trying to pull in Quebec.

    A story I heard on radio early Sunday afternoon was many of the American chains, such as Wal-Mart, Old Navy and others, are taking the separatists to Quebec Superior Court over the harassing demands by the language Nazis for these stores to embellish their business names with French descriptors such as «Le Magasin» Wal-Mart. This has been written about before on this blog, so I guess the Day of Reckoning, as inevitable as death, taxes and the Quebec government not shutting the hell up about French has come. And the band played on...

  4. Hi Editor,

    Your calculations with the online tax calculator do not take into account the 16.5% federal tax abatement for Quebecers.


  5. Hello,

    Why are we talking about Israel/Syria/Gaza bla bla bla. Stick to Kweebec. I get enough of the middle-east shenanigans on my news channel here.

    It's sad what's going on, yes but, please; stick to the comedy that is Kweebec politics.

  6. love it.......

    1. As usual, an eloquent piece by the egotistical Mr. Black. Of course, he attempts to simplify how division of assets would come down. Personally, I believe any jurisdiction that wants to secede should have to pay a premium for doing so. Of course, that's my opinion.

  7. "Almost everything except housing costs and electricity costs more in Quebec, a lot more, further reducing family buying power."

    An average house in a so-so neighbourhood of Vancouver BC costs about a million bucks, whereas in Montreal it's easily half that. So that's an extra 1/2 million bucks right there, doesn't that increase family buying power? I don't see a lot of people willing to throw away 15 years of fulltime earnings for the same average house in another area.

    1. Comparisons are always rough, I'll admit.
      Those buying million dollar homes in Vancouver are not in the same salary class as those buying half a million dollar homes in Quebec.
      When we talk about 'average' salaries across the country, we have to consider that those in Vancouver or Toronto are in a separate class, difficult to compare.

    2. It's true, those buying million dollar homes in Vancouver are much poorer than those buying half a million dollar homes in Quebec. Someone buying a million dollar home in Vancouver is a regular joe, someone buying a 500 000$ home in Quebec is well-off.

      It's why the average consumer debt in Vancouver is 37879$, 40% higher than the national average and the greatest in the country. They also have the highest rate of bankrupcies in the country.

      People in BC are forced to put money they don't have into buying a home or pay exorbitant rent, because of the market. It's really obscene.

      Check out this game - crack shack or mansion. See your yourself, editor, what one million buys you in Vancouver. It buys you a hole that wouldn't be worth 150 000$ anywhere else.

      More information - Vancouver real estate debt annecdotes.

    3. Interestingly, the local News in Toronto just ran a story on what $350,000 can buy across various Canadian cities.

    4. To be more specific re the cost of houses across Canada, go to the 2nd block of televised stories. This specific one is called CTV Toronto: Real estate deals in Canada and it's hosted by our consumer advocate, Pat Foran.

  8. Good news for austerity fans: Parti Québecois to deliver austerity budget.

    Traditionally Quebec budgets are tabled in the spring, but Premier Pauline Marois has said urgent action must be taken now so as to avoid wrenching cuts to public services in the future.

    Already the government has ordered the Health Ministry to slash spending by $400 million just in the remainder of the current fiscal year, which ends March 31, 2013. The government claims that this cut will not impact on services, but this is manifestly untrue. According to the government’s own directive, $50 million in “savings” is to come from the postponing or canceling of surgical operations.

    Other ministries have or will soon receive similar directives, as the PQ seeks to fill what it claims is an unanticipated $1.5 billion hole in the budget that the previous Liberal government drafted for the 2012-13 fiscal year.

    Big business has pressed for the PQ to introduce a fall budget, saying it needs a clear demonstration of the government’s intentions.

    When the PQ last formed the government it carried out the greatest social spending cuts in Quebec history—a fact Marois has repeatedly trumpeted as proof that her party is fiscally responsible and pro-business. But the business elite has taken exception to a number of populist promises the PQ made in a bid to staunch the hemorrhaging of its traditional working-class electoral support and has been mounting a concerted campaign to force the PQ to shelve or modify them.

    Ceding to pressure from big-business lobby groups and the corporate media, the PQ abandoned, within weeks of taking the reins of power, plans to eliminate a controversial two hundred dollar per adult healthcare head tax and to increase taxes on capital gains and dividends.

    Seeking to placate business, Marois and her finance minister have repeatedly vowed that they will make good on the previous Liberal government’s pledge to eliminate the annual provincial budget deficit by the 2014-15 fiscal year and do so despite a sharp fall in the economic growth rate. They have also been at pains to declare that “growing the economy”—a euphemism for deregulation, cutting corporate taxes, and other pro-business measures—is their first priority.

    During last summer’s election campaign, the PQ promised to limit the growth in program spending to slightly more than 2 percent per annum for the next five years. Due to the impact of inflation and population growth, this cap would quickly translate into a sharp drop in per capita spending and steep program cuts. But the government is signaling that it may constrict spending even more sharply.

    According to an article in Wednesday’s La Presse, next week’s budget will cancel or delay numerous infrastructure projects.

    1. Lord Dorchester

      The cynic in me thinks the PQ is tabling this early budget now and not in March because they don't want to lose a non-confidence vote while the Liberals are headless and in the process of picking a new party leader. The state of Quebec's finances are in shambles and have been since the PQ was in power last. That isn't a secret to anyone. For them to claim that they are shocked by what they inherited from the Libs is a bit of a stretch.

    2. No, L.D., the PQ's "shock" of what they inherited is a colossal stretch. I agree the budget being brought down now is to avoid an non-confidence vote that they would face had they waited for the PLQ to fill its void.

      A portion of the article Juggs brought to our attention didn't mention the budget may have a back door means of recovering the tuition freeze by eliminating the tuition tax credit. This way the PQ covers its collective ass by maintaining the promise of not hiking tuition fees, but increasing the tax by eliminating the credit. There was no promise not to cut the credit. Oh, we'll find out soon enough.

    3. I say lets wait and see whats in the budget. It could easily be more austere than anything the Liberals have come up with during their useless 9 years. If they can actually cut expenses, not increase taxes much and lower the deficit then I will give them the benefit of the doubt. I would rather have a PQ minority govt in power that are good fiscal managers then another 4 years of Liberal incompetence and mismanagement.

  9. Watch what's happening in Greece now for a glimpse of Quebec's future. It's quite easy to see a Quebec financial meltdown in the near future. It may start with the elimination (or serious reduction) in equalization payments in 2014. As soon as word gets ut that money is seriously short, everyone will circle the wagons around their favorite entitlements just as they were trained to do by the victorious students of 2012. Likely, no party will be able to summon the political will to make any serious cuts to social programs. At what point does Ottawa step in and tell Quebec they are not allowed to borrow any more money? Hopefully it happens before the Province is bankrupt.

    1. BdgBill: Cut off their ability to borrow money and Quebec WILL be on the cusp of bankruptcy. Certainly they'll have to take on austerity measures the likes of which they have never experienced, and boy, will it be ug-leeeeee!

  10. Editor,

    To compare things at face value based on my two months of experience, things that are more expensive in Toronto than in Montreal:

    Food. Restaurants in the same class / category.
    Education. Particularly colleges / university.
    Public transit. Significantly. More for suburbs.
    Prescription drugs.

    So no, it is not just housing and electricity.

  11. Food is not more expensive in Toronto. There's more people hence more competition. Restaurants and food are WAAAY more expensive in Montreal. Typical nationalist liars.

    1. The cost of living on Toronto is significantly higher, it is common knowledge.

    2. As a native Torontonian...well, Mississaugan, it is true that restaurants are more expensive. Naturally! Rents, hydro and the minimum wage are higher, and food makes up 1/5 to 1/4 the cost of running a restaurant. The grocery stores are another matter. Oh, sure, full service grocery stores are expensive, like Loblaw's, in Toronto and in more recent years, Montreal.

      The GTA, however, seems to have more discount food stores than Montreal. There are places like Food Basics, No Frills (owned by Loblaw's) and Fresh Co. (owned by Sobey's). Montreal experimented back in the 1970s, with Jadis, similar to the concept of Food Basics (owned, I believe, by Steinberg's), but it failed. The closest I've seen is Entrepôt Provigo, in Chomedey, Laval. I find that concept closer to Costco. The prices at the discount food stores in the GTA are lower than anyplace I've seen in Montreal. Fast food restaurants in both cities are very similar.

    3. Food costs are relative, really.

      For instance in Montreal, if you go eat breakfast at l'Avenue on Mont-Royal, you're going to $14 for the same breakfast that will cost you $4.50 at Ron & Jan's Home Diner.

      It's all about what you're after. Thai platter on St. Hubert for $13 or Thai platter on St. Laurent & Prince Arthur - $25.

      Same goes in can eat some of the "premium burgers" and pay $18...or you can go to any number of places who'll sell you an equally delicious burger for $7.

      It really is all about what you're after.

    4. Mississauga Guy,

      First of all, you are NOT native of Toronto or Mississauga. You admitted yourselves that you were born and raised in Chomedey. That makes you a native of Laval, regardless how long you have been living in Mississauga.

      While that is true that Toronto has many discount grocery stores, their contents are really not something to long for. Low price, low quality, is it not? So I am missing stuff that I consume for granted in Montreal on regular basis. When in Montreal, my usual grocery stores are IGA, Provigo and Metro Plus. Here, the stores that are on my bus route are Fresh Co. and No Frills. They are simply far cry from those in Montreal. Plus, all the stores I frequent in Montreal provide home delivery.

      However, that does not mean that Torontonians live worse than Montrealers. From what I see, for higher-level workers, with similar experience, expertise and professional profiles, Toronto pays better than Montreal. As well, opportunities in Toronto are more available. Finally, one does not need to be bilingual in Toronto to be working high-pay job.

    5. I know that even though everything is relative, you can still make statements.

      Ontario's food was much cheaper than Calgary's. For instance, all-you-can eat Sushi could be had for roughly 15$ in Ontario, while in Calgary it goes for 25$. On top of that, the selection was much better in Ontario, so it was better on all fronts.

      Likewise, pizza and middle eastern food was both of better quality and cheaper in Ontario. The only thing that I found was better (though still not cheaper) in Alberta was Indian food.

      All groceries are way more expensive too. There are a couple No Frills in Calgary, but they're far away from the centre of the city so I can't access them conveniently.

    6. Yannick,

      Indeed. Everything is relative. A bit out of topic, when I visited New York, I was shocked to learn the rent prices there. For example, a moderate 2-bedroom apartment in mid-town Mnahattan goes no less than $4000. I can find similar apartment in downtown Montreal for $1500 or less. With $4000/mo for rent, someone who makes $100k p.a. pays $48k in rent. More than half of one's net income.

    7. Markup is a huge factor, too, it's erroneous to assume that prices are the same across the board, provincially or otherwise. For example, a McDonald's in a relatively out-of-the-way area compared to downtown Montreal, might sell its products at a bit lower, whereas the McDonald's near the CN rail station near la Gauchetiere has tons upon tons of customers, so can get away with marking their products up more.

      It doesn't all have to do with tax.

    8. I thought it was illegal for chains to mark up?

    9. Not at all. For instance rent for a McDonald's space in say the Molson Center is a lot more expensive than main street in Rouyn-Noranda.

    10. I thought that was the reason that airports (for instance) didn't have mcdonalds, instead there are exclusive airport "chains" for the express purpose of selling things at high prices.

    11. Hah! No, Yannick, marking up is not illegal at all, on the contrary, it's standard procedure. Besides, once a corporation becomes powerful enough, it can basically defy laws at will.

      Collusion is illegal, but the gas oligarchy does it all the time in order to keep prices high.

    12. Oy-oy-oy, Troy: Semantics? Really, Troy! You have been paying attention for the most part. I was born in Montreal, moved to Chomedey when I was three. I have been living in Mississauga as long as I lived in Chomedey, the most important family to me has passed away and my child was born in North York (now part of the amalgamated City of Toronto). My grandparents immigrated to Quebec, my mom was born there (my father was not), but with all my ascendants gone, I'm a native of Ontario. I renounce my Quebec identity, in part because Quebec society did what it could to advise me I was not a Quebecker/Québécois equal to multigenerational indigenous white, French mother-tongued Roman Catholics. I AM ONTARIAN! So is my child!

      Quebec has been an embarrassment and a disgrace as far am I'm concerned. As you've written before, my immigrant grandparents were model immigrants. They were self-employed. They hired Francophones during the 30s that would have starved in the depression if not for my grandfather and uncle who hired workers.

      On my commute to and from work, I either pass or am within a block of ALL the grocery stores, discount and full service. I don't find the quality of the groceries at the discount stores any worse than most of the full service stores. All the Metro stores here are 24 hour service, so you pay a premium for that convenience. Sobeys and several Loblaw's and Canadian Superstores carry prepared food as does Metro. Again, you pay for those services. Now Wal Mart is in the groceries game, and so will Target be when they come to Ontario mighty soon.

      Anyway, because all the grocery stores are close to my commute, I check the weekly flyers for specials, and sometimes the full-service stores have great sales, so I can plan to stop at one store or the other on various days from work and pick up our needs. As it is, Toronto, and Ontario in general, has a greater variety of food items, and most new items come to Toronto, sometimes much sooner than they come to Montreal. I admit there are a few missives I pick up when I come to Montreal, but they're few and far between, like Si Bon Chow Chow and almonds coated with soy. Oh, and Whippet marshmallow cookies are about $1 a box cheaper in Montreal because they're made there. I tend to buy them in Montreal because they're cheaper and there is an emotional attachment. I've cut way down on pop, so no more nectar soda for me. Too, there is a West Indian pop called kola champagne, and it's close to nectar. Nevertheless, it's a rare treat because of my cutback from consuming sugary, nutritionless drinks.

  12. Alberta needs to stop subsidizing Quebec. Too much money sent here and zero accountability. It's made for a spoiled bloated Quebec citizenry entitled to their free money from Alberta. Stop the madness now. You've ruined and spoiled Quebec mercilessly.

    1. Yeah, and people need to learn that Alberta isn't subsidizing Quebec.
      Anyone saying that can safely be labeled as an idiot, for they are simply repeating the shit they hear and have absolutely no fucking clue what they're talking about, but choose to talk anyway.

  13. Editor, you forgot to mention that the family income in Quebec already includes 70% of total federal transfer. S.R, a civilized society like your QC should not beg us for money rite? hehe

  14. C'est le prix à payer pour garder le kanada uni et éviter qu'il ne s'effondre.

  15. Blackmailing, unpatriotic, traitors that the seppies are - They must be stopped - 75 federal electoral districts in quebec vote on leaving or staying within Canada - those that vote to leave go - the rest remain in Canada and we survive as a new bilingual province or join Ontario or N.B. This will put an end to the disgrace that quebec has turned out to be. All of Canada will be much better off and we will be rid of them once and for all. We desperately need a new provincial party that will put this solution forward to the Federal Government of Canada and quebec takes it or leaves it without remuneration of any kind. Will there be headaches? Sure but no more than we have already with the damn instability created by the PQs and their ilk. It will be sink or swim and we will finally resolve who belongs where. Way past due = an end in sight before we're bankrupt anyway. Let's put our energy into something else besides this endless debate about french vs english - Let's aim for a bilingual province just like the rest of the country!

    1. "Let's aim for a bilingual province just like the rest of the country!"

      Hein ?!?

    2. "Hein ?!?"

      "Heil!!!" would be a more befitting comment from S.R

    3. I think he means "Heinz", like as in the ketchup. Yes sir, S.R is saying "Where is my Heinz ?!? I crave its bright red color, the same color as the flag of my country which I am so proud to be a part of and its rich multiculturalism".

      Either that, or maybe it's the French word for "Duuuh" (like Moose says in the Archie comics).

      Nah, probably Heinz ketchup. I mean S.R has a love of food, just look at the peeled banana in his logo!

    4. Heinz,the Archie comics...

      J'aime la culture canadienne.

    5. Paté Chinoise with Heinz = culture de la québec

    6. Love that you picked the name "Your English Master" = great spin and deserved by the seppies - lol

  16. You know this comparison of Greece being a total basketcase by themselves is inaccurate. The European Union is like a straitjacket on them as well. Before monetary union the Greek currency would fluctuate based on purely local economic conditions. Also since they had a lower currency then the other Western European countries, it had competitive advantage in tourism and local manufacturing. Similar conditions existed in Spain, Portugal and Italy, who along with Greece are known as the PIGS countries. If the PIGS wanted to save themselves, they could have dumped the Euro and reverted back to their old currency or better yet created a PIGS common currency. Germany had the most to loose because its Manufacturing economy had a captive market in the PIGS with the Euro common currency. If the PIGS had just dropped the EURO it would have been Germany and the rest of the so called fiscally "conservative" countries of the EU that would have gotten the shaft. That is why Germany "agreed" to do the "bailouts".

    1. All true. Greek foreign owned debt is 96% owned (owed to) EU lenders. France and one other country hold 69% of that debt. Can you guess who the major Greek debt holder is?

      Germany. Why does the Greek government go along with the financial rape of its' people. Same reason as every other western government - gotta keep the debt ponzi growing or it will collapse!

      "Understand that the monopoly to print money is nothing less than a license for economic rape. These private banks lend us all the paper that they print out of thin air (at zero cost to themselves). The result is that after roughly 100 years of this economic rape we have (collectively) paid these banks $trillions in “interest” for nothing, and currently owe them $10’s of trillions for nothing. History’s single greatest act of legal theft."

      Crime of the Millennium

      The Greeks could have the strongest currency in the EU simply by following the advice of Hugo Salinas Price:

      Interview between Hugo Salinas Price and James Turk

      Let the banks crash and burn with their fiat but give the people "inflation proof" savings - this would work in any country.

  17. Well my fellow anglos here can thank themselves for maintaining the Liberal government in power for the past 8 years. A government which totally mismanaged finances, turned a blind eye to corruption and was actively involved in it. The Liberals increased the debt by 50 percent in 8 years, most infrastructure projects under them were on average 80 percent above projection..some were 200-300 percent higher..I dont think even the PQ could mismanage things more than the Liberals did. But thats ok because this new guy Couillard is supposed to really know what he is doing so I am sure if we re elect the Liberals they will quickly get our finances under control..right guys??
    God help us..seriously..we deserve the government we have..people would rather vote for completely incompetent immoral fools as long as they are 100 percent federalist instead of someone who is not a full blown federalist but would likely be able to make a dent in the mess we are in..

    1. if you think that the PQ or the CAQ are any less corrupt, then your on crack!!!

    2. I actually believe the Liberals are officially the most corrupt party in Quebec. Its incredible the depth and seriousness of mismanagement and corruption that occured under the supposed watch of the Liberals. No wonder Jean Charest called such a quick election..he knew what was going to come out. How convenient that he is not around to answer any questions.
      All you care about is whether a party is federalist and you are hiding behind the "all parties are corrupt" argument. The PQ is corrupt too but even their escapades pale in comparison to the Liberals. The CAQ have never been in power so not sure how one can judge them more corrupt..once again no logic just an emotional outburst.
      Its this emotionalism by the anglos that keeps on electing criminals to run Quebec. If you want things to change then the anglo community needs to change their thinking..otherwise you all deserve what is coming.

    3. You're not going to convince any of us complicated so you might as well save your typing skills for something more productive. Unless quebec can turn into a society that wants to work for a living and stop counting on the government to pay for everything, things will never change; this is going to take a rude awakening and it's coming soon. The students proved all they have to do is march and bang pots and they stopped a small tuition fee hike that everyone knew was justified but the socialist PQs did it again - intervened and promised no hike and these bums were all happy. Wait until we're bankrupt (not long in coming) and let's see everyone in every union in quebec on the streets banging pots to get what they want. There will be no end in sight for the riots we're facing in the near future; just like Greece and we damn well deserve it for letting these socialists run away with the good management of our money. Quebec is headed for disaster and nothing will stop it from happening with the socialist mentality inherent in every seppie. And please don't keep bringing up the CAQ - it's been a party for a year with no experience, no background that we can relate to, so unless you're running for office forget it. None of us are willing to take a chance on things getting even worse by them banding together with the PQ and declaring independence and really screwing us up further. By the way, I've still seen nothing concrete against the liberal party which you keep saying was criminal.

    4. " might as well save your typing skills for something more productive."

      Comme envoyer des e-mails au walmart outaouin afin de l'angliciser?


    5. At least with Jean Charest there were projects that actually got done. Highway 30 is about to be completed and a new bridge linking Dorion to the south shore is going to be opened. Allowing traffic to bypass Montreal island completely.

      The highways are in alot better shape. When crossing into Quebec from Ontario there use to be noticeable deterioration in pavement quality. I forget the exit number but there use to be this one section an exit or 2 into Quebec on the 20 that would cause the car to almost bounce because of the bump. The pavement on all the Autoroutes in Montreal are alot better. Even the left hand exit from 40 west to 15 North is being moved to the right. Which will minimize cross traffic.

      At least under Charest infrastructure spending actually happened. Each time the PQ was in power it would virtually ignore the autoroute system. Alot of the deterioration was due to a lack of maintenance from the PQ period. The PQ had other priorities when it came to spending.

    6. Cutie - What would be nice is for you to admit that the Liberals completely mismanaged the province during their 8 years in power. How you can possible argue that the 80 percent average hike in initial estimates for major projects is not total incompetence is beyond me. Or how about the increase in the debt by 50 percent in 8 years during one of the strongest economic times Quebec has seen in decades??
      No keep voting for the Liberals cutie because they have done such wonders for this province. I am seriously wondering if the PQ couldnt manage things better was Bouchard after all who was brave enough to make serious cuts back in the 1990s. Doubt that the Quebec Liberals could ever do that.
      Socialist mentality in every seppie..unlike the socialist mentality in every Liberal eh Cutie..those Liberals are so right wing and pro-business..thats why there are so many a louer signs in Montreal and we pay the highest taxes..have collapsing infrastructure and our debt has climbed by 50 percent..those capitalist Liberals did one heck of a job.
      Legault founded a very scuccesful airline and knows how to count..knows how business really works..not like the typical lifetime politicians in the socialist Liberal parties. But dont let the truth get in the way cutie..

    7. That's the games the politicians have played for hundreds of years complicated, spend more and more money to keep the "unions and the mafia happy" in quebec. I can tell you right now how the quebec government could save a lot of money - stop fighting every damn law in the country of Canada by taking everyone and everybody to court - billions and billions of dollars wasted - stop paying language police to get into everybody's business, stop hiring people to study every way to possibly stop a word of english to enter anyone's eyesight, stop paying for new road signs to be made in french only to the detriment of every driver on the road, stop paying people to re-name every damn street name in quebec to ensure that there are no english names to be noticeable to the average quebecer - in other words, stop fighting with the rest of North America and work with them and then and only then will things ever get right in this godforsaken place. After today's budget, get ready for even more destruction in our infrastructure and be glad they are a minority government. I also agree with Jarry - when the liberals were in power at least some SENSIBLE things were done with our infrastructure. And please don't bring up the fact that the liberals hired more language police; that was part of a deal in which they had no choice but was put upon them by the damn separatists. The day quebec smartens up and gets into the real world is when we will turn things around and not until.

  18. S.R.,

    Are you Sylvain Lessard?

    1. Are you an anglophone or half anglophone?

    2. S.R.,

      Are you Pauline Marois?

    3. No, he's just an angry little man with a bone to pick with anyone who's happier in life than he is.

      When someone's truly happy in life and they've got awesome shit going on, they don't need to live for notions like separation and societal insulation.

    4. Vous devriez reprendre un deuxième café R.E,votre affirmetion n'a aucun sens MDR!

    5. Are you talking about me?

    6. @Gruk N

      Looks like even S.R. objects to being mistaken for Pauline LOL

  19. La préparation au mensonge de Maxime Bernier

  20. Je tiens à remercier la nouvelle génération d'anglophones montréalais pour leur bilinguisme,ce qui leur permet une autonomie certaine à fonctionner dans notre ville dont la langue officielle est le français.Ils peuvent ainsi prendre le métro et avoir accès à tous nos services sans recevoir de sandwiche à la tomate au visage.


  21. Editor, good job at demystifying the IRFA.

  22. "dans notre ville dont la langue officielle est le français"

    Montreal is a good example that "official" is not always de facto. "Official" is what elites decide to impose for the purpose of consolidating power. So there is a dose of arrogance in these linguistic undertakings, don't you think? And that's why people tend to resist it, since these undertakings are basically social engineering schemes for the benefit of a few. You can call it "normalité mondiale", but it is a very recent "normality", unknown before 1780 when human collectives organized more around civic interests and a common will to obey the passed laws, as opposed to artificially generated "official" languages. This current ""normalité mondiale" is definitely something that humanity should reconsider, as enough blood has been shed in the name of this mad invention.


    "Given that the dialect which forms the basis of a national language is actually spoken, it does not matter that those who speak it are a minority so long as it is a minority of sufficient politcal weight. In this sense French was essential to the concept of France, even though in 1789 50% of Frenchmen did not speak it at all, only 12-13% spoke it correctly, and indeed outside a central region it was not usually habitually spoken, except in towns, and then not always in their suburbs. In northern and southern France virtually nobody talked French. If French had at least a state whose "national language" it could be, the only basis for Italian unification was the Italian language, which united the educated elite of the peninsula as readers and writers, even though it has calculated that at the moment of unification (1860) only 2.5% of the population used the language for everyday purposes. For this tiny elite was, in a real sense the Italian people. Nobody else was." - Eric Hobsbawm - "Nations and Nationalism since 1780"

    1. Pouvez-vous nous parler un peu de l'évolution de la langue anglaise vers le globish et les raisons "humanitaires" et non pécuniaires (ou politiques) motivant ses besoins sans limite de conquête planétaire?

    2. Adski, the above analysis does not go into the fact that even if French was spoken by a minority of France, most of the other languages were mutually intelligible with it or very close to it.

    3. I never said English became the lingua franca through humanitarian means. It didn't, but it in no way negates what I said above.

      The point I'm trying to put across is that the global arrogance can go hand in hand with local arrogance. So as there may be arrogance in anglo triumphalism, in telling you to learn English so you can become "cosmopolitan" or otherwise you'll forever remain "perennial" (I have members of my family who don't speak English, so I know what this is about), there can also be a local version of triumphalism and arrogance - for example, when you and your friends stand in front of "Lunetterie New Look" (which already appeased you once by adding the descriptor) and demand that it be renamed "Lunetterie Nouveau Regard", you are displaying an enormous amount of arrogance and self-exultation. When government technocrats of the OQLF kind get involved, they display such arrogance as well, this time on behalf of the elites.


      "most of the other languages were mutually intelligible with it or very close to it."

      1. Not true. I suggest you read Hobsbawn's book. There were communities living side by side in modern-day Germany, France, UK, Italy, Poland, etc...coexisting side by side in languages often unintelligible or hardly intelligible to the other group.
      2. Even it were true, the fact that the elites (through institutions like l'Academie Francaise) imposed their "learned" or "educated" version over all other versions still betrays an enormous arrogance of these latter-day, pioneer technocrats.

    4. "Lunetterie Nouveau Regard" ?

      Jamais entendu parler d'une telle exigeance.Lunetterie New look,c'est très bien.

    5. Adski, you have made a very important point about the difference between french as an "official" language and the reality of the daily use of english in Montreal and elsewhere in Quebec. In fact, the official status of the french language is meaningless if two people choose to speak english or if one person chooses to open a conversation with a stranger in english (unless, of course, they are in business and offering services to a francophone and that person asks to be served in french). The "official" word is often meaningless because in the real world of daily life in Quebec the Charter of the French Language has a very limited reach and does not touch the private or public behaviour of most citizens. Many franciophone nationalists don't seem to appreciate this and constantly trumpet that french is the only "official" language as if it is a compelling argument rather than a simple fact. It's analogous to another blind spot in the nationalist rhetoric which always implies that Quebec, its territory, its institutions, its economy, really belongs just to francophones - not anglophones or south asian immigrants - so its perfectly acceptable if francophones make the rules for all persons in Quebec. Vigile is full of that kind of thinking. This is delusional but sadly, very common. Personally, I don't let that sort of ignorant babble bother me. I just carry on speaking whatever language I choose whenerever I choose to do so. It's what I call Quebec libre. When I send a letter to the Government of Quebec that is written in english they are yet to send it back to me and say they don't understand it. And I have never been threatened by a tomato sandwich.

    6. 1. Not true. I suggest you read Hobsbawn's book. There were communities living side by side in modern-day Germany, France, UK, Italy, Poland, etc...coexisting side by side in languages often unintelligible or hardly intelligible to the other group.

      There sure were. The italians of Savoie, the Germans of Alsace-Lorraine (roughly speaking - both of those would have spoken dialects that are not quite Italian nor German), the Bretons of Brittany, the Basques near the Béarn, would all have been unintelligible to Frenchmen. Perhaps some argument can also be made for Langue d'Oc dialects, though I can decipher Occitan fairly well.

      But I am not a linguist, so I will not press.

      As for the second point, I'm not sure if teaching only one form of a national dialect is necessarily an evil thing. This is a matter of ongoing debate in French Canada - should our teachers teach us French from overseas, or teach us the language we actually use? The problem with the latter, is that no one reads it other than ourselves, so why would be bother with something useless? So we learn one form of written French, called "Français correct", "Bon français", "langue écrite", etc... and we speak in an altogether different way, conjugating our verbs differently, using different adjectives, etc... when we speak "Français oral".

      There's a strong form of arrogance, of wanting to stamp out heresy, that's for sure. But there's also some utilitarianism in it.

    7. Yannick - one of my sons (fluently bilingual) went to Paris for a visit and couldn't understand anything they were saying nor could they understand him. Both had to switch to English to understand one another - just saying.

    8. Je crois cutie que vous n'avez jamais entendu un Parisien parler...In English,pas plus que vous êtes capable de situer la France sur une carte géographique.

    9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    10. @ Yannick,

      "..the above analysis does not go into the fact that even if French was spoken by a minority of France, most of the other languages were mutually intelligible with it or very close to it."

      "The italians of Savoie, the Germans of Alsace-Lorraine (roughly speaking - both of those would have spoken dialects that are not quite Italian nor German), the Bretons of Brittany, the Basques near the Béarn, would all have been unintelligible to Frenchmen."

      Correct me if I'm wrong but you seem to be contradicting yourself.

    11. These represent very small parts of France, save for Britanny. Most of France would have spoken langue d'oil or langue d'oc dialects. The first are mutually intelligible for sure, the second i believe are as well but not 100% sure.

      Not a contradiction, just qualifying the first statement.

    12. Cutie : am well aware of this. The same problem undoubtedly happens when hicks from southern usa go to london, or people with a local accents from the uk go to the us.

    13. Actually, in New-Brunswick people's spoken language is so different from "Correct French" that most have a difficulty reading and watching TV/movies. Even Quebecers speak French "too well" for them, you can forget all about stuff from France proper.

      The ongoing debate in teaching French is how zealous the teachers should be in trying to stamp the Acadian out of us. Some see it as a sign of good education, good breeding, and giving us the tools to communicate with the world at large. The others see it as arrogance, hubris, denying our sense of identity.

      The way Adski speaks seems to put him in the latter camp. I'm not sure if he has considered all of the aspects though, which is why I talked about this.

      Without wanting to sound too self-aggrandizing, I had an impeccable French growing up and this was only due to my parents endlessly correcting me whenever I used localisms. For this reason, immigrants and people from France tell me that they can understand me much better than Quebecers or Acadians. But most of my bretheren are far worse. Most have an easier time understanding/reading/writing English than French, even though they speak their French dialect almost exclusively, simply because English spoken and written is much more similar than their dialect and "good French". And that's sad.

    14. Anyone watches movies in "standard" French in NB or do you only get the original version?

    15. Les films doublés ne sont pas le problème, le language y est assez "international" et ils sont souvent doublés au Québec.

      Écouter un film proprement Français est trop en demander pour plusieurs.

      À noter que je parlais principalement du sud-est de la province où le dialecte de choix est le chiac. Les films à Moncton ne sont habituellement offerts qu'en Anglais uniquement, quoique certains films Québecois ou Français (genre Astérix et Cléopâtre ou Les Boys II) y sont offerts. Dans la péninsule Acadienne ou au Madawaska, les films ne sont offerts qu'en Français uniquement. Les gens de la Péninsule Acadienne ou du Madawaska ont toutefois un français beaucoup plus "Standard" que les habitants du sud de la province.

    16. La seule chose chiac que je connais est Radio Radio. C'est probablement à Montréal qu'ils ont le plus de succès, mais on comprend rien ni quand ils chantent, ni quand ils parlent. En fait, on comprend peut-être 50% et on interprète le reste. Leur succès vient surement en partie du fait qu'ils sont considérés comme étant "exotiques".

    17. Il y a Lisa Leblanc aussi, elle est plus ou moins populaire de ces jours ci.

    18. Ouias elle très populaire, mais elle ne chante pas en chiac.

    19. Peut-être pas, mais en tout cas elle chante dans l'accent du sud-est.

    BLOGGER has some pretty sophisticated software that intercepts SPAM from entering the comments section.
    Like "IRON DOME" it analyzes each comment deciding whether to let it through or to 'shoot it down' sending it to the SPAM Folder.

    As of a few days, it seems that our blog is being bombarded by an unprecedented amount of SPAM and I guess that just like in Israel, the system is being taxed and some misslies get through.

    I remove those comments as soon as I can, so do not fret. These comments usually have the same format, starting with a compliment and ending with an address to a website.

    Just like the IDF, I imagine that GOOGLE is making the necessary upgrades to counter the dastardly SPAM threat and will once again have a success rate of over 95%.....

  24. By the way, to the seppies on this blog, after receiving an e-mail from me about their ads being in french only, I received one yesterday in bilingual format from one of the company's. Not going to mention the company because you a------- would probably inundate them with e-mail to tell them that ads are to be in french only but to let all the federalists know, taking the time to object to this deliberate elimination of our right to receive ads in bilingual format is being noticed and that they are responding to my request for a change in their business habits.