Monday, January 30, 2012

The Ignominious End of Gilles Duceppe

Witnessing the sudden collapse and downfall of the political career of Gilles Duceppe, I must admit to a raging case of schadenfreude.
No politician deserves such an ignominious fall from grace more than the duplicitous, back-stabbing opportunist that defines the persona of Gilles Duceppe.

As you can imagine, I'm no fan, not so much for his separatist politics, but rather for his proclivity to bite the hand that feeds him.
We Canadians have paid his Parliamentary salary for over  twenty years and now are obliged to pay his 140k pension until God knows when, during which time, he has and will continue to tell the world that we Canadians are exploiters and colonialists. 

The ethics scandal that has brought him down is particularly satisfying because it was Gilles Duceppe and the Bloc Quebecois that presented himself and itself as more Cathoic than the Pope.
Two elections ago, the Bloc campaigned on the platform of honesty and integrity and so there's a sense that Duceppe is receiving his just desert.
Like a pious televangelist who is ruined when caught cheating and whoring, it sets the world right, for a moment, anyways.

My favorite comment on the affair by a Le Devoir reader;
 "Duceppe l’arroseur arrosé, Youppi"  (Duceppe the sprinkler, sprinkled)

Unethical or illegal, Duceppe displayed the shady behavior of a disgruntled employee who steals from the company where he works, while continuing to cash a cheque.

Whether guilty or innocent of using public funds for partisan political ends, it doesn't really matter.
Despite a spirited defense put on for him by Le Devoir and assorted hardliners, wherein they claimed that he technically violated no rules, the public has already made up its mind......Guilty.

Mr. Duceppe didn't exactly help his cause, his actions after the revelations were made, were those of a guilty man.

I am reminded of a story told to me a while back when I participated in a golf tournament put on by the Montreal police.  A senior Montreal detective regaled our table at the 19th hole with a story about the down and dirty investigative methods employed by cops.
In this particular case two suspects were picked up for a crime that only one committed. They were both placed in jail overnight having been told they'd be charged in the morning.
Overnight the cops observed their behavior.
The first suspect was agitated and angry, demanding a lawyer and telling all who would listen that he was innocent.
The second suspect remained calm, asked warders for a cigarette and turned in early, sleeping quite well.
In the morning the detective let the agitated suspect go and charged the other.
You see, as my detective friend explained, the behavior exhibited by the men, clearly indicated that one was innocent, the other guilty.
The first, furious that he was being charged with a crime he did not commit, the second resigned to the fact that he was caught.

Who did Gilles Duceppe closely emulate, the guilty suspect or the innocent?

There are politicians around the world charged with crimes or accused of various misdeeds who almost universally fight the charges tooth and nail while remaining in office. It's par for the course.
Silvio Berlusconi spent his whole political career under an ethics cloud and never wavered. a good chunk of the Israeli cabinet is under scrutiny for either ethics violations or outright criminality. American senators and congressmen are regularly subject to impeachment through a process that takes years to play out.
Who resigns? Practically nobody.

Mr Duceppe cut and run, hoping that if he left the political scene, perhaps he would be left alone.

Had he come out and raged against the allegations against him, labeling the charges as partisan attacks, I'm sure that he could have withstood the attack, but Duceppe is a chocoladnicky, a Russian expression for someone apt to melt under the heat.

Now there are those who say that Duceppe used the ethics investigation as a convenient device to extricate himself from a sticky situation where his attempted coup against Pauline Marois failed.

I find it a little hard to believe, but no matter.

His attempt to take over the leadership was a half-assed effort that was so badly planned and executed that I seriously question his skills as a politician.

Once he embarked on his betrayal of Marois and she got wind of it, she put the mutiny down in short order.
The incredible thing about it all, is that if he had done nothing and remained on the sidelines as a 'loyal' separatist, Marois would have collapsed under her own weight and the leadership would have come to him without lifting a finger!

All this has led me to conclude that Duceppe was no brainiac, but rather an opportunist who talked up a storm but was always out manoeuvred by the Prime Minister of the day or Pauline Marois back home. Readers will remember that this is the second time she beat back an attempt by Duceppe to take over the PQ.

Over the twenty odd years in Ottawa, the Bloc led by Duceppe brought Quebec not an iota of benefit, in fact, its very presence insured the opposite. 
In asking Quebecers to support a party riding the pine of ignominy, in the opposition benches of Parliament, the Bloc robbed Quebecers of representation in cabinet and the halls of power, a frightful price to pay for the luxury of thumbing ones nose at the hated Anglos in the RoC.

I'm glad that Gilles Duceppe is going out a disgraced loser, because that was what he was his whole career, a disgrace who cost Quebec influence and power, a humiliating presence in Ottawa that rendered Quebec impotent and irrelevant.

His phony Don Quixotesque act, tilting at federalist windmills has crippled this province incalculably.

As he exits the stage a disgraced and beaten man, it remains a bittersweet victory for federalists.

After all, we will have the pleasure of paying him a handsome pension for the rest of his natural life.

The idea of Gilles Duceppe in retirement, sipping margaritas in Aruba, on our dime, while lobbing the occasional separatist bomb at we evil Canadians, remains a bitter pill to swallow.

Good riddance to bad rubbish!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Shafias- Please Rot in HELL!!!!!

Sorry for my rage, but I want to give readers an opportunity to publicly describe their feelings towards a family trio that represents all the evil traits that we do not want in Canada.

I was a bit worried that the jury wouldn't believe that these fanatics could actually murder their children and/or siblings because it is an act, practicably incomprehensible to Canadians.


I don't know if this is fair to say, but I hope they get a rough ride in prison.

I prepared this, just in case they were acquitted.

Readers, I cannot describe my hatred,  rage and contempt.... Can you?

How can we keep these fanatics out of our country?

Sunday Housekeeping- Trolls

As regular readers might have noticed, I've unfortunately had to crack down on one-line insults that bring nothing to this blog

It serves no purpose to go through 200 comments where 50-75 are pure trash, with no redeeming value. I'd rather have 10-15 well thought out contributions, than 200 idiotic and insulting posts.

By the way, I have the ability to delete comments without leaving a trace, but as of now will continue to show readers where and which comments are blocked.

I do not moderate comments on an hourly basis so it's possible something obnoxious is up for a while, try not to respond, I'll take it down ASAP.
If you see something that should be taken down, let me know, but do not quote the offensive material, just provide the date and time. There's no use propagating trash by repeating it.

As for Trolls, I will not take down your comment just because they are meant to incite, as long as they don't violate decency standards. Please try to be witty, if you are trying to provoke.

What is offensive?
You're all literate and can pretty much can guess what will be taken down or not.

English or French, federalist or sovereigntist, the rules are the same and everyone will be treated respectfully and equally, but please don't test my patience with trash talk.

I repeat that I will not suppress contradictory views to mine or those of most readers, healthy discourse is an integral part of this community, but to those tho just want to disrupt our conversations with banal insults, please go away.

Here is something important;
You can always delete your own comment by clicking on delete. Obviously, you can't delete other people's comments.

If you change your mind about what you've written either because you were tired, drunk or made some embarrassing typos, here what you should do;
Delete the original post and write a new one.
In your new post use the word REWRITE on a separate line, at the beginning or the end of the post and I'll completely remove any trace of the original.

Finally, you might notice that the time stamp on your comment is three hours early and unfortunately, I can't do anything about it as it is a BLOGGER problem that they are supposedly working on (although I cannot fathom how they haven't corrected this so far.)

Thank yo for your support and your contributions.

This January has been our busiest month ever with almost 50,000 page views and 12,000 different visitors.

Most of the success of NDOA lies in reader contributions and I pledge to police the comment section more assiduously, making for a better read and a better debate.

Best  regards....

Friday, January 27, 2012

French versus English Volume 45

Political science prize judge quits over French flap
"Judging from the 18-year record of a prestigious prize for Canadian writing on political theory, French-Canadians are not the finest political theorists.
Since its creation in 1994, the C.B. Macpherson Prize awarded by the Canadian Political Science Association (CPSA) has always gone to a work in English, even though it celebrates “the best book published in English or in French.”
But a judge for the 2012 prize has resigned this week, alleging the award is so stacked against francophone writers that most do not bother submitting their work any more." Read the rest of the story

NDP leadership candidates vow support for Quebec rights
"Seven of the eight NDP federal leadership candidates came to Montreal Sunday to express their unqualified support for the party’s declaration of French rights.
Among other things, the Sherbrooke Declaration on Quebec recognizes French as the “language of work” and the “common public language.” It also supports Quebec’s right to secede from Canada on a simple majority referendum vote. 

...The only candidate to trigger a “bravo” from the audience was Cullen. The MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley in B.C. apologized for the NDP’s support of the nomination of justice Michael J. Moldaver to the Supreme Court of Canada. Moldaver does not speak French.  Read the rest of the story

(Editorial comment- Nathan Cullen MP for Skeena Pukey Valley- There's 'obsequious' and then there's, "Thank you for shitting in my hat."
You are now on my official list of politicians I hate..)

Newt Gingrich's French connection
"In a press conference today, Newt Gingrich admitted that he spoke French "once upon a time," and joked to a French reporter who asked him whether he spoke the language "Do you know John Kerry?" Barely a week ago, Gingrich released this ad which compared Romney to the 2004 Democratic nominee — in part because of his fluency in French." Watch the attack ad

Ex-Hab slams Montreal-"It's a big mess"
"In an interview, former Hab Jaroslav Spacek sounds off on Montreal, the Habs and the language debate. Have a listen.

 Quebecer up for Academy Award
Quebec's own Philippe Falardeau's 'Monsieur Lazhar' has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best foreign film. I haven't seen the film but from all accounts it's a poignant story about an Algerian immigrant, who is hired to replace an elementary school teacher who committed suicide. While the class goes through a long healing process, nobody in the school is aware of Bachir's painful former life. Montreal Gazette Alternate Link
I did see one of his other movies La Moitié gauche du frigo (The left-hand side of the fridge,) which I actually liked a lot, a story about the trials of an unemployed fellow who shares an apartment with a room-mate. By the way, if you're wondering about the title, it has to do with sharing the apartment refrigerator.  

The interesting thing is that Mr. Falardeau, a thirty-something Francophone from Montreal has outstanding English. In a television report from the Sundance festival, he related how busy his life has been promoting the film, from lecturing audiences and giving interview after interview to the American media. When he goes to the Academy Awards, his mastery of English will no doubt help raise his profile and propel his career.
To all the idiots who remind Quebecers that they don't really need English to succeed, meet another successful example of why it's just not true.

Important Conservative fed up with Harper's Quebec snub
“Peter White is about as conservative (and Conservative) as they come. He worked at Brian Mulroney’s side throughout the former prime minister’s nine-year tenure. In 2001, he turned his frustration with Jean Chrétien’s seemingly perpetual hold on power into a book, Gritlock, perhaps best described as a blueprint of how to neuter the then-powerful Liberal brand. In his free time, the former Hollinger Inc. executive has relentlessly pushed the Conservative brand in his native Quebec, both as a riding president and party organizer. And he’s sick of trying.
In a scathing open letter addressed to Canadians in general and the Conservative party in particular, White roundly criticizes the Conservative Party of Canada for ignoring Francophones in general and Quebec in particular. “Today the voice of Quebec is virtually absent in Ottawa’s halls of power, or if present, it is a voice grown mighty small, and mighty easy to ignore,” White writes in the letter dated Jan. 12. “Since the election of May 2, 2011, many Quebec observers have concluded that Mr. Harper has consciously decided to ignore Quebec, now that he has convincingly demonstrated that he can win a majority without it.” Read the rest of the story in Maclean's & see the letter

Patrick Roy advises Canadiens to tank season
I wonder if Patrick Roy scuttled any chance of becoming head coach of the Montreal Canadiens by going public with his idea of tanking this lost season and aiming to finish as low as possible in order to secure a premier draft choice.
It is a concept that everybody thinks about, but nobody in a position of responsibility would ever dare say it out loud.
After all, losing a game on purpose is about the biggest crime one can commit in sports. Any coach or general manager who admits to doing so would certainly face a long suspension by the league if not an outright ban.
Is Patrick really that stupid?    Link{Fr}

Conservatives rise in Quebec poll
These last months we've heard nothing but pissing and moaning from Quebec politicians and the entire French media over the fact that Stephen Harper is ignoring Quebec and shortchanging the province in every department.
You'd figure that the Conservatives polling numbers would take a dive, even from the horrific 16% level that they garnered in the last federal election.

But take a look at the latest numbers, which I pulled off of Mario Dumont's news magazine show, last night.

The Conservatives have increased their popularity by over 50% since last May!!!
My only explanation..........TOUGH LOVE!

Hydro-Quebec backs down on English
Last week I told you about an international scientific conference that Hydro-Quebec was hosting in Montreal that was to be held in English (as are all these scientific conferences.) After intense pressure from the usual suspects, the utility has now agreed to pay for simultaneous translation, which absolutely nobody will use. Original story{Fr}

In a letter to Le Devoir Professor Robert Emery Prud'homme, a chemistry professor at the University of Montreal, sets the record straight about science and French .
"Without making a thorough investigation, I can say at least 95% - and probably 99% - of scientific articles published by Quebec researchers working in francophone institutions in chemistry, physics and engineering, are in English. It's the same in France and Belgium.
...the question of the use of English in science and in scientific conferences, even in Quebec, has been settled for several years, scientists have de facto chosen English.".

If you read French, this article about the subject of French and English in science, is extremely interesting   Link{Fr}

PQ updating independence plans 
The Parti Quebecois has announced that it is updating 148 studies concerning the subject of sovereignty and independence. I'm not kidding.

Here's a hilarious quote from the article in La Presse. Link{Fr}

"When the PQ was in power in 2001, the government gave a  mandate to Claude Corbo, at that time professor at the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM), to review these studies, sort and update them as needed.

"For Pauline Marois, the PQ leader, the purpose of the new "Committee to Study Sovereignty" is to support arguments in favor of  sovereignty.

However, if we rely on the previous studies by Corbo, there is no indication that the data collected along the way will go in that direction at all.

This is why the party reserves the right to publish or not to publish the results of the work." 

At any rate, it's like thinking about what you'd do if you won the Lotto...
It's fun to daydream.... a yacht?.....a mansion?... sovereignty?

Leading up to next MONDAY'S POST entitled-'The Ignominious End of Gilles Duceppe,' here's a quick primer of the Gilles Duceppe scandal and it's possible outcome, meant for the reading impaired and those with a distinctly low attention span.

 Further reading;

French versus English Volume 44

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Downfall of the PQ Painful to Watch

Even for federalists, watching the PQ go through its agonizing death throes is a bit much to take. Like a cancer patient ravaged with the disease, but who fights the inevitable conclusion tooth and nail, even those who care, must ask would it not be better if the patient was put out of its misery sooner than later.

Ever since last May's federal election that drove the Bloc out of Ottawa, die-hard sovereigntists held onto the belief that the meltdown was a hiccup, an obstacle like so many others, with the project of Quebec independence remaining intact and inviolate.

Alas for them, circumstances dictate an alternate reality, one where Quebecers have given up on their forty year flirtation with sovereignty, where even those still willing to support the independence option admit that the project is no longer doable.

And so quite simply, the CAQ of Francois Legault is rising to replace the PQ as the natural alternative to the Quebec Liberal Party. It's a party that preaches nationalism without any threat of an actual referendum, something that is striking a chord with many Quebecers who wish to maintain a strong nationalistic front against Ottawa without any of the painful drama promised by hard-liner sovereigntists.

And so, many separatists, including defecting members of the PQ caucus, are moving over to the CAQ, something that Premier Charest is trying to exploit as an issue, calling the CAQ a separatist party in sheep's clothing.

The truth is rather the opposite, those separatists moving over to the CAQ are going to the safest place where they can go to give up their sovereigntist dream without sacrificing their pride.
In order to assuage the guilty consciences of these fallen sovereigntists, Mr. Legault has said that in the future, perhaps ten years, they might review the independence option, a convenient lie meant to make the painful transition more palatable.

What remains are the hard-liners in the PQ and their supporters who live in a fantasy world where they believe, that they can turn things around by pushing the sovereignty and referendum option even harder.
Its like a store raising its prices, in reaction to a market survey that indicates that consumers have rejected the company's products because they are already too expensive. Talk about disconnect...

The reality is that the PQ is out of leaders and out of options.

As the end approaches, we are treated to a frightening view of the real personality of the members of the Parti Quebecois, the selfish, cruel and incompetent fools who are clawing and fighting each other like pigs in a trough.  

The opening salvo in the PQ war of independence was fired by the betrayers, the old guard who quit the party to sit as independents because the party leader couldn't produce a successful independence strategy, where quite frankly, none exists.

Led by the ugly duo of Louise Beaudoin and  Louise Lapointe (Jacques Parizeau's wife) and supported by the very simple Pierre Curzi, the betrayal triggered an undisciplined food fight, with Marois served up as the main course.

Then, more betrayers and more defectors, tearful interviews and hand-wringing, the birth of the CAQ, all leading to the inevitable conclusion that the Parti Quebecois is circling the drain.

But reality is hard to accept.
Everybody within and everyone outside the party have suggestions as to how to right the sinking ship, the pages of chock full of ideas that smack of flightful fantasy or desperation extraordinaire.

The final straw for the party is the now failed Duceppe gambit.

This desperate belief that if only Gilles Duceppe would take over from Marois, perhaps all could be saved, with party faithfuls telling each other that we federalsits would be quaking in our boots at the threat of so formidable an opponent.

This is of course, that very same Gilles Duceppe who just eight months ago led the separatists to their greatest electoral debacle ever.  What galling fantasy to believe we'd be afraid.

And so in the fine tradition of the PQ, the knives were unsheathed by Marois supporters and Duceppe was gutted like a fish by a monger.  Et tu, Pauline?

At least this time it was the hardliners feeling the hard edge of the blade.

The political tragicomedy continues to run unchecked with today's chapter, a blueprint published in the form of an open letter by the insufferable, Bernard Landry, the ex leader of the PQ.
Here he provides us with his valuable insight, a road map to lead Quebec out of the desert and on towards the promised land.
The solution- a quick referendum. Arghh...

The overwhelming reacting of Quebecers to his open letter? -Indifference....

While hardline PQers and their diminishing band of supporters piss and moan in public, their audience is gone.
The PQ isn't destroyed over infighting as we are led to believe.
The PQ is destroyed because sovereignty is no longer relevant.

It's over...

Ladies and gentlemen of the sovereignty movement, turn out the lights on your way out and please, don't let the door hit you in the ass as you leave.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Pauline Marois Destroys Gilles Duceppe

My least favorite politician in Canada is the thoroughly dislikeable Gilles Duceppe, a weasel of a politician and a poster boy representing everything we Anglos hate about separatists who look to cynically fleece Canada, while plotting its destruction.

Whoever invented the word "smarmy,' must have been thinking of Gilles Duceppe, it describes his character perfectly;
(smarmy- sleazy, self-centered and insincere. One who has his own agenda which conflicts with the interests of others. Very fake and/or two-faced.)

One of the worst things I hate about Mr Duceppe is his manifest glee in fleecing Canadians for his own personal and political benefit, seeing no contradiction in collecting a $140,000, while working to destroy the country that pays it.

Would he have become leader of the PQ and get elected to the National Assembly, I've no doubt that he would have continued collecting his pension, with no compunction or embarrassment over the double dipping, as long as it is the federal government was paying for it.

As of late Mr. Duceppe has embarked upon a behind the scene campaign to destabilize the leadership of Pauline Marois, all the while smiling before the cameras and professing his love and support for the separatist leader.

A few months ago, Duceppe was very public in his support of Pauline, but recent events, especially  the continued defections from the PQ ranks, has moved him to go after the Marois' job, once and for all.

Mr. Duceppe is not one to do the dirty work himself and so has delegated responsibility to his minions (Pierre-Paul Roy, Bob  Dufour and François Leblanc) to organize and carry out a back room putsch against Madame Marois.
It's the nature of the rat that he is, to let others do for him, what he is not prepared to do openly.

Madame Marois called on him to take responsibility for his actions and demanded point blank that he declare his intentions and whether he would respect his word given months ago, not to destabilize her leadership.
In response Mr. Duceppe made a wishy-washy statement when interviewed on the radio.; 
"I trust that the PQ leader and  members will make the right decisions .."

For Marois it was the last straw.

And so, on Friday, La Presse published an extremely damaging ethics story about Duceppe, which is being widely quoted by newspapers across the country.

But here's an important fact that nobody has yet to report.

An ultra reliable source has told me that it was the Marois camp that leaked the information to La Presse, in an effort to harm Duceppe and check his advance on her leadership.
It makes sense if you think about it, especially the timing.
It seems that the information had been held in reserve by Marois just in case Duceppe went back on his word (which he did) and so she decided that she had no other option but to unload on him with any or all pretenses of separatist solidarity tossed aside.

It's a story that really came as no surprise to me, a further account of Duceppe's dishonest and cavalier abuse of public money for personal and political benefit. Read the original article in French 
Read the National Post recapitulation
"The former leader of the Bloc Quebecois, Gilles Duceppe paid the salary of the Chief of his party, Gilbert Gardner, for seven years from the budget provided by the House of Commons for the operation of his office in Ottawa, La Presse has learned.

This practice violates the rules of the House of Commons since the funds provided elected officials must be used to finance the activities of Parliament and not partisan activities. The other parties have confirmed to the press that their CEO is paid by the respective funds of the party, not money received from the House of Commons.

Mr. Gardner, who worked at the headquarters of the Bloc in Montreal and  occupied himself with the management and organization of the party, was hired in 2004 by Mr. Duceppe. He pocketed a salary that exceeded $ 100, 000 in the last years of his term.

La Presse has also learned that Marie-France Charbonneau, the  significant other of his chief of staff, François LeBlanc, was paid by the Bloc leader's office as a consultant while she was pursuing a master's degree. She was also paid during the time she was writing a book on the 20th anniversary of the Bloc Quebecois with Professor Guy Lachapelle, Concordia University.
Although Marie-France Charbonneau was officially a councilor to Gilles Duceppe, she rarely set her feet down in the House of Commons. "We did not know what she was doing apart from writing this book,"  said the Bloc Quebecois. Ms. Charbonneau received an annual salary of more than $ 90,000, according to our information
The article elicited comments from Maxime Bernier of the Conservatives and Marc Garneau of the Liberals who both blasted the former Bloc leader as a hypocrite for wrongfully spending Parliamentary money on partisan politics, while complaining about the ethics of others.

When Duceppe lost his seat, all the aforementioned 'employees' lost their jobs as well, but all were eligible for six months severance pay, courtesy of Canadian taxpayers.
All three were immediately rehired by the Bloc Quebcois office in Montreal at essentially the same salaries, something that caused a certain uneasiness among Bloc members.

When Daniel Paillé, the new Bloc leader assumed his position in December, the first order of business was to fire them all, so clearly there were forces in the Bloc that were unhappy with Duceppe's arrangements.
Someone within the Bloc, an enemy of Duceppe, leaked the story about the wrongful use of Parliamentary funds, to Marois.

As to the issue of paying those salaries with taxpayer money, Mr. Duceppe doesn't deny the facts, but dismisses the complaint about the spending as a partisan political attack, nothing else.

It remains to be seen what will happen.
Those who wanted to see Mr. Duceppe succeed Pauline Marois as leader of the PQ  worked overtime to spin the story as nothing but politics, rather than ethics.

Le Devoir, a nationalist newspaper, reported on the La Presse story rather dryly, but what is more interesting are the comments under the story where about eight out of ten readers supported Mr. Duceppe and proposed that the so-called scandal was a hatchet job cooked up by federalists.  See the comments here.
But one reader remained unconvinced of Duceppe's innocence.
"Typical PQ reaction...
When a newspaper exposes a scandal against the Quebec Liberal Party, they applaud wildly.
When the same newspaper denounces the mismanagement of the PQ or Bloc, they talk about propaganda, revenge, political operation, etc ...
And they believe themselves to be credible?"
So readers, I'm not so sure those defending Duceppe will be entirely successful.
The fact that he paid his chief of staff's girlfriend out of taxpayer money will be not be easily forgiven by the public.

Voters may be simple and not understand the intricacies over whether Duceppe did something wrong in using House of Commons money to pay the salaries of those involved in partisan politics, but providing someone a 'No-show job' is something even the uninitiated understand to be graft.

Look for the lovely Marie-France Charbonneau to  come under a fierce attack by journalists sensing a juicy scandal.
I look forward to hear her denials. I'm not sure that the Bloc, which has already cleaned house of all these Duceppe cronies is ready to defend her.
Who knows, she could be thrown under the bus. It could be interesting.

It also remains to be seen what the legal opinion ordered by Joe Comartin (Ndp), chair of the Parliamentary committee responsible for overseeing these expenditures, will reveal.
In a worst case scenario the Bloc would have to refund up to a million dollars to the government.
It's also been reported that other Bloc members are also being investigated for similar abuses.

Daniel Paillé, the current leader of the Bloc, refused comment, distancing himself from the story by saying that the affair predated his leadership.

We could be in for a scandal on a par with the Sponsorship affair that destroyed the Liberals.

And so the battle between Marois and Duceppe has exploded into open warfare, a drag'em out brawl that ended with a devastating second round knockout counterpunch by Marois. 

Yesterday Duceppe admitted defeat and announced that he was withdrawing from politics.

Well played  Madame Marois.  Game....Set......Match...  

For federalists, it's also Christmas in January! 

Keep on truckin', Pauline, the longer you remain at the helm, the happier we federalists remain!

Stay tuned....

In a television report, late last night,  Jean Lapierre (an Liberal ex-politician and star pundit) reported that every MP is furnished with a manual explaining the rules and that if they misspent money, they, not the party are personally responsible for reimbursement.
He also intimated that Duceppe is clearly guilty of violating the rules, which according to him, are pretty clear.


Friday, January 20, 2012

French versus English Volume 44

Official bilingualism costs $2.4 Billion a year: study
"The 10 provinces spend a total of $900-million annually on minority language services, with the bulk going toward French-language education outside Quebec and English-language education inside Quebec. Ontario spends the most, doling out $623-million — or $1,275 for each minority member. While Quebec ranks third in overall spending at $51-million annually, it spends the least per minority member — mostly anglophones — at just $85 a head."
By the way, the study was written by a University of Montreal professor, François Vaillancourt.    Link
Not surprising, French language militants have remained rather mute in reaction to the story.
Don Macpherson does a nice job destroying the hackneyed myth, repeated ad nauseum by French language militants, that Anglophones are the most pampered minority in the world.
Anglos in Quebec the ‘best-treated minority’? Think again"
Whenever we English-speaking Quebecers are so ungrateful as to complain about the anti-English policies of our provincial government, we’re told to shut up, because we’re “the best-treated minority in the world.”
Never mind that we’re being “treated” with our own money, since we shoulder our share of Quebec’s tax burden, among the heaviest in North America.
But by one important standard, a study published this week by the Fraser Institute suggests we’re not even treated the best among Canada’s official-language minorities.  
In fact, in terms of money spent by the provincial governments to provide additional public services in the minority languages – French in the other provinces and English here – we’re by far the worst-treated." Read the rest of the story in the Gazette    Alternate Link

Language Fail
You'd think newspapers would pride themselves on correct spelling, translation, syntax and otherwise all things grammatical.
After all, they're not lowly bloggers! n'est-ce pas??

But it cuts both ways, here an editorial cartoon in La Presse is trying to make the point that the Montreal Canadiens are going ENGLISH by displaying a workman in a cherry-picker changing the name of the arena from the 'Centre Bell'' to the 'Bell Center.' 
The joke falls flat when one realizes that when describing an arena in Canada, the word Centre is actually spelled the same way in both French and English, as in Toronto's Air Canada Centre, or the MTS Centre in Winnipeg.

Disastrous Unemployment spike bothers nobody
You'd think Quebec newspapers would be running front page banner headlines in relation to the catastrophic rise in the unemployment rate as Quebec has lost tens of thousand of jobs over the last six months.
But of course, Randy Cunneyworth's lack of French and a couple of unilingual bosses in high places is much, more important.

Check out this graph, which underscores the horrific result wherein the Quebec unemployment rate rose by a whopping 2%, while in the RoC the rate actually dropped marginally.
I guess the party is over, where Quebec was actually ahead of the country during the big bad days of the recession and has returned to its traditional position as chief basket case among Canada's big four provinces.
In a year of cross-Canada recovery, Quebec managed to lose over 51,000 jobs.
On Thursday Louis Harel finally woke up and complained about Air Canada shipping off 140 jobs to Toronto from Montreal. The story broke months ago and I wrote about it then, so I'm not sure why she's complaining now. 
With labor trouble at Rio Tinto and White Birch, plus research jobs disappearing, the ongoing disaster continues unabated.
The solution..... more money for the OQLF to harass businesses!

Anglos contribute to decline in English school enrollment
"It's parents like Stefan Gauthier who have been contributing to the diminishing enrollment in the English Montreal School Board.
Gauthier, an Anglophone, is legally allowed under Quebec's language law to send his daughter Emma to an English language public school but opted instead for French.
"For us it just seemed more natural to put the kids in French, at least to start, given that it's a bit of a tougher language," said Gauthier." Read the rest of the story

Boston Bruin fan mocks Montreal over language controversy.
Huntington mayor remains defiant
"Even under the microscope of the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF), the Town of Huntington flatly refused to subject the municipal government to Bill 101, adopted in 1977 by the provincial government.
"We learned [Wednesday] that the
OQLF launched an investigation following a complaint regarding the application of the Charter of the French language in our municipal affairs," said the mayor of Huntingdon, Stéphane Gendron, in a press release.
"I have already informed the francization officer of the OQLF by telephone, that Bill 101 - regarding municipal governance - had and would not apply in the territory of the City of Huntingdon, said the mayor. It is useless to squander public funds to enforce a law that does not work  for our administration. End of story. " Link{Fr}
He's quite a character, this Stéphane Gendron, remember, he's the guy who announced on his television show that Israel had no right to exist..

Ottawa cans language school teachers
"The federal government is getting out of the business of providing language training to its employees, throwing 190 teachers and instructors across Canada out of work.
The move - which started with downsizing in the 1990s, and intensified after a 2006 Treasury Board decision - marks the first time in decades that the government won't be directly offering French and English training to public servants to meet the language requirements of their jobs." Link

Interpreter, please s.v.p
The letter writer was upset about what he considered an intolerable situation in certain of Montreal's French schools which have a large body of immigrant students whose parents don't speak French, but some English.
He gave the example of the Filipino community whose members generally speak pretty good English along with their native Tagalog.
It seems that when these non-French speaking parents come in for the proverbial parent/teacher conferences, those teachers who are bilingual, (the majority) conduct the meeting with the parent in English.
This according to the letter writer is an outrage. No teacher in a French school should ever carry on a meeting in English.
His solution- an interpreter.
The school board should provide an interpreter who would  translate the parents English into French for the teacher and translate into English the teacher's French responses.  
This even if the teacher speaks fluent English. arggh!!!.... Link{Fr}

Students too dumb to learn English
When anyone starts a conversation with the proverbial "I'm not against this, but...." you can be darn sure that the opposite is true.
Forty Quebec City area teachers signed a letter to the Minister of Education, that started with that old bromide, "We're not against teaching English, but.." and then went on to explain why they think it's a bad idea to force grade six students into taking a semester completely in English.
For the teachers, the main problem is that three-quarters of the students are too dumb to handle it, as well as their parents who would be incapable of dealing the supervision of 'English' homework..... At least they're honest! Link

Every picture tells a story

Here is a wide shot of the anti-Cunneyworth demonstration at the Bell Centre, which ironically, I found it on a separatist website.
What's interesting, is that its possible to get a sense of how big the demonstration actually was, which was a lot smaller than reports would have us believe.
The picture confirms what I reported, that participants ranged between 90-150 people and in no way came close to the 500 people reported by some media outlets.

By the way, a shout-out to J.T Utah of for scooping everyone on a regular basis in relation to news about  the Montreal Canadiens and the NHL in general.
The website was the first to accurately report the amount of demonstrators at the above demonstration at 100, scooping everyone in the mainstream media!
The site was the only place that called out Cammalleri for his selfishness BEFORE he was traded.
Sports reporters are too gutless to report the truth about unrest on the teams they cover because they are in fact glorified jock-sniffers who's first order of business is to protect their job and retain access to the players and the dressing room.
Check out

Mitt Romney mocked for speaking French
"Zut alors! Il parle francais! -Mitt Romney is being skewered in a new Gingrich attack ad for speaking French.According to the TV spot dubbed “The French Connection,” his bilingual ability puts him on par with the liberal flip-flopper who happens to share his home state: John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic candidate." Link

Short Stuff

Terry DiMonte is coming home
Four years in Calgary gave returning CHOM-FM morning man a new perspective on Montreal.
Montreal Gazette Alternate Link

Not enough students in French cegep
The west island of Montreal's only French language  cegep is in danger of closing because of a lack of students. The 1,100 student Gérald-Godin college is located in the predominantly English section of town. Link

Westmount honored by Parks Canada
"The federal government has named the city of Westmount, Que. one of Canada's "iconic neighborhoods" for its architecture.
The tiny enclave west of downtown Montreal is one of four places Parks Canada has added to the list of historically significant sites in Canada." Link

Hydro-Quebec to host  English-only conference in Montreal
Hydro-Quebec is coming under fire from the usual suspects for hosting an international scientific conference in Montreal that will be conducted exclusively in English.
For Louise Marchand of the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF), keeping French in the research world is a challenge. Even in France, the prestigious INRS has decided to publish its research papers in English only.
For the president of Impératif français, Jean-Paul Perreault, it is 'incredible' that a Quebec state company would host an English-only conference.
"It's a shame to see that this prejudice- English science, English as a world language - is multiplied to the detriment of other national languages ​​by organizations and individuals who should, with pride, say that on our territory, our language must prevail, " Link{Fr}

NDP's Mulcair will keep French citizenship
"NDP leadership hopeful Thomas Mulcair holds dual Canadian and French citizenship and vows to keep both even if he should one day become Canada's prime minister." Link

Your editor' humble opinion;
Mulcair is toast......The Ndp membership outside Quebec is already fearful of a party takeover by Quebec separatists and any illusions about Mulciar's loyalties, vis-a-vis Canada versus Quebec were shattered by the discovery that he's also a closet French citizen.

So Uncle Tom, ...turn out the lights and don't let the door hit you on your way out!

This landed in my email from a reader. Enjoy, but you need French....


Finally.....some semi-original artwork.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Anglophones with Red Hats

Watching the ongoing Quebec language debate over these last years, I remain sorely disappointed how easily the issue has been manipulated by French language militants into a public discussion based on a series of false premises that twist reality, resulting in public discussions over unreality.

One of the most blatantly false premises concocted by French language militants, is that of the calculation of Quebec English-speakers versus that of French-speakers.

Readers know my position on statistics and how they can be manipulated to more or less support any position one might want to promote or attack.

In this endeavor, French-language militants are expert in parsing, twisting or interpreting facts and statistics to suit their own purposes and it is our own fault and that of the Press that we give these conclusions any weight or credence.

In Fridays post one of our readers made the point that French students are clearly superior to English students because in a certain study among fifteen year-olds, French students scored higher than their English counterparts in reading by a score of 522 to 520, a statistical difference of about one-third of one percentage point.
Of course the alarming dropout rate in high school or the shameful performance in university graduation rates as compared to English speakers is of course conveniently omitted by the commenter, typical of the dishonest tactics regularly utilized by French language promoters, in the statistical war waged on the English.

But more importantly, there is another practice going on in the language debate that is more dangerous and insidious. That is the promulgation of a dishonest debate based on a false premise.

Consider two teams asked to debate whether the flat end of the Earth culminates in a cliff or a waterfall.
Participating in  such a debate which starts off with such a decidedly false premise is absolutely pointless and so, the resulting 'winner' of said debate, is really of no consequence!

Believe it or not, we are engaged in that very same type of debate here in Quebec, over the issue of anglophones, Francophones, Ethnics and language.

Here French language militants have cleverly manipulated the basic premise of the debate between the relative weight of the French and English languages in Quebec by making a fundamental and dishonest leap.

I like to call that slight of hand 'Anglos with Red Hats.'
The simple issue of how many people use English rather than French in Quebec is manipulated and twisted by subjecting the rather simple question into a discussion about the number of Anglophones, versus Francophones, versus Ethnics with the resulting false premise adopted, that only 'pure-bred' Anglophones should be counted as English-speakers. It's nonsense.

By dividing English speakers by ethnicity, history or parentage and only counting a portion thereof, French language militants have been able to reduce the number of Quebec English-speakers from the very accurate count of 13.1% made by Statistics Canada, to that of 8%, or 5% or even 3% as I heard make mention.

Every time I hear the phrase "Historical Anglophones" or some other nonsensical qualifier used by militants, I think of 'Anglos with Red Hats,' a device whereby the numbers are reduced by dividing English speakers in sub-groups and then using just one of the sub-groups as a debating point.

Now as I mentioned in an earlier piece, I have a friend whose mother immigrated from Italy over forty years ago and believe it or not, doesn't speak a word of English or French.
She is as you would probably agree, quite an anomaly, not representative at all of the immigrant experience, but it is this type of 'ethnic' that Quebec language militants would have us believe is the norm, rather than the exception, and so can be counted as neither French-speaking or English-speaking, thus removed from the debate. Very convenient...

The reality is that almost every immigrant, their children and their descendants adopt either English or French as the language they use in public, regardless of what they speak around the dinner table.
Even there, the adopted language, either English or French soon becomes the lingua franca of the family and in fact, the children and grand children of immigrants usually lose the 'old' language as assimilation into the host society runs its course.

There are few Quebec Jews who speak the Yiddish that their grandparents came over with from Europe and that holds true among Italian, Greek and other immigrant families where the children and grand children lose fluency in the old tongue rather quickly.
It takes but one or two generations  for the descendants of immigrants to become solidly entrenched in the English or French side of Quebec life, language included.

And so, regardless of mother tongue, ethnics adopt either English or French, take your pick.

It is this all important choice that Bill 101 tries to influence, so the government does acknowledge what French militants won't, that Ethnics will by choice become part of the French or English community.

So why all the different classifications?
Why do French-language militants insist on discussing Anglophones, Ethnics  or Historical Anglophones versus Francophones, when in fact all we should be looking at is English-speakers versus French-speakers, period.

Obviously it is not convenient, especially with Ethnics, where the division of into English-speakers and French-speakers is asymmetrical and benefits the English side immensely.
More ethnics become English-speakers than French-speakers, so when debating the issue, its always more convenient for French language militants to return to the Anglophone versus Francophone debate while ignoring those pesky ethnics who assimilate to the English side in too high numbers.

Every time you hear or see a French-language militant use the terms Anglophones, Ethnics and Francophones in relation to language, remember that they are using a device to avoid talking about the real issue, English-speakers versus French-speakers.

Instead of comparing Apples to Oranges, they attempt to pull the wool over the shoulders of Quebecers by comparing 'Granny Smith Apples' to Oranges, (omitting the rest of the apples) a rather neat trick......

In Quebec's language debate, the amount of Anglophones, Ethnics or Francophones, is in fact, irrelevant.
All that counts is the number of English-speakers versus the number French-speakers, a fact that militants try hard to repress.

And so any discussion of history, ethnicity or mother tongue is just a case of counting"Anglos with red hats." 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Fans Lose Faith in the Habs

A lot of players have turned their backs on the Canadiens.
The latest sad turn of events surrounding the trading of Michael Cammallerie in the middle of a game was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back, with Canadiens fans collectively throwing in the towel on the season and giving up on the team they so dearly love.

When Cammallerie called the team a bunch of 'losers' or as they say in French, 'loosers,' it set the stage for another desperate move by management dealing him off to Calgary without even bothering to poll other general mangers for a possible better offer.
It was a sad confirmation that the noble Canadiens organization had gone off the rails.

When my son, as loyal and dedicated supporter as can be, gives up on the team, it tells me that the Habs have lost the respect of its most loyal fans, a group that would forgive practically anything (even an English coach,) but not losing like this and not a sad sack management team that acts like a bunch of bumbling clowns.

I have never in my life seen fans so down on the Habs as now. It's shocking.

Talk shows, newspapers and coffee cooler conversations are largely in agreement that the Habs are toast and that it's time to blow up the team and look for a lottery pick.

Over the years decades, hockey and the Canadiens have given me more pleasure and enjoyment than I can describe, so I don't want to pile on and be negative, there's plenty of that going around.

I choose today to relive my top Montreal Canadiens memories;

10. Earliest Memories
Going to the old Montreal Forum on Sunday afternoon to watch the Junior Canadiens play. 50¢ got you into the door and bought a standing room place behind the barrier on an aisle that separated the arena midway up the stands. I must have been 13 or 14 years old. It was a pretty good view. I watched the likes of future Habs stars like Yvan Cournoyer, Serge Savard, Jacques Laperrière, Guy Lapointe, Jacques Lemaire start their careers. The 1969 team was perhaps the greatest junior team ever assembled, with at least a dozen future NHLers.

09. My first slap shot.  
They say that Bernie 'Boom Boom' Geoffrion was the inventor of the slap shot, but the first time I saw one live at a game, was in 1964 (I think) in a match between the Habs and the Chicago Black Hawks. Stepping over the blue line, the legendary Bobby Hull 'The Golden Jet' unloaded a cannon that whizzed by the seemingly stunned Lorne 'Gumper' Worsley.
By the way, how come players in those days all had great nicknames?

08. Best game watched on TV.  
In a 1993 playoff game against the L.A Kings, the Canadiens were already down in the series 2-0 and about to lose again when coach Jacques Demers asks the referee to measure Marty McSorley's hockey stick for an illegal curve. On the ensuing powerplay Eric Desjardins scored to tie it up and then scored in overtime to turn the series around.
I remember this game like it was yesterday because I was forced to watch on a tiny twelve television in a motel room in Chicoutimi, all by lonesome.
By the way, is that the recently retired Kerry Fraser doing the measuring?

7. Best playoff run 1993
The recording-breaking ten overtime wins on the road to the Stanley cup was easily the best playoff run ever.

6. My Uncles first Hockey Game
My uncle had come over from the old country for a visit and hearing that I had season tickets asked to attend a hockey game. His closest experience to hockey was soccer, which he knew pretty well and so he had a pretty easy time understanding the game on the ice, even the offsides.
What he didn't understand was the hoopla at the end of the game and why the fans weren't leaving, considering that the Canadiens had lost the game.
You see, I explained him, they were about to award the Calgary Flames the Stanley Cup.....

5. Best comeback
The 2008 Rangers game where the Canadiens overcame a 5-0 lead. Watch highlights on YouTube

Ken Dryden's legendary pose
4. All time Favorites players
Most gentlemanly player - Jean Beliveau, plus he was my favorite captain.
Best fighting matchup - John Fergusan versus Toronto's Eddie Shack
Best nickname- Yvan Cournoyer -"The Roadrunner'
Most exciting  player- Guy Lafleur
Favorite goalie- Gump Worsley (style wise- the Tim Thomas of his day)
Favorite tough guy- Chris 'Knuckles' Nilan- Worst enforcer- Georges Laraque.
Favorite coach- Scotty Bowman
Best play-by-play broadcast team- Danny Gallivan and Dick Irvin.   Worst-Bob Cole plus anyone
Best French announcer- René Lecavalier
Best Brother team- Frank and Pete Mahovolich (I was too young to recall the 'Rocket' Richard, but I do remember his younger brother, Henri, the 'Pocket Rocket')
Favorite quirks -Serge Savard's 'Spinerama' move. J.C Tremblay's lobs from center ice that bounced three feet in front of the goalie, scaring the crap out of them and actually scoring a couple of times.

03 Biggest disappointment
The 1967 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Stanley Cup final. The Canadiens were a better team and favored (at least in Montreal.)

03. Best Hockey food
The everlasting Forum hotdog (even in the Bell Centre), perfectly cooked with a grilled bun, with a slap of mustard.
Cheap & simple perfection. Still love it.

02. Most drama
Patrick Roy telling general manger Ronald Cory that he'd played his last game in Montreal  after being pulled by Mario Tremblay after a humiliating performance,

01.Greatest Habs memory
This is a no-brainer. It was the seventh game semi-final against the Bruins in the old Forum in 1979 overtime. Trailing by two goals in the third period, the Canadians mounted a comeback and when the Bruins took a too-many men penalty, Don Cherry jumped up on the bench and mocked the crowd, intimating that it is they that influenced the referee. That sequence is memorialized each week on Coach's Corner.
After Lafleur sent the game into overtime, late in the game with a blistering slapshot from just inside the blue line, Yvan Lambert scored the winner in overtime, eliminating the Bruins.  It was the most dramatic game I ever witnessed.
I met Lambert twenty years later and kidded him that he had kicked the puck in the net. (I swear he did, I had a pretty good view) and he got furious at the accusation. I met him again last year in the old-timers VIP lounge in the Bell Centre when I was talking with Jean Perron and he interrupted our conversation to remind me once again that he didn't kick the puck in the net. Ha, I guess he's still sensitive about it!

Well I feel better just thinking about all those Habs memories and I bet you've got some fond memories of your own as well.
Let's hear it in the comment section, What is your GREATEST Habs memory!

At any rate, having the Habs perform so poorly this year really sucks.
Its a bit depressing in the frigid dog days of January, looking on at even less hospitable February, where all we sports fans want nothing more than to hunker down in front of the TV set in anticipation of another Habs win (0r at least a competitive game) with hockey players who we can be proud to cheer for.

Alas it is not to be....

Maybe next year......

By the way, if I'm wrong on some facts or figures, so be it. I wrote all this from memory, so gimme a break......