|Lisée and De Courcy an attempt to "sauver les meubles"|
The reality is that the letter sent and published to the Anglo community in the Montreal Gazette, is nothing more than an effort to co-opt resistance to Bill 14 and it has about as much credibility as a heartfelt request by a Nigerian Prince in seeking your financial aid in helping him liberate his fortune.
It probably goes to the political acumen of Jean-François Lisée who alone in cabinet has the English language skills and the sense of the Anglo community to understand that resistance to Bill 14 is building to a dangerous point, where the political fight is poised to spill over Quebec's borders, into the United States and the rest of Canada, an unfriendly arena where Quebec can only be the loser and where the penalty attached to being perceived as anti-English and discriminatory can be considerable.
It must have taken some discussion to get De Courcy to agree to the letter, Lisée explaining the dire consequeneces of letting the issue spiral out of control.
Most separatists like De Courcy who have had little or no contact outside the French milieu, disdain and ignore Anglos, considering them pests, like ants at a picnic.
For Jean-François Lisée, someone who has dealt with the community and has been exposed to a world outside Quebec, the danger of riling up the rest of the English continent, is a danger he recognizes as real and perhaps his more cautious approach convinced De Courcy, that something had to be done to diffuse the building situation.
The letter wasn't sent in order to offer concessions (none were offered) it was simply meant to mollify and co-opt, to somehow put a damper on protest.
The realization that the anti-Bill 14 lobby groups, led by CRITIQ, (the largest,) but also including The Unity Group, Put Canadian Flag Back In Quebec Assembly and others, are continuing to grow and gather strength, is a frightening scenario to the PQ, especially if these groups take the logical next step and re-locate the fight internationally.
This is the danger that the PQ faces, if ever the Americans become convinced that Quebec is anti-English and by logical extension, Anti-American, the economic impact to the province will be devastating.
Quebec has already thrown the first rock across the border, telling American retailing giants that their names must be altered to operate in Quebec.
If lobby groups take their fight across the border, they will receive an attentive audience, as French is the language and the people that Americans love to hate.
Sorry if the truth hurts.....
It doesn't take much to set the Americans off on an anti-French crusade, as we saw it 2003, when France's opposition to the invasion of Iraq led to a boycott of French products and the silly creation of the 'Freedom Fries' meant to erase the very word 'French' from the common American lexicon.
"The calls for a boycott did raise some concerns among businesses. For instance, it prompted French's Mustard to make a press release stating "the only thing French about French's Mustard is the name." LinkAs for the letter itself, I recognize Mr. Lisee's slick hand and the 'Golly gee, Aw shucks!" writing style of a country slicker.
Nowhere in the letter do the writers offer anything new, except to promise that at a later date the PQ 'might' entertain changes and so entreat Anglos to 'lay off' in the meantime.
When discussing the proposed prohibition for French military families to receive an exemption for English school, the letter assures us that it will no longer be part of the legislation.
"Children of the military: The section of Bill 14 that deals with the children of French-speaking military parents will be examined and discussed at a later date, with the introduction of a new and apposite bill" The LetterBut De Courcy is already on record as saying that she'd take the military clause out of Bill 14 only as a compromise to assure its passage, BUT, foolishly admits she would re-introduce the restriction at a later date.
"De Courcy says she's ready to drop the section on military exemptions in Bill 14. Though, she says she'll re-introduce it in a different bill." LinkTalk about rank dishonesty!
De Courcy and Lisée must really take us for idiots, do they really think we can't read and that we can't recognize a cheap trick when we see it?
The truth is that their promises of 'future considerations' plus 25¢ won't buy a call in a phone booth!"
Cloyingly patronizing, the letter reminds me of a used car salesman who puts his arm around your shoulder and swears up and down that you're getting a great deal. "Trust me, would I cheat you?"
It's nothing short of sickening and I hope nobody in the Anglo and Ethnic community falls for the phony concern!
Quebec's best political journalist, Jean Lapierre, confronted Lisée over the letter asking him why it had not been published in the French media. He pointedly asked the minister if it was a case of saying different things to the different communites, to which Lisee was ill at ease answering.
Later in the day, I caught Lisée giving an interview to one of the French language television news stations where an interviewer asked if the letter represented a change in direction.
Lisée responded that it was nothing of the sort and that the PQ remained firmly committed to the basic platform of Bill 14.
So much for rapprochement and an honest attempt at compromise,
If anything, the letter shows weakness and fear, something most commentators haven't picked up on. Now is the time for anti-Bill 14 forces to put the metal to the pedal and go full speed ahead in relation to protest.
Lobby groups need to expand their efforts to the United States and the rest of Canada in order to force the PQ into meaningful compromise, it is the logical next step.
Marching on Quebec City and militating here in the Quebec serves no more useful purpose, it is a battleground where no satisfaction is to be had.
Although those protest did indeed serve to put the PQ and language hawks on notice, it is time to move on strategically.
An attentive audience awaits anti-Bill 14 activists south of the border, where conservatives are occupied with the 'Spanish' invasion which they fear will lead to a two-language state and the attendant language mess like in Canada.
It is the hook that will enable our story to be heard.
When Marois or her finance minister next go grovelling to New York City to placate nervous bankers, or give a speech entreating Americans to invest in Quebec, they should be met by placard weilding anti-Bill 14 protesters, where just five such activists would have more impact than 200 in Quebec City.
This is the type of protest that will hit home with the large unspoken pool of Quebec francophones who remain generally opposed to PQ language policies but are uninterested in active opposition because they perceive themselves as having 'no dog in the fight.'
Having Quebec's reputation attacked abroad is something that will draw them into the debate and the possible repercussions, the attendant economic risk, is something that will definitely get their interest.
In Quebec we often talk about linguistic peace, if not harmony.
It is comparable to warring parties agreeing to a ceasefire where battle lines are frozen in place and where nobody advances or retreats.
The PQs Bill 14 initiative is a breech of that ceasefire and a invitation to renewed hostilities.
It is our reaction to that provocation that is the measure of our resolve.
It is incumbent upon us to show the PQ and indeed the rest of the province that Bill 14 is a ticket to renewed hostilities, a new language war where the cost of the conflagration is not worth the price.
Think about it, that is why it's time to take the fight to the next level.