Friday, December 2, 2016

French versus English Volume 109

English school commissions humiliate Anglo community....again.

If there's one lesson to be learned from the ongoing fiasco at the two largest English language school boards, it is that Quebec anglophones have nothing on their Francophone counterparts when it comes to mismanagement and abuse of the public trust.

For those outside of Quebec, school commissions operate the schools in designated territories and are divided by language. In areas with anglo population, there is one commission that runs the English schools and another running the French schools. These boards are chosen in elections by the general public where voting turnout for the various commissioners runs somewhere between 5% and 19%, not exactly a ringing endorsement of democracy.

Both the Lester B. Pearson and the English Montreal School Boards are in hot water over years of mismanagement, but things came to a boil this week when the  chairperson of the Lester B. Pearson
was revealed to have been found in breach of ethics, three times.

"Suanne Stein Day, chair of the Lester B. Pearson School Board, denies any wrongdoing despite being found guilty of three ethic breaches after an investigation.
"The board's ethics commissioner determined in August that Stein Day had violated three separate articles of the board's code of ethics on multiple occasions. The board, however, is powerless to take any action against Stein Day."
"I certainly recognize that I am not perfect and I made some mistakes but what I did I always did because I believed it was in the best interests of the board," said Stein Day.
But in speaking to reporters immediately afterward, Stein Day denied doing anything wrong. Link
She is accused of rudeness, a potty mouth and interference with employees in the performance of their duties.
The 27 year employee who initiated the complaint that led to the findings of wrongdoing was unceremoniously fired. Link

Of course the school board is refusing to table the ethics breach report citing "confidentiality. "

The utter ridiculousness of being found guilty of a breach of ethics and then not being subject to any sanction, testifies to the utter dysfunction and arrogance of school boards. 

By the way, if any insider has a copy of the said report, I would love to publish it in the public interest.

The education minister, always leery of interfering in the affairs of the English school boards, was so incensed, he appointed an auditor to oversee the shenanigans at both boards,  including involving UPAC, the anti-corruption police to sniff around after some serious allegations of fraud at the EMSB.

At any rate, Quebec school boards are about as useful as the American Electoral College, an utterly unnecessary layer of bureaucracy that burns up money better spent on the children's education.

There are those who argue that to turn over control of English schools to a French government is a frightening scenario, but with leadership like this protecting our interests, I'd rather go with the proverbial 'Door Number Two.'

Quebec Premier supports Saudi bid to join La Francophonie

As unbelievable as is Saudi Arabia's wish to join the Francophonie, (the fraternity of French speaking countries. similar to the Commonwealth) is support for that idea from Quebec's Premier Philippe Couillard who stated that he isn't shutting the door to the idea.
"The Heads of State and Government gathered in Madagascar for the XVI Francophonie Summit will have to decide if they will accept the candidacy of the kingdom  of Saudi Arabia - an absolute monarchy where almost nobody speaks French and which is on the list of the worst countries in regards to human rights. " Link{fr}
Anybody care to explain???

Journal du Quebec loves this ad.

The newspaper gives the team and the players a resounding A+ for effort for this monstrously bad advertisement.
Actually the French is so bad that perhaps it makes the whole thing memorable... Dunno..

Trial delays could free over 220 indicted

The Quebec justice system is so slow that judges are beginning to free defendants over delays in getting trials underway, with trial dates of up to five years after indictment not unheard of.
The delays have led to the abandonment of procedures against a Mafiosi, and several bikers and threatens the trials of those ex Laval city officials charged with corruption.
Tom Harding, the conductor of the train that killed 47 people in Lac Megantic is petitioning the court to abandon his prosecution for unreasonable delay because his trial still hasn't taken place 38 months after charges were laid.   Link{Fr}

The Quebec justice minister Stéphanie Vallée, in a not too comforting exchange, seemed to indicate that she did not really know what the problem is, but at any rate claimed that it wasn't her fault...duh!

Corrupt ex-Laval mayor pleads out and takes a gift sentence

The dizzying cast of characters involved in the various and numerous corruptions schemes that have surfaced in Quebec over the last few years makes it a bit difficult to remember who is accused of what.
Not so in the case of Gilles Vaillancourt, the ex-mayor of Laval who is easily recalled as the biggest crook of them all.
For over thirty years the corrupt mayor bilked the city he ran for untold millions, generating so much money that the excess was shipped off to secret Swiss and Caribbean bank accounts. Link

Laval citizens were eager to see the grand thief have his day in court, hopefully humiliated and then shipped of to jail for a good long sentence.

Alas this is Quebec and it was not to be.
After four years waiting for a trial a "deal" was announced where the good mayor would be sentenced to a paltry 6 years in prison,  a sentence which means that he'll be out of jail sometime next week, according to our generous parole system.

He was ordered to repay some 9 million dollars to the city he robbed, supposedly all that remains, but raise your hand if you don't believe he's got plenty more millions stashed.

All in all, a totally unsatisfactory conclusion to this sordid tale of greed and betrayal.

French descriptor on English business' now mandatory.

Rules came into effect this week which will force businesses with outdoor signage to add a descriptor to the sign if the name of the business is not French.
The rules don't apply to proper names or place names.

The new rule has been adopted after the humiliating loss that the Quebec government suffered over  trademarks in the case of Quebec vs. Best Buy when it tried to force companies to translate their trademarked names into French.
The superior court victory for Best Buy was upheld by Quebec court of appeals, after which the government threw in the towel.

The new "descriptor" rule is actually as mild as can be, applying to outdoor signage alone, a compromise that satisfies few.  Link

So it comes as no surprise that the Société Saint-Jean Baptiste is upset that the rules don't go far enough, demanding more stringent regulations in an Op/Ed piece Le Devoir. Link{fr}

Montreal protest calls for crackdown on English-only websites.

A bunch of French-language militants staged a photo-op march entreating Quebec’s language police to take action against businesses lacking French websites."
"A contingent of French-language advocates staged a march through Montreal Tuesday, demanding that Quebec’s language watchdog crack down on businesses without French websites.
According to provincial law, any business operating in Quebec must offer a French-language version of its online property.
Protesters carried a Quebec flag and a cardboard box filled with 423 files through the streets of Montreal and delivered the complaints to L’Office Quebecois de la Langue Francaise."

Quebec Human Rights Commission issues another humiliating decision.

"A West Island man says he has been ‘humiliated’ by the Quebec Human Rights Commission’s settlement in an incident of racial profiling.
The commission recommended the City of Montreal pay him a settlement of $2,000 after he was stopped for jaywalking.
On Tuesday, the Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations argued that a decade ago that settlement would have been $10,000.
The complainant, Marcus Gordon is upset about the settlement and said it sends a bad message to Quebecers that it’s not worth filing a complaint.
The incident occurred in May 2011, when Gordon and his fiancée were leaving the Metropolis theatre following a benefit concert for murdered local hip-hop artist Bad News Brown.
"Only me and my girlfriend got pulled over by three officers. Not one, not two, but three with gloves," said Gordon." Link
 $2,000 settlement? Whaaa?????
I bet the hearing and the police and commission lawyers cost  at least $100,000.

Maybe they should have saved a buck and just paid off the complainant $10,000 without prejudice!

But no, a message had to be delivered, that is, that those who choose to complain will be run through the ringer.
Clearly if you are Black or any visible minority for that matter, you aren't going to get justice from the Quebec Human Rights Commission.

In fact, the pitiful awards that the board does sanction sometimes serve only to remind citizens of colour, that resistance is futile.

I wish there was some lawyer out there who would take cases on a contingency bases and litigate in real courts, where judges aren't keen to do the police's dirty work and where large awards would send a message.

By the way Montreal leads the way in prosecuting the following crimes;

Jaywalking while Black
Driving a nice car while Black
Loitering while Black.

Just two words..."Steak and Eggs"

Yes I get the mistake in the title, but that is how a Radio-Canada reporter described the sad state of affairs wherein French businesses (not only in Montreal) are applying English names to their stores and restaurants, a 'problem' shared also in France.
I can't explain the trend to use English names, other than to say that it appears that the use of English name adds a certain caché, much like a hoity-toity Anglo might use a French term, in describing the practice as adding a certain "je ne sais quoi!"

In a piece I can only characterize as a bit sad, A radio Canada story recounted the sad state of affairs.
The piece goes on to decry the naming of a 'Barbier' in Sherbrooke as "Barber Shop" (At least the reporter got the 'two words' part right!)

Here is a bit of what was written;
"When we consider that Quebecers are brainwashed with the American dream, virtual and illusory, we say that the game is fixed and that we should resist and fight. But I hear several saying: "What does it matter?"
 It seems that, for a long time, English television  and other English-language media have played a role of acculturation and, possibly, the assimilation of Francophones in Quebec, as has happened elsewhere in North America. 
It seems that the Radio-Canada is thinking the same. In this report, it seems to suggest that perhaps we should not harass honest people over so little: after all, it's just two words. 
(my translation) Original story in French....Link{fr}

Did you know...

With the death of her hubby René Angélil, Celine Dion is now close to becoming a billionaire with a net worth of about $940 million...yikes!
The Conservatives plan on holding a leadership debate in Quebec in French, a difficult task considering that only five can speak the language.

Anglophone musicians' careers take off, thanks to French TV show

Montreal's Guido Nincheri Park to keep its name following public outcry

Quebec government goes to court to intervene against a francophone minority...Huh??

Muslim Scholar: French Language “Useless and a Waste of Time”

Brad Pitt's tries out a French Canadian accent in movie "Allied"


  1. Just make Quebec an independent country already.

  2. Student talking to himself is sad.