If you have French please enjoy the original French version by following this link.
Out of respect for the writer I offer this translation without comment;
The appointment of the new general manger of the Habs sparked all kinds of reactions this week, some skeptical, others laudatory, and still others who deplored… the English-sounding name Kent Hughes.
“All that remains is to replace Ducharme with an anglophone and bingo! A hat trick, ”wrote columnist Lise Ravary on Twitter, a post that quickly went viral, prompting a few “likes”, but many more negative replies.
Are you saying, Madam Reporter, that Kent Hughes is less Québécois because his name is not French-sounding?, asked several Internet users. Do you mean outright that he is not… a Québécois?
No, no, no, not at all, she replied. “As Parizeau said, anyone who has an address in Quebec… But it would have been a plus if his name had identified him as speaking French without having to search his CV.
Hmm… Who is Québécois, who is not? The question is delicate and to be handled with tact. We have also had evidence of this in recent weeks with the government's famous advertising campaign to "end prejudice" which seemed straight out of Bye-Bye. "In Quebec, a man from South America with tattoos running in the street, we call that: a Quebec neighbour", for example. “A group of young black people gathered in a park at nightfall, we call that: friends from Quebec. " And so on. This clumsy campaign full of stereotypes has aroused unease. Especially when we realized that in English, “Québécois neighbour” was simply “a neighbour. And the "Quebec friends", simple "friends". A blunder that we then sought to correct, but which nevertheless reveals the difficulty of handling the term 'Québécois'.
It's a difficulty which to be honest, on which the government does not have a monopoly. How did the Habs introduce its new CEO on Twitter last Tuesday? “Québécois Kent Hughes.” But in English, he suddenly became “the Montreal-born” Kent Hughes…
A columnist stumbles.
The government stumbles.
The Habs stumble.
And quite frankly, they are not the only ones: we also occasionally stumble over this delicate question at La Presse. As recently as last October, the language advisor of La Presse, Lucie Côté, whom you like to read every Sunday in the Context section, pointed out that we tended to reserve the word Québécois only for French speakers. of 'pur laine.' Completely unconscious. In our texts, Leylah Fernandez is often from Laval, for example, not from Quebec (although we write the Ontarian Bianca Andreescu). Same thing for Farah Alibay, who is said to be Montrealer, because born in the metropolis, rarely Quebecer. Lucie also pointed out that in our texts, we sometimes define those who have come from abroad to settle here by the country they left, as if that defined them forever. And this, regardless of the number of years you have lived in Quebec. As if involuntarily, at La Presse, the fact of being Quebecois became an ethnic origin, whereas all the people who live in Quebec are in principle Quebecers, of course.
In order for us to do better, Lucie Côté dug into the question and offered us guidelines so that we would be more inclusive in the future. Then a word was sent to all of the 200 journalists and artisans of La Presse to make them aware of the importance, when writing, of always asking themselves why they choose such and such a way of presenting a person. Why, for example, is Dick Pound often referred to as a “Montreal lawyer”? And Leonard Cohen as a “Montreal poet? ”
Journalists are then invited to ask themselves if it is not necessary, sometimes, to modify their text, so that it is more inclusive towards all Quebecers, whatever their name, whatever their origin. or their language.
Which brings us back to Kent Hughes, whom we have therefore well and truly presented as a Québécois in recent days. Because he is very Québécois. He was born in Beaconsfield. He played minor hockey with the Lac Saint-Louis Lions. He was a member of the Patriotes du Cégep de Saint-Laurent. "He's a guy who has always spoken French, whose parents spoke French too, noted Enrico Ciccone in an interview with our journalist Richard Labbé. He's a guy from here who ended up going to the United States for his career, like many others have done. Martin Brodeur also did that, and do we say that he is not a Quebecer? We should stop with that…” And we should also stop having to detail the CV of a Quebecer, as I have just done, to make sure that he is indeed one.