Archive for October 2007
Barbara Kay likes it both ways. One year ago in an infamous column in the National Post called The Rise of Quebecistan, she linked a Montreal march for peace in the Middle-East and “cultural and historical sympathy for Arab countries from the francophonie — Morocco, Algeria, Lebanon” as proof of rampant Quebec anti-semitism.
She now does a full 180 and in her October 31st column now accuses the Sovereignists and Pauline Marois of trying to stir up hate against the people that she herself, no just last year, was calling : “Hezbollah-supporting residents of southern Lebanon cash(ing) in on their Canadian citizenship and flee(ing) to the safety of Quebec”.
Ms.Kay prides herself on having predicted last summer that “the Bouchard-Taylor Commission would likely stir up dormant sovereigntist mud at the bottom of what has been a relatively clear pond since the provincial Liberals took office in 2003″.
The proposed Quebec Identity Act was a ploy by Marois to stir up the dormant racism that Ms. Kay is convinced lies at the root of Quebec Separatism. “(…)she’s planting seeds in the muck at the bottom of Quebec’s political pond(…)”
While Barbara Kay was digging in the mud and muck at the bottom of Quebec pond looking for proof of Quebec racisim and bigotry, seven Chinese-Canadian fishermen were victims of violent racist attacks while fishing in southeastern Ontario. Andy Zhang, president of the Chinese Anglers Sports Club of Canada, said last week that many Asian fishermen have had rocks thrown at them, have been pushed off bridges and have had their gear thrown in the water.” The RCMP is investigating the attacks.
So far no Quebec separatists seem to be involved. That’s probably why Barbara Kay is not writting about this story.
“The devil is always on the lookout for the moral relativism that signals a latter-day Faust, and it seems he has found some eager recruits amongst Quebec’s most prominent spokespeople,” wrote Ms. Kay in The Rise of Quebecistan. I’m guessing she includes herself as one of these spokespeople…
I live in the western part of Montreal and one of the countless perks of living in that part of the city is to have the Montreal Suburban delivered to you doorstep every week.
René Lévesque did not want the political party he founded to be called the Parti Québécois. His choice was the much less emotionally charged and very descriptive Parti Souveraineté-Association and it is apparently very reluctantly that he accepted the choice of the party members. He did not want his party to be the party of a people. He wanted it to be the party of a people’s project.
The essence of this project and what made it a model from Scotland to Catalonia was that you could create a country for a historical and cultural community while protecting a strictly legal atheistic deaf-dumb and blind definition of citizenship.
It seems we have lost this notion of citizenship. Mario Dumont’s action Démocratique du Québec became the official opposition by correctly identifying a real discomfort in the francophone population and positioning himself as the defender of Québec’s “identity” and “values”.
Because of its very narrow victory many forget that the Liberal party narrowly escaped annihilation at the last election. Its francophone supporters were massively jumping over to Mario’s ship. In the end, only the Anglophone minority’s stubborn refusal to participate in democracy and their soviet-style support of the party with the most red on its logo allowed the Liberals to win the most seats in the election with less than 20% of the francophone vote.
After the election Liberal Jean Charest formed a cabinet with only one self-described member of the Anglophone community even though half of the votes that elected him were from the Anglos and other minorities. The Liberals new priority was to shed its image of Parti des Anglais and position themselves as defenders of Québec’s “identity” and “values”.
During the last election campaign, only André Boisclair chose to stand above this very real dividing of votes along ethnic lines. René Lévesque latest successor, Pauline Marois, has decided to turn her back on this principled heritage of her party’s past and decided that the party’s future was to become another party defending Québec’s ‘identity’ and ‘values’.
All three parties are no waiting for the Bouchard-Taylor Commission to tell them exactly what are these values they are defending.
If they had not panicked, the Parti Québécois could have realized that they actually had an ideal position in the current political climate. First of all, they had and irreproachable record when it came to the protection of Québec’s rights.
Second, while the Liberal’s and Mario would have been arguing about who was the “real” spokesperson of the Québécois, the PQ could’ve turned to voters and said: “Listen, we won’t try to tell you who you are or what your values are. We will give you the tools for these values, whatever they may be, need to not only survive, but thrive. We will give you an independent country.”
By removing from her party’s program any obligation to actually do anything about independence, like holding a referendum, Pauline Marois has relieved sovereignists of their “duty” to vote for the PQ. Just like the Liberals could count on the rock solid base of Montreal’s Anglophone community to deliver 15 to 20 ridings even in the worst of times, The PQ had its own hardcore base of indépendantiste who would have supported them through the darkest hour. These voters will now feel free to vote for any party that they feel can best defend Québec’s ‘interests’. And I don’t think many of them feel that is Pauline Marois’ Parti Québécois.
In an era of identity politics and cultural polarization, it seems the only thing the Parti Québécois has got going for it is it’s name. René Lévesque would not be proud.
Montreal Anglo stand-up comic Sugar Sammy was on the radio last week promoting le Show Raisonable, a comedy event showcassing funny guys from Québec’s minority communities.
Sugar tried out one of his jokes on the air. “You know, there’s two types of Québécois, there’s the 50% that are educated, cultivated people, then there’s the 50% that voted Yes in the referendum.”
If I had had the opportunity to go onstage after him, this would have been my comeback: “You know, there’s two types on anglophones in Québec. There’s the educated and cultivated anglophones, those with an open mind, a passion for ideas and a love of democracy. Then there’s the 99, 9% of those who voted No in the referendum.”
Sugar described himself as an anglophone although as the son of immigrants from outside Canada he is one of the so-called Children of bill 101 ‘forced’ to go to french school. If they had had the choice his parents would have sent him to english school, he said.
I can only admire Sugar’s participation in a french-language show. Allthough Montreal is filled with many perfectly billingual people like him, we almost never see artists, and even less comedians, with the talent or balls to cross over to the other solitude. More power to him.
I happen to find comedy based on truths funnier than jokes based on prejudice. Sugar might be interested to know that support for Québec independence rises with scholarity and that the first PQ cabinet had more PhD’s than any other cabinet in Canadian history.
I suppose you have to excuse Sugar for not knowing that, after all, he didn’t have the smartest parents. They wanted to raise their son in English and chose to live in the Only city in North America that was not English-Speaking.
In all fairness, I’m the first to admit the CBC’s ‘revelations’ about a Facebook account with pictures of recent garduates from the Canada Customs training school drinking in uniform and posting about ‘Frogs’ and ‘French Bastards’ is not actually newsworthy. But I must say, as someone who frequently has to deal with these fine officers of government, I’m quite happy that someone will be taking a closer look at what’s going on in the offices of the protectors of the longest pretend border on earth.
My job takes me to the United States weekly. I usually cross over at the 1000 Islands or at the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor and Detroit. Coming back to Canada I always make it a point to cross at one of the booths with the friendly Français/English sign.
Here’s how bilingualism really works, Tim Horton: 9 times out of 10 the customs officer does not speak a word of French. 6 times out of 10 we have to do it Montreal-style, with me speaking French and him or her English. 2 times out of 10 the officer looks at me like I’m retarded and asks if I’m sure I don’t speak english. Only about 1 in ten times do they actually respect my right to communicate with my government in the language of my choice by getting the token french guy on duty.
As a matter of fact, in the last year, only three customs officers outside Québec have been able to speak to me in french, and one of them was an American Homeland Security officer.
It seems that Canadians have got the impression that because the federal government and some provincial governments put up bilingual signs, bilingualism thriving in this country. As far as they’re concerned the French are doing great: there’s French on road signs in Ontario, cereal boxes and TV. Bilingualism: done. Remember, these are the people who will buy anything red with the word CANADA on it: beer, sweatshirts and corrupt political parties. Perfect consumers who just want the brand and really don’t want to know it’s made in Honduras and that the profits go back to Chicago. With bilingual signs Canada looks bilingual, that’s what it said on the label and that’s all that counts.
Try to imagine how proudly Canadian you would feel if coming back from a business trip the customs officer of your own country would greet you with “Ch’parle pas anglais! Parle donc français!”
The Angry French Guy wants to take this opportunity to welcome the three new MPs elected in last week’s federal by-election, in particular Ève-Mary Thaï Thi Lac. The Bloc Québécois MP was elected by the good people of Ste-Hyacinthe-Bagot to defend them in Ottawa and continue the struggle for Québec independance.
One of the Sun newspapers recently published an editorial suggesting that one of the french lyric’s to Canada’s national anthem be removed. The phrase in question: “Il sait porté la croix..” would be to Christian and not respectful of Canada’s religious diversity.
O Canada, a composition of Calixa Lavallé, was performed for the first time publicly in Québec City at an international convention of French-Canadians from the US and Canada in 1880. This was to be the anthem of French-Canadians, not of those blokes who still fancied themselves British citizens and sang God save the king with a tear in their eye. The english words are a version, not a a translation of the original song.
I agree with the Sun. If Canadians are not comfortable with O Canada anymore they should change the National anthem. They should get their own.
Kristian Gravenor wrote one of his always clever columns in witch he tells about the citizenship test his wife had to take to become a Canadian. The questions were hard, he said, and even he couldn’t answer many of them.
“If Quebec separates”, he wrote, “the questions could worsen. For example: “Who was the first mayor of Drummondville and how much beaver could he bag per day?” “What brand of shoe polish did Camille Laurin rub into his hair?” “What’s Celine Dion’s dog’s name?””
I am sick and tired of English Montreal and Canada’s media license to make unsubstantiated allusions to the alleged intolerance of the Québécois in general and of Québec’s sovereignists in particular. Saying ‘black people are dumb’, ‘Jews are cheap’ or ‘Quebecers are racist’ is the exact same thing. It is making a blanket generalization about a group of people. It’s prejudice. And prejudice lives across the street from real racism.
Go ahead, bring out Parizeau’s ‘money and ethic votes’ remark and Lucien Bouchard’s white babies. I raise you (former liberal minister) John Crosbie telling Bloc MP Osvaldo Nunez to ‘go back to his country’ in the House of Commons and Mel Lastman’s comment about sitting in a boiling pot of water surrounded by cannibals in Africa. Should I understand from that comment that all English-canadians are prejudiced against Africans? Or is it Ontarians? Torontonians? 905ers? Or maybe it’s just MEL LASTMAN?
How about we ignore the politicians and take a look at our city, ok, Kris? Let’s talk bout the wonderful ethnic and social diversity of Westmount, and Beaconsfield, and Hampstead, and Pointe-Claire. Oh no! That’s right! They ‘separated’ from Montréal. That must mean that the white English-Speaking people of Westmount and Beaconsfield hate Asians and French people, right?
But no, how about we do talk about Westmount and Beaconsfield and the Philipina ‘nannies’ employed in these neighborhoods in conditions that human rights groups have described as slavery. Let’s talk about the Bloc Québécois being the only party that came to these women’s defense. Do you think they’ll ask your wife if she knows that on her Canadian citizenship test?
Or do you think they’ll ask her if she knows that it’s under the rule of the Patriotes and Papineau that Québec became the first jurisdiction in the British Empire to give full rights of citizenship to jewish people? Or that the first black man elected to the National Assembly in 1976 was a member of the PQ while the liberals fielded their first black candidate—candidate!—in 2000!?!
Get it, Kris. Nationalists don’t want to keep immigrants OUT of Québec, they want to bring them IN! They want more immigrants. They want immigrants who will stay and not leave after three years because there are no Mounties and they can’t send their kids to English schools. They want immigrant kids in their schools. They want them in their neighborhoods and not only to cut the grass and take care of the baby. They want them to be part of our community, to be part of our family to the point where when one of them is named Governor-General of Canada we protest not because she is black or because of the monarchist institution, but because they claim she is one of theirs!