AngryFrenchGuy

Archive for January 2008

Roots is a lot like Canada

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The clothing retailer Roots is a lot like Canada.

Roots is like Canada because it is all about branding. Like the country, the company’s marketing strategy is selling Canada to Canadians with T-shirts and sweats with CANADA in big bold letters and pretty pictures of beavers so that customers can feel superior and remind everybody all the time that they are not Americans.

Roots is a lot like Canada with its business model built on precarious low-wage jobs at home and the exploitation of suppliers in third world countries.

Roots is a lot like Canada because event though it behaves even worse than its rivals, it somehow avoids the blame Gap and Americans get because of a better marketing strategy.

Roots is just like Canada because you’ll have a hard time getting service in French in either.

Roots is just like Canada because they both belong to Americans.

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Written by angryfrenchguy

January 15, 2008 at 2:58 pm

The return of the sad clown. Howard Galganov runs for office.

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Apparently feeling that the Québec Indépendantistes needed a little bit of help in these difficult times, Canada’s most outspoken bigot Howard Galganov has decided to run for parliament and lend his voice to the marginal but still very alive anti-French movement in Canada.

Mr. Galganov’s campaign platform is to “scrap the Official Languages Act, and to show the door to Quebec”.

Known for his extremist anti-French rhetoric, Howard Galganov first appeared on the political scene as the leader of a quite reasonable campaign to demand that some shopping malls in an English-speaking suburb of Montreal abandon their policy of having French-only signs.

The campaign failed. In the 1990’s he opened a ‘store’ for his Quebec Political Action Committee on Monkland Avenue that had bilingual signs in open defiance of Québec’s bill 101 that states that French must be prominent in commercial advertising. Many other businesses in that English-speaking neighborhood already had bilingual signs and Galganov’s store never became the political statement he wished it to be.

After failing to obtain changes to the Québec French Language Charter or to be elected as leader of the Anglo Rights group Alliance Québec he ran an unsuccessful campaign for mayor of Saint-Lazare.

Howard Galganov responded to every defeat with a more radical attack on a weaker target. From demanding of bilingual signs accordance with existing laws he moved on to demanding the right of English-speaking shopkeepers to NOT HAVE TO SPEAK FRENCH to their French-speaking customers.

By the late 1990’s he complained in a phone interview with me that his his company was losing business because his French-speaking employees had to much of an accent when speaking English.

Unsuccessful in his Québec campaigns, dismissed by Montreal’s English speaking community as an agitator and by the French Media as a clown , Howard Galganov moved to the Loyalist bastion of Alexandria, Ontario and refocused his political action against the weakest of all targets, English-Canada’s French-speaking minority.

On his website, Howard Galganov now preaches nothing less than the return of English dominance over all of Canada:

“I see no reason why 95% of Canada’s population must dance to the tune of LESS than 5% of French Canadians living outside of Quebec.

I have said it for years: CANADA IS NOT A BILINGUAL COUNTRY. This most recent federal government survey has removed all doubt.”

Forever tormented by his failure to become a leader in the Québec’s English-speaking community, Howard Galganov struggles to be the leader of something. Anything.

Reduced to speaking for an ever shrinking base of racist bigots as he loses support every time he opens his mouth, Howard Glaganov is now only a few actions away from having to face the hard reality that he only speaks for himself.

And that day the sad clown will be the only one to cry.

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Written by angryfrenchguy

January 11, 2008 at 2:02 pm

Give TQS to Québec’s cultural communities

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What should be done with bankrupt Télévision Quatre Saisons? How about using the prime broadcast real estate of TQS to revive la Télévision Ethnique du Québec, the multicultural and multilingual cable TV network hijacked by CanWest Global in the early 00’s.

TEQ was a locally owned and operated community channel that aired programming by and for Québec’s cultural communities. The station experienced financial difficulties in the late 1990’s and was eventually sold to Rogers and later CanWest Global.

CanWest turned TEQ into CJNT-TV. Nearly all of the Québec-produced programming of TEQ was dumped by the new owners. CJNT now airs a mix of ethnic programming from Toronto and Montreal in the daytime and American TV in prime-time, all tied together with English-only branding. Montreal’s so-called “multicultural” TV station has an ENGLISH-ONLY website!

There is some French-language programming on CJNT, essentially produced by Montreal’s Lebanese and Haïtian communities. The token French-language shows, bundled up with Urdu, Cantonese and Armenian programming and the station’s deliberate editorial choice to make English the common language of the station strongly suggests that Montreal’s French-speakers are just another one of the city’s minorities.

It’s as if an American multicultural channel used Spanish as the common working language. Or as if a French channel used Arabic.

From being the voice of Québec’s minorities CJNT became the agent of their ghettoization and Anglicization by CanWest’s owners who only really cared about the 40% of American programing the station’s license allowed it to air.

“There is a debate that we need to have on Québec’s ethnic television and the Anglicization of ethnic communities through television”, declared Michel Tremblay, president of TEQ’s producers union in 2000.

TQS’s bankruptcy might be a good opportunity to have that debate.

Written by angryfrenchguy

January 9, 2008 at 7:30 am

Québec needs an English-language newspaper

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Québec doesn’t have an English-language newspaper. Québec doesn’t have an English-language television, radio station or Internet portal.

The Québécois are keeping silent in the lingua franca of the Internet.

In 2008 that means Québec doesn’t exist.

French-speaking North Americans who are celebrating 400 years on the continent have no media of their own to talk to the 400 million English-speakers who surround them.

Is it any wonder the wildest politically-fictional fantasies still circulate about Québec?

An Indian or an Armenian googling some news about Québec has 10 times as many chances to come upon Barbara Kay’s or Mordecai Richeler’s paranoiac diatribes about a fascist ethnic tribe trying to wipe it’s province clear of strangers and “coloreds” than a simple description of the French Language Charter.

What about the Montreal Gazette? The Gazette is not a “Montreal newspaper that happens to be in English” as columnist Henry Aubin once told me. It’s the newspaper of Montreal’s English-speaking minority. Period.

One token separatist columnist is not enough to fairly translate the diversity of thought of a population twice as numerous as Ireland’s. The Gazette deserves credit for giving some space to strong voices, from former RIN leader Pierre Bourgault in the 80’s to the current incumbent Josée Legault, but one person can’t possibly incarnate the diversity of ideas and opinions barely skimmed by 13French -language dailies.

Is it any wonder Canadians confuse the Parti Québécois, small-town nationalists, right-wing conservatives, 19th century ecclesiastic ideologues and violent student radicals of the 1970’s into a single seditious movement of anti-Canadianism that has to be crushed?

Why does Québec need an English-language newspaper? 2 reasons:

1. Because if Québec doesn’t talk directly to the world, it lets Barabara Kay, Jan Wong, Mordecai Richler and the Gazette do it for them. If the curious individuals around the world have access to The Gazette’s, The National Post’s and The Globe and Mail’s perspective on Canadian events, they should have access to Québec’s. Or more accurately to the plural: Québecs’.

2. 48 000 newcomers will come to Québec this year. At least half of the will not speak French when they arrive. Many of them will have some understanding of English, though. These people will learn to know their new country through the biased, truncated and partial coverage of the Anglo minority’s newspaper. With no access to French-language media, they will assimilate and adopt the Anglophone perspective and identity. They are entitled the French majority’s perspective as well.

Written by angryfrenchguy

January 7, 2008 at 9:41 pm

Harper Trades Minority Rights for Votes

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In 2000 Stephen Harper’s National Citizens Coalition financed lawyer Brent Tyler’s attempts to strike down parts of Québec’s French Language Charter. The Calgary-based NCC was even the biggest donor in Brent Tyler’s attempt to change Québec’s laws in the provincial jurisdiction of language and education.

The challenge to Québec’s language law was considered a civil rights issue by it’s Brent Tyler and his backers.

Seven years later Stephen Harper is actively trying to win the support of the strongest supporters of Bill 101.

Since he became the head of the Conservative Party Stephen Harper has performed better than expected in Québec, winning 10 seats in the last general election and an eleventh in a by-election last year. His success in Québec has been attributed to his openness to Québec nationalists and his pledges to keep the federal government out of provincial jurisdictions.

As Prime Minister Stephen Harper held a vote in the House of Commons recognizing Québec as a Nation within a united Canada and recently hinted that wants the recognition of the Nation of Québec to be part of the Canadian constitution.

Québec’s French Language Charter, bill 101, is considered a near-fundamental law by many in Québec and several hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in 1988 when the Supreme Court invalidated some dispositions regarding commercial signs.

In 2000 stepehen Harper was not considered a friend of Québec. Along with Stephen Harper, others who were financing Brent Tyler’s efforts were Howard Galganov, Diane Francis and the weekly newspaper The Suburban, all of whom have often been accused of racist sentiment against French-Canadians.

Many of the people represented by Tyler were even angry to learn that their legal campaign was being financed by money from Alberta.

In his attempt to build a coalition large enough to win a majority in the House of Commons the Prime Minister has actively been reaching out to French-speaking nationalists and Québec right-wingers, a group that generally supports Québec’s language legislation and does not approve of Canadian activism in Québec politics.

The Supreme Court of Canada rejected Brent Tyler’s attempt to open Québec’s English schools to francophones in 2005. The English-Rights lawyer recently announced that all his legal campaigns were jeopardized by the Conservative government’s decision to abolish the Court Challenges Program, a program designed to help minorities fight for their rights in court.

Written by angryfrenchguy

January 2, 2008 at 8:58 pm