AngryFrenchGuy

Archive for January 2008

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