The Montreal Gazette is Lying to You # 234

with 83 comments

It is with a tearful eye and a trembling hand that I write today after reading Taking a Personal Stand, a piece by J.D. Gravenor about the plight of a poor 12 year old called Audrey-Laurence Farmer.

Poor Audrey-Laurence is a 12 year old student at a school called Miss Edgar and Miss Cramp’s… or was a student, we should say, because, as we learn in the article, she is being forced by the Québec government to leave her school and her friends.

Audrey-Laurence is not eligible for a Certificate of Eligibility for English Language Education, you see, because her parents have not been educated in English. The loophole that her parents had used to get her into Miss Edgar and Miss Cramp’s in the first place has been closed by bill 104 and, even though that law is being challenged at the Supreme Court of Canada, little Audrey-Laurence is being forced to leave her friends and classmates and start all over again in a French school.

Cue teary eyed child: “It makes me feel really sad, because I’m losing a really close friend. A lot of people who are really good friends with her are upset and they wish she could stay here, because they’ve been really attached to her.”

Audrey-Laurence Farmer is the perfect poster-child for the campaign waged by parents and Anglo school boards against bill 104: a bright bilingual kid forced to leave her school by mean bureaucrats.

It’s very dramatic indeed. It’s also a total fabrication.

Miss Edgar and Miss Cramp’s is not your average private school where a couple of thousands of dollars a year buys your kid ivy covered walls and pretty uniforms. Kindergarten at the Westmount school costs 12,810$ a year! Kindergarten! Tuition for grades 1 through 6 costs 14,580$ a year!

From kindergarten through grade six, Miss Edgar and Miss Cramp’s functions as a non-subsidized school. That means it receives no money from the government. It also means it is not regulated by bill 101 and that it can admit any child they want, even those who are not eligible for English public and subsidized private schools. Children like Audrey-Laurence.

So what happened? After grade 7 Miss Edgar and Miss Cramp’s becomes a subsidized school. As a subsidized school that receives government funding it can only admit students whose parents have been to English schools or who have themselves been to English schools in Canada. That’s the rule as established by the Charter of the French Language 30 years ago.

Until 2002 the school’s entire structure was built around a loophole used by some parents to get otherwise ineligible kids into subsidized English schools. Parents willing and able to pay the price of a brand new Volkswagen every year to send their children to Miss Edgar and Miss Cramp’s primary school were essentially buying the right to send their kids to English schools in Québec.

By the end of the sixth grade enough children had received “the majority of their education in English in Canada” and were legally allowed to attend Miss Edgar and Miss Cramp’s taxpayer-financed high school.

That’s exactly the loophole members of the National Assembly unanimously (yes, even the English-speaking ones!) voted to close with bill 104. Not so much because it was a way for parents to get their kids into English language schools in total violation of the spirit of bill 101, but because the loophole allowed wealthy parents to buy the right to a GOVERNMENT FUNDED English education

If grades 7 to 11 at Miss Edgar and Miss Cramp’s school were not subsidized, Audrey could’ve stayed. Because it is, now after the sixth grade students like Audrey-Laurence who are not eligible for English schools will have to go to French schools…

Or will they? Although most crusty private high schools in Montreal and Westmount operate on the same model of unsubsidized primary school and governement funded high school, there are some unsubsidized English high schools out there. Parents who have paid over $100,000 to send their child at Miss Edgar’s and Miss Cramp’s from kindergarten cannot claim that money is the issue here.

Schools like Miss Edgar’s and Miss Cramp’s were part of a vast network that provided a way for the wealthy to ignore Québec’s laws and obtain governement funding for high schools filled with privileged children that should not have been eligible for taxpayer financed English education.

The wealthy already have absolute freedom of choice when it comes to the language of education in Québec, as long as they forfeit about $3,500 of governement funding a year. What we are talking about here is extremely expensive schools that that had found a way to ALSO receive government money.

Let’s not forget that no other province in Canada gives as much government money to private schools as Québec. Ontario would not have contributed a dime to Audrey’s private education, in French or English!

If Audrey-Laurence’s parents had sent her to an unsubsidized school, she wouldn’t have to change schools next year. Sadly, her parents tried to have it both ways: an exclusive private education AND government money to pay for it.

They tried to cheat the system and it didn’t work out. So, as any good parents would, they told their daughter the governement is to blame.

Now that’s a lesson Audrey-Laurence will certainly remember.

Written by angryfrenchguy

April 8, 2008 at 11:26 am

83 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Wouldn’t this issue have never come up if someone at Audrey-Laurence’s school had offered to let her continue her education there as a student on partial scholarship?–i.e., couldn’t the school just waive the extra $3,570 per year, or whatever it is, as long as she wants to stay there? Does the fact that the school is authorized by the MEQ to charge the girl’s parents the extra money necessarily mean that it is obliged to?

    It is difficult for a twelve year old to change schools no matter who is to blame or what the cause is. But if Audrey-Laurence does wind up at French school, I’ll bet she does well in English class…


    April 9, 2008 at 6:56 am

  2. You don’t need to get all weepy over a 12 year old’s comments. She’s French, like you, and she’s demanding that she has the right to go to school in broken English so that she too can write a blog in broken English and be a hero. During your pathetic bitch-slap fight with “Un Homme en Colère” (“isn’t this just wonderful!”. Why not, it’s just your stupid name but less hypocrite), you wrote « Qu’est-ce que tout ça a à voir avec mon droit d’écrire ce que je veux quand je veux où je veux dans la langue que je veux? ».

    Do anglophone business people have that right in Montreal? No.

    “Not only were Francophones being assimilated, but they were paying for it.” And who paid for your assimilation, AFG, all those Anglophones you told to “speak white” while you were supposed to be required by law to give them service in French?

    « Ce n’est pas la loi 101 ou l’indépendance qui vont assurer l’avenir du Français à Montréal, au Québec et en Amérique du Nord. C’est la décision individuelle de chacun d’entre nous d’utiliser le Français dans les magasins du Centre-ville et d’abandonner cette stupide habitude de switcher à l’anglais aussitôt que notre vis-à-vis mélange un féminin et un masculin. »

    Greedy selfish French criminals (if Bill 101 applied to them, which it obviously does not) do this because they want to be « good hinglish speeking » like you AFG, and asking them to speak in French (and to thus respect Bill 101) just makes them all ignorant and they say « Qu’est-ce que tout ça a à voir avec mon droit d’écrire ce que je veux quand je veux où je veux dans la langue que je veux? » (but in broken English, of course).

    Congratulations geniuses.

    Billy Bob

    April 9, 2008 at 1:04 pm

  3. It is time to merge the 2 education systems into 1.

    quebecois separatiste

    April 9, 2008 at 4:38 pm

  4. It’s time to merge the 2 cultures in Quebec into a single English culture. Enough of this french bullcrap.

    Quebecois federaliste

    April 10, 2008 at 9:21 am

  5. Quebecois Separatiste, who would benefit from the elimination of an english school system? I can’t see cost being a major issue. The extra cost of having additional schoolboards seems minimal when compared to the total cost of education.

    Anglos in the english school system are able to learn french. A large majority of young anglophones are now bilingual.

    Students in the french school system aren’t exposed to the influence of english as much as they would be in an integrated system.

    So, what is it about the presence of an english school system that makes you think the situation should be changed?


    April 10, 2008 at 11:41 pm

  6. I don’t know if this girl is the best example of someone exposing a loophole in the system. From what I can tell, this is a kid who has received her entire education in english, who may or not consider herself a member of the anglophone community. Her parents may or may not have roots in the community, regardless of their language of instruction.

    Isn’t that the kind of person who was supposed to be exempt from 101? This wasn’t someone who was sent to english school for half a year for the specific purpose of being granted admission to english public school.

    If someone who apprantly considers themselves an anglophone Quebecker, who may or may not have deep roots in Quebec in general and it’s anglophone community in particular isn’t allowed to pursue their education in english, then maybe we should revisit the reasons why we allow anglophones to do so in the first place. I was under the impression it was out of respect for a historically significant minority.

    If only her parents had been from Alberta and had no attachment to Quebec.


    April 10, 2008 at 11:54 pm

  7. That’s the Gazette and the anglos in general. Don’t make me cry. Well you have the rest of North America to study in english. In a normal country, you study and learn the national language first. Québec should be a normal country. It just shows we need a real country, not the piece of shit provincial colonial government. Imagine! She has to learn french ! Beurk ! Racist anglos.

    Marc Authier

    April 11, 2008 at 5:54 am

  8. My dear Marc,
    You have France to go to to study, work, play, and whatever else your heart desires ! Sounds radical I know, but it’s the same rhetoric you are spewing!
    Your language is doing fine ( or haven’t you enough brains to figure that out yet) You will be celebrating 400 years of being allowed to remain here even though way back ( Sept 13 1759 to be exact) your forefathers LOST. But I won’t bring that up. Oh yes I forgot, you can always go to St Peirre & Miquleon too! I know I’m hitting a nerve but it’s exactly what you are trying to do. Calling anglos racist in your little rant? Haven’t you figured out that everyone wants to learn french ( or english) ? Don’t you think you’d go a lot farther by doing so? ( of course I mean farther than Old Orchard Beach, Ogonquit, Wildwood, & Cape May in your case.)
    All this to say, let people decide for themselves where they want to be educated in Quebec. Keep people happy and they’ll stay and contribute economicaly ! If you force something on people, there will always be rejection. Why not try a more subtle approach. What’s the old saying? “you can attract more flies with honey than vinegar”
    “Né sous la fleur de Lys et fleurit sou la Rose”
    Ooooh, that last one must have hurt ! You aren’t even smart enough to figure outwhat that line means!

    Guy Gadbois

    April 11, 2008 at 9:20 am

  9. Hé Marc!
    You, AFG and even little Audrey-Laurence-French-Hypocrite-Girl have the rest of North America to write your bile in broken English in.

    Oh, but of course, you demand your right to use English as much as you want, when and where you want, while denying it to others that you judge to be non Québécois.

    How many times do we have to be told not to speak French by French people before we can do it without your “permission”?

    AFG : you haven’t pointed out where the Gazette “lied” once, let alone 234 times.

    Billy Bob

    April 11, 2008 at 12:19 pm

  10. This is like a rich black person living in a country where slavery is legal and mandatory for all black people. The black guy, with his millions, pays a doctor or alike to change his skin color and become white and have the right to be free. Of course that would be totally unfair from your point of view because he would be “cheating the system”. This wealthy person is ignoring his country’s laws and “essentially buying the right” to be free.


    April 11, 2008 at 2:13 pm

  11. Anglophones in Westmount are like “black person living in a country where slavery is legal.”

    Read that again. Realize that you actually wrote that.

    Take a deep breath and come to terms with the fact that you want to engage in a debate about Québec politics with, as one of your premises, the idea that the people of Westmount are “like black people living in a country where slavery is legal.”

    You better go offline, now. You can go back to wrapping groceries at Provigo.


    April 11, 2008 at 3:24 pm

  12. Man, this blog reminds me of why I never want to live in Quebec again. Seriously, I’d rather be an infidel in Baluchistan.


    April 11, 2008 at 5:23 pm

  13. I thought that in the above analogy, black people = those who don’t have a right to english education (i.e. mostly francophones and immigrants). Either way, it’s a pretty weak analogy. The “black people” aren’t being denied a fundamental right, but rather a luxury. That luxury is granted to certain people out of respect for their history and culture.

    Marc Authier, I think you’re making a pretty big leap in equating wanting to preserve one’s identity with racism. There is nothing racist about wanting to maintain your community’s institutions. If Quebec is justified in taking steps to preserve it’s language within Canada, then shouldn’t Quebec’s linguistic minorities expect the same?


    April 11, 2008 at 5:23 pm

  14. hoo-boy= ex-Quebecker?

    For some reason, those that left Quebec can never resist taking a shot at Quebec at every chance.

    If I left Alberta because I hated it there, I wouldn’t be trolling the net for blogs discussing Albertan issues.


    April 11, 2008 at 5:26 pm

  15. AngryFrenchGuy writes: “As a subsidized school that receives government funding it can only admit students whose parents have been to English schools or who have themselves been to English schools in Canada. That’s the rule as established by the Charter of the French Language 30 years ago.”

    Actually, 30 years ago, the rule was “students whose parents have been to English schools or who have themselves been to English schools in Quebec”.

    It is a 1982 ruling of the Supreme Court of Canada which forced Quebecers to finance English education for the children of the ROC who immigrate in Quebec.

    The Charter of the French language was conceived to ensure the integration all immigrants to mainstream society while excepting the real members of our national minority from undergoing the kind of forced assimilation French Quebecers have experienced when moving to Ontario or elsewhere in BNA.

    Mathieu Gauthier-Pilote

    April 11, 2008 at 6:54 pm

  16. RoryBellows — Quebecker? Moi? What does that signify, exactly?

    Well, I did live there. I was a happy little autre for a few years.

    I just wonder why anyone would ever want to move to Montreal permanently. I mean, it’s one of the best cities in the world, obviously, and yet 75% of the political rhetoric is anti-cosmopolitan. What other major city indulges in that kind of thing? Mexico City? They’d love to have you! Paris? 400 years of cosmopolitianism! But in Montreal they don’t even let you try to speak in French. It’s just a small-minded place.



    April 11, 2008 at 8:05 pm

  17. As to trolling, I was genuinely curious what an English-language nationalist blog would be like. Turns out it’s just (well-) translated paranoia of the old school. Weird masochism, though, of wanting to vent against assimilation in the language you’re supposedly getting assimilated into. Shouldn’t the blog author make a few more grammatical mistakes? His prose is eerily good . . . Wait, he’s not an Alliance Quebec provocateur, is he?


    April 11, 2008 at 8:09 pm

  18. 4 proposals:

    1. Quebec become a country

    2. 1 integrated school system where 80% is in french and 20% in english. No more us and them.

    3. Also people people graduating from McGill and Concordia must pass a test to show a minimum knowledge of french to graduate. (Test must focus on basic conversational skills, not exoteric grammar rules nobody understand.)

    4. No more language laws for the workplace. No more francisation process at the workplace. They are annoying and make people uncomfortable.

    quebecois separatiste

    April 12, 2008 at 12:02 am

  19. I’m with QS 100%

    I think we’d have to wait a little, maybe one generation, for the integrated school system, though.

    When the “grandchildren” of bill 101 start going to school, when there is a broader mass of people from the cultural communities who come from families where their parents speak and work in French (not necessarily at home), it will be easier to integrate new immigrants.

    I fear now we’d risk an everybody against the Francos atmosphere. We’d have schools with only anglos and allophones where everyone speaks English outside of class, just like when the Protestant School Board decided to open French Schools.

    But one school system should be the objective. The current apartheid system is repulsive.


    April 12, 2008 at 9:47 am

  20. I love Mexico City and Paris. Great cities for sure.

    But good luck finding a government financed English-language public school in either one of those cities, hoo-boy!


    April 12, 2008 at 9:50 am

  21. In the original idea of the Charter of the French Language, the publicly-funded schools where English is the language of schooling were the be accessible only by those they were intended to serve: the members of our English-speaking minority, not everybody on Earth who wishes that their children be brought up speaking English so they have all chances on their sides to find a job in an English-speaking country, on an English-speaking continent. That it be so in American States and Canadian Provinces where English speakers are a numerical majority is not contested, but it is in Quebec where French speakers are the majority unlike everywhere else.

    Obviously, that law makes perfect sense only in a free Quebec, which was always the intent.

    Inside a non-free Quebec, this law is far too revolutionary and clashes with the policy of the federal State which is based on the false premise that language is a matter of individual “free choice”, like when you shop at the grocery store, and not a matter of linguistic human rights, which are both collective and individual in nature.

    Individual free choice?

    Was there ever in history a single human being found in the position to choose his native language?

    Was there ever in history a single human being found in the position to “choose” that his or her native language be the one that is most required to earn a living in the place of his birth?

    Of course not. Parents typically determine the native language of their children (when they are not aboriginals abducted by the State) and the usefulness and prestige acquired by a language (something way beyond the realm of individual action) determines which schooling language is most likely to be chosen by parents, if there is a choice. Typically, there isn’t one.

    The faith of languages always was and always will be a social question to be determined by politics. In a society that claims to be democratic, studies, debates and public policy is going to be used to ensure the respect of human rights. Unfortunately, language rights are the most ignored and misunderstood of all human rights.

    Will it ever be a question of human rights? Quebec sure hopes so, otherwise those who believe in the arbitrary rule of the strong over the weak will continue to bully all nations trying to establish the principle of equality and the rule of law in this field.


    April 12, 2008 at 11:49 am

  22. Oups! The Anonymous who wrote the previous post was me. :-)

    Mathieu Gauthier-Pilote

    April 12, 2008 at 11:50 am

  23. QS/AFG,

    I’m not necessarily opposed to the idea of an integrated school system. You both stated that integration of the school system should come after independance. Should I take theat to mean that it would be impossible within Canada? Is the implication that it would have to be forced on the anglophone population? I wondered earlier (I posted the first two anonymous posts) who would stand to benefit? Would anyone stand to lose out?

    The argument could be that Quebec is french and the interests of the majority should prevail, regardless of the concerns of the minority. That argument strikes me as somewhat hypocritical, given that most Quebeckers are rightfully critical of Canada’s history of denying linguistic minorities education in their language. Not only that, but I’m not convinced that the present system is detrimental to the french language in Quebec.

    The argument could be that it is the anglophone minority that would stand to benefit. Not only does this seem a bit paternalistic, I can’t say that it’s entirely true. In order for it to be true, you have to assume that being fully integrated into the majority group, not just being able to communicate with the majority, is necessarily beneficial. Isn’t the idea of Quebec independance based on the principle that there exists a historically significant group, that has a language, culture and history that is different from the rest of Canada. As such, it is just that they should be able to pursue an arrangement that guarantees that they not be forced to integrate into the majority group, at the expense of their own collective identity?

    Now, is there another way of looking at who will stand to benefit? Could it be argued that those who would, without question, stand to benefit would be the Quebec people, removed from any ethnic distinctions? Instead of arguing that the minority should be integrated into the majority, could one argue that the whole of Quebec society be integrated into a society that more accurately reflects the reality of Quebec. One in which French is the official language, but where english has an important role, instead of telling the minority that they alone have to adapt?


    April 12, 2008 at 1:49 pm

  24. Man, I can’t believe I’m getting dragged into this thing . . . damn . . . but I kinda like this angryfrenchguy guy.

    I wasn’t thinking of schools (though I was commenting on a schools post, go figure) when I mentioned the anti-cosmopolitan flavour of the rhetoric along the St. Lawrence. I was thinking of just walking down the street. The point is that assimilation works both ways: driving your minorities into a state of paranoia is not very nice. It smacks of Le Pen. Can Quebec nationalists honestly say they don’t *enjoy* smacking the anglos around?

    I had a sort of moment of revelation a few years ago, when I was living in the States and that country was going into its pre-Iraq madness. A big feature was the anti-France campaign, which was both stupid and vicious, but amazingly popular. And I couldn’t figure it out. I mean, here you’ve got the USA, big-time republic, and France, big-time republic, who’ve barely crossed swords in their whole histories (1800-1804 I think was all, and it wasn’t very vicious) — so why should they dislike each other so much?

    Eh bien, it finally dawned on me that the Americans retained some deep-down paranoia about the Catholic Menace, from way-the-heck-back-in-the-day — the 18th Century, or the 100 Years’ War, or God knows when. There’s just no other explanation I can think of. For them them the French (of France: sorry, Quebeckers, neither you nor we anglo Canadians appear on the radar screen) remain “the enemy” in some visceral, irrational way.

    I ask the insanely bilingual Quebec nationalists on the page in all honesty: to what extent is anti-anglo feeling an unbroken continuity back to the Wars of Religion in the 16th Century? (Spare us the long list of injustices here.) And if so, why would it ever go away? What would make it go away, any more than the anti-France feeling in America will go away? And isn’t that a *problem*??

    Of course, I’d be the last to deny that there’s a lot of it flowing the other way from anglo Canada, equally irrational and equally stupid. But why can’t we just turn against small-mindedness in both languages? Won’t we have to do that in the long term anyway? Why not start today?


    April 12, 2008 at 8:04 pm

  25. I remember crossing the American border into Vermont during the “Freedom fries” and “Freedom toasts” period.

    -Nationality?, asked the Homeland Security guy.

    -Freedom Canadian, I answered.

    He didn’t get it…

    Of course, there is some irrational baggage that we are carrying around without knowing about it. English-French, Conservative-Liberal, Habs-Leafs, Crips-Bloods… in the end it’s just an irrational Blue vs. Red….

    But that said. The current constitutional and political arrangement is constructed in a way that Québec is the only jurisdiction that has to bend over backwards to allow it’s minority to have parrallel institutions with full compensation. (Canada has come a long way, but French minorities don’t have 20% of the services Anglos in Québec have.)

    Put that in the context of Québec being, not the only, but one of North America’s cultural communities facing the most serious demographic challenges.

    That adds up to a tiny minority forced to waste ressources on protecting English-speaking North American culture instead of intergrating immigrants and transforming it’s institutions to accomodate immigrants and minorities.


    April 13, 2008 at 10:49 am

  26. Love that about the “Freedom Canadian.” Well, you should retain the title.

    I don’t really know the facts, myself, so I can’t really say, “Come on, look at the total spending in Sudbury vs. the total spending in the West Island . . . ” or anything nice and precise like that.

    I grew up in Ottawa, though, and in the French-speaking part of it (formerly known as Vanier/Overbrook), and it certainly felt like *someone* was paying for the bilingualism around me. The strange part about living in the USA was seeing English-only signs for the first time: in Ottawa more or less everything is bilingual (and in fairness signs like that “Défense de se tenir debout” [=No Standing] are the exception). Since I left, I gather the franco minority has lost its hospital, which kind of sucks . . . But there really is a franco-ontarian population in Ontario, you know. There’s a whole RDC radio station about francophone culture in Ontario (as there are English-language CBC stations in Quebec, I realise). And in areas where there is a francophone population you can send your kid to school in French at the public expense. Question: surely to God there are no English-language public schools in Gaspé? Or Jonquière? Because there is no anglo minority there . . .

    Are you saying that it inherently costs more to service an English-language school than a French-language school? Because the people sending their kids to the English-language schools are presumably also paying taxes. Where would the cost savings come from if you ditched English-language schools?

    On the contrary, it seems to me that the language education issue is all about culture.

    And, you know, crazed federalists like me, we’re not against francophone culture. I mean, I love the French language. Afin de le démontrer, voilà la prose poétique d’un vrai amateur de la belle langue. Les clichés, j’en ai besoin . . . Ce qui nous manque, à mon avis, c’est une raison d’être. Pourquoi le bon dieu a-t-il semé l’amérique du nord, et les rives du St. Laurent en particulier, avec la culture française? Pourquoi l’a-t-il séparé le Canada des colonies rebelles du sud? Les choix de réponse sont ou qu’il n’y a aucune raison historique et que tout ça se déroule sans but ou qu’on n’a pas encore trouvé la vraie raison.

    Let me drop the mask of infelicitous French for my grand finale: I’m against the assimilation of the French language. I’m not only against it, I’m rabidly, ferociously against it. But not (as it clear from the above) because it’s my mother tongue. And not only because it happens to be a beautiful language.

    I’m against the assimilation of French because I am in favour of language per se. In favour of language as more than a means to an end. Using good language is what makes us self-willed, creative human beings.

    If francophone Quebeckers want to use English because they find it a more practical, utilitarian language, the problem is not that they picked English. It’s that language is not meant to be merely practical and utilitarian. A people that has come to regard language as merely a means to an end is already speaking no language at all. It’s merely grunting in the most convenient way. If language itself has been reduced to “Pay by Interac,” I couldn’t care less if Quebeckers speak French, English, Swahili, Mandarin Chinese, or Esperanto. Nor should any patriotic Quebecker, because at that point Quebec culture will have become wholly devalued.

    Here, it seems to me, is what should bring us people of good will, francophone and anglophone, together: a shared desire to preserve *language itself* as a vehicle of culture. Because over in anglo Canada we face exactly the same challenge of assimilation as you francophones do in Quebec, but in an infinitely more insidious form: the assimilation into nihilism, as reflected principally in the barbarisation of the English language. I say: let the new Canada be an alliance between francophones and anglophones who are allies first and foremost because they share a common enemy.


    April 13, 2008 at 12:39 pm

  27. Simple suggestion: No english school boards, convert all the english schools into french schools with english immersion. Remove the restriction on english schools, it should satisfy most people (french education for everyone, free chance to learn english), save for few extremists on either side.

    And from reading the comments, it’s nice to see a Tony Kondaks wannabe here adding his “valued” opinions. Seriously, I missed the constant stream of hot air coming from the comment section of this blog.


    April 13, 2008 at 3:06 pm

  28. RoryBellows writes: “The argument could be that Quebec is french and the interests of the majority should prevail, regardless of the concerns of the minority. That argument strikes me as somewhat hypocritical, given that most Quebeckers are rightfully critical of Canada’s history of denying linguistic minorities education in their language.”

    Within Canada, there can be no such thing as an English-speaking minority of Quebec. It is precisely because English speakers will become a minority that it is believed by some of their leaders that everything should be done to prevent the independence of Quebec. Meanwhile, those same leaders have never expressed any concern for the consequences of keeping the whole of French speakers as a minority in an English-speaking country. “Do unto others what you would have others do unto you” appears not to be a maxim they believe to be true.

    The central element of the constitutional history of Quebec and Canada is the effort of a minority of business people, some living in Quebec, others in Great Britain, to obtain from the British government that Quebec self-government never occurs so long as it contains a majority of Catholics and French-speakers.

    A first Union project, intended to artificially place the Franco-Catholic population of Lower Canada in the position of a political minority, was discussed between the Colonial Office and the province’s Governor as early as 1808. The need to rally the majority of Lower Canadians with the upcoming war (the war of 1812) cancelled the project. A Union Bill was presented in the British of Commons in 1822. Massive petitions from both Canadas cancelled that second attempt. Finally, the illiberal Union was recommended by Lord Durham and implemented in 1841. In 1867, that unequal union was transformed into a federal union of all British North American provinces. That new union had all the previous defects plus new ones. Since then, every generation of Quebecers has in vain attempted to reform the British North American federation. The ideal of equality between peoples has only ever been shared by Quebecers and an insufficient minority in the other provinces.

    To suggest that by finally obtaining self-government, Quebecers would be getting anything else but a justice long denied is pretty inconsistent with historical facts.

    To presume that Quebecers will mistreat their new English-speaking minority is most irrational. First, Quebec is the most peaceful of the nations in the Western World and has no morality lesson to received from any other one on Earth, and Second, the USA and Canada being in the vicinity of Quebec, that new national minority is going to enjoy the best guaranty any minority could ever hope to get.

    Mathieu Gauthier-Pilote

    April 13, 2008 at 3:39 pm

  29. Riverside Regional School
    1782, Neilson
    Jonquière (Québec)

    Riverside Regional High School
    1770 Rue Joule
    Jonquière, QC

    Gaspe Elementary School
    234, Mgr. LeBlanc
    Gaspé, QC

    Gaspe Polyvalent
    85, boul. de Gaspé
    Gaspé, QC

    Seven public English primary schools and six public English High Schools in Gaspésie. And there’s even an English sector at the CEGEP de Gaspé.

    81% of Anglophones in Québec go to English Schools (OQLF numbers 2008).

    33% of Francophones in Manitoba go to French schools (Canadian Heritage numbers 2006).

    It’s not that English schools cost more. It’s that you can’t have an effective linguistic policy for the majority and minorities based on the assumption that English-speaking minorities in Québec and Francophones in the ROC are in an equivalent situation!

    That’s insane!

    Ontario can put up as many bilingual signs as it wants in Ottawa and along the 401 to give itself a good conscience, it doesn’t change the fact that linguistic transfers (the polite way of saying assimilation) of Francophones outside Québec is ACCELERATING! According to the latest census, 39% of francophones outside Québec speak mostly English at home. These numbers have been increasing since the Official Languages Act became law.


    April 13, 2008 at 3:59 pm

  30. Well, if francophones in the ROC really want to speak English, how can we stop them? Declare martial law?

    I’m glad to hear there are English-language schools in Jonquière and Gaspé. Shows how much I know.

    Apparently there are 397 French-language schools in Ontario.

    Not sure what your point is about it being impossible to have “an effective linguistic policy for the majority and minorities based on the assumption that English-speaking minorities in Québec and Francophones in the ROC are in an equivalent situation!”

    Sure, they’re in a different situation. Why is the current policy untenable? Or are you not arguing against the current policy? Am I accidentally arguing against the current policy? What are we talking about?

    I rather like the current policy, for what it’s worth. I mean, kids who are 6 years old have no idea what language they’re speaking anyway. If you’re allophone, you get to learn French in school, X at home, and probably ambient English. But surely you’re not suggesting that children of English-speaking parents have to go to school in French?

    I notice you completely ignored my beautiful Appeal to the Solitudes, incidentally.


    April 13, 2008 at 5:38 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: