AngryFrenchGuy

The Glorious Bilingual Montreal of the 1940’s

with 83 comments

The AngryFrenchGuy and his grand-father

Did French and English Montrealers ever live in the same city?

Was there ever a Golden Age when French-speakers looking west and English-speakers looking east had a converging point of view on the history and future of Montreal?

Consider this:

In 1941 the National Film Board of Canada hired my grand-father, Vincent Paquette, as the agency’s first French-Canadian filmmaker and head the embryonic “French Unit”

It is important to emphasize that, as his name does not indicate, Vincent Paquette was as bicultural a Canadian as this country has ever produced. His Franco-Catholic father, Albéric Paquette, met his mother, Eva May Hathaway, the daughter of a Loyalist minister, in Toronto. The couple raised their children in Montreal and in the still very English Sherbrooke, Québec of the 1920’s where my grand-father grew up thinking of himself as an English kid.

“In Sherbrooke I went to French primary school”, he wrote – in French – in his unfinished memoirs. “Since my mother tongue was English, since English was the usual language at home and in most of the streets, it made for a rather difficult start.”

He went on to complete all of his studies in French, studying in Montreal’s Collège Saint-Laurent with such Québec icons as Félix Leclerc.

That said, it is needless to say that his English background had something to do with the NFB’s decision to put a 26 year old with no filmmaking experience in charge of the Board’s first French filmmaking department, a department originally created to translate propaganda films during the Second World War.

In 1942 my grand-father set off to direct a film on the celebrations commemorating the tercentenary of Montreal, which would become the first movie ever shot – as opposed to translated – in Canada’s two official languages.

Even with his Upper Canadian roots counterbalancing his Franco-Catholic education, it quickly became clear that my grand-father’s understanding of Montreal was not what the head office had in mind. Right from the start, serious incompatibility between the English and the French perspectives became apparent and on at least two occasions proper Anglophones were hired to finish the project.

In the end my grand-father would get credits for both versions of the film, but while his cut was used for the French version, the English version followed the storyboard from upstairs.

NFB historian Pierre Véronneau writes about differences between the French and English versions in his PhD. thesis: “It would be quite simple to show that the English version trivializes certain actions or certain situations perceived as important or heroic by the Québécois.”

The French version was anchored around four themes: modern Montreal, French Montreal, Montreal at war and religious Montreal. Véronneau notes that the modern and religious themes occupy more or less equal time in the French version, and that the latter is all but evacuated from the English versions.

The religious images are quite frankly astonishing for someone born after the Quiet Revolution. It is near impossible today to imagine the bishop taking the vows of hundreds of new priests in the streets of downtown Montreal, surrounded by thousands of nuns in black and white and clerics in red and gold. The protestant businessmen of the Sun Life building might have been the future of Montreal, but the Catholics had cooler hats

On the war effort, the commentary of the French version went: “Today, grandiose realization of Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve’s dream, Montreal put all of it’s energy and all of it’s resources to the service of peace in plenitude. Concordia Salus.” Véronneau wonders aloud: “Can we see here a covert position? A diaphanous echo to the French-Canadian resistance to any direct participation to the war?”

Athough the metaphore is not quite politically correct, I do note with much relief that my Grand-father had not succumbed to the fascist muses: “Paquette makes the Iroquois of yesterday the German of today, and the determination of the Québécois to combat him, eternal.”

On the question of language, “The English version emphasizes the bilingual character of the city while the French version underlines it’s French character.” Hum… sounds familiar….

Vincent Paquette made a few other films for the NFB before moving on to a career in advertising and the federal public service. Although he never was known as a nationalist, Eva May Hathaway’s son voted YES in the 1980 referendum on Québec sovereignty.

Written by angryfrenchguy

April 24, 2008 at 12:38 pm

83 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. “In the West we are not exposed to the same level of duality…so therefore making the civil service bilingual as a prequisate everywhere in Canada”

    Another myth.

    Graham Fraser note in his book, “sorry, I don’t speak french” that only about 5% of federal jobs in the west (province west of Ontario) are designated as bilingual job. Also note that in practice many bilingual jobs as filled with anglophone with minimal knowledge of french.

    quebecois separatiste

    April 28, 2008 at 3:02 am

  2. Quote: [“Laws will not protect the culture…people protect a culture.”

    But laws are passed by people, so a law passed by the people’s elected representatives is precisely an example of people protecting their own culture!] End of Quote

    I think the original poster meant that each person has the right or duty to protect their culture, without laws imposing them the protection of said culture. For example, if French speakers had the option to send their kids to English public schools, they wouldn’t send them there but to French schools instead because they value their language.

    Anonymous

    April 28, 2008 at 11:39 am

  3. “I think the original poster meant that each person has the right or duty to protect their culture, without laws imposing them the protection of said culture. For example, if French speakers had the option to send their kids to English public schools, they wouldn’t send them there but to French schools instead because they value their language.”

    Precisely,

    ABP

    ABP

    April 28, 2008 at 12:34 pm

  4. So I take it that, if you want to remain consistent in your thinking, you guys are all in favour of eliminating *every single element* that protects Canadian culture from U.S. cultural domination, everything from public funding for the CBC, CanCon in TV and radio, grants for Canadian film and other cultural stuff like books, music videos, etc., mandatory carriage of Canadian channels by cable operators, the whole shebang? Right?

    ‘Cause if Canadians really care about their culture, all they gotta do is go out and support it, right?

    Hey, we could even eliminate the border while we’re at it. I’m sure Canadian culture would do just fine. And if it didn’t, well… that would just mean it wasn’t worth its salt anyway.

    Acajack

    April 28, 2008 at 12:58 pm

  5. “For example, if French speakers had the option to send their kids to English public schools, they wouldn’t send them there but to French schools instead because they value their language.”

    Yes, well the way they get around this icky little issue in most places in the world is that they just don’t offer any public schooling to minorities in their own language, or, when the minority schools did exist, they shut down the minority schools or took them over and switched the language of instruction over to the majority language.

    For example, that’s pretty much the way the “French problem” was resolved in much of Anglo-Canada in the late 1800s-early 1900s, with most French schools only restored starting in the 60s (and even the 80s in some places), once of course the threat of “French takeover” had become more of a bad joke than anything else and most of the francophone minorities had lost their ability to regenerate themselves. (The notable exception to this latter point being New Brunswick.)

    Acajack

    April 28, 2008 at 1:13 pm

  6. “I also think the article was written in a broader sense than NB, given the figures quoted regarding the entirety of the nation.. NB is the only official bilingual province in Canada as you know well. Quebec is unilingual and dont try and tell me that Quebecers do not receive federal services in the french language.”

    Well, although I have never heard of an anglophone in Québec complaining about not being able to communicate with the federal governement in English, I can tell you from first hand experience that receiving services in French from the Canadian governement when you are outside Québec is very, very hard, if possible at all.

    Federal services in French are only really available in Québec, New Brunswick and some parts of Ontario. That is to say, bilingualism only exist in the French speaking parts of Canada.

    As my friend suggested, read “sorry I don’t speak French” by Graham Fraser. It’s true that official bilingualism is expensive and doesn’t work very well. But you are wasting your English breath by fighting the idea that’s it’s about making us all bilingual (it is not), immersion (as Acajack said: provincial service, nothing to do with the federal government) and the myth that it benefits Francos at the expense of Anglos (The system was designed by and for English Montreal and to this day they are it’s fiercest defenders.)

    angryfrenchguy

    April 28, 2008 at 2:33 pm

  7. [Quote]So I take it that, if you want to remain consistent in your thinking, you guys are all in favour of eliminating *every single element* that protects Canadian culture from U.S. cultural domination, everything from public funding for the CBC, CanCon in TV and radio, grants for Canadian film and other cultural stuff like books, music videos, etc., mandatory carriage of Canadian channels by cable operators, the whole shebang? Right?[End of Quote]
    I’m talking about laws that impose people their culture.
    I don’t know of any law that makes it mandatory to watch a certain amount of Canadian films and channels, or a law that makes it mandatory to buy at least a Canadian book every month.

    Anonymous

    April 28, 2008 at 4:28 pm

  8. “I’m talking about laws that impose people their culture.
    I don’t know of any law that makes it mandatory to watch a certain amount of Canadian films and channels, or a law that makes it mandatory to buy at least a Canadian book every month.”

    Since you yourself chose these types of examples, care to point out which laws in Quebec “impose people their culture”, by making it mandatory to watch a certain amount of Québécois films and channels, or a law that makes it mandatory to buy at least a Québécois book every month, or perhaps to eat poutine or tourtière once a week?

    I can already see from here the Pavlovian reflex coming, with the classic “yeah, b-b-b-b-but you don’t have free choice in public schools!” Of course, most places in the world would consider it normal for kids to go to school in the language that their local bank branch, fire department, etc. operates in. So I fail to see the big deal about that. A mean-spirited Quebec would have eliminated English schools altogether, but it didn’t. As I mentioned previously, eliminating minority schools isn’t something we haven’t seen before in the “greatest country in the world”.

    You’re also surely gonna bring up the sign law / commercial service provisions, so I may as well deal with that right away. The thing is, is that it is pretty much a standard practice of public policy to legislate in what economic theorists refer to as cases of “market failure”. Even Stephen Harper’s Conservatives do it. In the case of Quebec, the situation was that the market was failing to provide the francophone majority with services in its own language. This is why we got legislation in an area – and here’s where I will agree with you -, where much of the “market” (seemingly) just couldn’t get this simple thing right. Of course, service in English wasn’t banned. What was banned was service ONLY in English.

    Finally, am I the only one here who thinks Tony Kondaks might be back on the forum as “Anonymous”?

    Acajack

    April 28, 2008 at 8:25 pm

  9. “Well, although I have never heard of an anglophone in Québec complaining about not being able to communicate with the federal governement in English, I can tell you from first hand experience that receiving services in French from the Canadian governement when you are outside Québec is very, very hard, if possible at all.”

    Perhaps…shows how much money we have wasted on policies such as the OLA that hasn’t worked I note you are defensive of the Anglo services in Quebec. …Of course Quebec receives all their taxes back in transfer payments and equalization payments. so why would you care…Its the stupid anglos that have agreed to francophone the civil service (at our expense because Quebec pays nothing) …And my friend…the local office of Industry Canada at this location has fluent french people in the staff…as does enviroment canada…(god, she is an 8 out of 10 for looks alone..)..Where did you go to get french service…the local McDonalds in Lloydminster, AB. Te fous

    BS to you bud…on that issue.

    “As my friend suggested, read “sorry I don’t speak French” by Graham Fraser. It’s true that official bilingualism is expensive and doesn’t work very well. But you are wasting your English breath by fighting the idea that’s it’s about making us all bilingual (it is not), immersion (as Acajack said: provincial service, nothing to do with the federal government) and the myth that it benefits Francos at the expense of Anglos (The system was designed by and for English Montreal and to this day they are it’s fiercest defenders.)”

    First of all, where is our good Grahame Fraser paid by…a big salary for a guy who walks the talk for the feds….another sellout…Utopian idealism!!1

    English breath heh …this country is not bilingual and never will be….the sentiment is turning against Quebec and their continued blackmail to the ROC on the separation issue. If you dont like the country, get the fk out….just like if you dont like your job leave an find another one….free enterprise..Then maybe you would be the “happy french guy” rather than the “angry french guy” always whining and complaining about how every problem in Quebec has been created by the anglos.

    Just like hockey…in the series with the Flames and Tampa Bay two years ago Quebec didnt like the idea of the Flames as a Canadian team winning so they were against Calgary because the captain of the team was from Quebec…so now you have the majority of the Westerners routing for any team but Montreal in the Stanley cup….Interesting thing is that you dont have a lot of local Quebec talent on the team.. HMMMM Where is Briere, the philly player from…opportunism perhaps.

    This country is divided for sure…and its time to do something about it….Canada and Quebec should separate….It only makes sense and as I have said before ,,,after that we can all get on with our lives and forget and put to rest boards such as this one…

    No offence meant…to Quebec, the francais du Quebec….just time to get on with life.

    ABP

    ABP

    April 28, 2008 at 9:53 pm

  10. “Where did you go to get french service…the local McDonalds in Lloydminster, AB. Te fous”

    I think you missed this post: https://angryfrenchguy.com/2008/03/19/letter-from-ottawa/

    Now ABP, if you could just get a couple of facts straight and work out the hate and anger out of what you say, people like you and people in Québec could get along great. Two countries or a new federation or something.

    The hate is unecessary. We agree on so much. Bilingualism is not working out for us either!

    “Just like hockey…now you have the majority of the Westerners routing for any team but Montreal in the Stanley cup…”

    Euh.. Is Calgary having a thing with Montreal that Montreal is not aware of? Because you know we’re already busy being indifferent to Québec City’s beef with Montreal and we don’t really have the time to ignore Calgary too…

    angryfrenchguy

    April 28, 2008 at 10:24 pm

  11. That’s funny, everyone I knew back then was rooting for Calgary because we didn’t want an American team, especially one where there’s not any ice in winter, to win…

    Marguerite

    April 29, 2008 at 12:04 am

  12. Is that a photo of you with your finger up your nose while getting free English lessons from papy?

    Billy Bob

    April 29, 2008 at 1:21 am

  13. “Granted, it might be accurate to refer to hundreds of millions of dollars, but even then I’d like to see someone (other than anti-French groups like Canadians for Language Fairness or Confederation of Regions) back up the figures.”

    Acajack,

    I had a federal member of parlaiments staff invenstigate this for 2006. The cost his executive assistanct came back with was 481 million for one year..That is straight government expense and doesnt include private sectors costs of those to provincial governments with french programs. Thats is one year. I dont subscribe to the 700 Billion that some people say but it is definately well over 100 Billion over the years. You have to consider what many costs are. CBC french infrastructure (radio and television transmitters are expensive). Costs to the private sector for packaging. Cost associated with bilingual documentation. If you look at the big picture its been a lot of “jack” for little to no return.

    BTW- I doubt anyone could actually find an accurate picture as the government tends not too be entirely open on the subject.

    ABP

    ABP

    April 29, 2008 at 10:03 am

  14. “You have to consider what many costs are. CBC french infrastructure (radio and television transmitters are expensive).”

    CBC French and English services almost always share the same transmitting facilities. You can have several frequencies beamed out of one transmitter at little or no additional cost once the transmitter is already there broadcasting for example the English-language CBC Radio One or Radio Two.

    And I always chortle a bit when people slam the French CBC as money flushed down the drain, when in actual fact its French TV network, SRC, is actually the only operation in the entire CBC family (including Radio One, English TV, Newsworld, etc.) that brings in enough revenue to make it a potentially viable commercial operation. If you were to abolish all government funding to the CBC and its services were forced to stand alone just with advertising revenue, probably the only thing left running would be the (French) SRC TV.

    How ironic then it is that English Canadians complain of the money spent on the French services of the CBC, when it’s actually money flowing in from the francophone SRC TV that are likely paying to keep their money-losing English language services afloat!

    “Costs to the private sector for packaging.”

    I seriously doubt that this is a significant cost centre for private industry. I am noticing that since NAFTA was brought in, packaging is increasingly trilingual (English-French-Spanish) anyway. How much of a burden can it be for a company that’s in business for 40 or 50 years to have a one-time translation done so that its milk cartons say MILK on the one side and LAIT on the other? BTW, bilingual packaging applies only to interprovincial trade anyway, so milk sold only in Saskatchewan can be labelled MILK only, and in Quebec it can be labelled LAIT only. So puh-leese.

    Acajack

    April 29, 2008 at 10:21 am

  15. “CBC French and English services almost always share the same transmitting facilities. You can have several frequencies beamed out of one transmitter at little or no additional cost once the transmitter is already there broadcasting for example the English-language CBC Radio One or Radio Two. ”

    True about common sites, but you still have to buy separate transmitters and other equipment plus maintain the program delivery costs on a national basis. This is expensive.

    Here is an example to show you how ridiculous it is. The local SRC radio transmitter went off the air some years ago. The alarm system didnt work to alert the technical crew. It was over a week before someone called to complain that the transmitter was off the air :):) Hard to believe but true…so then, how can you possibly rationalize providing a service that no one is utilizing.

    I do agree that French CBC programming and transmission facilities in areas where there is a significant number of francos to rationalize it. In other areas, where there is not a signifcant demographic, why continue.

    You can rationalize all day long and make excuses…for official bilingualism..
    In the end ” its doenst matter which color lipstick you apply to a pig”. It doenst change the fact!!!

    Please understand, I dont have a problem with Quebec or franco’s. I do have a problem with government funding insitutions and programs which are expensive , produce little if any results and in some cases are causing hard feelings and resentment.

    ABP

    ABP

    April 29, 2008 at 11:08 am

  16. “The hate is unecessary. We agree on so much. Bilingualism is not working out for us either! ”

    What gives you the impression that I hate or have malice for Quebec or francophones. I get along very well with my numerous friends in Quebec. Hell, I even pay property taxes in Quebec. Whats not to like in Quebec..its a great place and would likely be an even better place if it was a separate nation from Canada. That way the francos could do exactly as they wish to ensure the continued future of their culture without interference from a predominantly english federalist government. In the West many already refer to Quebec as a separate country from Canada. Its only the politicians in Ottawa who are trying to hold things up…by their own self interest… Think of it, a federal election in which the west would have a say for a change in who governs the country.

    AFG, I am on you side…Quebec should leave and plot their own destiny…It would end the continued bickering and polarization now happening between Quebec and the balance of the country as well as reduce the burden on the average taxpayer in all areas. Reed Scowen has it right “its time to say goodbye”. His analysis is that the standard of living in the ROC (jeez, I hate that term) would go up 10 to 15% with Quebec separation…

    Perhaps you could enlighten me on a couple of facts that I should get straight??

    On the post…I did miss it and I found the french on the sign quite amusing :) for sure. If they are going to do something like this,,,they should at least get it right.

    a la prochaine

    ABP

    ABP

    April 29, 2008 at 11:28 am

  17. ABP:

    To be honest, I would probably agree with you that some of the bilingual initiatives in this country are totally ridiculous and wasteful.

    But I guess one of the reasons francophones generally aren’t willing to give up an inch is because of the perception that English in Quebec is given a much bigger leg up by both the federal government as French is outside the province. And English in Quebec also is often favoured by big business and given the same prominence as French, a courtesy which French almost never receives outside the province. A good example: I live in an area of Gatineau that is more than 90% French-speaking. According to Statistics Canada, my census subdivision (I think that’s what it’s called) has about 10,000 people, of which something like only 145 cannot speak French. Yet almost all of the national retail chains deliver fully bilingual flyers to my door. And these exact same national chains deliver English-only flyers to doorsteps just across the river in parts of Ottawa like Vanier, where often something like 50% of the population is French-speaking. Talk about a double-standard.

    So the bottom line is this: sure maybe some of the useless bilingualism we have in this country has to be scaled back, but if this happens it has to cut both ways. A reduction of the presence of French outside Quebec must be go hand-in-hand with a reinforcement of French within Quebec. Otherwise, we’re just going back to the good (or bad) old days where it was English only in the ROC, and bilingual in Quebec (so as not to inconvenience the influential and powerful Anglo-Quebec minority).

    Who knows? Perhaps the changing demographics of the country (constant decline of francophones in the ROC, slow decline of anglophones in Quebec and greater bilingualization of those anglos that are staying put in Quebec) will soon allow someone to make a sellable case for this type of radical change.

    Acajack

    April 29, 2008 at 12:04 pm

  18. “But I guess one of the reasons francophones generally aren’t willing to give up an inch is because of the perception that English in Quebec is given a much bigger leg up by both the federal government as French is outside the province.”

    Tell me, do you really think it matters to people in Quebec if people in SK, AB, BC etc are bilingual or if they speak french at all?? Some Quebec people have indicated that they dont have any particular opinion one way or the other as this issue.

    “Yet almost all of the national retail chains deliver fully bilingual flyers to my door. And these exact same national chains deliver English-only flyers to doorsteps just across the river in parts of Ottawa like Vanier, where often something like 50% of the population is French-speaking. Talk about a double-standard”

    Yes, no doubt a double standard, I agree. But reality nontheless…I understand what you are saying.

    “A reduction of the presence of French outside Quebec must be go hand-in-hand with a reinforcement of French within Quebec”

    I agree totally with this….you provide services in a particular reason in the language of most common use. In Quebec english could be scaled back and in the balance of the country French program spending should be scaled back where it is not warranted. What we are doing now doesnt work, is wasteful and we need to make some changes.

    “(constant decline of francophones in the ROC, slow decline of anglophones in Quebec and greater bilingualization of those anglos that are staying put in Quebec) ”

    Actually the numbers of anglos in Quebec increased in the last census…but the francos did decline in the ROC by about 25% according to the data. I rest my case about the OLA programs in Canada… they simply are not working.

    I think it would be great for everyone in Canada too have the ability to converse in both official languages. But , alas, this is just not reality any time soon or perhaps ever. In the end the economy is going to become an increasingly larger issue, especially in Central regions….

    Is there any difference in…..I have no job “ou” j n’ai pas d’emploi. To a guy out of a job trying to pay a mortgage and support a family.

    ABP

    ABP

    April 29, 2008 at 1:21 pm

  19. “Tell me, do you really think it matters to people in Quebec if people in SK, AB, BC etc are bilingual or if they speak french at all?? Some Quebec people have indicated that they dont have any particular opinion one way or the other as this issue.”

    Although it doesn’t keep them awake at night, and only rarely enters Quebec political discourse (mainly because of the fear it would open the door to politicians from the ROC meddling in Quebec affairs) most people in Quebec are aware/feel that francophones outside the province get short-shrift when compared to the treatment of anglos in their province. It’s always there, unspoken. Trust me. Sure, people know that the sign law is an irritant for Quebec’s anglos, but most feel it’s still a pretty good tradeoff when compared to everything else anglos have institutionally, and also the fact that a good proportion of the majority here actually speaks the minority’s language and (in most cases) isn’t averse to using it.

    “Actually the numbers of anglos in Quebec increased in the last census…”

    Yes, they did in fact, for the first time in decades I believe. Thank you for reminding me. Only time will tell if this is just a blip or part of a historical trend of anglos returning to Quebec (or anglos increasingly assimilating non-anglos to their community). Now, does a hypothetical “retour en force” of English in Quebec argue for A) a reinforcement of French (since it’s increasingly threatened); or B) a loosening up and opening to more English usage in the public sphere because (marginally) more people in the province are using it? There’s the rub, as Hamlet would say.

    Acajack

    April 29, 2008 at 2:04 pm

  20. [Quote Acajack April 28, 2008 at 8:25 pm]
    Since you yourself chose these types of examples, care to point out which laws in Quebec “impose people their culture”, by making it mandatory to watch a certain amount of Québécois films and channels, or a law that makes it mandatory to buy at least a Québécois book every month, or perhaps to eat poutine or tourtière once a week?

    I can already see from here the Pavlovian reflex coming, with the classic “yeah, b-b-b-b-but you don’t have free choice in public schools!” Of course, most places in the world would consider it normal for kids to go to school in the language that their local bank branch, fire department, etc. operates in. So I fail to see the big deal about that. A mean-spirited Quebec would have eliminated English schools altogether, but it didn’t. As I mentioned previously, eliminating minority schools isn’t something we haven’t seen before in the “greatest country in the world”.

    You’re also surely gonna bring up the sign law / commercial service provisions, so I may as well deal with that right away. The thing is, is that it is pretty much a standard practice of public policy to legislate in what economic theorists refer to as cases of “market failure”. Even Stephen Harper’s Conservatives do it. In the case of Quebec, the situation was that the market was failing to provide the francophone majority with services in its own language. This is why we got legislation in an area – and here’s where I will agree with you -, where much of the “market” (seemingly) just couldn’t get this simple thing right. Of course, service in English wasn’t banned. What was banned was service ONLY in English.[Quote]

    I think I didn’t explain my point very well, so here it goes: Some comments said that the reason for the law that makes French speaking people go to French schools is that the French speaking people value their language and don’t want to see it disappear from Quebec. If this was true, then this obligation shouldn’t exist, French speaking people would send their kids to French schools even if they had the chance to send them to English schools. But it isn’t like that, because some people fear that if the option existed, MOST French speaking people would send their children to English schools, which would mean that they do not value their culture. If it was just a small percentage of the French that would go to English schools, then it would not be worth having this controversial law that gives Quebec a bad image to the world.
    Note that I’m not talking about immigrants here.

    About the sign law: What’s wrong with totally bilingual signs (by this I mean with English and French letters the same size)? Of course, French being a must and making it the first language in every sign.

    Anonymous

    April 29, 2008 at 4:50 pm

  21. I wonder if ABP isn’t some kind of francophone provocateur/troll . . . “impose people their culture” is a few steps removed from normal English word-order. (You’d say “impose their culture on people”…) Doesn’t “imposer” take an indirect object in French? Doesn’t “impose people their culture” strike you as a bad translation of “(leur) imposer leur culture”? And there are a few other oddities . . . Hey, maybe he’s with the SQ!

    hoo-boy

    April 29, 2008 at 5:04 pm

  22. He Ha HOO-boy,

    You are confused buddy or maybe bad drugs….get your posts sorted out.

    “I’m talking about laws that impose people their culture.
    I don’t know of any law that makes it mandatory to watch a certain amount of Canadian films and channels, or a law that makes it mandatory to buy at least a Canadian book every month.”

    Above was posted by “Anonymous” and not by me @ 4:28 today.

    SQ you say…doubt if I could pass the language test. So much for that.

    ABP

    ABP

    April 29, 2008 at 6:20 pm

  23. “If this was true, then this obligation shouldn’t exist, French speaking people would send their kids to French schools even if they had the chance to send them to English schools. But it isn’t like that, because some people fear that if the option existed, MOST French speaking people would send their children to English schools, which would mean that they do not value their culture. If it was just a small percentage of the French that would go to English schools, then it would not be worth having this controversial law that gives Quebec a bad image to the world.
    Note that I’m not talking about immigrants here.”

    With all due respect, you’ve read this wrong. The education provisions of Bill 101 are ALL about the immigrants. If you search for quotes from the people who were behind the law like Camille Laurin, they all said it would have been ignoble if the francophone majority of Quebec had imposed something on immigrants and not on itself.

    Even before Bill 101 was brought in, there weren’t that many francophones putting their kids in English schools in Quebec and not that many French-speaking people are clamouring to get their kids into the anglo schools today either. If it were such a big issue, then a party like the Liberals or the ADQ would have scooped it up by now.

    I guess you may be thinking of the highly-publicized (in the anglo media anyway) cases of francophone parents, usually unilingual themselves, who are defended by professional Bill 101 challengers like Brent Tyler, who appeal to the courts to let their kids into English school because their “future depends on it”.

    Now this may make for great PR for Mr. Tyler et al, but it’s not at all representative of francophone Quebec. Sure, most francophone parents would like to see English instruction improved, and I am actually one of them. But that doesn’t mean that most francophones would automatically send their kids to school in English all day if only they were given the chance.

    Quebec is not a dictatorship – if most of the language laws did not have fairly widespread support, they would have been changed by now.

    Acajack

    April 29, 2008 at 8:26 pm

  24. The thing i hate about the education law is that it is not about anglophone vs francophone.

    What is an anglophone? what is a francophone?

    An american immigrant coming to Quebec doesn’t have access to the english school system while the children of italian immigrants who came to quebec (and to school) before 1976 have access.

    It is about “people who had at least 1 parent into the english system in canada before 1976” and those who don’t. That right duplicate itself into future generation like a gene.

    The rule was based on a compromise on what was possible to do in 1976 without triggering a civil war with english montreal.

    As a matter a fact, about 20% of students in the english system are francophone or partly francophone. Also the density of allophone students is higher in the english than in the french system.

    With the high rate of mixed marriage between francophone, allophone and anglophone in quebec, it is very arbitrary who has access or not to english school. There was a case about a guy who had to pass a DNA paternity test to send his child to english school.

    The current system based on some genetic right that pass itself to childen (repulsive) I would vote for an unified school system.

    Personally I would not be against the abolition of the english school system in Quebec. (how radical)

    quebecois separatiste

    April 29, 2008 at 10:02 pm

  25. “As a matter a fact, about 20% of students in the english system are francophone or partly francophone.”

    This is true but keep in mind that this is 20% of kids in the English system, not 20% of all francophone kids.

    20% of the English system is only 20,000 francophone kids.

    There are more than a million kids in the Quebec school system, the vast majority of them francophone. So 20,000 of them in the English school system only represents something like 2%. Now, if Bill 101 did not exist this % would likely go up, but not by that much. Probably to pre-1976 levels, which were something like 4 or 6%.

    Acajack

    April 30, 2008 at 5:31 am

  26. re: French kids in English schools

    Also keep in mind that most of the 20,000 francophone kids going to school in English would be in virtually exclusively francophone areas outside Montreal like Trois-Rivieres, Saguenay, etc.

    In places like Montreal and Gatineau, where the presence of English is higher, there aren’t that many French kids in English schools.

    Rightly or wrongly, most francophones still subscribe to the old maxim “le francais s’apprend (apprend = to learn), et l’anglais s’attrape (attrape = to catch)” that suggests that good English, even in Quebec, is easier to learn than good French.

    Acajack

    April 30, 2008 at 5:54 am

  27. I am very sure that Quebec is very close to North Korea. Absolutely closed distinct society with inner restrictions and census. Everybody admires 101 despite it restricts his or her own freedoms. Everybody is convinced that he can lose his culture because of English influence. Everybody wants to close the province boundaries. Everybody does not care that big business does not go to Quebec.

    Les autres

    April 30, 2008 at 9:11 am

  28. Les autres :

    Not sure about North Korea… but perhaps you could go there to live for a few years to investigate, and then come back to Quebec to report back to us and let us know if the comparison is valid?

    Whaddayathink?

    Acajack

    April 30, 2008 at 9:15 am

  29. Actually a Québec comic book artist called Guy Delisle did exactly that a couple of years ago and wrote this book about his experience:

    http://www.amazon.com/Pyongyang-Journey-North-Guy-Delisle/dp/1896597890

    angryfrenchguy

    April 30, 2008 at 9:41 am

  30. Sorry, ABP . . . wishful thinking, I guess!

    North Korea — do they play hockey? I hear the Dear Leader is, like, the awesomest goalie ever — once he stopped 275 shots in one period!! Maybe Ottawa should trade for him.

    hoo-boy

    April 30, 2008 at 9:43 am


Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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: