AngryFrenchGuy

If you get to call us separatists, then we get to call you Evil Empire.

with 84 comments

Flyers beat Montreal

How do you say indépendentiste in English?

There is no word.

This is not trivial. English-speaking journalists will use the Parti Québécois’s terminology and call the party’s supporters sovereignists. In casual conversation the highly pejorative separatist is nearly universal.

But how do you call someone who supports the secession of Québec from the Canadian federation on the general concept of the right to self-determination but who is not necessarily a nationalist or a supporter of the Parti québécois’ (increasignly vague) plan for sovereignty?

These terms are inadequate to reflect the nuances within Québec society on the definition of an independent Québec and it’s political and economic relations with other countries. In English there is only the PQ as the polite face of the radical raving-mad separatists.

As a friend who got tired of being called a separatist once said:  Separatist?  What do you think this is?  Star Wars?

Éric Grenier discussed this in his blog Sovereignty en Anglais a few weeks ago in his post on the tactical debates raging within the Parti Québécois:

“French has a lot of words that simply don’t work well in English. “Référendisme” is one of them. Péquiste (PQ members), adéqiste (ADQ members), bloquiste (Bloc members), are other ones that can’t be directly translated (aydeeque-iste?). ”

It is extremely interesting to realize that over 40 years after the creation of the modern Québec independence movement there are still no words in the English language for some of the most basic concepts of the movement’s terminology or even names for the members of Québec’s main political parties.

Is this because an Anglo can only be a Liberal?

Can he only be a Liberal because the independence movement rejects him or is it his community, media and language that unilaterally rejects a whole political movement by not even having words to represent it’s ideas and concepts?

Who is rejecting who is debatable. But the reality is that French Québec, nationalism and even the independence movement has a plurality of political parties and movements, from the far left internationalists of Québec Solidaire to the impatient nationalists of the new Parti indépendantiste (PI, get it?).

Québec’s Anglos somehow never participate in any significant way in any of those movements. Their language excludes them a priori from a “separatist” movement of “pure laine” (notice how the expression “pure laine”, used to make a clear distinction between old-stock French-canadians and other people living in Québec, DID make it into the English vocabulary!) nationalists. They read the Gazette and vote Liberal. Period.

When he saw that 97% of Anglophones had voted against sovereignty in the 1995 referendum Pierre Bourgault concluded: “According to me, 60 to 65% would’ve represented a democratic vote, 80% a xenophobic vote and 97%… that’s simply a racist vote.”

It is not only the English language that has a more limited vocabulary. Take the distinction increasingly made by English-speakers between Quebecer, taken to mean the civic citizenship–the residents of the province of Québec–and the word Québécois, referring to an ethnic group, the French-speaking descendents of New France settlers.

In French, there are no words to make that distinction. Only Québécois. Does that reflect exclusion: there is the Québécois and there is the others? Or does is it illustrate inclusion: all who live in Québec are Québécois?

Perhaps it depends on who you ask.

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Written by angryfrenchguy

May 4, 2008 at 2:27 pm

84 Responses

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  1. @Angry French Guy: “Please specify a language right English Quebecers have lost.”

    Well, the right to advertise in Quebec in English only for once.

    It’s not illegal elsewhere in Canada to advertize in French only.

    I think most of the arguments tend to mix up attitude and legality which is two completely different matters.

    I think some still have a lot of bread crusts to eat to make the difference between both.

    Tym Machine

    May 16, 2008 at 10:45 am

  2. @Anonymous:

    “in an independent Quebec there wouldn’t be a “Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms” ”

    Actually, Quebec never signed the constitution of 1982 so never agreed with the Charter of rights and freedoms of Trudeau. Instead, they came up with their own in 1986 in French only.

    Regards,

    Tym Machine

    Tym Machine

    May 16, 2008 at 10:47 am

  3. @Quebecois separatiste:

    “English is winning over french in Canada and Quebec.

    In 100 years, Montreal is very likely to look like what Ottawa is now: an anglophone city where some people speak french as an ethnic code. French is dying in Canada. Quebec is next. That’s why I am angry.”

    So since French people are so angry, it makes it ok to supress freedom of choice to get an English only sign where 90% of the population is English and to violate private property and to make it against the law.

    To me bill 101 is part of the cause we will be dying without sympathy not the solution to protect continually threaten French language.

    If you are to promote French language, you have to do it by all means, except suppressing the rights of some people that are supposed to be equal.

    Tym Machine

    May 16, 2008 at 10:54 am

  4. “Some French communities like Belgarde, you’d probably get it however maybe not in Regina, however, you may get dirty looks but it’s not against the law to do it.”

    According to Stats Canada, Bellegarde (note the correct spelling) in Saskatchewan is about 80% English-speaking. Did you just pull out a map of Saskatchewan and pick the first French-sounding name you set your eyes upon?

    I guess I can expect French service in Des Moines, Iowa, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin and Bourbonnais, Illinois as well, right?

    Acajack

    May 16, 2008 at 2:16 pm

  5. “Actually, Quebec never signed the constitution of 1982 so never agreed with the Charter of rights and freedoms of Trudeau. Instead, they came up with their own in 1986 in French only.”

    The Constitution Act of 1982 and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms still apply to Quebec, regardless of whether the province since them or not.

    And the fact that Quebec has its own provincial Charter of Rights (actually it predates the Canadian Charter, having been adopted in 1976 and not 1986 as previously stated… by the Liberals and not the evil separatists of the PQ, in fact) does not take anything away from the fact that the federal statutes are in effect on Quebec territory.

    Acajack

    May 16, 2008 at 2:20 pm

  6. “regardless of whether the province since them or not”

    Oops! “signed them or not”.

    Acajack

    May 16, 2008 at 2:21 pm

  7. Angry French Guy: “Please specify a language right English Quebecers have lost.”

    Tym Machine: Well, the right to advertise in Quebec in English only for once.

    Is that really an individual right? You can advertise your garage sale or take out a classified ad in any language you want. You are also pretty much free to print any publication of a non-commercial nature in the language you want.

    Businesses, however, don’t have the same rights as individuals. The state can force businesses do do all kinds of things that they may not want to do, for the benefit of society. How many businesses would rather not have to adhere to minimum wage laws or environmental standards?

    RoryBellows

    May 16, 2008 at 5:48 pm

  8. “Some French communities like Belgarde, you’d probably get it however maybe not in Regina, however, you may get dirty looks but it’s not against the law to do it.”

    It’s not against the law here to try and get service in English or even give service in English. In fact most places in Montreal do offer English service. You just have to also be able to provide service in French.

    SM

    May 16, 2008 at 8:52 pm

  9. I would rather live in a place where french is against the laws but respected in practice than the opposite.

    quebecois separatiste

    May 16, 2008 at 10:30 pm

  10. I think the issue of “the law” is overrated. Real life language attitudes is far far more important.

    Irish is the national language of Ireland yet almost nobody speaks it anymore. Yet they didn’t change the constitution to reflect that.

    I can picture a Quebec where Bill 101 still exists but is irrelevant in practice.

    I would be sooo happy to live in a Quebec where bill 101 is not required anymore but socially respected.

    quebecois separatiste

    May 16, 2008 at 10:46 pm

  11. I’ll agree that bill 101’s original ban on all languages but French on commercial signs limited some people’s rights. Was it a reasonable limit, as the Charter of Human Rights allows? That was the real debate.

    Now fifteen years – that’s right. FIFTEEN years – after that ban has been overturned the law says that you can express your commercialism in any language you want, as long as French is predominant. That solution is the Supreme Court’s own solution, basing itself on the beloved Charter of Human Right and Freedoms.

    If you still don’t like that rule, that’s fine, but have the intellectual honesty to recognize that the current signs law is a pure product of the Supreme Court of Canada and the Charter of Human Rights and as Canadian as Tim Horton’s and Brian Adams.

    And if you want to talk about the ban on non-French billboards and street advertising, I don’t know if it’s the official government position, but I’d argue that is like public airwaves and that it’s natural that there be rules and community standards, including language.

    angryfrenchguy

    May 17, 2008 at 9:56 am

  12. @Acajack,

    I lived in Bellegarde (whatever the spelling is) when I was 2 years old and passed in the sector 4 years ago when I went back to my home place from a trip that led me to Calgary and then Edmonton Alberta.

    It’s a very small place, in fact I had never seen such small places before.

    Regards,

    Tym Machine

    Tym Machine

    May 17, 2008 at 2:00 pm

  13. @AngryFrenchGuy,

    I agree that maybe bill 101 served a purpose and a warning message to send to our English friends that French was threathen however, I have yet to see laws in…let’s say any other ROC province where they would restrict the use of French on commercial boards that lie on private property.

    However the franco-ontarian community set municipal by-laws that forbid the use of English only boards and commercial signs.

    Maybe they feel as much threaten as we do, who knows.

    Tym Machine

    May 17, 2008 at 2:04 pm

  14. @AngryFrenchGuy

    “If you still don’t like that rule, that’s fine, but have the intellectual honesty to recognize that the current signs law is a pure product of the Supreme Court of Canada and the Charter of Human Rights and as Canadian as Tim Horton’s and Brian Adams.”

    You are absolutely right Canada’s prime minister at the time Pierre-Eliot Trudeau when bill 101 was passed told his riding constituents and I quote: “Don’t look after me to fight your battle.” which means that Trudeau had the power to overrun bill 101 to save the day for Canada but he didn’t.

    Still French separatists still see him as one of the biggest traitor in Canadian history.

    That’s what happens when you are standing in the middle of 2 fires, you get hit by both camps.

    But whatever who’s responsible for bill 101, I don’t see the point of “intellectual honnesty” here.

    Regards,

    Tym Machine

    Tym Machine

    May 17, 2008 at 2:07 pm

  15. “I have yet to see laws in…let’s say any other ROC province where they would restrict the use of French on commercial boards that lie on private property.”

    Big surprise! Maybe that’s because in francophone (90% French-speaking) places like Casselman, Ontario, almost all of the business signs are already in English only! A law banning French signs would just be overkill, since French is already virtually invisible in the marketplace.

    Acajack

    May 18, 2008 at 8:10 pm

  16. “A law banning French signs would just be overkill, since French is already virtually invisible in the marketplace.”

    So the reverse is Ok, it seems.

    In other words, a minority bullying a majority, it’s OK, a majority bullying a minority, it’s cultural genocide.

    The minorities lobbies have made Canada a country of wussies and whiners.

    Regards,

    Tym Machine

    Tym Machine

    May 21, 2008 at 10:41 pm

  17. “In other words, a minority bullying a majority, it’s OK, a majority bullying a minority, it’s cultural genocide.”

    It’s not that black and white. After a few decades of kicking and screaming from both sides, pretty much anyone with a rational view on the topic (even most anglos in fact) agrees that before Bill 101, it was generally the minority in Quebec (anglos) bullying the majority (francos).

    Plus, as people have mentioned to you and others many times before on this forum, the current laws do not prohibit English signage and service, just English ONLY signage and service.

    Acajack

    May 22, 2008 at 8:19 am

  18. “The minorities lobbies have made Canada a country of wussies and whiners.”

    What? And here I thought you were Mr. Tolerance? Or are you only in favour of tolerance for people who are superior in your mind like anglos?

    Some minority groups may sometimes go a bit overboard, but the truth is that its reasonably fair (far from perfect but still better than most places) treatment of minorities has made Canada a peaceful, stable democracy that is the envy of much of the world.

    Acajack

    May 22, 2008 at 8:23 am

  19. “Or are you only in favour of tolerance for people who are superior in your mind like anglos?”

    Ceci s’appelle du prêtage d’intention, jamais je n’ai dit ça et je ne souscris pas à ce langage de paranoiaque.

    Ce que je revendique c’est l’égalité et c’est mon point.

    Two wrongs don’t make a right. This is something that Mr Acajacks don’t seem to get. It’s not because the anglos have done something to us that we have to do the same thing to them in other words, I don’t suscribe to anglo’s bullying of French in the ROC nor do I believe that bill 101 does us any good as French Canadians.

    Compris? Am I clear enough this time or do I still deal with another one coming with bad faith.

    ” the current laws do not prohibit English signage and service, just English ONLY signage and service.”

    There IS ENGLISH only stop signs in the West Island, am I the only one who noticed that? So much for bill 101 fighter isn’t it?

    Tym Machine

    May 26, 2008 at 10:29 pm

  20. TM : “Ceci s’appelle du prêtage d’intention, jamais je n’ai dit ça et je ne souscris pas à ce langage de paranoiaque.
    Ce que je revendique c’est l’égalité et c’est mon point. »

    Acajack : J’ai lu assez de messages signés Tym Machine sur ce blogue et sur d’autres forums pour savoir comment vous pensez. Entre autres, n’avez-vous pas déjà écrit ailleurs qu’ici que le bilinguisme, c’était l’affaire des francophones, et que les anglophones n’avaient pas à apprendre le français? Ou quelque chose du genre.

    Le bilinguisme est certes une grande richesse, mais c’est aussi un fardeau. Être fonctionnellement ultra bilingue comme je le suis, ça ne tombe pas du ciel. Ça demande des efforts constants.

    Pourquoi les francophones devraient-ils être les seuls à supporter ce fardeau, si justement nous sommes tous égaux en ce pays?

    TM : “Two wrongs don’t make a right. This is something that Mr Acajacks don’t seem to get. It’s not because the anglos have done something to us that we have to do the same thing to them in other words, I don’t suscribe to anglo’s bullying of French in the ROC nor do I believe that bill 101 does us any good as French Canadians.”

    Acajack : You would be right if people were actually being bullied at the moment. I don’t think anyone anglo is really being bullied in Quebec. Anglos in Quebec get service (and usually signage) in English pretty much anywhere where even a tiny percentage of the clientele is perceived to be anglo.

    TM : “Compris? Am I clear enough this time or do I still deal with another one coming with bad faith.”

    Acajack: People can think a lot of things about me, but I don’t think anyone on this forum could honestly accuse me of being in bad faith.

    TM : “There IS ENGLISH only stop signs in the West Island, am I the only one who noticed that? So much for bill 101 fighter isn’t it?”

    Acajack: Stop is actually a French word. It’s in both the Larousse and Le Petit Robert dictionaries. Though the Quebec government’s policy is that stop signs should say ARRÊT, the West Island municipalities have gotten around this by justifying their use of the word STOP by arguing that it’s as French as ARRÊT. Guess it’s their way of thumbing their noses at the Quebec government.

    And if they can get away with this, they must be really bullied something fierce, eh?

    Acajack

    May 27, 2008 at 8:32 am

  21. @Acajacks,

    Pour ce qui est du bilinguisme, je crois qu’il y a ici définitivement un malentendu.

    Premièrement, le choix d’être ou de demeurer unilingue anglais ou français est un choix INDIVIDUEL.

    Dans les faits, idéalement, le plus de langues maîtrisées, le meilleur c’est. On ne peut être contre la vertue. Personnellement, j’ai un grand intérêt dans les langues. J’aime apprendre quelques mots dans plusieurs langues, écouter de la musique en italien, en allemand et j’avoue que l’espagnol me tape sur les nerfs, mais ça n’a rien contre les espagnols ou ceux qui le parlent, c’est une opinion personnelle.

    Ce que j’ai probablement écrit c’est que les francophones dans un contexte où nous représentons 1% de la population totale d’Amérique du Nord qui parle et fait de la business en anglais dans plus de 95% des cas (le reste étant fort probablement espagnol), on peut choisir de rester unilingue français, sauf que le contexte nous condamne à parler anglais.

    Pour ce qui est du contraire, idéalement même le plus redneck de l’Alberta ou du Texas devrait parler français. Sauf que est-ce qu’on peut appeler cela un “must have” pour un anglais dans une situation où il se servira du français que dans ses rêves et même encore??? Je doute que non.

    Il faut faire la distinction entre “nice to have” et “must have”. Malheureusement, c’est la triste réalité nord-américaine.

    Pour ce qui est de nos anglos québecois, la majorité parle ou baragouine un bon français. Il existe cependant des gens restant au Québec faisant de la business 95% du temps en anglais qui ne juge pas un “must have” le français au Québec. C’est déplorable mais je ne pense pas que de le forcer à parler français lui donnera un amour instantané envers notre langue commune.

    Tym Machine

    May 28, 2008 at 7:51 am

  22. Et même si j’avais dit ce que vous prétendez que j’ai dit Ajacks, est-ce que le fait de constater que la langue vastement majoritaire en Amérique du Nord est l’anglais fait en sorte que ces gens sont supérieur? Highly unlikely.

    Tym Machine

    May 28, 2008 at 7:53 am

  23. You know what cracks me up about the Flyers cartoon? Half of the Flyers ARE Quebecers. They would not be asking what “loser” is, they would just be yelling it. =)

    Touriste

    December 8, 2008 at 11:20 pm

  24. quebecer13

    September 22, 2009 at 4:06 pm


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