Now we know. Teaching English to the Québécois is not a central recommendation of the Bouchard-Taylor Commission on reasonable accommodations. In fact, and contrary to what the editors of the Montreal Gazette thought they had read in a few leaked chapters of the Commission’s report, there is little to no trace of English Montreal’s longing for the bilingual and multiculturally segregated Montreal of yore in there.
English Montreal’s worse nightmare has come true. English Montreal is no longer synonymous with the benevolent coalition of all the citizens of Québec who are not of the proper kind. English Montreal leaders no longer speak for all of those who are not of the majority.
English Montreal is only about English Montreal.
It is this realization that has lead the Montreal Gazette to try to use some leaked chapters of the Bouchard-Taylor commission to define the coming debate on it’s preferred terms: Francos vs. the Others.
The first sign that something had changed was the Jan Wong affair. The Globe and Mail columnist set Québec on fire with her insinuation that all residents of Québec who were not, to use her vocabulary, Pure Laine, were outsiders and outcasts. Maybe the concept that a Québécois is only someone of French-Canadian heritage still had currency in Toronto’s Montreal expat community. The reaction in Montreal made it clear that the ethnic conception of the Québécois did not exist anymore in Québec.
This sent English Montreal’s leaders into a panic. All around them they saw a new Québec identity taking shape. A new identity that did not include Anglos. They saw Hijab-wearing muslim women and turbaned Sikhs testifying at the Bouchard-Taylor commission about their vision of a new Québec, in French.
They saw Immigrants and members of cultural communities like Vivan Barbot, Maka Kotto, Joseph Facal and Alexis Wawanoloath take a leadership role not only in the French-speaking community, but in the independence movement!
The cabinet minister who is supposed to represent Anglos in the Charest government, Yolande James, was now a 30 year old black woman who spoke French like a native and consistently said unthinkable things like: “Nous les Québécois”!
The redefining of Québec’s identity on a basis other than the tired “Us” vs “Them” was threatening English Montreal’s power base and had to be reversed. That’s what the Montreal Gazette tried to do last Saturday with it’s controversial headline last Saturday aimed directly at French Canadians.
The “Get informed. Learn English. Be nice to Muslims.” Headline was a desperate attempt to drive a wedge between what some call “cultural communities” and the French-speaking majority.
Today, again, the National Post’s Daniel Goldbloom blows hot air into that old Anglo obsession of the ethnically pure French-Canadian: “The mainstream sovereigntist line that the term “Québécois” refers to everyone living inside of Quebec’s borders is a lovely idea that simply isn’t true. The boundary between “us” and “them” in Quebec in general — and the separatist movement in particular — has never strayed from linguistic lines.”
It’s bait. Nasty bait. It’s a revolting attempt to define the debate on the racist idea of a so-called ethnic Québécois.
The Québec Anglo media has a unhealthy obsession with ethnicity and race that it systematically tries to project onto the independence movement.
But guess what, the only group that benefits from that definition of Québec based on ethnicity is the Anglos who use that tired scarecrow to artificially enlarge their constituency and morally excuse themselves for living in a segregated society.