AngryFrenchGuy

The Other Option. Think Big.

with 220 comments

What if Québec joined the United States of America as the 51st état?

One of the very few argument for Canadian federalism that actually has any effect on me is the fact that out of Canada, Québec would lose it’s shared position in some more prestigious international forums, notably the G8.

You have to admit that the sight of a country lawyer from Shawinigan hanging out with Jacques Chirac and Tony Blair does make you think twice about trading that seat for the satisfaction of having one of our guys between Quatar and South Korea at the UN.

But if you use that logic, why should Québec satisfy itself with being part of Canada. Why not join the United States?

If Québec is not to become an independent country and if it is to remain a part of a federation, why not join a real one? If you’re a small people destined to be a minority in any political or economic structure, then why not go Major League?

Why vote for the government of a pretend country if you can vote for the real thing? Why send our guys to Ottawa if we could send them to Washington?

The 49th parallel is not real, it’s a fictional line in the sand. In any case the 49th parallel is not even the border between Québec and the US. Nobody actually knows where that border is since most markers were swallowed by the forest years ago.

The economic frontier between the Québec and the US is a just as much of a myth and it ceased to represent anything real since way before NAFTA. Close to half of Canada’s economy is foreign-owned. That’s not a disaster, it’s globalization.

The disaster is pretending the Canadian government can do anything about it. Remember the softwood lumber crisis? It took the Canadian government years to achieve a barely face-saving deal. How long do you think it would have taken to resolve it if Québec had 15 electoral college votes in its pocket?

An État du Québec would be the 12th largest state in the Union, right between New Jersey and Virginia. That means about 12 House seats and 2 almighty senate seats. A real elected senate.  A single US senator has about the power of the entire canadian senate plus the provincial legislatures of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and PEI combined.

As it is the Canadian government doesn’t even have enough pull to get a 15 year old kid soldier arrested for throwing a grenade at American soldiers out of jail. If Omar Kahdr had been an American citizen he would never have been in Guantanamo in the first place. The American government didn’t send it’s citizens to Guantanamo.

Actually, if the 7 million Québécois had voted in the 2000 presidential election there would have been no president Bush, no Irak war, no Guantanamo.

Get Québec in the United States. Save the world.

Of course, Québec would have to make some compromises. The American Federal government will not make French an official language all over the US, but since Canadian Official Billingualism is not much more than Welcome/Bienvenue signs outside Québec, it wouldn’t actually be a huge change.

In the US French would not be an official language at all, but then English is not an official language either. Equality at last!

At the provincial – I mean State – level, Québec could keep pretty much the same linguistic regime. There are already 27 states that have made English their official language, Québec would keep French as its official language.

And as a bonus it would be relieved of the appalling constitutional obligation to “promote and protect” the language of it’s English-speaking “minority”.

Joining the US would not be a huge deal for most Québécois in terms of their culture. Not being American is not a central part of our identity the way it is in the Rest of Canada. Feelings and attitudes toward the US change over time but beyond opposition to specific issues like the Irak war, there is not the same type of self-righteous contempt towards the Americans that is very common in other parts of Canada.

Many Americans would welcome Québec into the union with enthouisasm. Hey, seven million Québec votes could actually be just enough to tip the political scale to the the progressive side of issues in the States. The Québécois support the right to choose and universal health care. God knows how strongly we feel about keeping him out of schools.

Québec might be to the left of the American political spectrum (although not quite as far left as it’s neighbor Vermont), it would probably not have such a hard time finding common ground with the boys down south. They certainly wouldn’t have anything against fellow former secessionists joining them in the fight for state rights and the struggle to keep the Federal government out of local affairs.

In fact, I suspect a few of les gars up here would not be against the concept of a constitutionally protected right to form armed militias..

Speaking of minorities, the admissions of French-speaking Americans in the Union can only help the political empowerment of the new linguistic and cultural reality of the United States that is already very real on the ground. American Hispanics will no doubt welcome the arrival of los Latinos del Norte as allies in the struggle for greater linguistic and cultural diversity in the US.

Québec joining the United States could be a good thing not only for Le Bel État, but also for the US and even the whole world! And even MORE important, it would mean -oh yes!- federal funding for the Québec Interstate, from Val-d’Or to Gaspé! (Of course that would technically mean raising the drinking age to 21, but when have people in Québec ever payed mind to drinking laws?)

Happy 4th of July!

Written by angryfrenchguy

July 4, 2008 at 10:41 am

220 Responses

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  1. Quote from Jacques Parizeau in 1995:
    “It’s fundamental that Quebec have its own armed forces. An army whose loyalty is to the nation becomes a support for democratic life.”

    Now, does anybody have any opinion as to whether angels are male or female?

    Acajack

    July 14, 2008 at 1:31 pm

  2. While some people have suggested that Quebec could save money by not having an army, I think it would have to have one if for no other reason that not having one would throw thousands of Quebecers out of a job.

    As to a partnership with Quebec, why would Canada do that? Yes, NATO is a precedent, but Canada is already part of NATO. While there might be economies of scale from combining forces (I think the Nordics are talking about making joint military purchases to try to get better prices), I am not sure how much a specific military partnership with Quebec would benefit Canada. Especially if Quebec joins NATO itself.

    With respect to a common passport, I think that is a little far-fetched for the reason I mentioned above that it could lead to Quebecers consuming Canadian social services (or the other way around). Also, there is no EU passport, just the Schengen agreement, which eliminates border control among certain -not all- EU member states.

    A joint currency is possible, but again, Quebec would probably give up a lot of control of monetary policy. An independent central banker would never have Quebec’s interests first, but of the whole of Canadian territory (like today).

    Anonymous

    July 14, 2008 at 2:01 pm

  3. And if we are forming all these partnerships with Canada (and thereby giving up a certain amount control/freedom over our affairs with each partnership) how are things going to be different than they are now? I guess I am getting back to my original question here…

    Anonymous

    July 14, 2008 at 2:07 pm

  4. happyfrenchguy

    “(See ABP very clear headed understanding of the political situation and his visceral aggressivity when he talks about the ’separatists”.)”

    Gosh, I dont think I am that visceral….;) about the separatiste. AGF, I am thinking they are right in their cause and for the most part I agree with them. Is that aggressive or visceral?

    Wished I could take the week off…..!

    Have a nice week…for sure if this thread continues any longer you might set a record with the number of posts to one of your single postings. I note the context however has widely deviated from the intent of your original article regarding joining the US. Always comes down to the issue of separation in the end. Quoi de faire.

    On a side note, is there anyone from Montreal who can tell me what “Quatre Domaine” golf course in Laval is like to play. Just checking out a few for my next visit. Looks very nice on the website.

    ABP

    ABP

    July 14, 2008 at 2:21 pm

  5. “And if we are forming all these partnerships with Canada (and thereby giving up a certain amount control/freedom over our affairs with each partnership) how are things going to be different than they are now? I guess I am getting back to my original question here…”

    Very good point, with all the strings attached, would things be any different as you say.

    ABP

    ABP

    July 14, 2008 at 2:26 pm

  6. ABP: “Wished I could take the week off…..!”

    Now, before you make a link between AFG’s week off and equalization, I just wanted to say that I’m in Quebec and I don’t have the week off! ;-))

    Acajack

    July 14, 2008 at 2:49 pm

  7. Anonymous cited all sorts of examples of international cooperation (NATO, EU, Schegen, etc.), but the thing is that these are independent countries that at one point freely decided to start sharing areas of jurisdiction and cooperation. What the PQ says is this: the EU example is great, so let’s have Quebec take ALL the powers back, then we’ll decide together what we want to share.

    My vision is that we don’t need to go to all that trouble, and that the areas in the Canadian federation where the division of powers is problematic could be resolved via a one-on-one agreement or constitutional amendment with the province involved (ie Quebec). This is a little-known fact about Canadian constitutional law: amendments concerning only one province need not have all of the provinces sitting around the table, trying to force everyone’s hand to agree unanimously that, for example, Quebec is “distinct society”, “nation” or whatever.

    Acajack

    July 14, 2008 at 3:03 pm

  8. “Now, before you make a link between AFG’s week off and equalization, I just wanted to say that I’m in Quebec and I don’t have the week off! ;-))”

    LOL….I do wish I had a week though and likely so do you!! AGF can afford to go, this thread just keeps rolling along. What is it 157 separate replies. Must be all our magnetic personalities mixing ;)).

    I see Bombardier got 350 million from the feds for help in developing their new C series of aircraft. Brother Jean threw in another 110 million of your provinical tax dollars as well. Now brings Bombardiers combined federal grants and loans (which apparently havent been paid back as yet) to about 1.2 Billion. What ever happened to private enterprise anyways.

    I realize this happens everywhere so I am not pointing the gun at a Quebec company….shudder the thought.

    a plus tard,

    ABP

    ABP

    July 14, 2008 at 4:05 pm

  9. Great discussion.

    Pity M. AFG will take a week off…On the other hand, did he add anything substantial to the thread, except mildly offensive inverse racism i.e. ‘inoffensive whitebread Time magazine prose”?
    Self-hate never ends. Reverend Wright would be proud, his local acolytes are hard at work across the North America.

    Setting up a dedicated website to sprout run-of-the-mill petty (petite?) bourgeois French Canadian propaganda and then being comprehensively outmaneuvered by some Western Canada schmuck…who is relaying on stupid government statistics & numbers no less, instead of engaging in battle cultural stereotypes…

    Life is sometimes so unfair to Quebecois.

    FrankD

    July 14, 2008 at 6:12 pm

  10. What would be different were Quebec to become independent? (Or did you ask “better”? I don’t want to wade through all the responses again…)

    One thing that jumps out at me is that you would be in a community of seven million citizens, rather than one of thirty-some. Your government, the ultimate level of government, would be that much closer to you– no longer would Quebec’s votes merely be holding the balance between western (small- or large-c) conservatives and eastern (small- or large-l) liberals; federal politics as such simply disappears.

    The benefit, to be brief, is a greater responsiveness. And it’s much easier to organize a tax revolt when you have that– which is why an independent Slovakia has a flat tax of just 19%. Would Quebec necessarily go in a positive direction if it gains independence? No, it could still end up an overtaxed, crumbling backwater. But it would be a lot easier for voters there to change things if they only had to worry about changing Quebec’s government, not also the Canadian one.

    well-wisher

    July 14, 2008 at 7:54 pm

  11. The way I saw it in 1995, we could vote yes, get a new country but keep the Canadian army, passport and dollar (maybe). Throw in some inevitable ”turbulences” (P.Marois) and everything would be cool in a short while. On the other hand, we could vote no and be absolutely sure of keeping the dollar/passport/army and as a bonus we could avoid the “turbulences“. Most people took the easy way , a lot who voted yes thought that they would remain in Canada as full Canadians.

    Dave

    July 14, 2008 at 8:05 pm

  12. “One thing that jumps out at me is that you would be in a community of seven million citizens, rather than one of thirty-some. Your government, the ultimate level of government, would be that much closer to you– no longer would Quebec’s votes merely be holding the balance between western (small- or large-c) conservatives and eastern (small- or large-l) liberals; federal politics as such simply disappears.”

    In reality the issue it preservation of the language and the french culture in Canada (Quebec) …It really renders down to this.. Within Canada there are two official languages. (which I myself am a little biased as to the validity as Canada a bilingual nation- maybe someday) In the end with Quebec separate they would be an island of about 7.5 million (actually about 4 million pure francos) in a sea of 325 million anglo speakers…Yes, you can talk about the hispanics in the USA but one thing is common …and that is english. So you see, the OLA (official language act in Canada) french is preserved with a total of 32 million people in this accord with the legislation (some are not).
    With the numbers at hand the culture and language (french is a beautiful language…le language d’amour pour certaine) has a better chance within Canada with the collective rather than the minority which Quebec would be by itself. A group of willow branches are always stronger than a single willow branch by itself. With regards to the small c’s and large c’s in Western Canada and the liberals in the east, I am sure there could be a compromise which might work if you just survey the people and forget about the politicians self interest.

    Sure, we all have differences and that is what makes life interesting…..the people in Quebec who work daily have the same goals in mind…worry about the kids, pay the bills….and get by and try and enjoy a bit of life if you can… Same thing for everyone else in this country we call Canada. Some in quebec speak a language which is foreign to Westerners or some easterners…and the majority in the ROC speak english which if foreign to many Quebec people…who are uniligual franco. Does the language make them any different for their wants and needs on a day to day basis. I doubt it. The people’s concerns are the same whether they be from Trois Riveries or Grand Prairie.

    Yes, there are people in the ROC that say that Quebec gets too much special treatment…Maybe they do, and I have said the same myself as this thread well extolls. But as Acajack has stated “where everything comes from” have we really given Quebec the chance. The equalization that I talk of often is nothing more than an impairment to productivity…What is does is take away, the will to aspire….take away the tools..which is to succeed. I am sure Quebec with their demonstrated spirit with the survival of the language and culture will succeed, given the opportunity.

    There are certain issues in Canada I am not comfortable…but then again…maybe I am wrong about the OLA etc..Although some of the by products are not conducive to harmony amongst anglos and francos. Remember that this was a political endeavor and not one generated by the people…Policitians again being proactive to tell the people what is good for them..

    I really doubt in Baie Comeau that they care if someone from Prince Albert can parle le francais….As long as those in Baie Comeau have their traditions and language in tact. What the hell is wrong with that. Maybe someday they will be able to communicate …actually in this day and age with technology they could whenever they want…maybe a penpal program would be a good thing.

    Personal experience side bar:
    I went to Ottawa to study air traffic control back in the 70’s..Shortly after the FLQ issue…I was told by my Western relatives to be suspect and be on guard as bad things could happen…I was very young..just out of secondary school. One weekend one of the older classmates at the ATC school asked me if I wanted to go to Montreal with some others from the class. At first I was suspect..but I accepted….The most hospitable people at their house, they didnt have a lot in their flat but it was great and I enjoyed the weekend and many after that…so much for being kidnapped by the Quebecois!!!. They had a bar then in Montreal called “father moustache” a good time for all of us that weekend and after that. Can you imagine an 18 year old Saskie in Montreal…good thing M.Boulet had a lot of family including his beautiful cousin Marie to show me around..Enough of that.

    Yes, we need to look at again certain aspect of this country…and how we get along with each other.

    Contrary..(I guess I am a bit of the devils advocate) to what I have portrayed on this site…as for one westerner “que je suis” I would not like to see our country broken up over issues which can be quite easily resolved… For the Westerners and those from the ROC, spend some time in Quebec and see if you dont like it….if you dont then you obviously dont like life itself…for the Quebecois…you are welcome at my house any time you want to visit me.. For you see, we are not that different….and being not the different there shouldnt be a problem large enough to divide us.

    You are french canadiene…I am anglo Canadian…so who cares. Now lets have party…I especially like the greetings in Quebec. ( ah you know, the two or three kisses on each cheek ..whats wrong with that…??)

    au revoir et bonne nuit

    ABP

    ABP

    July 14, 2008 at 10:49 pm

  13. “The benefit, to be brief, is a greater responsiveness.”

    well-wisher, thanks for taking the time to answer me. I guess what I would also like to ask you is what policies would be different if we had more responsiveness from indepent Quebec’s governments. I just do not see where we differ substantially in our views on economic, social and legal matters than the ROC. We perhaps like a somewhat more centralized government here in Quebec, but it seems like we already have that. On the language front, I remember Parizeau trying to reassure anglos that their rights would continue to be protected, so I do not foresee big chages on that front either.

    I think I agree with ABP here more than with Acajack as to how similar or different we are from the ROC. Especially if you compare us to the US. You can always find differences between any two groups of people. A university-educated Montrealer is probably going to have more in common with a counterpart in Toronto than with a fisherman from Iles-de-la-Madeleine.

    Anonymous

    July 15, 2008 at 11:14 am

  14. I know most people here feel strongly about Quebec remaining in Canada, but I would respectfully submit that saying that independence wouldn’t change anything is a bit simplistic. People in Quebec aren’t dumb and have as good an idea as anyone of what’s going on elsewhere in the world, so if the argument is going to be: “what’s the use, it won’t change anything…” well, you won’t be getting very far with that one trust me.

    AFG put it bluntly but rightly when he asked our Anonymous poster to list why Canada should be an independent country from the United States. His interlocutor declined to answer, but this is a question anyone could easily answer: we are independent from (insert “other” political entity here) because we want to decide for ourselves what our economic, educational and social priorities will be, what is most important for us to spend our money on, what we want to make punishable by law and what we will turn a blind eye to, if and when we want to go to war (if at all), and what partnerships we want to enter into with our neighbours across the border.

    Sure an independent Quebec might do 80% of things exactly the same as Canada would. But you can pretty much make that comparison between any two western democracies. (And certainly between Canada and the United States.)

    That 20% or so may seem small and insignificant, but it’s what makes Paris feel so different from London, Madrid different from Rome and Geneva different from Zurich.

    On a more practical level, as has been alluded to indirectly by others here, independence for Quebec in and of itself would give a tremendous boost to French both linguistically and culturally. Please everyone, spare us the comments that Quebec would so poor that its culture would die. You don’t see Haitian or Mexican culture dying out, do you?

    Just off the top of my head, Quebec would also be free to implement a unified education system like we have talked about on other threads in this forum, with most of the day in French, and part of it in English. The current Canadian constitutional framework, with separate English schools in Quebec inextricably linked to separate French schools in the ROC, makes this type of change virtually impossible.

    I suppose as well that knowledge of French would be required to obtain Quebec citizenship. At the moment, Canadian law requires knowledge of English OR French for citizenship no matter where you live in the country (as it should in the current context, I might add). What this means is that you can obtain citizenship in Montreal without knowing a word of French, and (in theory at least) you can also obtain citizenship in Toronto or Vancouver without knowing a word of English.

    An independent Quebec could also make it mandatory for graduates of McGill, Concordia and Bishop’s universities to pass a French test before obtaining their diplomas. This would ensure that, although these institutions would rightly remain anglophone places of higher learning, that they are also committed to producing graduates that can actually function in Quebec society. This requirement would of course spur these institutions into beefing up the French instruction they offer their students. Of course, nothing prevents Quebec from doing this right now, except for politics. But since we all know politics means everything…

    As I’ve mentioned previously, I don’t personally think independence is necessary to achieve most of this (although it would make them more likely to happen, if not inevitable in some cases). And although I do realize that my ideas on this haven’t received much take-up, I think that Quebec and the ROC can have their cake and eat it too… if they really want to settle matters once and for all.

    Acajack

    July 15, 2008 at 11:29 am

  15. Acajack,

    I agree with everything in your post. The only problem being the lack of a consensus in Quebec. To go ahead and create a new country with barely 50% of the population behind the project is to invite trouble all along the way. Can you imagine a UDI with a daily pro-Canada demonstration in Dorchester square.

    You also forget that a lot of people have family ties across Canada. The effect of cutting Ontario off from NB is very real and even more psychological. How long did East and West Pakistan survive united ? If 48% of the population are dead set against separation, how would the new country prevent irredentist movements , what about aboriginal nations that would vote overwhelmingly to remain within Canada. These are all hard practical questions that sovereignists ignore at their peril.

    The advantages of independence you outlined are real and credible, the disadvantages are also real and credible. Until such a time that a clear majority feels the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, as seems the case actually, we are stuck in the status quo, which for most is livable.

    Dave

    July 15, 2008 at 12:43 pm

  16. “AFG put it bluntly but rightly when he asked our Anonymous poster to list why Canada should be an independent country from the United States. His interlocutor declined to answer, but this is a question anyone could easily answer: we are independent from (insert “other” political entity here) because we want to decide for ourselves what our economic, educational and social priorities will be, what is most important for us to spend our money on, what we want to make punishable by law and what we will turn a blind eye to, if and when we want to go to war (if at all), and what partnerships we want to enter into with our neighbours across the border.”

    Acajack, again, my question was about how things will be better/different in an independent, not why it should become independent. I took up AFG on his suggestion, but then when I erased Canada and wrote in Quebec, I felt like erasing Quebec and putting in Montreal instead. I mean why should Montreal tax dollars subsidize dairy farmers? Why should rural Quebec be overrepresented in the assembly? The arguments of wanting to “decide for ourselves” suggests that all provinces should separate and the whole world should be made up of small countries.

    With respect to the education system. I might be totally wrong, but I think Quebec would still be legally required to have a separate anglophone system. But even if not, I do remember Parizeau saying that nothing would change for anglophones and that all their rights would be continued to be protected. I have never heard of a PQ politician talk about aboloshing English schools.

    With respect to language and citizenship, I think you are right about a French. But for that requirement to be effective, it would have to be a lot more stringent than it is now because I have met naturalized Canadian citizens who do not speak a word of English and French

    Language tests for university graduates are also very possible, but how would you be able to attract top professors / researchers who do not speak Franch? And would these tests apply to foreign students who come here strictly to study (and pay a lot more in tuition than locals)? Most local anglos and allophones know enough French to past simple French exams and if these are more advanced exams, they would not be the only ones failing them.

    Anyways, we disagree on what would happen to English schools in an independent Quebec, but language tests at McGill and for citizenship do not seem like major changes. And even if we do get a unified school system, none of these changes have affected 80% of the population who are francophones.

    Acajack, when you say “settle matters once and for all”, which matters are you talking about?

    Anonymous

    July 15, 2008 at 2:45 pm

  17. “As I’ve mentioned previously, I don’t personally think independence is necessary to achieve most of this (although it would make them more likely to happen, if not inevitable in some cases). And although I do realize that my ideas on this haven’t received much take-up, I think that Quebec and the ROC can have their cake and eat it too… if they really want to settle matters once and for all.”

    I think so too. (maybe even some of that fine Quebec ice cream as well) But there has to be conditions met on both sides for this to happen and like any other negotiation, both sides have to come away with something and be satisified with the result or the negotiation has failed. Meech lake did not go down with the anglos in Canada as it was viewed to give one province too much power. Note that it was a Manitoba MLA from the first nations who finally deep sixed the accord in combination with a few others such as Clyde Wells from NFLD.

    Actually Ottawa has been responsible for a lot of the issues that seem to place francos and anglos at odds either done to pacify the separatist segment in Quebec or buy the votes of the others.

    Education is an issue in every province. Take SK…we have four school boards, protestant, catholic, french and first nations. They essentially teach all of the same subjects — science, math, history etc. What in the world do we need four separate administrations to accomplish the same end. Very costly and inefficient.

    In Quebec my grandson goes to a school in the English system. A very fine school I might add in which everything is taught in french until grade five whereupon some english classes are started. Some might have a problem with this but I certainly dont. Of course he is english and speaks and writes english quite well. If, he was of different ethnic origin and couldnt speak english I might feel differently.

    Some provisions of the OLA I have a problem with as I have stated before. A huge sum of money (and I mean huge) spent on a program which has essentially failed its design. Surely there must be a better way…. as this one doesnt or hasnt worked all that well.

    As I said, it cant be one sided or no one will be happy.

    Regretably, I believe it wont be settled all that soon. A bit of undertanding of how the other side feels would be a good start.

    If we could only convince the hard liners (hard left wing separatists, and wild eyed red neck conservatives) that is not all about those other guys, but about us, things would likely be a lot better.

    ABP

    ABP

    July 15, 2008 at 2:55 pm

  18. “Language tests for university graduates are also very possible, but how would you be able to attract top professors / researchers who do not speak Franch? And would these tests apply to foreign students who come here strictly to study (and pay a lot more in tuition than locals)? Most local anglos and allophones know enough French to past simple French exams and if these are more advanced exams, they would not be the only ones failing them.”

    Thanks for this…I was going to bring up the issue of foreign students who pay a big premium on tuitions as well as the
    professors who may not be bilingual french/anglo. Good point.

    ABP

    July 15, 2008 at 3:01 pm

  19. It’s a wonder that places like Switzerland, Sweden, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and dozens of other countries can survive intellectually without any English-language universities within their borders!

    Acajack

    July 15, 2008 at 3:54 pm

  20. Acajack,

    I apologize for bringing up foreign students and professors because that was not the main point I was trying to make. My point was that the policies you mentioned do not seem major. Even if you assume a unified school system, these would affect only a relatively minor portion of the population.

    Anonymous

    July 15, 2008 at 4:24 pm

  21. “It’s a wonder that places like Switzerland, Sweden, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and dozens of other countries can survive intellectually without any English-language universities within their borders!”

    Hmmm…do you have a problem with anglos Acajack??..It would seem as the dialogue moves on that I detect some bias in your postings. .Look at the countries you name…Many english speakers…so they must learn it from somewhere. I suspect they have a lot of English programs in their curriculums.

    If everyone were to be bilingual in Canada…the current existing bilinguals would lose their special status wouldn’t they. Pity, no more elitism…..

    ABP

    ABP

    July 15, 2008 at 11:56 pm

  22. “Hmmm…do you have a problem with anglos Acajack??..It would seem as the dialogue moves on that I detect some bias in your postings. .Look at the countries you name…Many english speakers…so they must learn it from somewhere. I suspect they have a lot of English programs in their curriculums.”

    I don’t have any problem with anglos, but I do have a problem with anglo-supremacist thinking. What I mean by this is that I have a problem with messages whose tone suggests that somehow “the only salvation is through English”.

    All of the places I named have varying numbers of English-language speakers in their population, from very high percentages in northern Europe to somewhat lower levels in the larger Latin-Romance language countries (France, Italy, Spain). My point was that none of them have English-language universities where you can essentially earn your degree entirely in English (unless you’re studying the English language or perhaps literature) as you would at Queen’s or Western Ontario. Of course, they might on occasion bring in someone from abroad who will teach some courses to students in English, which is both an academic and linguistic enrichment for the students, who get to improve their English as well as tap into the person’s knowledge.

    Now, what Quebec already has as far as English-language university education actually goes far beyond this, and mandatory fluency in French in order to obtain a degree from McGill wouldn’t really change much. There’d still be way more English at McGill than there is at any university in these countries I mentioned, or in any non-anglophone country in the world for that matter.

    And besides, no matter how many prestigious foreign profs or researchers they have, you still have to know German to study at the University of Heidelberg.

    Acajack

    July 16, 2008 at 8:36 am

  23. “Even if you assume a unified school system, these would affect only a relatively minor portion of the population.”

    One in every 10 children in Quebec at the moment is enrolled in the English-language school system. Opinions are mixed on how good the French instruction is in these schools but there are a lot of people who feel it is very deficient and condemns a lot of Quebec anglos, once in adulthood, to exile in other provinces because their French isn’t good enough for them to function in mainstream Quebec society. (Note that I went to Franco-Ontarian schools and our English classes followed the exact same “English native speaker” curriculum as those followed by anglo kids in Ontario’s English schools. I was analysing Shakespearean soliloquys in my second language at the age of 14! Sure, some francophone kids had a bit of trouble, but it was sink or swim. And everyone ended up with the English skills that are essential for life in Ontario.)

    Also, a lot of people also feel that the English taught in Quebec’s French-language schools (which covers the other 90% of kids) is deficient as well.

    So the unified system could be beneficial to both groups, in that it would have the anglo kids less marginalized since they would be very much up to speed in French (and maybe keep more of them in Quebec as adults), and give the franco kids better English skills than what they are acquiring at the moment.

    Acajack

    July 16, 2008 at 8:46 am

  24. “So the unified system could be beneficial to both groups, in that it would have the anglo kids less marginalized since they would be very much up to speed in French (and maybe keep more of them in Quebec as adults), and give the franco kids better English skills than what they are acquiring at the moment.”

    Not too mention saving a lot of tax dollars!

    ABP

    July 16, 2008 at 9:42 am

  25. Yeah, the situation in Ontario (similar to Saskatchewan’s I guess) just boggles my mind!

    You’ve got:

    – English public school boards
    – English Catholic school boards
    – French public school boards; and
    – French Catholic school boards.

    Each of which has its own board of trustees and administrative staff, including executive directors, directors of education, planning, transportation, communications, technical services, etc.

    Many of the French-language boards in particular cover gigantic areas (larger than many of the world’s countries in fact), which also means huge travel costs when you have to send a special ed teacher or a psychologist or any specialized professional based at headquarters hundreds of km to one school to meet one student for one hour.

    Acajack

    July 16, 2008 at 9:58 am

  26. “Yeah, the situation in Ontario (similar to Saskatchewan’s I guess) just boggles my mind!”

    Quite ridiculous isnt it..??

    I see the only problem with consolidation in Quebec is likely the anglos fear that if consolidated that the English programs would not be given any priority or equal treatment. Currently, textbooks are apparently a problem with translation issues etc.

    I suspect the same for other provinces as well. Well, I am thinking Alberta may have consolidated but I am not sure about this. I know when the Klein conservatives came in years ago and the economy was just in recovery that they slashed educational spending…was a big outcry but in the end the system became much more efficient. Same thing for the rural areas and county’s (municipalities). They were almalgamated into larger jurisdictions which translated into more efficiencies and less waste.

    I see the premier’s are meeting in Quebec City this week…Wonder what will come out of this. I am thinking East vs West with the maritimes on the sidelines. Will be interesting.

    ABP

    ABP

    July 16, 2008 at 10:22 am

  27. On English school boards in Quebec.

    This from the montreal gazette letters to th editor.

    Re: “Anglo schools are doing just fine” (Letters, July 12).

    Perhaps someone can explain how anglophone students, who work with badly translated books and exams or no books at all are graduating at such a high rate while francophone students, who work with all original materials, have a 50-per-cent dropout rate.

    I guess all the efforts to put our kids at a disadvantage just aren’t working. Bravo to our teachers for working so hard to make sure our kids succeed regardless of what our government presents them with.”

    Is this in fact true. that 50% of students in franco schools drop out out school. Wonder what the actual graduation rate is for the anglo schools.

    Not being cynical, just found this letter interesting. The letter’s author is not too complimentary about the situation existing.

    ABP

    ABP

    ABP

    July 16, 2008 at 10:49 am

  28. Yeah, I had read some stories recently on how the English high schools were doing better than the French ones on the drop-out rate index. This is good news for them, as they unfortunately have usually been near the bottom (with a few exceptions) in recent years when the newsmagazine L’actualité has published its annual ranking (featuring a bunch of indicators, not just drop-out rates) of all 500 or so high schools in Quebec. This edition is always a huge news item and public debate provoker when it comes out.

    Acajack

    July 16, 2008 at 12:31 pm

  29. While I really like the idea of a unified school system in Quebec with two languages of education, I don’t see that happening. Nobody really wants something like that as the uproar over Pauline Marois’ idea showed. Anglos don’t want it if for no other reason than mistrust.

    If Quebec became a country, it could obviously change the law. In 1995, however, the PQ was at pains to say that nothing (including schooling) would change for anglos, so even an independent Quebec would probably continue to have an English language school system.

    Anonymous

    July 16, 2008 at 3:47 pm

  30. Ah yes, rankings of high schools. I checked out my old high school a couple of years ago. It came in something like 390th position out of around 450 schools… although I wonder whether its ranking would have been different back when I attended…

    Anonymous

    July 16, 2008 at 3:54 pm


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