AngryFrenchGuy

Possible changes to Bill 101

with 40 comments

Soon after the adoption of Bill 101, the French Language Charter, in 1977, Participation Québec – Anglo-rights lobby that would later become Alliance Québec – demanded three changes to the law. One, that bilingual signs be allowed. Two, that all Canadian Anglophones, not just the ones from Québec, have access to publicly funded English schools. Three, that health and social services remain available for Anglophones.

And done. Since bill 63 allowed bilingual signs in Québec 15 years ago, all of English Québec’s demands have been met.

So what the hell are we still arguing about?

We are still arguing because contrary to what was the case in the 1970’s the smart, informed and moderate leaders of the Anglophone community have shut up. They have disappeared from the public debate.

This has had serious consequences. It allowed Howard Galganov, Brent Tyler, Bill Johnston, Allen Nutik and a whole cast of clowns to stage an appalling parody of an “individual rights” argument against Bill 101. They have also made themselves complicit with the spread of the most ridiculous myths about Québec.

The consequence today is that Francophones have turned bill 101 into a sacred monument and concluded that dialogue with the English-speaking community on the issue of the protection of the French language is impossible.

The very term Anglophone leader has become so dirty that Prime minister Jean Charest has to hide the fact that his party has Anglo support and keep his Anglo MNAs in the back benches!

This said, legislation should be a living breathing thing and Bill 101 is no exception. It is simply not true that the choice is between a vindictive language legislation that victimizes Anglophones and an institutional bilingualism that would lead to two hermetically segregated societies.

So as a public service to Québec, the interns in the West Wing of the AngryFrenchHouse have come up, as a starting point for discussions, with two changes to the French Language Charter that would solves some problems Anglos have with the law without threatening the French language in any way.

1. Stop legislating our names!

As it now stands the French Language charter requires that all “raison sociale” – the names of stores and businesses – be in French. Companies with internationally registered trademarks, however, can keep using their international brand name in Québec, unless they also have a French brand name, in which case they have to use that one.

This means McDonald’s can use it’s “English” apostrophe but Schwartz’s Deli Bob’s quincaillerie in Gatineau can’t.

Not only does this rule not serve any discernable purpose, it has the exact opposite effect of the one intended by the creators of the law: it gives more leeway to big transnational corporations than to small local businesses that happen to be owned and operated by Anglophones.

The rule has absolutely no effect on the “French face” of Montreal as Blockbuster, American Apparel, Urban Outfitter, Future Shop and a thousand other Best Buys with international trademarks are allowed to put up their signs while small local start-ups would not be allowed to use those very same names had they been available.

The name of the store does not in any way reflect the quality of the French service offered in those stores anyway. I can very well call my store Skateboard Kings and have French-only signs and catalogues and fluently French or bilingual staff. In fact, last year the OQLF gave a prize to Mountain Equipment Coop for the quality of it’s French service. Yet, if MEC had been headquartered in Québec instead of a prize they would’ve received a fine and would have been forced to change their name to Coopérative d’Équipement de Montagne inc….

It’s a silly rule and it must go.

2. Stop the Vigilantes!

A frequent complaint of businesses that have had run-ins with the OQLF is that procedures can be started on the basis of a single anonymous complaint.

The logic behind the complaint mechanism of bill 101 is that it would allow communities to police themselves. In small rural English-speaking town in the Eastern Townships no one, not even visiting Francophones, would be offended by some English-only signs or the odd unilingual English waitress at the local diner. No one would complain, nothing would change.

Sadly it’s a well known fact that there are some ideological vigilantes out there who go out looking for such “threats” to the French language. Because of the one complaint policy, the Office is legally required to launch an investigation.

Contrary to the myth of the all powerful Language Police that Anglo media in Canada works very hard to perpetuate, there is actually a grand total of four (google English) – that’s right, four – inspectors investigating complaints against small businesses in the entire province of Québec, and those inspectors are barely able to process 60% of the files on their desks.

I don’t know for a fact how they chose which ones to investigate but you would hope they prioritize those businesses that received multiple complaints. There is probably a de facto filtering out of single random complaints.

Nevertheless, as a goodwill gesture and also as a way to clear the backlog, a higher treshold should be required before the OQLF has to launch an investigation. Let’s say five complaints? Other measures should be established to discourage vigilantes, such as requiring that they supply a postal code proving that they can reasonably claim they are part of the same community as the business they are complaining against.

Next week: AngryFrenchGuy solves the conflict in the Middle East.

Written by angryfrenchguy

August 8, 2008 at 1:21 pm

40 Responses

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  1. @ AGF:

    “This means McDonald’s can use it’s “English” apostrophe but Schwartz’s Deli can’t.”

    Are you sure?
    Last time I went there, I did see an apostrophe…

    Cancerous

    August 10, 2008 at 5:52 pm

  2. Humm.. never noticed Schwartz got it’s apostrophe back. They used to be the symbol for this.

    http://archives.cbc.ca/politics/provincial_territorial_politics/topics/1297-7464/

    My understanding is that the “loophole” got very big. Businesses DO have to use a French name:

    http://www.olf.gouv.qc.ca/francisation/entreprises/table_matieres.html

    –click “denomination sociale”

    Unless there is none registred. SO if you DON’T have a French name, you don’t have to use it…. Like I said, couterproductive.

    angryfrenchguy

    August 10, 2008 at 9:31 pm

  3. So…use a French name for your international business.

    Big deal. The money goes out of Quebec.

    Support local businesses, whether Franco, Anglo or allo?

    Nope. Just give the money to transnationals who really couldn’t care less.

    Go WalMart, HomeDepot etc;

    Michel

    August 11, 2008 at 8:18 am

  4. I believe that if you look *closely*, you will see that the mark in the Schwartz’s sign is not an English apostrophe but a very French accent ague. (The law says it’s gotta be French, but does not specify GOOD French.)

    Ahem, well, now that I have solved that one…

    I had a trip to Switzerland recently, and as I was reflecting on the flight home it struck me that there are, or could be, some very interesting parallels between that admirable little country and an independent Quebec. Topographical parallels: a settled plain backed by beautiful mountains. Infrastructure parallels: abundant hydro power and some carbon-free nukes. Political parallels: a tendency to want to stay out of neighbors’ big conflicts. Build some more passenger rail and streetcars, and you’re nearly there!

    This is all skin-deep, of course. But there are serious lessons for Quebec in the Swiss experience, in my opinion. A banking center that is outside the regulatory reach of a large neighboring economy, but that is not some hole-in-the-wall money-laundering microstate, would have some appeal for those who would like to hedge their US exposure but still operate on New York time. And if French or German haven’t been a hindrance to Geneva or Zurich, respectively, then the field is wide open for Montreal. And Quebec City can be every bit as sleepy and/or uptight as Bern, I would bet.

    A banking economy based around a fourth North American currency would fill a market niche that, in my opinion, is growing ever larger. Read the European financial papers and you get a sense that companies abroad fear the encroachment of American regulation that even small branch businesses in US jurisdictions bring. Canada relies heavily on primary-products exports, and so is suceptible to US pressure on many fronts; this makes it hard to, for example, promulgate banking or financial regulation that would draw away capital flows from the US. Quebec, not having BC’s trees or Alberta’s oil, would not necessarily be exposed in the same way. Particularly if Quebec could build a niche in the capital markets– and in today’s world, that need not take a long time. Switzerland arguably did it in the space of 30 years at the beginning of the last century, and has continued to build on that success.

    Is it a sure thing? Of course not. But tell me, what is?

    Food for thought anyway.

    well-wisher

    August 11, 2008 at 7:10 pm

  5. @ AFG:

    Thanks for the clarification.

    D’ailleurs, concernant le deuxième lien que vous avez fourni, Il y a une faute typographique dans le troisième paragraphe du texte: il faut effacer le E dans “certaines” :-)

    Cancerous

    August 11, 2008 at 9:40 pm

  6. Here is why we are mad. Take note nationalist masters. Of course you will listen with ears shut

    1. Bill 86, English can be half the size on some signs. billboards, moving vechicles only in French ect…..Trademarks like Mcdonald’s can be in English. However this did not stop the language police in harassing companies with trademarks like The Bay.

    The UN said that limiting the use of a language on a private signs is a case of limiting freedom of expression. The UN has said Bill 101 section on the language on signs is not right. In the rest of Canada a company can put up a private unilingual sign in French, however in Quebec a company cannot put up a unilingual English sign or equal size. This is symbolic, are anglos half the citizens. The answer Yes. Does anyone remember Rosa Parks ???

    Angryphone

    August 12, 2008 at 8:57 am

  7. In terms of Public schools the English of old allowed the French to keep their Catholic French schools, hence the Quebec act. If the English did not do this, today everyone would be speaking English.

    The French in the 1960’s did not allow any immigrants, Jews, Greeks or protestants into their French Catholic schools then they truned around and passed Bill 101 and now they are crying because there is too much English. Duhhh

    Bottom line the nationalist have dug there own grave and they need someone to blame. Reminds me of little children who refuse to own up to their own mistake. Not very mature

    Angryphone

    August 12, 2008 at 9:14 am

  8. Here is the real reason why the anglos of today are pissed.

    The Anglos have contributed to building the province not though laws but with their bare hands and risk through small business. Since the 1970’s the anglos have been crapped on….

    Take a look around Montreal and try to suck up the enviroment, the buildings, homes, buisness, the arts, a big part of it is a result of anglo and ethinic hard work and risk. Not Anglo domination.

    Angryphone

    August 12, 2008 at 9:23 am

  9. Angryphone: You demand that you be heard without “ears shut”, but then fill your posts with insults and patronizing comments. This seems pretty close to the behavior of the “little children” you are talking about.

    The article seems to promote dialog and reform. Seems like a good idea except for extremist on both sides.

    MattFromVan

    August 12, 2008 at 1:12 pm

  10. Besides, you are perpetuating the stereotype that economic growth can come only from the cool, level-headed, hardworking English Canadians. Historical hegemony can be taken out of the equation then… sure… thanks for doing that for everyone.

    Admittedly, Quebec culture, laws, people are not perfect. Neither are Canadians. Hypocrisy is when you refuse to hold yourself up to the same standards as “them”.

    MattFromVan

    August 12, 2008 at 1:27 pm

  11. “In terms of Public schools the English of old allowed the French to keep their Catholic French schools, hence the Quebec act.”

    And that’s where you prove your ignorance and lose your credibility, yet again.
    Try to inform and educate yourself first before inaccurately recounting historical events such as the Quebec Act.

    First of all, the Quebec Act had nothing to do with language, but rather religious faith and civil law.

    Secondly, upon the triumph of Britain and the fall of New France, all the Québécois automatically became British subjects. Consequently, to be admitted to any public office or become involved politically or gouvernmentally, they had to swear an oath to the King/Queen of England and reject their Roman Catholic faith.

    Thirdly, the only reason the British established the Quebec Act allowing the Québécois to keep their faith, was due to the American Revolution and fear that the Québécois would support the rebellion and join the Americans against them.

    It was merely an act of vulgar diplomacy and “compromise” on behalf of Britain, not because they loved their Québécois subjects or cared about their faith or language.

    Cancerous

    August 12, 2008 at 7:24 pm

  12. “Since bill 63 allowed bilingual signs in Québec 15 years ago…”
    So I guess a person can be considered bilingual if he speaks perfectly (100%) his mother tongue and is able to understand 50% of another language.

    Anonymous #5

    August 12, 2008 at 8:01 pm

  13. Cancerous:

    “Thirdly, the only reason the British established the Quebec Act allowing the Québécois to keep their faith, was due to the American Revolution and fear that the Québécois would support the rebellion and join the Americans against them. It was merely an act of vulgar diplomacy and “compromise” on behalf of Britain, not because they loved their Québécois subjects or cared about their faith or language.”

    It’s tempting to say that such “vulgar diplomacy” is the reason for 99% of all policy everywhere, but as it happens you’re mistaken on this point. The first governor of post-conquest New France was James Murray (one of Wolfe’s brigadiers, the loser of Ste. Foy), who, as the son of a Jacobite, was so sympathetic to the French that he was recalled in 1766, having annoyed the incoming British merchants. But in that crucial post-conquest period he stood up for the language and religion of New France and set the precedent for the Quebec Act.

    hoo-boy

    August 15, 2008 at 9:47 pm

  14. @angryphone,

    “In the rest of Canada a company can put up a private unilingual sign in French”

    Well, actually it’s about to become untrue in Prescott-Russell in Ontario where the mayor Ken Hill has enabled a by-law that forces NEW businesses to put up BILINGUAL signs and those who don’t comply will be fined (I don’t know how much though but it doesn’t matter, it’s the principle).

    History will have to take note that from now on the statement you made has become untrue.

    Regards,

    TM

    Tym Machine

    August 16, 2008 at 7:00 pm

  15. It might be instructive to take a look at the relative success of efforts to revive Irish and Welsh. In the case of Irish, after the creation of the Free State it became compulsory to learn Irish in schools, you needed to speak Irish to get a government job etc. But Irish is still dying. In Wales in recent decades, on the other hand, the emphasis has been on making sure that public services are available in Welsh. A lot of it is symbolic of course, such as the paint jobs on police cars – and I’m not exactly convinced by the way Cardiff garbage trucks announce that they are reversing in both languages (Somali or Polish would be better if you really want to stop people being run over). On the other hand it does matter that someone can phone the police in their own language. There are bilingual street names, but not everywhere. They are encouraged, but not fanatically. Cardiff has always been an English-speaking city with a huge immigrant population (not just English) going back to the nineteenth century, and no one is trying to pretend that away. After all that, Welsh is still not secure, but it has gained a lot of prestige and is certainly in better health for that.

    Until 25 years ago or so Welsh nationalism often had a very aggressive and sentimentally paranoid character, with fanatics burning down holiday homes and that kind of stuff, and even when you looked at the mainstream of Welsh separatism, you would have realised that it would have been absolutely unthinkable for anyone without a long Welsh ancestry (and the right skin colour) to join. But something else was brewing. First of all there was the realisation that with the growing complexity of European confederalism sovereignty had ceased to be an either-or matter. And then there were those who had come to identify as Welsh but whose families came from places like Norway, Yemen, Cap Verde and the Indian subcontinent. What they brought into Welsh national life is probably best summed up by a piece of graffiti on a wall by the Butetown council housing estate which read INDEPENDANT (sic) TROPICAL WALES.

    In Belgium the Flemish commune of Overijse, which is just to the east of Brussels and is now 40% French-speaking due to an influx of commuters, decided to create a hit-list of business displaying signs in languages other than Dutch in order that it’s residents could boycott them. Even the Flemish parliament, which is itself steeped in ethnic prejudice, was dismayed. I walked through Overijse not too long ago. It is prosperous, semi-rural, interested in promoting tourism. Yet so many storefront and signs, including small English or French signs underneath big Dutch ones, had been defaced with black spraycans by some fanatics who signed their work with the initials of some Flemish extremist group. These shitforbrains had convinced themselves that they were doing this for a righteous cause, but all they were doing was making their visual environment hate-filled and ugly. One of the ironies of this of course is that they should, by the same logic, have fucked up the offices of the Flemish tourist board in Brussels because all the stuff in its window is in English, including the word FLANDERS spread across it in huge 3-d letters.

    Let me explain a little about Flemish national pride. There was a time when Wallonia was richer than Flanders and supported Flanders through the tax system. Now Flanders is richer than Wallonia and thinks that that makes it superior. There is no sense of gratitude. Just greed.

    If you want to live in most parts of Flanders, make sure you have the right skin colour. You may speak Dutch like a native, be married to a Fleming, hold down a good job etc, but if you are brown no one will sit next to you on a train – ever – and your next-door neighbours won’t even say hello to you if you jump up and down in front of their faces. Flemish separatism is paranoid and hateful.

    Compare that to Brussels, which is officially bilingual Dutch and French, but actually has about 5 or 6 languages in widespread use, with French predominating. The only rules here about language are that legal documents have to be in French or Dutch and also companies expect you to have language ability appropriate to the job your are doing. A little Dutch will help you at McDonalds. You need to be fluent to join the police. This means of course that you have the right to call the police in Dutch. All this of course earns Dutch some prestige, prestige which is squandered by all those petit-bourgeois Flemish rednecks who have completely forgotten the reputation Afrikaans earned itself in the past.

    In short, what I am saying is that there is a choice between the carrot and the stick, and there is a choice between a siege mentality and openness. A paranoid culture has no future, neither for its own members nor for the outside world.

    One of the reasons Belgium is fragile is because it is a complete fiction. Or at least it was. There was no Belgium before it became politically convenient for some of the great powers to create it. Yet such fictions create reality around them. Like Brussels. It was originally a Flemish city, but now it is something else entirely. Right on the border between the Latin and Germanic world. French speaking, but without the buttock-clenching that the French government gets into in trying to protect “Frenchness”, whatever that is—I once saw on TV a former French minister responsible for assimilation of minorities saying that you would know when kids had been frenchified when they stopped eating North African food and started eating hamburgers. That kind of thing is just shit. Brussels is fantastic.

    Canada is also a fiction that has become real over time. Then again, so is Quebec. It is all hybrid. Montreal. The whole shebang. It is impossible not to be hybrid. Anything else would be death.

    exile

    August 17, 2008 at 12:15 pm

  16. Another corollary to Bill 101: in Quebec you must have a native English speaker as a parent to go to school in English, in Ontario the same is true for French. BUT in Quebec schools are not allowed to make exceptions, while in Ontario they are. My kids go to French school but they are an exception, since although I am fluent, French is not my native tongue. Do I feel cheated because of this? Not really. I made the effort to make my kids bilingual, but it is French that takes the effort, not English, even in Quebec. Just part of the survival impetus.

    I just came back from a conference in Quebec City and had lots of conversations about stuff like this with Francophones. Most were open-minded and fascinated by my efforts and even touched that Ontarians would make such an effort. A few were a little down on the “immigrants” but not alarmingly so.

    Toddles

    August 18, 2008 at 11:04 pm

  17. ‘Besides, you are perpetuating the stereotype that economic growth can come only from the cool, level-headed, hardworking English Canadians.’

    Don’t think so MattFromVan, I think Angryphone is just pointing out a historical fact, which is (all too often) arrogantly dismissed or patently ignored by ‘quebecois nationalist’ who falsely claim that Quebec is a homogenous french bloc.

    Immigrants of British descent came to Quebec to prosper not exploit, and prosper they did. They built homes, businesses, institutions, railways, roads and ships, and they amassed fortunes like they would have anywhere else in the world. There is no crime in that. It’s all about opportunistic class struggle, not nationalism. Successful, wealthy Francophone entrepreneurs and politicians exploited their own people too.

    I think you’re being a little sensitive to suggest that Angryphone is suggesting that the French are less capable at business and social development. No one believes that. There are many logical reasons why the English gained the upper hand in business and influence, not the least of which was the Catholic church and fascist leaning governments who isolated and stifled the Quebecois’ economic development.

    Truth is, here in Quebec the English are marginalized, caricaturized, and dismissed as unjustifiably angry. Quebec is part of Canada. It is not a nation where Quebec ‘nationalist’ politicians can (with the populations consent) rewrite the laws of the land to better serve thier own self-interest. The removal of rights is most definitely a symbolic slap in the face to the Anglophone and Allophone communities, no matter how many times the ‘nationalist’ downplay the importance of those rights, when compared to the overarching imperative of ‘protecting’ the French language. It sends the message loud and clear ‘you are second class citizens’. If the tables were turned and the quebecois were subjected to such Draconian laws by Canadian legislation, Quebec would separate tomorrow. Quebec language laws promote one language and people at the expense of another. That is segregation, gentile Quebec style apartheid. You cannot justify that in a democracy, no matter how you spin the justification.

    In my opinion, after so many decades of being taught revisionist history and being exposed to Catholic ethnocentric proganda, Quebec is a deeply indoctrinated and fearful society. The nationalist dream is like a smoldering fire with embers that will never burn out. At this point in time, most quebecois are not willing to severe ties with Canada and forego transfer payments and other benefits of the union, so they don’t materially support the nationalist cause. But most quebecois cherish the fact that someone is ‘guarding’ their interests against the imperialist English mad dogs. And if that means cutting a few ‘insignificant’ rights here and there, so beit. It’s all for the greater good of the Quebecois, who have been desperatly exploited and subjugated by the English. Surely, Anglophones are being unreasonable and too sensitive about the whole thing, so much so that they deserve to be ignored. Those dirty Anglophones are always exagerating their plight anyway. After all, the quebecois will say, ‘we treat our English minority very well’. I say that Canadian laws and rights trump the quebecois’ virtuous benevolence. Those fundamental rights are not theirs to give or take away.

    The ‘nationalist’ have been parroting the same lies over and over for so long, that they have the uniformed from all over the country supporting their self pitying, treasonous cause.

    InFlames

    August 19, 2008 at 11:05 pm

  18. InFlames,

    I essentially addressed your point in a post in this thread (https://angryfrenchguy.com/2008/04/14/quebec-immigration-policy-false-advertising-or-lying-to-your-best-friend/) on April 2008:

    “Considering the history of Quebec, and of its relations between francophones and anglophones, it is a little bit galling to have someone gloat about how great the anglos of Montreal are and boast of all these fabulous institutions they built for themselves over the years. Like almost all dominant ethnic minority groups in the world, their success was essentially “seeded” (in the same way that tennis players are seeded at tournaments) in order to give them competitive advantage and a head start over everyone else. In the case of the Anglo-Quebec elite, this was largely in the form of access to capital (in London especially), lucrative government contracts, favourable immigration policies to bring in more newcomers to swell the ranks of the “chosen people”, and other government favouritism measures. Of course, the francophone (majority) group never had access to any of this, at least not in a big way until the latter third of the 20th century. By that time, Anglo-Quebec already had close to a 100-year head start.
    And if there’s one thing francophones should be vehemently criticized for, it’s actually for tolerating the situation for so long before standing up and doing something about it. But I don’t think we should have to apologize to anyone for advocating and provoking change when change was needed.”

    Acajack

    August 20, 2008 at 8:25 am

  19. “quebecois nationalist’ who falsely claim that Quebec is a homogenous french bloc.”

    You just excluded yourself from The Québécois. Not me. Not any Nationalist. You are using the very clever sophism of DEFINING the Québécois as an “ethnic” group and them BLAMING them for BEING an ethnic group.

    By the way, only the Anglo-Canadian media defines the Québécois that way. We ourselves don’t think of ourselves as any more homogenous than Canadians or Americans.

    “There are many logical reasons why the English gained the upper hand in business and influence, not the least of which was the Catholic church and fascist leaning governments who isolated and stifled the Quebecois’ economic development.”

    “My sizing up of the man as I sat and talked with him was that he is really one who truly loves his fellow-men, and his country, and would make any sacrifice for their good.” (Diary, June 29, 1937) Hitler appeared to be “a man of deep sincerity and a genuine patriot.” William Makenzie King. Prime Minister of Canada 1937-1946

    And you say the fascists were in Québec?

    “The removal of rights is most definitely a symbolic slap in the face to the Anglophone and Allophone communities”

    Please name one right that has been taken away from Anglos or Allophones.

    “The ‘nationalist’ have been parroting the same lies over and over for so long”

    Please tell us what lies.

    angryfrenchguy

    August 20, 2008 at 8:38 am

  20. Acajack,

    You wrote: ‘Considering the history of Quebec, and of its relations between francophones and anglophones, it is a little bit galling to have someone gloat about how great the anglos of Montreal are and boast of all these fabulous institutions they built for themselves over the years.”

    Again I don’t see the ‘gloating’ in Angryphones’ statement. This person is just recalling historical fact. Acknowledge it or not, Anglophones are routinely made to feel as thought they are all evil overlords and don’t belong in Quebec unless they shut-up. Tell that to all of the working class Irish, Scots, Jews and others who helped build up the province. We do belong by rite of passage. Yes mistakes were made along the way (on both sides) to where we are today, but to fault someone for being proud of their communities’ contributions to Quebec society, well that just makes you sound bitter and vindictive. Face it, Quebec nationalists have invested an enormous amount of time defining themselves in exclusionistic terms. The Anglo media doesn’t fabricate this stuff. The nationalists have set the tone for all others to follow. All governments in Quebec now trumpet the idea that Quebec is different and special, and is vulnerable to outside attack form the marauding Anglo hoards and must be militantly guarded, at any cost. History is complicated, but politicians and the ruling class know that they must distill, simplify, and distort the facts so as to caste their enemies in the desired negative light. The ruling class always needs a scapegoat. Hatred toward Anglophones has been condoned, cultivated and nurtured for a very long time, and it all smacks of hypocritical, vengeful pay back. At best Anglophones are tolerated in Quebec; they are not valued or cherished.

    I’ve said it before and will say it again, exploitation is result of class struggle, not language differences.

    InFlames

    August 20, 2008 at 1:21 pm

  21. “The Anglo media doesn’t fabricate this stuff. The nationalists have set the tone for all others to follow. All governments in Quebec now trumpet the idea that Quebec is different and special, and is vulnerable to outside attack form the marauding Anglo hoards and must be militantly guarded, at any cost.”

    How come Anglos never feel they have to substantiate such fantastic statements?

    And speaking of scapegoats, when is the last time anyone heard an Anglo “leader” take or accept or share responsability for anything instead of blaming the separatists?

    The roads are bad in Quebec? Yup. What have YOU done about it?

    angryfrenchguy

    August 20, 2008 at 1:29 pm

  22. AFG,

    “quebecois nationalist’ who falsely claim that Quebec is a homogenous french bloc.” You just excluded yourself from The Québécois. Not me. Not any Nationalist. You are using the very clever sophism of DEFINING the Québécois as an “ethnic” group and them BLAMING them for BEING an ethnic group.

    Listen AFG, all along the nationists have been defining themselves as a pure race of people who have an historical right to rule based on the date of their arrival in North America. They do talk about ethnicity, ancestry, lineage, and tradition. They do cultivate an atmosphere of segregation and xenophobia. They do trash the Anglophone community. They do hate the rest of Canada. They do dismiss Canada as a non entity, and portray their political objectives as the obvious answer to all that is wrong with Quebec. They contend that were it not for Quebec’s inprisonment in exploitative Canada, all of Quebec’s problems would evaporate. Deny it all you want, but observers inside and outside of Quebec see the the nationalist’s message and actions for what they are, divisive and harmful. I’ve lived in Quebec from birth and have never felt like a Quebecois, someone special in need of protection. I am not a Quebec nationalist; I am a Canadian living in Quebec. I don’t have grand dreams of being a part of some separate ill-defined nation.

    By the way, only the Anglo-Canadian media defines the Québécois that way. We ourselves don’t think of ourselves as any more homogenous than Canadians or Americans.

    You lie. Flat out bullshit. Nothing else to say about that.

    “There are many logical reasons why the English gained the upper hand in business and influence, not the least of which was the Catholic church and fascist leaning governments who isolated and stifled the Quebecois’ economic development.” > “My sizing up of the man as I sat and talked with him was that he is really one who truly loves his fellow-men, and his country, and would make any sacrifice for their good.” (Diary, June 29, 1937) Hitler appeared to be “a man of deep sincerity and a genuine patriot.” William Makenzie King. Prime Minister of Canada 1937-1946.

    Nice quotation, but it has no direct bearing on the discussion and proves nothing. Yes Fascism existed and still exists in various corners of Canada and the world. But it is a recorded historical fact, Quebec society embraced fascist doctrines more so than anywhere else in North America. Quebec does have a dark intolerant xenophobic past, involving politicians and the Catholic church. Deny all you want, that dark shadow will hover over Quebec for years to come. You cannot erase it or minimize its consequences.

    “The removal of rights is most definitely a symbolic slap in the face to the Anglophone and Allophone communities” > Please name one right that has been taken away from Anglos or Allophones.

    You have to be joking. Your question is alarming, infuriating, and so completely indicative of the entitled mind set of the Quebecois. How about this. We live in CANADA. CANADA has TWO official languages. With successive language laws, the Quebec government unilateraly and illegally removed English as an official language (with you’re blessing I might add). Fascism anyone? For this to have happened they had to first demonize English to extent that such legislation would seem utterly logical and completely justified. It was not, and it never will be. I personally despise the Quebec government for having done this. I will never forgive the hypocrisy and the intended harm it has done to me and my community. And I don’t give a crap about the fact that North America is mostly English speaking and the Quebecois see themselves as a vulnerable eggshell community. Tough luck! Find another way of fortifying yourselves without stripping other people of their rights. Not to mention the pathetic micro managing interfering sign laws, language police, limitations on educational choices, no English during court procedings etc. These are just a few that come to mind. I know you think it’s no big deal to remove English as an official language because you’re all threatened and assailed and stuff, so you feel the ends justify the means. You’re a brick wall, there is no getting through to you. Quebec is a homogenous bloc when it comes to that, all Quebecois see the language laws as just and necessary, and that discenting Anglopnones are just whining ANGRYPHONES who complain without cause just to be difficult. We don’t have the same right as you; therefore, we are the underclass, not you. Why don’t you just take off the gentile gloves and just call us ‘white niggers’.

    “The ‘nationalist’ have been parroting the same lies over and over for so long” > Please tell us what lies.

    Again you have to be kidding. Here are just a few for you to mull over.

    1. The French were the first whites to land in this part of North America and the English stole the land without justification.
    2. The English and the ROC are responsible for all that ails Quebec.
    3. Canada is bad, Quebec is good.
    4. A separate Quebec will be economically viable without transitional pain, financial loss, and a substantial increase in the already extortionary tax rates (to offset the loss of transfer payments).
    5. A seperate Quebec will be a more tolerant, free place to live, and more efficiently run than it is now.
    6. The US and the rest to world will immediately welcome Quebec into the fold of the WTO, NATO, NAFTA etc.
    7. Quebec is a real Nation.
    8. A separate Quebec will be able to use the Canadian dollar, and can expect the continued protection of the Canadian military.
    9. Quebec is not divisible
    10. Catholics did not target and massacre Protestants.

    InFlames

    August 20, 2008 at 2:32 pm

  23. InFlames,

    Is it me or is your most recent reply just a rewrite of your previous arguments? I can understand that you might be bitter about certain things but at some point you have to stop bashing your head against the wall. It’s just not healthy. I know what speak of here, as I am a francophone from the ROC who moved to Quebec some years ago.

    Now, on gloating, there is actually plenty of it going on, as it’s pretty much a constant of Anglo-Quebec discourse.

    Basically, every time anyone asks a question about why English is so present and often dominant in Quebec and in Montreal (especially given the relatively small size of the community in percentage terms) compared to other minorities in Canada – think francophones in Ottawa – or elsewhere in the world, all we get is a bunch of rhetorical BS about “hard work”.

    To paraphrase MattFromVan: As if anglos were the only people who work(ed) hard in this city/province/country/world!

    Anyone can see that the influence and presence of the Anglo-Quebec community has been and remains even today quite disproportionate to their share of the population, even in the Montreal area where the community is concentrated but still a minority far behind the francophone group. Good for the anglos I say (believe it or not), but please spare us the crap about how this is only due to their hard-working innate nature and astute risk-taking, and that blatant favouritism on the part of British colonial authorities and, later on, the Canadian federal government, didn’t play a big role in giving them a huge leg up on everyone else in the province of Quebec.

    Acajack

    August 20, 2008 at 2:50 pm

  24. “You have to be joking. Your question is alarming, infuriating, and so completely indicative of the entitled mind set of the Quebecois. How about this. We live in CANADA. CANADA has TWO official languages. With successive language laws, the Quebec government unilateraly and illegally removed English as an official language (with you’re blessing I might add).( etc…)”

    Ok. you got that off your chest? Now tell me what right as ever been taken away from Anglos and Allos. (By the way, the Federal government has two official languages, not Canada. Get it?)

    “> Please tell us what lies.

    Again you have to be kidding. Here are just a few for you to mull over.

    (…)

    10. Catholics did not target and massacre Protestants.”

    What are you 350 years old? Jeez, talk about mulling over old grudges! By the way, this is a blog about Québec. If your thing is Papist, Jewish and Free Mason conspiracy theories, there’s plenty of other websites for that, buddy.

    “Why don’t you just take off the gentile gloves and just call us ‘white niggers’.”

    Ah yes, the ignorant Anglos favorite book that he never read: White Negroes of America by Pierre Vallière.

    You should read it, it’s a good book (a bit dated and wordy…) By the way, the White Negroes referred to in the title are French Canadians.

    Keep it coming. You make us look so smart!

    angryfrenchguy

    August 20, 2008 at 2:53 pm

  25. ‘How come Anglos never feel they have to substantiate such fantastic statements?”

    Please, this is ‘fantastic’ statement is self evident. You here it all the time in various walks of life, how the English have endlessly exploited the Quebecois, and how the French language is vulnerable amidst all of the foreboding English.

    ‘And speaking of scapegoats, when is the last time anyone heard an Anglo “leader” take or accept or share responsability for anything instead of blaming the separatists? The roads are bad in Quebec? Yup. What have YOU done about it?”

    Please, when was the last time an Anglophone politician held the position and had the power to do so? Come on AFG, get real. We are cast as disgruntled unappeasable citizens or absolute outsiders. We have no power or positions of influence anymore. That’s what you all intended, and it’s a done deal. You have the reins in your hand and are riding your horse, yet you still blame us when you get lost.

    InFlames

    August 20, 2008 at 2:54 pm

  26. ‘By the way, the White Negroes referred to in the title are French Canadians.’

    Everyone knows that ‘buddy’. Difference is, now your passing on the position to us.

    ‘Keep it coming. You make us look so smart!’

    More to the point, I make you look smug.

    InFlames

    August 20, 2008 at 3:03 pm

  27. “We have no power or positions of influence anymore.”

    Except 65% of the upper management positions in Quebec companies with more than 1000 employees;

    Except complete control of a completely separate (how did you spell segregation again?) healthcare and education network;

    Except a majority position in most of Québec’s wealthiest municipalities in Québec, including Westmount, Beaconsfield, Town of Mount-Royal, Chelsea, etc…;

    Except for 50% of the public airwaves given to Anglo broadcasters in Montreal despite the fact that Anglos are not even 35% of the population in the area;

    Jeez, if you don’t have any pull with all that, it’s amazing the Montreal Anglo community ever acheived anything!

    Whatever happened to that legendary work ethic?

    angryfrenchguy

    August 20, 2008 at 3:04 pm

  28. By the way, for those keeping score:

    Number of posts on this thread: 28

    Number of times French Canadians have been called xenophobic, racist or brainwashed: 17

    Number of constructive counter-proposals to my genuine attempt to reoppen the dialogue between Anglos and Francos on Bill 101, Anglo rights and the protection of the French langauge: Zero.

    angryfrenchguy

    August 20, 2008 at 3:11 pm

  29. “Nice quotation, but it has no direct bearing on the discussion and proves nothing. Yes Fascism existed and still exists in various corners of Canada and the world. But it is a recorded historical fact, Quebec society embraced fascist doctrines more so than anywhere else in North America. Quebec does have a dark intolerant xenophobic past, involving politicians and the Catholic church. Deny all you want, that dark shadow will hover over Quebec for years to come. You cannot erase it or minimize its consequences.”

    How many people did Adrien Arcand, Lionel Groulx and their supporters kill exactly? And how are a couple of blowhard pseudo-intellectuals worse (and worthy of casting a shroud of shame on an entire people almost a century later) than, say, the Christie Pits Riots?

    Ooh yeah. Very nice all of this. Now I am not the one who brought this up, but for everyone’s sake would you care to trace the history of ethnic violence in Canada and see who has most often played the aggressor’s role? Guess whoooooooo?

    Actually, my ancestors were the victims of one the earliest manifestations. Perhaps you have heard of it. It started around 1755.

    Sorry for bringing out peoples’ dirty laundry, but hey, I’m not the one who started it!

    Acajack

    August 20, 2008 at 3:43 pm

  30. AFG,

    “10. Catholics did not target and massacre Protestants.”

    Yeah, I was over the top with that one; too much melodrama. Nonetheless, the point I was trying to make is that I think the separatists have lied. Call me jaded and cynical, but I think all politicians lie or withhold the truth at some point. The way I see it, the separatist have done both. They are particularly guilty of not telling the whole story. I think they screwed themselves by doing that. To buy into the notion of a separate Quebec, Anglophones and Allophones needed to know the details about how it would play out. Good old facts and figures and a clear plan. In the unsympathetic environment that was and still is Quebec, how could Anglophones and Allophones possibly emotionally relate to or passionately support the nationalist dream? Forget about it. That responsive cord only plays inside the hearts and minds of the Francophone people. I don’t think Francophone Quebecers like or respect Canada and would love to see a separate Quebec, when the conditions and timing are right. It’s only a matter of time. That is, when economic conditions are good enough to inspire adequate confidents and when enough Anglophones and Allophones leave to ensure the vote. It’s a waiting game; an unspoken war of attrition, and think everyone knows it.

    If I sound bitter, it’s because I am. I’m not happy about what the Quebec government did regarding the language laws. I’m alienated by the unanimous (homogenous bloc) support Francophone Quebecers give to the laws. The language laws discriminate. The language laws limit and divide. The language laws cause pain and sorrow. The language laws are ill-conceived and wrong. There has to be another way to protect the French language without removing the rights of Anglophones and Allophones. No matter how important or noble the goal of protecting the French language is, it is difficult if not impossible to justify the language laws as a reasonable and fair means of accomplishing this. The language laws are a black eye on Quebec, bad for PR.

    I think it would be better to promote the beauty and utility of the French language, build and develop more French businesses, schools, and universities of unequaled excellence that draw workers and students from all over, promote bilingualism and provide incentives to people to learn French or English. To this last point, I figure you’ll remind me that Quebecers don’t want official bilingualism because it will lead to the use of too much English. But doesn’t Quebec need people who can speak enough English to do business with the rest of N. America and other countries that use English for doing international business? Anyway, I don’t get it. It seems backward to me. Times have changed. Nowadays, few people dispute the fact that we need to take measures to ensure the French language flourishes in N. America, just find another way.

    So I like your ideas for possible changes to Bill 101. I think you nailed the two most visibly annoying (and degrading) aspects of the law. The language laws and the minions who enforce them are like the pointed tip of a spear, ominous, hostile, and dangerous. And it doesn’t really matter if there one or five hundred enforcement officers, the overtone is the same. If Francophone Quebecers truly do value the Anglophone and Allophone minorities as some say they do, and want to also preserve their communities, traditions, and way of life as important parts of the Quebec mosaic, then maybe your conciliatory gesture would be seen as a step in the right direction. Personally, I would feel naive (cynic that I am) believing it could ever come to be.

    InFlames

    August 21, 2008 at 12:02 am


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