6 Myths about McGill and Concordia

with 271 comments

So here you are. You’ve left New Jersey or Bangalore behind, came to Montreal, McGill and Concordia and you are now ready to explore your new home and indulge in your new life of freedom and very loose drinking laws.

During your stay in Québec you will be expected to ingest quite enormous quantities of cheese, fries, gravy, beer and bullshit about your new home, all of which could quite understandably make you sick to your stomach if you are not careful.

Lucky for you, you’ve found the AngryFrenchGuide, the voice of reason and truth about Québec who will help you see through the fog of dinsinformation and closet francophobia that you might come accross in the streets of Montreal.

To start you off, here are a few myths about McGill and Concordia universities that you should be weary of:

1. McGill is Montreal’s only world-class university.

Although it has often claimed to have more international students than any other university in Canada and even though half of those “international” students live only a few hours down highway 15/87 in the United States, McGill only managed to attract 400 more students on a visa than l’Université de Montréal (the big yellow building that kind of looks like a mosque on top of Mount-Royal).

In 2006 McGill had 5549 international students while UdM, with it’s affiliated engineering and business schools, Polytechnique and HEC, had 5130. Every single one of those had to take an airplane to get here. Who’s world-class now?

2. Québec needs McGill and Concordia to attract young upwardly mobile students from abroad.

What is this? 1998? You guys need to get with the program.

According to the British Council, the demand for a Western English language education by international students is falling fast, especially in Asia. In 2005 4 out of 5 UK universities recorded a drop in foreign students, as sharp as 50% in the case of students from China.

Most countries in the World have adapted to the reality that English is the global language. People are learning English at home, now. They don’t need to come to Canada and the West anymore. The British Council’s conclusion: “The recent decline in international students studying in the main English-speaking countries is unlikely to reverse.”

The latest numbers from McGill tell us that although international admissions were stable this year, admissions from China, Japan, Mexico and Latin America all were down.

3. English is still the global language. There will always be a demand for an English education.

India’s outsourcing business is in crisis because it doesn’t have enough multilingual staff. They need German, Chinese and Spanish-speaking staff to get new lucrative markets. It started outsourcing the English-language business to more inexpensive places like Viet Nam, Guatemala and the State of Georgia (not the country, the US state). English is no longer a high value skill. Anyone can speak English.

The word on the street is multilinguism. You can’t graduate from Montreal’s French-language universities without a high proficiency in English. You can very easily spend four years at Concordia without learning a word of French, which makes you unemployable in Québec, and just another unilingual English-speaker in that big multilingual world out there. Maybe you can get work at that Indian call-center in Atlanta?

4. I’ve heard about you AFG, you’re one of those bitter separatists trying to wipe English out of Montreal.

There are exactly 744 430 English-speaking people in Québec, not even 10% of the population. Nevertheless Québec has three English-language universities that receive 27% of the government higher education funding, including 33% of the research budgets.

The rest of Canada has exactly ONE French university and it doesn’t have enough money to have a medical school.

You’re welcome.

5. Yeah, but Montreal’s English universities help offset the “brain drain” in Québec.

Actually, if it wasn’t for Montreal’s Anglo universities, Québec would be in a “brain gain” situation. 70% of English-speaking students leave after earning a Ph.D. Every year, wilst Québec is in the middle of a doctor shortage crisis, more than 50% of doctors trained by McGill leave the province.

Québec’s French universities can train more fluently English-speaking doctors and engineers than McGill and Concordia at a fraction of the cost. McGill and Concordia are just not good investments.

6. Fuck you AFG! English Montreal built McGill and Concordia and you separatists don’t have any business telling us who and what we should teach!

Actually, McGill and Concordia have received between a quarter and a third of all the higher education budgets of Québec for the last 40 years. They were built by the Québec people and belong to the Québec people. If the people of Québec decide they need Concordia to train people to work in Tagalog, that’s what Concordia’s should do.

So there you have it. French-speaking North Americans (3% of the continents population) are subsidizing the education of English-speaking North Americans (90% of the population). Pay attention in your your PoliSci class when the teacher will describe neo-colonial systems. You just might hear things that sound like this post.

But it’s cool, don’t worry about it. You’ve got time. Take those four years, learn some French, explore the east, make some friends and join the good fight.

And remember, don’t go back home without having that poutine. It helps keep everything down.

Written by angryfrenchguy

August 25, 2008 at 12:36 am

271 Responses

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  1. “Neo-colonial”?

    Hate to break it to you, but the French in Quebec are part of a colonial empire too, it’s just a failed colonial empire.

    Quebec was a proud part of the slave trade, the cultural genocide of aboriginals, and even a (failed) attempt at linguistic hegemony. Look – the symbol of Quebec is still the French imperial symbol! The fact that you lost the colonization game to the English doesn’t make you oppressed.


    May 28, 2010 at 10:22 am

  2. “Hate to break it to you, but the French in Quebec are part of a colonial empire too, it’s just a failed colonial empire.”

    Great point, Rajesh.

    “The French lost the colonization game to the English”

    LOL! Awesome comment Rajesh! To make it worse, the ex-English colonies now have more economic clout than the ex-French colonies.

    To Quebec: We are sick and tired of your whining. We’re a bilingual nation, not a unilingual nation. If you want to be unilingual and preserve your unique culture, then do what Ireland, the US, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Ghana, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, Brazil did. Ask for independence and leave Canada.

    But never come back. Don’t even think about it. Don’t come crying to us for a bailout when things go pear-shaped. Because we won’t give even one cent to you.

    Good luck.


    July 23, 2010 at 12:30 pm

  3. Oh, and here’s a sneak preview of what might happen when you do become independent:

    “Many companies, most notably Sun Life, Royal Bank, and Bank of Montreal (which even considered removing “Montreal” from its name), moved their major operations to Toronto as a consequence of the adoption of this law [Bill 101].[28][29] This concerted fleeing of business and subsequent loss of thousands of jobs hindered Quebec’s economy and allowed Toronto to overtake Montreal as Canada’s business centre.”

    Again, good luck.


    July 23, 2010 at 12:36 pm

  4. “There are exactly 744 430 English-speaking people in Québec, not even 10% of the population.”

    Yeah, AFTER the other hundreds of thousands were basically exiled from Quebec with the discriminatory and racists laws that deprievd them of THEIR heritage and rights.


    April 14, 2011 at 1:52 am

  5. I graduated from Concordia. I’m mostly French Canadian, but part First Nations. I’m not practically a ‘visible minority’ though, so I’ve been in some odd situations where people bash First Nations in my face without knowing I’m one. I’m bilingual English / French, as I went to French schools until I went to CEGEP.

    Your Concordia / McGill bashing is just part of your ranting that makes you a typical bitter-all-the-time separatist. I minimize contact with any of you types in my day-to-day life.

    Here are the questions that Quebec separatists can never seem to answer in a practical and clear way:

    – How does one win over to a movement those who by definition and/or practical consequence are excluded from it? I was constantly being told to ‘accept 101 or take the 401’ while in French school… I was there to learn the language Bill 101 enforces. That means language isn’t the entire point of the issue, only a means to a great end, right?

    – How can you truly blame those who block your dream from coming true, when you’ve failed to explain it clearly to anyone, even those that apparently share it? Some separatists actually don’t bash on minorities, but most do. Seems your ‘shared dream’ has different interpretations…

    – What would it be like to live in a separate Quebec country in your ‘dream’ for one? Just be clear and truthful, that’s all anyone wants… not fluff about ‘determining your own destiny’. Concrete terms, please. It would be great if you could point me to a proposed Quebec constitution or some document almost as thorough and serious.

    – How will a separate Quebec country avoid ‘Tyranny of the Majority’? Separatists imply this is the only way to ‘right the wrongs of the past and present’ in a separate Quebec country. If minorities could have Quebec country laws struck down in a Quebec court, then what would have been the point of separating from Canada?

    I could write out more specific questions, but I’m trying to see if you’ll clearly explain these direct ones. I dare any separatist to do so, especially AFG…


    April 23, 2011 at 3:14 am

  6. Hey AFG u make no sense! Firstly, a world-class university isn’t measured by the number of international students enrolled.. duh! It’s the research quality and teaching environment that count, check the world university rankings to know the ugly truth about UdeM “world-class” education compared to McGill’s. Further more, many of who you consider as international students at UdeM pay in-province tuition for being from francophone countries. On the other hand, McGill’s international students pay in excess of $16K which are then collected by the Quebec government and re-distributed on your poor unpopular universities. So who pays who eh? Your welcome !


    July 26, 2011 at 3:47 am

  7. Yes, a french separatist is just the person to conduct a sober scientific comparison between the English and French universities in Quebec. That’s like getting the Pope to judge a comparative religions debate between Catholics and Protestants. A slightly higher than average bias might be influencing your treatment, would you not agree ?


    September 3, 2011 at 4:09 pm

  8. Hi guy, I appreciate your efforts to close both McGill and Concordia and I don’t care about it. My country has been accepted in the EU and I and my children will have opportunities for unpaid university education in Europe. Just one advice from me – don’t write to forums, you should contact Quebec ministers for that. In this thought, I will be very grateful to you if you can speak with YOUR provincial minister of immigration for decreasing number of immigrants. I think you and your nation need former criminals as “investors” here – you highly deserve them, and they just are not interested in you, they don’t read anything here. Good luck and success!


    September 5, 2011 at 10:44 am

  9. fuck you, angry french guy. nobody gives a fuck about anything you say and you’re a typical french lazy bastard who uses all our welfare money


    October 5, 2011 at 8:07 am

  10. First semester at McGill, and I can’t believe how unilingual it is. I mean, with classes in english, it seems there’s nothing to be done about the environment, but there really should be better resources for foreign and elsewhere-in-Canada students seeking to pick up French (which should be everyone coming here).

    raised anglo in montreal

    November 24, 2011 at 1:46 pm

  11. The level of Québec-bashing and Anglo-centric mindset in the comments is astonishing.

    There is no working-around the fact Québec’s university grossly underfunds French-language education in favor of English-language education.

    There is also no working around the fact the Anglo-Québécois are among the best treated minorities in the entire world.


    December 13, 2011 at 11:18 am

  12. You have unfortunately posted an article that is as rife with myths as the ones you were trying to ridicule.

    First of all, there is nothing unusual or unfair about having two English-language and two French-language universities in Montreal. The city is essentially bilingual, and if you do your entire schooling before university in French (whether by law or by choice), that pretty much makes you fully capable in French. Allowing people to study in University in the language of their choice, under professors which may be French-speaking or English-speaking, is a great boon for the city, its ability to mix ideas from different spheres, and a big part of what makes Montreal unique in the world.

    Secondly, you make a mistake by assuming that there is Francophobia in English-language universities and that they teach English-Montrealers only. This assumes that both Concordia and McGill are bastions of anglo-Montreal, which, they aren’t. Both have quite sizeable amounts of francophone students *and* professors. Many francophones are actually forced to go to English universities because the Quebec public school system does not adequately teach English which, if you want a successful career, is pretty much required.

    Thirdly, McGill is consistently rated as one of the top universities not just in Canada, but in the world. Whether rankings are fair or not, or whether citation-based rankings are fair when comparing universities with different languages and which might not publish in English thus ensuring a greater amount of repeat citations, all that might be true, but McGill’s ranking is still significantly and consistently higher than other Montreal universities (and I did not go to McGill) :

    QS 2012:
    McGill #17
    UdeM #137

    Webometrics 2012:
    McGill #98
    UdeM #175

    ARWU 2010:
    McGill #64
    UdeM #134

    HEEACT 2011:
    McGill #36
    UdeM #110

    Times 2012:
    McGill #28
    UdeM #104

    In the end, your choice of university does not only depend on how highly it is ranked, though it helps. My personal choice was made based on how flexible the University was with regards to scheduling. I ended up choosing Concordia, personally, because out of all four universities it catered the most to working students (location helped also). Happily, when I left Concordia a few years later, I could finally say I was completely bilingual, and it’s a skill that I found probably the most useful out of everything I learned in university.

    Fourthly, saying that 70% of English-speaking PhD students leave after graduating is neither surprising nor a bad thing. At all. I don’t quite know where you got the statistic, but if you have a PhD in something, if you want to get a professorship it’s not good to get one at the university you graduated from (academic inbreeding), and finding someone who wants to hire you in your specific academic field is never easy. Plus, many of these PhD’s were themselves students attracted from somewhere else, and while at the University their treasure trove of knowledge from a different land/university gets shared at the university where they are studying presently. That’s what makes them universities and not just another trade school.

    Fifthly, regarding point #6, you should know that universities are a federal jurisdiction and belong to the Canadian people, not the Québec people.

    Sixthly, regarding the neo-colonial bit, I bet the nice folks at Kahnawake and Kanesetake might take a different view on what you’ve said.

    You probably don’t want to come off as a rabidly angry ranter, but that’s how it looks. I love Montreal as it is. It’s not French, but it’s not English either. It’s something else. I don’t want a Montreal without Leonard Cohen or Céline Dion, without smoked meat or St-Hubert chicken, without Westmount or le Plateau.


    April 3, 2012 at 11:47 am

  13. Speak White


    May 28, 2012 at 3:22 pm

  14. if you look at statscan and the amount of transfers and loans from the federal government to Quebec for education it’s pretty mind blowing (in the billions)….your theory that 3% of filthy french faggots pay for these two schools is so dumb.

    fuck you.

    op is faggot (a french faggot to boot).


    December 5, 2012 at 9:25 pm

  15. I think i’m becoming racist as i get older. it’s something about quebec people and their inbred faces that just makes me puke.


    December 5, 2012 at 9:31 pm

  16. The true irony of all this is that you write all of this in English.


    January 29, 2013 at 1:19 am

  17. It’s worse than you think it is. And it is not limited to Canada or Montreal.

    If you’re really smart and if you have money, you don’t need a piece of paper to tell you that you are smart…

    Most people come out of universities with brain damage, acne or money problems…


    February 17, 2013 at 12:43 pm

  18. Good work AFG!

    I doubt you will ever succeed in making Canada understand that Québec is the land of a different culture and history. Moreover, most Canadians know fuckall about Québec. The faster we get out of this forced marriage, the better for Québec.

    Keep on the good work!!

    Ghislain Dubé

    February 22, 2013 at 1:28 pm

  19. One University? what about UDM or UQAM?


    November 28, 2013 at 12:50 pm

  20. what a bitter little boy


    December 1, 2013 at 9:55 pm

  21. LOL!!! This California boy loves the entertaining comments. From what I know, UdeM doesn’t charge Non-Resident tuition, so that’s surely a leg up for UdeM over Concordia or McGill!


    February 13, 2014 at 3:19 pm

  22. “You guys are lucky to have found me” + “I see myself as the voice of reason and truth” = “I am a close-minded bigot whose opinion is fact and any contradictory opinion must be shit because I say so”.

    This entire post is filled with unsupported whinings of an individual suffering with more than delusions of grandeur.


    March 10, 2014 at 4:18 pm

  23. it is true UdeM attract more students from Haiti and its true world class lol


    April 1, 2014 at 11:20 pm

  24. It’s kind of comforting to see how the reactions to your blog totally prove the neo-colonial racist mindset of so many Montrealers.

    Keep up the good work AFG!


    May 6, 2014 at 10:29 am

  25. “Angry French Guy” how descriptive of Quebecers in general! Anyways, I stopped reading after your claim that “there are exactly 744 430 English-speaking people in Québec.” You might want to rethink the use of the word “exactly” next time that you’re making a post.


    August 13, 2014 at 3:36 pm

  26. The engineering programs at McGill often refuse to offer their students internships because “The companies all speak French.” Nice, so you’re going to produce graduates who are unemployable in their own province. Great thinking!

    Susy Gage (@SusyGage)

    September 13, 2014 at 12:31 pm

  27. Here we go again!

    When are you damned frogs going to pay your share of costs for Quebec?
    This province has always been carried by the Anglophones, the Allophones, and the rest of Canada.
    At least half of all you frogs are welfare cases and refuse to work.

    Unlike McGill University:

    – The U de M allows in any and every retard from around the World.

    – To get into U de M, you just have to be able to write your name on a piece of paper.

    – The U de M is 100% subsidized by the taxpayers.

    – The biggest research going on at the U de M is into dreams and nightmares, while McGill U. is an internationally-renowned cancer research center.

    – The U de M too was established in the 1800s and yet it took forever for it to make it onto any national and international lists of universities, while McGill has been making the lists ever since lists had been invented.

    – The U de M’s Ecole Polytechnique is known around the World for just one thing: that massacre of students in 1989. Smart people know that they need to go to Concordia to really study engineering.

    – The U de M’s HEC diplomas make good toilet paper. An HEC (or any other U de M diploma) diploma will not get anyone a job anywhere outside of Quebec.

    And the only universities in Quebec that are worse than the U de M are Universite Laval (which isn’t even in Laval) and all the Universite du Quebec campuses (UQAM, Universite du Quebec a Trois-Rivieres, and etc.).

    Nelsonn Mandella

    March 16, 2015 at 1:32 pm

  28. I’m just reading this now as McGill is at risk of losing its medical school because of too-low academic standards. I guess McGill has always relied on its “connections” to big money to get a high rating on these incestuous university ratings. Probably the same with all the top schools on those lists.


    June 27, 2015 at 11:59 am

  29. Reblogged this on Patterns In Exformation.


    December 31, 2016 at 5:39 am

  30. Continue ton bon travail man, on aime ça. J’adore te lire, et j’aime presque autant lire les commentaires enragés de tes détracteurs qui ne font que ramener les mêmes arguments qu’on a tous déjà entendus et qui justifient le genre de blogue que tu fais. Merci! C’est génial que tu le fasse en anglais, ça leur permet de comprendre un peu un autre point de vue…

    Alexandre Beauvais

    August 10, 2017 at 2:37 pm

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