AngryFrenchGuy

Canada and Sarkozy deserve each other

with 128 comments

sarkozy and quebec

It’s been a pretty good week for Québec’s independence movement.  For real.

Whilst in the middle of very busy week in which he managed to insult the Prime Minister of Britain, the government of the Czech republic and bring almost every single French man and woman to he streets, Nicolas Sarkozy took the time to squeeze in a few nasty thoughts about Québec’s sovereignty movement.

He dismissed us, the sovereigntists, with the same disdain he used to reserve for the racaille of Seine-Saint-Denis.  The president called sovereingtists, without naming them, ‘sectarian’ and ‘inwrad-looking’.  He said he did not understand the « obligation to define one’s identity by fierce opposition to the other. »

The right of the Québécois democratically decide for themselves who should govern their affairs was not his « thing ».  The world did not need another division, he reasoned with the sophisticated and subtle thinking that has become his trademark.

I’m loving it.  Nicolas Sarkozy was elected with the support of an important part of the Front National vote.  He opposed the accession of Turkey to the European Union because “if it was in Europe, we’d know about it”.  He doesn’t think French colonialism had any negative effects of Africa and that the continent’s problem is that “it never entered History”.   And now he feels strongly about a united Canada.

Wow.  I doubt you could get a stronger confirmation that the sovereigntists are the good guys short of getting George W. Bush and Robert Mugabe to hold a joint press conference titled “The Canadian federation.  Our model and inspiration.”.

But even better, Sarko’s little diatribe completely drowned out any news of Jean Charest’s trip to Europe, arguably the most successful trip to the old countries by a federalist Prime Minister. Ever.

Predictably, the Canadian media nearly choked with self-righteousness, praising the French president’s ‘fresh’ and ‘forward-looking’ thoughts.  We’ll see how fresh they think he is when he tells them it’s time Canada gets rid of that anachronistic little border on the 49th parallel.  He might just get a real taste of a country that defines itself  by ‘detestation’ and ‘opposition’ to the other…

But the real story here is not that Nicolas Sarkozy does not know anything or that Canadians are completely blind to their own hypocrisy.  Everybody knows that.

No, the real story is that Québec’s sovereigntists need to get new friends.  Fast.

Ever since Québec emerged from the Great Darkness, the forces of light and good in the province have put all their eggs in France’s basket.  As if the only recognition an independent Québec would ever need would be that of France.

There is a reason why Québec looked to France and it is not only because of a shared language.  France has consistently been the West’s left wing.  Cooler, smarter and not afraid to break rank on NATO, Irak and the Occident’s apparent determination to abolish food.

But France is not only Renaud and IAM.  It is also Brigitte Bardot and Johnny Halliday.  France too has it’s Stéphane Gendrons, Josée Verners and Denis Coderres.  It is as it never occured to any of the Parti québécois’ numerous regulars of the bistros of Boulevard Austerlitz that one day one of them might actually take power.

Someone like Nicolas Sarkozy.

But it was bound to happen.  As night begets day and life begets death, a well read and inspiring American president begets a reductive twit at the Élysée.

The real issue is « why haven’t sovereigntists cultivated more friends in other countries? »

Before the Obama administration actually got the briefing on the aliens of Area 51 and the nuclear missile launch codes, all observers knew exactly how many friends Israel had in the White House and how powerful they were.  Canadian Conservatives had mules in Washington before they took power in Ottawa.  David Frum, a National Post columnist and the son of Barbara Frum, is the Bush speechwriter who coined the inspiring, in a Battlestar Gallactica kind of way, image of the Axis of Evil.

The last time there was anyone with any pull whatsoever in the White House who had ever heard about Québec was when Pierre Salinger served as press secretary for JFK.  Other than that their might be a cab driver in Baltimore who has a cousin in Beloeil.  That’s about it.

And while were at it, why don’t we have any of our men and women working the pubs of London?  There once was a time when Québec’s representatives regularly looked to London as a fair arbiter in their conflicts with English-speaking neighbours and on more than one occasion the cooler heads in London did not hesitate to put the proto-Rhodesians of Upper Canada and Montreal back in their place.

Sovereigntists could send Pauline Marois to hang out with the Queen.  I’m sure they would get along splendidly as they both have a taste for expansive rural estates and an entourage keen on palace intrigue and making inappropriate comments.  A few shots of sherry and firm commitment to keep her on as Reine du Québec after independence and there is no doubt Betty would get on board.

First of all, she would have no choice but to publicly support her own subjects’ declaration of independence.  Second, no Englishman or woman, no matter how blue the blood, who would ever miss an opportunity to stick it to the French!

Take that Sarko!

Written by angryfrenchguy

February 8, 2009 at 11:44 pm

128 Responses

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  1. “It’s interesting that you bring up that the Canadian ambassador to France is Franco-Ontarian. As is Mr. Desmarais.
    It’s been my experience that many Franco from the ROC (Frocs?) can be quite hostile to Québec (which can often be justified as Québec is at least as paternalistic towards them as France is towards Québec). Many of my sister’s friends at the Université de Moncton chose to study there SPECIFICALLY not to study in Québec.
    I think that, although many of them are quite proud of being francophones and quite active politically and culturally, many feel really hurt and ‘rejected’ by Québec’s ‘inward-looking’ independence project.
    Do you think? Could the true root of this thing be a good old fashionned family dispute that actually has nothing to do with English Canada? Could Mr. Sarkozy’s emotional language reflect a deep feeling of rejection felt by Mr. Desmarais, and by extention all Francos of the ROC?
    Just thinking out loud. Qu’est-ce t’en pense, Jack?”

    Could be. That would mean that someone as powerful as the president of France is just a pawn/mouthpiece in a French Canadian family fight.

    Acajack

    February 10, 2009 at 4:01 pm

  2. “AFG what are you screaming about, when I was growing up in early 60’s the percentage of people who didn’t speak French was a lot higher than 7%”

    We are talking about Anglo Montrealers this week, Dave. Well get back to you kids soon enough.

    angryfrenchguy

    February 10, 2009 at 4:08 pm

  3. To angryfrenchgirl
    “Laws of discrimination? Well, last I heard, Quebec’s only official language was French. Yet, I need to speak white in order to get basic services.”

    Speak white… damn, hadn’t heard this in a long time. You know, back in the 1930s, my grandfather had every reasons in the world to be offended when he would get the “speak white” comment. Nowadays, it’s a completely different story. I spend lots of time in Montreal, and I never felt like I absolutely had to speak English in order to get basic services. Rumors of Montreal becoming flooded by English are greatly exagerated.

    And then, since we’re talking about language… French, in Québec, is not threatened because of the ROC. It’s not threatened because the evil federal government wants to assimilate us. It’s threatened because, let’s face it, French is not the most useful language nowadays. Sure, it’s great to speak French. I’ll teach my kids to speak French first later on. But there’s no magic solution to this, since English has become, mostly by default, the language of world communications. Separation won’t change a thing about it, unless you’re planning on deporting every anglo in Mtl…

    Vinster171

    February 10, 2009 at 5:19 pm

  4. Edward: There is a recent article in the online La Presse by Stéphane Laporte about the “pl***e a terre”
    controversy called “Le québécois est trop compliqué pour les Français.” You can get an idea of the meaning of the expression from the article. I wish I could provide you with a direct link but I am not computer-savvy enough.

    M. Laporte (subtly??) seems to accuse French people of being condescending towards Québécois because of the way the latter speak French—I am reminded of the old saw about Britain and the United States being two countries divided by the same language. Seems to apply to France and Québec too.

    Back in the early ’50s, a promising Puerto Rican baseball player named Victor Pellot played minor league ball in Drummondville. It seems that the fans busted out laughing each time his name was announced; soon enough, Pellot found out that his surname was a homonym of a North American French vulgarity and began playing under his mother’s maiden name, Power.

    Sorry to stray from the topic some.

    littlerob

    February 10, 2009 at 5:19 pm

  5. Dave

    ““but it’s true that Sarkozy spends lots of time hanging out with Desmarais.”

    and the Queen spends a lot of time hanging around horses and dogs… you draw the conclusion…”

    So, you don’t think Desmarais has an influence on Sarkzy? Then read the following two articles by Robin Philpot to le Devoir, if you can read French. In particular, read the last paragraph of the second article; it quotes Sarkozy himself on the help and influence Desmarais gave him.

    http://www.ledevoir.com/2009/02/04/231383.html

    http://www.ledevoir.com/2009/02/06/231844.html

    Antonio

    February 10, 2009 at 5:51 pm

  6. Excellent post. While we don’t agree on the fundamental issue at stake — Quebec independence, I think you’ve hit very directly on a major issue for those who do support it. The Quebec Independence movement has very few friends abroad. American support for an independent Quebec is inconceivable. And, while I’m no friend of M. Sarkozy, I think his attitude reflects a reality in the modern political world which is to say that modern first world countries seem to crave stability in their allies and further that they are likely to view their ally in this instance as Canada. It’s also an area that most prominent separatists seem to overlook. What happens globally if Quebec decides to go its own way especially if that decision is opposed by the rest of Canada?

    Edgy555

    February 10, 2009 at 5:55 pm

  7. Vinster

    “how is the separation of Québec going to help those French communities elsewhere in Canada?”

    It’s not going to help them. But it is going to help the French communities at Quebec itself. I have a question for you. Has Quebec staying in Canada helped the French communities elsewhere in Canada?

    “How is it going to solve this particular problem?”

    I don’t think sovereignists care about the French communities elsewhere in Canada. That is because they know that they are doomed to be assimilated. What is your solution to the problem?

    “Is it because you then expect the newly founded country of Québec to tell its anglo communities to shove it?”

    Ah, typical federalist demagoguery. What basis do you have that they are going to do that. Sovereignists have said repeatedly that anglos will have a place in an independent Quebec. You don’t believe them? Why?

    Antonio

    February 10, 2009 at 5:57 pm

  8. Vinster,

    “I do agree with most of your last paragraph. We lack confidence. We keep victimizing ourselves, becoming almost paraniods.”

    Do you think Quebec has the means to become independent and that Quebecers are capable of running a country contrary to what federalist propaganda and scare tactics would have you believe? Even Charest admitted recently that Quebec has the means to become independent.

    Antonio

    February 10, 2009 at 6:04 pm

  9. “I don’t think sovereignists care about French communities elsewhere in Canada. That is because they know they are doomed to be assimilated.”

    The French language has been known to be pretty persistent. There are still something like 200,000 native speakers of it in Louisiana (including two recent governors), and those people are a long way away from most of the rest of the Francophonie. I don’t think we’re going to be losing ROC French anytime soon.

    littlerob

    February 10, 2009 at 6:58 pm

  10. AGF @ 10 Feb 09 at 2:29 pm — you said:

    about my comment that – downtown toronto chinese business owners not being ticketed for having chinese only business signs.

    “Sorry to say that that is an extremely narrow-minded comment.
    Is English in Toronto in as much danger as French is in Quebec? Let me get this straight.”

    quebec’s official language of french is not in danger in quebec – you say it is – you believe it is – fine.

    i think you missed my point – and it is this: if a small community of chinese speakers surrounded entirely by english speakers and french speakers can maintain itself and thrive without legislation – well you connect the dots…

    johnnyonline

    February 10, 2009 at 7:05 pm

  11. @ Antonio

    “Ah, typical federalist demagoguery. What basis do you have that they are going to do that. Sovereignists have said repeatedly that anglos will have a place in an independent Quebec. You don’t believe them? Why?”

    Then why is the protection of the French language THE main argument for the PQ and BQ nowadays? Why is it that everytime there’s talk of another referendum, the major arguments we hear from the PQ and BQ is how the ROC and the anglos have been mean to us? Basically, this is what it says : “We’ll make even more severe laws to make sure French takes even more place than now! We’ll make sure we don’t see any form of English signs anywhere! But don’t worry, fellow anglo citizen: we’ve got a place for you!”

    There’s typical federalist demagoguery, and then there’s the sovereignist demagoguery. Both are as bad.

    “Do you think Quebec has the means to become independent and that Quebecers are capable of running a country contrary to what federalist propaganda and scare tactics would have you believe?”

    Of course I think we have the means and the capacity to be independant! Did you think I’d be scared to admit it? I’m not an hardcore federalist. I just never saw any convincing arguments when I was listening to all the political talks. And believe me, I’ve heard pretty much everything that could be said on the matter: my dad’s family’s full of hardcore federalist, while my mom’s family is pretty much composed of convinced sovereignist.

    So yes, we have the means. Yes, I believe we are capable of being independant. That being said, do we have the right motivation for it right now? I don’t think so. Do I believe Québec can be successful as a country when all are separatist leaders are leaning that far to the left? Answer is no because, unfortunately, money does not grow on trees.

    Also, I can’t help but wonder if it’s the best solution. I don’t think we’ve seen the full potential of what a real Canadian federation could bring. If you were to tell all the provinces tomorrow that we’d like to change the way the federation works and give provinces more power within the federation, I don’t know any PM that would say no. I’m sure Alberta would enjoy doing whatever it wants with the oil money, I’m pretty sure Québec would enjoy doing whatever it wants with its money, and I’m pretty sure the ROC would finally stop earing us complain about everything and nothing.

    The sad thing about this debate is that whenever some well spoken and reasonable citizen from the ROC and from Québec get to talk about those issues, they can pretty much understand how each other feel and agree on a whole lot of things. That what makes me think that things could still work out well between all the provinces.

    My main beef against sovereignist these days is that they use outdated arguments. I don’t care about what the Colonial English Army did 150 to 300 years ago. I don’t care about the martial law of 1970. I think it’s sad that my grandfather used to be told to speak white when he was shopping in Mtl in the 1930-1940s. But I don’t hold a grudge for all of this. Language might have been a good argument up until the end of the 80s. Nowadays, it’s a lame and populist argument that’s not worth mentioning. Preserving French is important, but we’ve shown for 400 years that we can preserve it even in the most adverse conditions. English will still be important, as it pretty much is a common language on this planet.

    So there you go, that’s where I stand on this issue.

    Vinster171

    February 10, 2009 at 7:50 pm

  12. Vinster

    “Why is it that everytime there’s talk of another referendum, the major arguments we hear from the PQ and BQ is how the ROC and the anglos have been mean to us? Basically, this is what it says : “We’ll make even more severe laws to make sure French takes even more place than now! We’ll make sure we don’t see any form of English signs anywhere! But don’t worry, fellow anglo citizen: we’ve got a place for you!”

    Happy to hear you have a library card. Now you need to get a newspaper subscription. That is not what they say. (Unless you read the Ottawa Citizen. Whatever Gilles an Pauline say in French, it somehow does become that after their translation…)

    And if you feel you need to teach us about the international role of English, you’re kind of missing the point of this blog…

    Littlerob.

    There are 200 000 French speaking cajuns today, but there was over one million one generation ago. As there was a few hundred thousand Franco Americans in New England. How many today.

    angryfrenchguy

    February 10, 2009 at 8:46 pm

  13. agf,

    the usa never recognised french as an official language – do you think that had something to do with it?

    if louisiana had establiblished french as an official language after washington dc had said it was a very important – important enough to pass legislation – would your crippled argument have any legs to stand on?

    johnnyonline

    February 10, 2009 at 8:56 pm

  14. Can someone tell me how the sovereigntists can obtain support from countries other than France just speaking French to them?

    From what I read here, all there is going on is a constant self-flaggellation.

    The cult of victimhood is the religion de jour ici.

    The world is a vast place full of many languages and cultures. Right now, at present, English is the common language that all can use.

    That’s a fact.

    Perhaps in two or three generations, Mandarin will be a coomon language.

    I can’t see separatism as a way to the future in any major country.

    Mexico doesn’t like it. Russia doesn’t. India doesn’t. African countries don’t. The Chinese don’t.

    Rather than waste intellectual/ emotional energy on it why not focus on making Quebec an outstanding region that doesn’t need support from Ottawa.

    It’s fairly easy. Just shut up and go to work.

    Michel

    February 10, 2009 at 9:57 pm

  15. “My main beef against sovereignist these days is that they use outdated arguments. I don’t care about what the Colonial English Army did 150 to 300 years ago. I don’t care about the martial law of 1970. I think it’s sad that my grandfather used to be told to speak white when he was shopping in Mtl in the 1930-1940s. But I don’t hold a grudge for all of this. Language might have been a good argument up until the end of the 80s. Nowadays, it’s a lame and populist argument that’s not worth mentioning”

    If you really think that this is the only argument sovereignists make, you need to do more research on sovereignty. Sure, many sovereignists (probably older ones) make historical arguments or historical grievances as the reason for independence but many more argue for fiscal, social and societal reasons for the independence for reasons that have already been expressed elsewhere.

    “Preserving French is important, but we’ve shown for 400 years that we can preserve it even in the most adverse conditions. English will still be important, as it pretty much is a common language on this planet.”

    One of the reasons why French was able to be preserved in Quebec in the past was the high birth rate. This condition does not exist today. The future of French is more imperiled today because of the low birth rate and so Quebec is dependent in immigrants in which not all of them are really interested in integrating into Quebec society.

    Antonio

    February 10, 2009 at 10:20 pm

  16. johnnyononline,

    “the usa never recognised french as an official language – do you think that had something to do with it?”

    Canada has recognized French as an official language; what has that done for the French communities elsewhere in Canada? They still have to fight to get their rights that the English minority in Quebec enjoy.

    At least the US has always been honest about its intentions. Canada has not.

    Antonio

    February 10, 2009 at 10:23 pm

  17. “Can someone tell me how the sovereigntists can obtain support from countries other than France just speaking French to them?”

    Where did you get the idea we would only speak French to other countries? No, wait. Let me guess. You and your rational, mature, and open-minded federalist buddies all sit around telling each other what sovereigntist really think and tearing that apart.

    I have a question for you, now. Do you know what a straw man argument is?

    “From what I read here, all there is going on is a constant self-flaggellation.”

    If by that you mean that Quebecers and Canadians hack on each other and tear themselves and each other apart, you’re absolutely right, and it needs to stop. It won’t as long as we’re all forced to live under the same federal government.

    “The cult of victimhood is the religion de jour ici.”

    It wouldn’t be right for me to assume you’re only referring to the pro-sovereignty types here, because that would make you a hypocrite since the federalists on this forum rack up quite a few bellyaching miles. I don’t know you, so I’m assuming you aren’t a hypocrite and you mean everyone here sometimes plays the victim card. I hate to admit it, but you’re right.

    “The world is a vast place full of many languages and cultures.”

    Yes, it is. But out of the thousands of languages spoken in the world today, about half are likely to disappear in the next century. The dominance of English is part of the problem. More Bill 101-type laws could actually be a big part of the solution.

    “Right now, at present, English is the common language that all can use.
    That’s a fact.”

    Um… no, it isn’t, wiseguy, and saying it is won’t make it so. Here is something closer to actual fact: There are over six and a half billion people on earth right now. Out of all those, maybe a billion can speak English. Maybe one and a half if you include everyone who can say “Hello, mister, how are you?” That isn’t “everyone” by any stretch of the imagination. When you’re done reading up on straw man arguments, see if you can figure out what the difference is between a fact and an authoritative pronouncement.

    “Perhaps in two or three generations, Mandarin will be a coomon language.”

    I completely agree.

    “I can’t see separatism as a way to the future in any major country.”

    Okay, fine. You don’t. I do. I think it would be better in the long run for both Canada and Quebec.

    “Mexico doesn’t like it. Russia doesn’t. India doesn’t. African countries don’t. The Chinese don’t.”

    Countries that might be separated from generally don’t like the idea. That’s really not much of an observation and it isn’t evidence of anything at all.

    “Rather than waste intellectual/ emotional energy on it why not focus on making Quebec an outstanding region that doesn’t need support from Ottawa.”

    The only reason Quebec is still a part of Canada is that many Quebecers believe it isn’t an outstanding region and that it needs support from Ottawa. When that perception goes, so does Quebec.

    “It’s fairly easy. Just shut up and go to work.”

    Understanding what actually constitutes a factual statement and what straw man arguments are is also fairly easy. Off you go.

    gcl

    February 10, 2009 at 10:44 pm

  18. antonio,

    find a gal, settle down and get married – have some kids – give them a good education – and by all means provide them with the precious heritage of quebec’s official language and cultural.

    but honestly, don’t waste your time trying to pass off malicious thoughts as credible. you damage your cause when rational individuals see behaviour like that.

    btw, the question to agf was – do you think it’s possible that louisana would have french-speaking americans today if french had been recognised as an important language?

    once in a while it would be decent if an argument destroyed was not thrown back in my face as some other facet of the language question. or worse – simply ignored.

    facts would be good. facts like pointing out that marois’ education reforms suck – here are the latest stats and they are nothing to be proud of. we (as in you and me – members of quebec society) need to do a whole lot better:

    almost 1/3 (29%) of quebec’s secondary students drop out before obtaining a diploma. that’s effing ridiculous! personally i think this issue deserves more of our attention than whether or not quebec gets a seat at international conferences. education and immigration are quebec’s responsibilty – what are you going to do – separate from canada and build airplanes and recreational vehicles with citizens who can’t read?

    johnnyonline

    February 10, 2009 at 11:08 pm

  19. “i think you missed my point – and it is this: if a small community of chinese speakers surrounded entirely by english speakers and french speakers can maintain itself and thrive without legislation – well you connect the dots…”

    A community of several hundred thousand people in a Canadian city (even a large one) cannot be considered as small, especially when that community receives new blood to the tune of a few dozen thousand “native speakers” from the old country every single year.

    As soon as immigration from China dries up (as it will eventually), then the language will slowly begin to disappear, as others that once appeared to have decent staying power did as well.

    Canada used to have more than 1 million Ukrainian speakers (perhaps as many as 1.5 million even), which is now down to less than 150,000.

    Chinese languages like Mandarin and Cantonese will almost certainly suffer the same fate once the immigration tap is shut off.

    Acajack

    February 10, 2009 at 11:14 pm

  20. gcl,

    i gave up self-flagellation at about the same time as hair shirts. however – i still feel compelled to rip up bad ideas.

    johnnyonline

    February 10, 2009 at 11:25 pm

  21. “I can’t see separatism as a way to the future in any major country. Mexico doesn’t like it.”

    Actually white Mexicans of European descent don’t like it. Many of the indigenous and mestizo Mayas of Chiapas are quite in favour of it.

    “Russia doesn’t.”

    Again, white orthodox Russians don’t like separatism. Many in Chechenya, Dagestan, Tatarstan and at least a dozen other states and regions are still on the fence.

    “India doesn’t.”

    What you meant to say was Hindus don’t like it. Just about all non-Hindu regions are actively thinking about it. Ever hear of Kashmir? Punjab?

    “The Chinese don’t.”

    You meant to say the Han Chinese don’t. Ask the Ouïgour how they feel. Or the Tibetans. Or the Taiwanese…

    “African countries don’t.”

    That’s a special case. Their borders were all artificial to start with. All African countries agreed after decolonization not to touch that mess, lest it would lead to political tensions, economic instability and war.

    That worked out well, didn’t it?

    angryfrenchguy

    February 10, 2009 at 11:34 pm

  22. Edgy555

    “Excellent post. While we don’t agree on the fundamental issue at stake — Quebec independence, I think you’ve hit very directly on a major issue for those who do support it. The Quebec Independence movement has very few friends abroad. American support for an independent Quebec is inconceivable.
    And, while I’m no friend of M. Sarkozy, I think his attitude reflects a reality in the modern political world which is to say that modern first world countries seem to crave stability in their allies and further that they are likely to view their ally in this instance as Canada. It’s also an area that most prominent separatists seem to overlook. What happens globally if Quebec decides to go its own way especially if that decision is opposed by the rest of Canada?”

    It is true that leaders of existing states (including Sarkozy) value stability. This is totally normal. However, for the most part their attitude is nonetheless similar to what I mentioned above: “Le roi est mort. Vive le roi!”. So yes, they will defend the status quo as long as there is a status quo to be defended. If Quebec (or Catalonia or Scotland or wherever) were to become independent, then they’d get on with building relations with the new entity. Unless Quebec pulled an Ugo Chavez-type turn, which is an impossible scenario anyway.

    Regarding the Quebec independence movement having few friends internationally, although this gets a lot of attention (even from the sovereignists, who always seem to be pining for support abroad) it is essentially a moot point for a variety of reasons.

    First off, as I said before it is pretty much a given that most existing states aren’t going to support any independence movement anywhere. This has nothing to do with the Quebec question in particular. But Quebec sovereignists do have friends abroad, in places where you’d expect to find them: Scotland, Catalonia, etc.

    Look at it this way, no one in Canada supports independence for Scotland (or Catalonia) either, but that doesn’t mean Canada would snub the Scots or the Catalans if they decided to go their own way and break up (or destroy, egads!) good old Britain or Spain! People in these countries and any other country in the world would react with a similar shrug if Quebec were to become independent, unless people actually think that Canada is somehow God’s or humanity’s favourite country (say, the nation-state equivalent to Manchester United) or something absurd like that. Sure, some people might think that Quebec’s departure was an unwise move on its part, but it is utterly ridiculous to suggest that people abroad (even in Washington) would be that PO’d about it.

    Finally, the fact remains that this issue will be decided here, by people who live here, and what is thought of it abroad is, when you really think about it, of little consequence. And why should foreign countries express support for an outcome when it’s not even clear that a majority of Quebecers want to go that route? On this issue, Sarkozy’s predecessor Jacques Chirac once famously said that France would be by Quebec’s side whatever path it chose to take. But he also added that being by Quebec’s side doesn’t mean being one step ahead of it (insinuating that the decision was Quebec’s to make, and that then France would follow).

    But as I said before, international recognition is not the issue. If Quebecers really wanted to “do it”, international recognition would follow for sure. But sovereignists can’t expect any more international recognition than they already have without getting Quebecers to make the leap themselves.

    Acajack

    February 10, 2009 at 11:40 pm

  23. acajack,

    i appreciate the figures – but try to remember that ukranians settled the prairies at a time when you couldn’t see your neighbour on the horizon let alone get up the energy to visit them and discuss the good ol days.

    they never organised in terms of religion, politics or social status – apparently it was not as important a question as it is in quebec. they came to a new place for a new life and got it.

    i can’t make predictions about the language of chinese in toronto. and when are “they” going to turn off the tap?

    johnnyonline

    February 10, 2009 at 11:41 pm

  24. Pour la fille qui est colere,

    “Laws of discrimination? Well, last I heard, Quebec’s only official language was French. Yet, I need to speak white in order to get basic services. And you call la Loi 101 discriminatory? You should be so lucky that, despite the fact that the province’s only official language is French, you can still do perfectly well in Quebec even if you don’t speak French.”

    Quebec uniligually franco…that is true. Then why does Duceppe (aka le chef du separatistes) say that Canada is making great strides in being bilingual but that Quebec will never be bilingual when in fact Quebec is the most bilingual province in Canada. What is he really trying to say??

    Speak white, really, no service in french you say…I think you are exaggerating to the extreme. I visit Montreal (where it is reported there is the biggest problem) and I have yet to come across a business that doesn’t appear to offer both languages. This from the corner store to the large department and grocery outlets. This is in NDG which is from what I can gather mostly and anglo community!!

    Of course 101 is discriminatory…Imagine a law that dictates the language of signs and enforces that there is no preference as to the language of education for many. (In a supposedly bilingual country) You can rationalize the law by saying it is to protect the language and culture, but rationlization does no change the fact that the law is disciminatory against anglos and other minorities.

    Do well in english in Quebec..Yes, in some areas but not others and I am not challenging this.. Quebec is unilingually designated french so you can expect that in many areas you might not be served in English…no problem.

    I will check out the article you referenced…even if it is in french… Why were you apologizing that it was in french….or was this an attempt at a condescending remark?

    ABP

    abp

    February 10, 2009 at 11:45 pm

  25. “almost 1/3 (29%) of quebec’s secondary students drop out before obtaining a diploma. that’s effing ridiculous! personally i think this issue deserves more of our attention than whether or not quebec gets a seat at international conferences. education and immigration are quebec’s responsibilty – what are you going to do – separate from canada and build airplanes and recreational vehicles with citizens who can’t read?”

    Come on Johnny, you can do better than that. The dropout rate in Quebec is the highest (or one of the highest) in Canada, but it’s not that out of synch with the national average. It’s a problem here and it’s a problem everywhere across the country. Places like Ontario shouldn’t exactly be gloating either.

    And BTW, Quebec doesn’t have to separate from canada to build airplanes and recreational vehicles (*with citizens who can’t read* as you said), it’s already doing that at the moment – mostly with people who *can* read of course.

    Acajack

    February 10, 2009 at 11:48 pm

  26. “they never organised in terms of religion, politics or social status – apparently it was not as important a question as it is in quebec. they came to a new place for a new life and got it.”

    Oh yes they did. They set up tons of stuff in the West (newspapers, dance troupes, theatre) but much of it has disappeared now so people think it was never there. Ukrainians were also a key force behind the foundation of the CCF, which became the NDP, and were key movers and shakers for Canada’s multiculturalism policies.

    “i can’t make predictions about the language of chinese in toronto. and when are “they” going to turn off the tap?”

    “They” would be the Chinese (in China) themselves, once the home country becomes prosperous enough to sustain most of its citizenry. This is how large-scale immigration from most countries ends up levelling off – when prosperity at home reaches comparable levels to the immigration destination.

    But even today, young Chinese-Canadians are actually assimilating quite quickly, and this is accelerated by the fact that the Chinese alphabet is totally alien to the alphabet used by the local language here. Most younger, first-generation Chinese-Canadians can speak their parent’s language, but reading it is a lot tougher for them for this reason.

    Acajack

    February 10, 2009 at 11:58 pm

  27. acajack,

    yup – i can do better.

    on further reading – a large number of dropouts return to school within six years – i guess that’s enough time for anyone to figure it out.

    johnnyonline

    February 11, 2009 at 12:15 am

  28. acajack,

    my point was and is that the ukrainian language, like french in louisiana, never had the status the french language has had in quebec either as an official (recent) or de facto historical language.

    i don’t want to make predictions about chinese in toronto or french in quebec – both seem to be thriving in what some describe as “hostile” environments.

    your point about chinese in toronto eventually going the way of the buffalo holds more water than the idea of french disappearing in quebec. did you suggest that the french language is disappearing or will disappear in quebec?

    johnnyonline

    February 11, 2009 at 12:49 am

  29. Il est assez ironique de constater que Sarkosy a ete encourage et finance par Paul Desmarais alors qu’il traversait son desert politique et qu’en retour, il lui a offert la legion d’honneur: comme disait un francais, on ne donne plus la legion d’honneur a un homme pour ce qu’il a fait pour la France, mais ce pour ce qu’il a fait pour Sarko..Qu’a fait de si grand Desmarais pour la France? Plus ironique encore Desmarais a de nombreuses fois recu Sarko a Sagard, ou le domaine est une reproduction de Versailles..Pourquoi ont ils fait la revolution francaise? Pour en revenir au didact des riches et des puissants? Ou est la place des elus et de la democratie?

    Anonymous

    February 11, 2009 at 12:50 am

  30. Sorry, i forgot to write my name..

    midnightjack

    February 11, 2009 at 12:51 am


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