The Ignoble Character Assassination of Louise Harel

with 248 comments


“If we go from 19 to 10 boroughs, but these boroughs remain quasi-municipalities as they are now, we will end up in the worst of situations because we’ll have cities … an Italian city, a Haitian city, an anglophone city, an Arab city – Ville St. Laurent, a Jewish city, etc. We will no longer have this sense of one big city with boroughs that speaks with one voice.”

Louise Harel

I don’t care if you agree or not with the characterization of Ville-Saint-Laurent as an “Arab City” or if you feel that describing other Montreal boroughs as Haitian, Italian and Jewish is a bit of an oversimplification.  There is no way you or anyone in good faith that thinks former municipal affairs minister Louise Harel meant anything offensive when she said the above on RDI last week.

Everyone very well understood that she was speaking out against ghettos and division and for a more diverse, multicultural and united city.

To imply anything else is bullshit.  It is another example of the ignoble character assassination The Montreal Gazette and Québec federalists are willing to perform on anyone who has ever been associated with the Parti québécois.  It is spreading lies, it is sewing the seeds of hate, it is one more desperate attempt to create ethnic division for political purposes.

To find the appropriately outraged quotes to give credibility to its malicious interpretation of Louise Harel’s quote, the Gazette turned to a Montreal imam who favours the implementation of Charia Law in Québec and one, two, three members of Mayor Gérald Tremblay’s Union Montréal party.

Oh yeah, Madame Harel is rumoured to be thinking about running for mayor in the next municipal election.  Do you think this has anything to do with it?

Robert Libman, a former mayor of Côte-Saint-Luc, leader of the Equality Party and member of Mayor Tremblay’s party accused Louise Harel of  “sowing the seeds of xenophobia by pointing to identifiable communities.  It’s as if she sees bogeymen in everything that is not white and francophone.”

Hey Robert?  Wanna know how your own electors identify your city?  And by the way, for those who don’t know, Robert Libman is the former president of the Québec chapter of B’nai Brith, an organization so open to non whites and francophones that it actively campaigned for a separate network of publicly financed Jewish Schools in Québec.

Tony Sciascia, president of the Italian Canadian Congress, Quebec region, was also offended by Harel’s characterization of some boroughs as Italian.  Wanna know how the kids of St.Leonard see their own city?

How far up their asses are these people’s heads?

After reading that Harel called his borough, Ville Saint-Laurent an “Arab City”, Alan DaSousa said: “I don’t think it’s appropriate for our community to be dissed in such a cavalier fashion”

Care to explain how being called an Arab is a diss, Alan?  Really?  I understand you are not an Arab and that Ville Saint-Laurent is more diverse that Harel implied.  But what do you mean when you say being called Arab is a diss?

Montréal municipal politics have always been an upside down mirror of provincial politics: those associated with sovereignty movement usually in favour of a strong centralized metropolis and the federalist are the ones pleading for a very loose confederation of independent municipalities.

The only thing that doesn’t change is the willingness of the latter to use hate, lies and slander in their pathetic attempts to drive a wedge between francophones and other communities.

Written by angryfrenchguy

March 13, 2009 at 9:19 pm

248 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. equallity4all,

    I understand your concern very well, but you’re forgetting that Anglos in Montreal have a complete education system in English, from kindergarten to university, hospitals, social services, media, etc. They have nothing to envy Francophones of other provinces.

    You’re telling me Québec is your home… great! Then you know our situation is different from Switzerland or Belgium. By the way, that’s not a good example of a united nation.

    You’re asking me: “How do you make a vibrant and healthy culture and language feel more secure without alienating others?” I’m fine with the Charter of the French Language and have no clue on how to answer your question. That’s why I’m asking you…

    Can you acknowledge that a second language with international influence is an asset to any country? Can you acknowledge the hegemony of English in North America and the assimilation rates of Francophones observed in other provinces?

    Pure Laine

    March 18, 2009 at 4:41 pm

  2. Sounds similar to the treatment many Anglo’s in Quebec experience Acajack. Sorry to hear that as we currently live and experience it and I know how difficult it can be.


    March 18, 2009 at 5:09 pm

  3. Woo-hoo. What does this tell us? That most places in the world are laissez-faire, whereas in a few others (Quebec, Italy, France, the Ticino canton of Switzerland, etc.) there is some government intervention. Note also that in Quebec there is no real restriction on languages other than French, only that French must be there and predominant. So you can put as many languages as you want on your business sign, as long as French is there.

    Note also that this is far from an exhaustive world list. AFG added Russell Township in Ontario. There is also the Ontario municipality of Clarence-Rockland east of Ottawa that has a bilingual sign requirement. One is being considered for the Moncton suburb of Dieppe.

    As well, there may not be any restrictions at the national level in the U.S. but many local municipalities have (or have had – city councils and demographics can change) “English mandatory” or even “English only” ordinances for business signs, including Westminister, Calif., Gardena, Calif., Garden Grove, Calif., Norcross, Ga., Smyrna, Ga., Doraville, Ga.


    March 18, 2009 at 6:10 pm

  4. En 2009, mon frere travaille comme ingenieur dans une firme de ville St-laurent. Sur 21 ingenieurs, deux sont anglophones. Devinez quelle est la langue de travail et des communications ? L’anglais, bien sur. Pourquoi? Quand je lui demande, il hausse les epaules. On a pas vraiment le choix il repond. Sous-entendu, si on veut preserver la bonne entente et l’harmonie, vaut mieux ne pas demander aux anglos de parler francais.. ca fait des chinanes..Eh oui, a Montreal, au Quebec, en 2009.


    March 18, 2009 at 6:15 pm

  5. “My culture is the Anglophone culture of Quebec. I have every right to live here, and I have every right perpetuate my culture. No one has the right to deny it, alter it, or eliminate it. That is called ethnic cleansing. As defined by the United Nations.”

    There is a lot of blather in this post, but I was just wondering how you are being prevented from perpetuating your culture. Your kids can go to school from kindergarten to PhD in their language thanks to the public treasury. Your media and cultural institutions are exempted from all language legislation. These are just two examples of the many things anglophones in Quebec have going for them.

    Unless you are confusing “perpetuating” your culture with “imposing” it on the francophone majority (which was what was happening prior to 1977, and what Bill 101 was meant to redress).

    Unfortunately, it seems to me that certain anglophones in Quebec still view the fact that they can no longer impose their language and culture on the francophone majority of Quebec (at least not as effectively as they could 40 years ago) constitutes an impediment to the “perpetuation” of their community and, worse still, as a form of oppression.


    March 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm

  6. equallity(sic)4all: “My grievance is with the law. Actual law. Black and white , on paper law.”

    You shouldn’t have too much of a problem with the law since as others have pointed out here it actually gives Quebec anglos more rights than pretty much any other group in the province.

    Please show us where the law explicitly prohibits English. All it says is that French is the main language for blablabla, and that it has to be there. For the most part (except billboards and public transit ads -someone call Médecins sans frontières back from Darfur and get them into the West Island now, please!), other languages are permitted in virtually all instances.

    If anything, the law sets the same playing field for everyone in Quebec (namely francophones and immigrants), except for anglos and, we often forget, aboriginal groups.

    So technically Bill 101 actually gives anglos more rights than pretty much anyone else in the province. But it doesn’t give you the right to impose your language on the francophone majority as freely as you used to, and that’s the real reason why you’re P.O.’d.


    March 18, 2009 at 6:26 pm

  7. ”And you also forgot the Ontario township of Russell, where anglo-majority city councilors made bilingual signs mandatory.”

    I think Russell township council is about 50-50 anglo-franco. Note that the anglo councillors all voted for the bilingual sign bylaw. The only dissenting votes were cast by two francophones. Clarence-Rockland council is very predominantly francophone.

    ”Wow. Your more Québec-centric than even the most hardcore separatists I’ve ever come accross.”

    I was gonna say that as well. Of course, it’s very self-serving to ignore the rest of Canada’s not-so-nice linguistic track record, isn’t it?


    March 18, 2009 at 6:33 pm

  8. Bill 101 HAS lead to accepted and blatant discrimination by the Francophone majority. However, I guess given Quebec’s history, two wrongs make a right?


    March 18, 2009 at 7:21 pm

  9. Les Anglophones ne refusent pas de parler français et ne veulent pas imposer leur langue sur la majorité. Peut-être il y a des extrémistes comme il y a des extrémistes Francophones mais nous pouvons très bien se débrouiller en français. Moi, la seule affaire qui me dérange c’est que nous sommes forcés d’apprendre et de parler la langue dans notre province. Nous faisons toutes pour l’apprendre et nous sommes toujours considérer comme les citoyens seconds classe et comme des immigrants les mieux traiter au Québec qui possède les mauvais accents selon l’OLF. Crisse, les Anglophones ont contribué aussi à bâtir le Québec. Dans ces journées il y avait un million + Anglophones au Québec, peut-être ça c’est la raison pour lequel nous avons nos propres écoles etc… Et ceci n’est pas grâce au Francophones qui on voulu préserver nos écoles, notre langue et notre culture, car comme je peux voir, il y en a certaines qui pensent c’est un privilège qui ne devrait pas exister!


    March 18, 2009 at 7:54 pm

  10. Je suis assez d’accord avec ce que tu dis mais il n’en demeure pas moins que c’est encore difficile pour les francophones de travailler dans leur langue, ce qui cause probleme. Je pense aussi que les efforts des anglophones pour parler francais sont tres apprecies.
    Ce n’est pas qu’un anglophone ne parlant pas francais cause probleme, c’est que ca oblige, malgre la loi 101 qui etablit le droit des francophones de travailler dans leur langue, tout le monde a ne parler qu’anglais.
    Ca complique drolement l’integration des immigrants a la majorite. D’autre part, je ne crois pas que quelqu’un sur ce blogue puisse contester le fait que les anglophones aussi ont contribue a batir le Quebec, c’est une evidence. Ceci dit, pour remettre les choses en perspective, on n’est pas un train de vivre une guerre ou un virulent conflit. Je crois que malgre tout ce qu’on dit, il y a beaucoup de respect mutuel entre anglos et francos au Quebec, les sources de conflit sont sur des principes et demeurent la plupart du temps dans le monde des idees.En tout respect..


    March 18, 2009 at 9:15 pm

  11. “Moi, la seule affaire qui me dérange c’est que nous sommes forcés d’apprendre et de parler la langue dans notre province. Nous faisons toutes pour l’apprendre et nous sommes toujours considérer comme les citoyens seconds classe et comme des immigrants les mieux traiter au Québec qui possède les mauvais accents selon l’OLF. Crisse, les Anglophones ont contribué aussi à bâtir le Québec. ”

    Don’t you think you confuse beign treated like a minority and, hum… being a minority?

    You just described how francophones, natives and immigrants feel.

    The only minority in Canada is people who DON’T fell like that way!


    March 18, 2009 at 9:34 pm

  12. AEG and equallity(sic)4all, you display an astounding level of aggressivity, bitterness and negativity.

    And then you and your ilk are totally surprised, dumbfounded and dismayed when your children hi-tail it out of Quebec as soon as they reach adulthood.

    Think about it. Your average young Anglo-Quebecer, by the time he/she graduates from university, has since childhood heard the province of Quebec compared (without so much as a blink) to some of the most brutally repressive places on earth by teachers, professors, community leaders and, more likely than not, their own parents!

    Heck, if I was in their place, I’d probably leave too!


    March 18, 2009 at 9:57 pm

  13. Simple solution ACJ. Quebec should separate and the debate would be over on both sides, wouldn’t it?? Think of all the benefits to both sides of the debate. Quebec could have french and their cultture in whatever measure they wish without any interference and Canada could move ahead without further distractions from Quebec. I wouldn’t worry about the anglos in Quebec…at least no more than you do know. They would either assimilate or leave for greener pastures.

    Benefit derived = effort exerted. Perhaps you should be somewhat more assertive in defending your culture and language, ACJ.



    March 18, 2009 at 10:19 pm

  14. > The Flemish Nationalists want Brussels to be a Dutch-speaking city (it
    > was, three centuries ago), even though something like five sixths of the
    > Bruxellois normally speak French.

    Is that accurate? I’ve never heard that Flemish nationalists want (or hope for, anyway) Brussels to become a Dutch-speaking city again, though maybe they want to stop its frenchification, when it still has a substantial minority of speakers of Dutch as a first language and as a primary language. What really bothers them is the expansion of Brussels caused by francophones moving to suburbs situated over the Flemish border and using the language facilities as a permanent measure. (Of course, it’s likely that they’re not happy with Brussels having undergone this switch from a Dutch-speaking to a French-speaking city in the first place, especially since it’s mostly due to French being the “prestige” language in Belgium until at least sometime in the 20th century.

    > Of course, they are taught Standard Dutch, and most local Flemings speak
    > Brabant Flemish, but don’t get me started on the subject of all of
    > the places in the world where people are taught a variety of their
    > neighbors’ language that their neighbors don’t actually speak.

    Oh yeah, I’ve heard about something like this (and I think some prominent francophones have used it as an excuse to explain why they can’t speak the Flemings’ language). Or was it that Flemings actually speak a spectrum of dialects? In any case, there’s a problem there.


    March 18, 2009 at 11:48 pm

  15. > I don’t think that Quebec politicians have the stomach for it either.

    I wasn’t excluding Quebecers when I said Canadians, you know. But I do think Quebecers are in general more open about reopening the constitution than other Canadians. Still, I don’t know what good would come out of it. The main problem is that if we reopen the constitution, every province, Native group, and a slew of special interest groups will want it to be modified in their preferred way. I’d personally be willing to try it, but I really like politics. Most Canadians don’t.

    The last times we’ve tried it, we failed. How is the political climate so different today?


    March 19, 2009 at 12:12 am

  16. to AEG: Tu trouves la loi 101 discrimatoire: elle a ete vote par une majorite de deputes dument elus: a moins de considerer notre systeme parlementaire britannique et le vote qui le legitimise comme une farce, je vois mal comment il serait illegitime. En 1995, quand nous avons perdu le referendum, nous sommes rentres chez nous abobinablement tristes, mais sans agressivite: la democratie avait parlee. Bien avant que Trudeau institue la charte des droits et libertes au niveau federal, dans un but qui n’a rien a voir avec les droits et libertes, le Quebec s’etait donnee une chartre des droits et libertes, sous la gouverne de Robert Bourassa. Du cote des federalistes, on a souvent tendance a considerer nos institutions democratiques ( et par extension le peuple qu’ils representent) comme accessoires, voir meme suspecte. On a vu apres le referendum jusqu’a quel point c’etait vrai. Non seulement les lois ont ete bafouees mais en plus le directeur general des elections a ete empeche de faire son travail d’enquete, sous pretexte qu’il avait ete nomme alors que Monsieur Parizeau gouvernait. Nos institutions democratiques ne peuvent etre ignorees. La loi 101 n’a jamais ete invalidee par notre chartre des droits.


    March 19, 2009 at 12:21 am

  17. ABP, i have a job for you. Unfortunaly, it is not for tomorrow. Maybe in seven years.Would you help me in my poster job for the OUI?


    March 19, 2009 at 12:47 am

  18. voulais dire CHARTE des droits..


    March 19, 2009 at 1:57 am

  19. The VB’s program about Brussels is ambiguous.

    “In een onafhankelijk Vlaanderen blijft Brussel onze hoofdstad. De 19 Brusselse gemeenten vormen een tweetalig gebied. De Brusselse Franstaligen zijn in een onafhankelyk Vlaanderen volwaardige Vlaamse staatsburgers *met de zelfde rechten en plichten* en met waarborgen op taalkundig, cultureel en onderwijsvlak.” My emphasis added.

    In an independent Flanders, Brussels will remain our capital. The 19 Brussels arondissements will form a bilingual zone. The Francophones of Brussels will be full citizens of the Flemish state *with the same rights and obligations* [the Dutch is NOT clear on the subject of what and to whom these obligations are] and with linguistic, cultural, and educational safeguards.

    Any translation errors are mine alone. I think that a lot of Brussels Francophones would interpret “met dezelfde rechten en plichten” as “Apprenez le neerlandais ou sortez du pays.”

    I believe that there are four main Flemish dialects–West Flemish, East Flemish, Brabant, and Limburg. The variation can be pretty wide. Antwerp has its own city dialect. The further south and west you go in Flanders, the more French-derived lexicon is used; West Flemish is arguably the Flemish counterpart of Joual.


    March 19, 2009 at 6:50 am

  20. Perhaps you should ask the question to AEG and equallity(sic)4all. You might get a more interesting response. Although, these people tend to be “have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too” types: they want Quebec to stay safely in the confines of (anglo majority) Canada to keep Quebec in check, but they also would like the francophone majority to go back to the good old “Yes Sir! We speak-e the English when spoken tou!” days of yore…


    March 19, 2009 at 8:04 am

  21. Now you’re just putting words in my mouth as I have NEVER stated Quebec should be Anglophone! Nor had I called Bill 101 undemocratic, what I HAVE said, if anyone has read correctly, is it has LEAD TO ACCEPTED DISCRIMINATION!
    Actually if Quebec were to separate, Anglo’s would be in a better position, we would be able to enact our own Bill 101 due to our dying language & culture in Quebec. At least if Quebec were recognized by the UN, they wouldn’t have a choice but to honor it. I have read however, they would not fund their minorities the way our current Federal Government does.


    March 19, 2009 at 11:55 am

  22. “Now you’re just putting words in my mouth as I have NEVER stated Quebec should be Anglophone!”

    Where did I mention that you wanted Quebec to be anglophone? Even the most extreme angryphones (not saying you are one necessarily) accept that Quebec is and will likely remain mainly francophone. They just don’t want that reality to “inconvenience” them in their daily lives. Basically, they have no quarrel with francophones being around them or speaking in French amongst themselves even, they just expect and want francophones to speak to them in English when they interact with anglos. Thankfully these people are a minority even within the anglo community these days.

    “Nor had I called Bill 101 undemocratic, what I HAVE said, if anyone has read correctly, is it has LEAD TO ACCEPTED DISCRIMINATION!”

    You have nothing better than anecdotal or hearsay evidence to back up this claim. The truth is that Quebec anglos today still have higher socio-economic attainment than pretty much any other group in Quebec (including francophones). They have the same legal rights as all other citizens and in some instances, as mentioned before, they also have certain priviliges that most other Quebecers do not enjoy. Some discrimination.


    March 19, 2009 at 12:10 pm

  23. Mais non, c’est ton travaille mon ami. Pour moi, Je n m’opposerai pas a vos affiches. Bonnce chance avec ca. Moins de temp serait meiux pour tout le monde.


    March 19, 2009 at 2:02 pm

  24. A lire aujourd’hui dans le globe and mail, l’article de Konrad Yakabuski, concernant la caisse de depot et le choix de Monsieur Sabia.


    March 19, 2009 at 3:39 pm

  25. Acajack
    As for being negative, I beg to differ, I will be the first one to say I support bilingualism in Canada. I also thought it a great idea when Marois proposed the same curriculum in French schools as we have in English, in that English would be introduced from Grade 1. Unfortunately they will not go ahead with this. I also think it’s a great idea that HEC and McGill will implement exchanges, lectures will be one day French, one English. These same exchanges are being proposed at the high school level as well in order to practice the language and to expose one another to their communities.
    As for my children leaving Quebec, if they do, then so be it as I wouldn’t be too far behind. I have already left once and do realize my languages combined with my skills are better paid in any other Canadian province than Quebec. However, Quebec will always be my home.
    As a matter of fact, I’ve experienced my share of discrimination as have friends and family members. To bring them up would serve what purpose as I can see you would argue they are anecdotal / hearsay.
    As for having certain priviliges, what would they be? The fact that we have English schools? Well, I know many of my Francophone friends would like the opportunity to send their children to English schools in order to learn the language but since both parents are Francophone, they do not have their Eligibility Certificate to qualify. I do however, support Francophones’ right to choose and do feel the right to choose should be left to the parents (whether French or English), not the government. I would go as far as saying, all schools should be bilingual.


    March 19, 2009 at 4:54 pm

  26. thanks midnightjack, that is an excellent article.

    Vinster, are you there? Please read the article. Do you now understand the different between “Canadian culture” and “Quebec culture” and why this is an important consideration regarding a candidate for the top job of the most important financial institution of Quebec?


    March 19, 2009 at 5:21 pm

  27. “I also thought it a great idea when Marois proposed the same curriculum in French schools as we have in English, in that English would be introduced from Grade 1. Unfortunately they will not go ahead with this.”

    They already have. My daughter started taking English in Grade 1 in a francophone Quebec school.


    March 19, 2009 at 6:52 pm

  28. Yakabuski’s opinion doesn’t count. He’s gone native.


    March 19, 2009 at 6:53 pm

  29. I have no problem with what Harel said (but, then, I had no problem with Parizeau’s infamous “money and the ethnic vote” declaration a decade ago).

    Indeed, I have no problems with ghettos either. I like my Anglo ghetto…what’s wrong with that?


    March 19, 2009 at 10:59 pm

  30. “As for being negative, I beg to differ, I will be the first one to say I support bilingualism in Canada.“

    I obviously wasn`t talking about you being negative towards coast-to-coast bilingualism or Canada in general. I was talking about you being negative towards Quebec in general.


    March 20, 2009 at 5:40 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: