AngryFrenchGuy’s Pop Culture Reference Institute explains Michel Gauvin/Mike Gauvin

with 131 comments


Way back in the day, after a young, ambitious and afro-ed young politician called Jean Charest was recruited by federalist headhunters to take the leadership of the Liberal Party of Québec and save Canada, a snoopy reporter dug up his birth certificate and discovered that – scandal! – his true name was not Jean has he had claimed, but John James!

Jean/John was coming to Québec months after the 1995 referendum, just as the emerging scandal about the illegal funding of the federalist campaign by secretive occult organizations was coming to light and amidst (still persistent) rumours that a ‘golden bridge’ was built for him by Canada’s business community, including a (confirmed) salary and Westmount home.

Already suspected of not being completely transparent about his financial supporters, the fact that he did not use the name his mother gave him only confirmed (at least in sovereingtist eyes) the duplicitous character of Jean Charest.

The Anglo-Canadian media’s interpretation? “Poor Jean Charest. He just isn’t pure laine enough for some Quebecers.”

It’s not that at all.

Jean/John James problem is that his birth certificate made him look like one of Québec’s most ridiculed archetypes, the Michel Gauvin/Mike Gauvin.

Michel Gauvin/Mike Gauvin is the hilarious character in the just as funny movie Québec/Montréal who completely changes the way he pronounces his name depending whether he is speaking French or English.

In some small circles, this is considered the ultimate in Canadian bicultural cosmopolitan cool.  Justin Trudeau lives in that world.  So does Robert Guy Scully/Robert Scully (said in a bad european accent in French).

This said, some people are able to pull off the Michel Gauvin/Mike Gauvin.  Brian Mulroney could be both French and English, although, to his credit, he didn’t change the way he pronounced his name.   To this day many francophones Québécois are convinced he is one of them, while many Anglos in Canada would be surprised to learn he speaks French at all!   Of course, Pierre Elliot Trudeau also played that game.  As did Paul Martin, with considerably less success.

Despite the appeal of this 21st century meta-Canadian who is both French AND English (and soon to be a little bit ethnic too) to nationalist Canadians, it is generally considered very uncool by the Québécois, both sovereigntists and federalists, to try to have two identities, depending on your audience.

The fact that the Michel Gauvin/Mike Gauvin is generally associated with politicians involved with shady financial conspiracies (Robert (Guy) Scully was never in politics but in 2000 he had to publicly and shamefully renouce the title of journalist after it was established he was involved in secretly government-financed federalist propaganda on CBC/Radio-Canada) doesn’t exactly help to project the image of name-switchers as stand-up honorable people.

The purity of the roots of these modern-day Januses is not what worries the Québécois.  Gilles Duceppe will repeat to anyone who will listen that his grand-father was British and, yet, it didn’t prevent him from kicking federalist ass in Québec for two decades.  The PQ had a Prime Minister called Pierre-Marc Johnson.  The Curzi’s, Rebello’s, Khadir’s and Kotto’s and McKay’s of the sovereignty movement have no problem being elected despite the fact they can’t hide their non-pure laine-ness.

The problem is not purity.  It’s a little bit about duplicity.  And a lot about just plain silly.

Written by angryfrenchguy

April 26, 2009 at 6:24 pm

131 Responses

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  1. Hum..Quebec has a lot of debt: What about Usa? What about Canada 20 years ago? What about Canada next year? What about Ireland? What about Italy?


    May 2, 2009 at 10:52 pm

  2. Louis 14 et Colbert ont passe leur regne a negocier avec des banquiers, les etats se sont toujours finances aupres des banques, contribuant aussi en retour a financer les banques. Le Quebec, comme tous les etats, a une dette mais a aussi d’importants actifs, c’est pourquoi les banques maintiennent notre cote de credit et continuent a nous preter.


    May 2, 2009 at 10:59 pm

  3. How many dollars were given to Bombardier as loan guarantees for foreign aircraft purhcses. from Ottawa.

    You wish to be indenpent then quite accepting the l’argent du ottawa and the ROC.

    Only then, can you move forward.


    May 2, 2009 at 11:00 pm

  4. Les prets qui furent fait a Bombardier, qui a aussi des usines en Ontario et ailleurs au Canada, rapporterent des interets au gouvernement federal, ainsi que des revenus fiscaux: il n’y a aucune CHARITE la dedans. Les subventions a l’industrie automoblie ontarienne me semblent par contre plus risquees..


    May 2, 2009 at 11:11 pm

  5. Debt is somthing that will strangle the people. For example SK (small province) has about 3.6 B of debt…they have 1 M people Quebec has 7 M plus. Take 3.6 X 7 = 25.2 B. Quebec debt is 122 B or almost 5 times higher than SK. YOu must have very keen finacial government in Quebec?

    Add to this the crown corporations such as Hydro Quebec and that is another 90 B. Divide the 122 plus 90 by 7 million and that is what you are in debt by yourself.

    Quebec is bankrupt.


    May 2, 2009 at 11:11 pm

  6. can’t we wait until i’m dead and spare me any futher “souffrance”?

    natasha: it’s a very complicated situation, cousin sonja. I’m in love with alexi. he loves alicia…. alicia’s having an affair with lev. lev loves tatiana. tatiana loves simkin. simkin loves me. i love simkin, but in a different way than alexi. alexi loves tatiana like a sister. tatiana’s sister loves trigorian like a brother. trigorian’s brother is having an affair with my sister whom he likes physically, but not spiritually.

    sonja: natasha… it’s getting a little late.

    natasha: the firm of mishkin and mishkin is sleeping with the firm of taskov and taskov.

    sonja: natasha, to love is to suffer. to avoid suffering, one must not love. but, then one suffers from not loving. therefore, to love is to suffer, not to love is to suffer, to suffer is to suffer. to be happy is to love, to be happy then, is to suffer, but sufferibg makes one unhappy, therefore to be unhappy one must love, or love to suffer, or suffer from too much happiness, i hope you’re getting this down.

    natasha: i never want to marry. i just want to get divorced.


    May 2, 2009 at 11:14 pm

  7. It is not the opinion of Wall Street


    May 2, 2009 at 11:15 pm

  8. One more thing MDJ….When debt is multiplied by printing money as the USA. Inflation usually sets in which increases interest rates which further suffocates an economy. Stay tuned, its coming.


    May 2, 2009 at 11:15 pm

  9. Don’t you know ABP than perequation is a federal creature?


    May 2, 2009 at 11:16 pm

  10. I know this, that’s why i think USA is near bankrupt, not Quebec


    May 2, 2009 at 11:19 pm

  11. Tres bien, all the more reason you should become your own country. After all “Wall street has never been wrong before” ;).

    Sooner the better for all of us.


    May 2, 2009 at 11:24 pm

  12. US economy is about 10 times Canada and about 30 times Quebec.. Where does that leave Quebec.. What about the Caisse de depot ….only 40 billion is losses. Good luck.


    May 2, 2009 at 11:26 pm

  13. abp,

    you’re exaggerating – quebec is merely insolvent – not bankrupt. the amount of money spent on maintaining the debt position only paralyzes quebec from doing what is necessary.

    why with more taxes and entitlements – quebec should be able to spend its way out of this mess in ten years.

    on the other hand, winston churchill said that spending your way out of debt is like a man standing in a bucket trying to lift himself up by the handle.


    May 2, 2009 at 11:28 pm

  14. Divorce is the only option when people have substantial differences and when one side uses the differences to their advantage as you well know.


    May 2, 2009 at 11:29 pm

  15. wall street is case you haven’t noticed is experiencing some difficulty.


    May 2, 2009 at 11:32 pm

  16. Churchill has it right. Currently 13% of Quebec general revenue is recieved from equalization payments form the ROC. Just imagine, what you are saying, about increasing taxes to attack their deficit, if these funds from the ROC were not given. She is a beautiful gal…but she is not worth the tariff.


    May 2, 2009 at 11:32 pm

  17. “wall street is case you haven’t noticed is experiencing some difficulty”

    I will have to try and be more explicit with sarcasm. JOL. :)


    May 2, 2009 at 11:35 pm

  18. La caisse a perdu les profits records qu’elle avait engrange dans les quatres dernieres annees: le capital est demeure intact et beaucoup de ses pertes en actions sont theoriques car elles sont encore detenues dans leur portefeuille, en attendant qu’elles remontent. C’est se qu’on appelle des pertes sur papier. Les investissements de la caisse au cours des annees ont ete un grand succes.


    May 2, 2009 at 11:37 pm

  19. Quand je parlais de Wall Street, je parlais des institutions qui continuent a preter a notre etat, malgre la situation economique, car elles savent que c’est dans leur interet..Rien a voir avec Madoff et autres bandits..


    May 2, 2009 at 11:39 pm

  20. Perhaps France could help their friends n Quebec …I think they are broke too. So sad.


    May 2, 2009 at 11:42 pm

  21. By the way ABP, the next time you come in Montreal let me know. It would be a pleasure to have a beer with you and have a good political debate


    May 2, 2009 at 11:43 pm

  22. I am sorry, the losses are off book and gone. Bad paper. Not coming back is gone.


    May 2, 2009 at 11:44 pm

  23. invite me too! i don’t want to debate but i’ll drink beer.


    May 2, 2009 at 11:47 pm

  24. Oui, moins 40 billion..avec le papier du mauvais.

    Bonne chance avec ca, et tu as un nouvelle directore, qui est un maudits anglo de Bell.

    Encore, bonne chance avec ca.


    May 2, 2009 at 11:47 pm

  25. No problem Johnny, you’re welcome


    May 2, 2009 at 11:49 pm

  26. La caisse a perdu de l’argent avec le papier commercial, c’est vrai, mais elle n’a pas perdu 40 milliards dans ce seul inverstissement


    May 2, 2009 at 11:51 pm

  27. Votre franscais est mordez de moi. Je suis juste apprender la fancais. Mais, j’ai comprender “most” de vous disants. Cette langue est tres difficule pour moi. J’avais apprendre la langue pour notre petite enfants qui’ons parle le francais beaucoup maintaneunt.

    I will be in Montreal this month 14 a 18. I will let you know but I usually hang out around Monkland ou le plateau. Une ou plust biere pas de problem pour mor.. J’achdeter les boites. Il serais mont plaisure…et tu aussi JOL.

    BTW – etes vous femme ou d’hommes :):) Justque le joke mon ami. Desole pour ca.

    Bonne nuit


    May 3, 2009 at 12:23 am

  28. No ABP, I’m not a woman and i’m not gay, i just like to drink beer and speak with people who don’t think like me.


    May 3, 2009 at 12:34 am

  29. Je penser cetais “les boires” et ne pas les boites..comme moi denier poste.

    Just don’t want to scare you.

    Je suis perdus a des temps, avec la francais, Que je suis pauvre.


    May 3, 2009 at 12:35 am

  30. Anyway, le plateau is a nice place to drink and converse. Have a good night.


    May 3, 2009 at 12:40 am

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