AngryFrenchGuy

The Habs Discriminate Against French-Speakers

with 178 comments

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Canada has always been preoccupied with preventing French-speaking people from handling numbers.  Until well into the 20th century, the Minister of Finance’s job in the Québec government could only be given to an English-speaking gentleman and when francophones in Québec demanded the end of dicriminatory practices and their share Montréal’s many high finance and management jobs in the 1960’s and 70’s, English-Canada’s very prudent and rational reaction was to move Canada’s entire financial sector 300 miles west to Toronto.

It’s still going on today with the slow but steady purge of anyone who’s ever been associated with la Bourse de Montréal from the new “merged” Stock Exchange.

Sure, there are very good reasons for this.  Business and Management are English words, aren’t they?  And isn’t it a man who got his MBA at Québec’s City’s Université Laval who is responsible for the near-collapse of capitalism we just went through?

But no.  The truth is much more sinister.  French-speakers are kept away from the numbers because if they took a closer look, they would discover that French-speaking hockey players in the NHL are undervalued and underpaid!

This is the dark secret uncovered by Marc Lavoie, an economist at the University of Ottawa.  Using rigorous statistical analysis, the scientist discovered that francophone players systematically scored 10 more points per season compared with English-speaking players drafted in the same round, which either means that there is discrimination against Francos or that participation really is more important than winning…

Mr. Lavoie also established that francophone defencemen earn 25% less than Anglophones with comparable statistics.

What’s even more interesting is that Le Canadien de Montréal, that venerable institution that turned the mythology of a scrappy band of French farm boys with only third grade education but big hearts into one of the most valuable sports franchise in the world, did not – repeat not – do a better job of hiring francophones.  Even the Nordiques systematically gave Franco’s the shaft.

But then, Mr. Lavoie is a francophone.  For sure he got his math all wrong.

UPDATE: Prof Lavoie kindly sent the AngryFrenchPeerReviewMob a copy of the study:

https://angryfrenchguy.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/ajes-drafthockey-2003.pdf

Enjoy.

Written by angryfrenchguy

May 27, 2009 at 2:17 pm

178 Responses

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  1. So your point is that francophone hockey players, even if their statistics may resemble that of anglophones, just aren’t good at the sport, or in any case don’t play it “the way it should be played”?

    Is that only true of hockey, or are there other jobs that francophones can’t do right?

    Marc

    May 27, 2009 at 11:33 pm

  2. I don’t know what you mean by “month old hate literature quotes”, but we’re being told that the fact that Le Devoir had a rather antisemitic editorial line during the 30s makes it unworthy today, as well as the entire Quebec nationalist movement which it is related to. So who’s dredging up old quotes?

    Marc

    May 27, 2009 at 11:36 pm

  3. Honestly, I’m not sure what you’re trying to say here. I don’t know what the context of this “4 anglophone coaches, we should just call the team the Montreal Canadiens Hockey Club” quote is, and I’m not even sure what it means.

    But now we seem to have degenerated to trying to show which linguistic group is the most insulting to the other and the most responsible for Canada’s problems, with francophones (and James) claiming it is the anglophones and the anglophones (and Vinster) claiming it is the francophones. I don’t think it’s constructive, and anyway if you try to put the entire blame on the other, you’re not going to get any positive response from them.

    Marc

    May 27, 2009 at 11:49 pm

  4. Thank you Vinster for asking for facts before jumping to conclusions as AFG is so wont to do when drumming up righteous indignation on how francophones are systematically mistreated and then the “facts” are covered up.

    Lets take Georges Laraque. He is paid $1.2 M basically for fighting. He got into about 10 fights this season, whichs amounts to over $100,000 per fight. This statistic has been hidden from us to ensure that we don’t all rise up and throw off the English oppressor’s yoke.

    Come on AFG, where are the stats to prove your foregone conclusions ?

    Dave

    May 28, 2009 at 6:01 am

  5. I don’t know if this is apropos, but I would suggest that there are some NHL franchises where Francos have traditionally been overrepresented. The Flyers, for instance, from their beginnings, have always had a large number of Francos playing for them. And I have for some time believed that a large factor in their Stanley Cup wins of 1974 and 1975 revolved around a language issue: Fred Shero, the Flyers’ coach then, spoke both English and French. I do not think it is a coincidence that Bernie Parent, who was a competent goalie before he played for Shero, became a player of Hall of Fame quality under him, nor do I think it was just chance that Moose Dupont, who was, frankly, not very competent before he played for Shero, became an All-Star while playing for him.

    littlerob

    May 28, 2009 at 6:04 am

  6. “I know, I’ve seen it a couple of times. If these comments were made on TSN, people would be freaking out in Quebec. But on RDS, it somehow seems very acceptable to those watching.”

    You’re right Vinster, these type of comments (and worse) are never made on TSN, but rather on CBC’s Coach’s Corner, paid for at least in part by your taxes and mine…

    Perhaps you should learn a little bit more about English-speaking Canada before you pick up the next stone you want to hurl at Quebec.

    Of course, Quebec is not perfect either – but there doesn’t seem to be a lack of references out there regarding Quebec’s dirty laundry: almost 200,000 references on Google alone for various wording combinations that can only be related to the infamous “money and the ethnic vote” of Parizeau and referendum night fame.

    Now, for the sake of comparison, United States Senator George Allen’s calling an Indo-American “macaca” live on camera generates 120,000 Google pages from a much larger (and more Internet-crazy) country, and John Crosbie’s calling Howard McCurdy “sambo” in the House of Commons registers barely over 1,000.

    Acajack

    May 28, 2009 at 8:27 am

  7. @ Marc

    I know RoryBellows is not necessarily always very fair in his comments, but don’t try to put words in his mouth. The point he raised, and I have to agree with him, is that although some of the stats might be comparable, the contribution of these players and their experience isn’t exactly the same. You can’t go around and say “we’ve compared players with similar stats” and forget about other things like age, +/-, hits, blocked shots, etc etc. The fact is that the players he listed, although they have the same amount of points, so therefore similar offensive stats, the rest of the stats differs, explaining the gap in salary.

    Vinster171

    May 28, 2009 at 9:21 am

  8. I just love how, after pointing out the Gesca/Desmarais/PowerCorp conspiracy theory, you went on to quote an article from http://www.vigile.net...! To your credit, however, your link refers to an article by Vincent Marissal, from La Presse…

    (BTW… the Desmarais/Gesca/PowerCorp thing is getting old. La Presse hires journalists that are obviously separatist, Marissal and Réjean Tremblay among those, as well as others that are clearly federalist, like Dubuc and Pratte. Seems pretty fair to me. The Journal de Montréal, owned by Quebecor, also has lots of journalists that are obviously separatists. Saying they’re not credible only because they sometimes publish stuff that you don’t like does not make them “evil federalist puppets”. Ask some federalists, and they’ll tell you that these journals are pro-separation. If separatists and federalists both think these journals are biased the other way, then it probably means that overall, the information published is pretty fair!)

    I agree that the Doan case was nebulous. Some say that they infamous words were “Fucking Frenchman” (question : would it be insulting for a Russian to be called a “Fucking Russian”? Sounds less insulting to me than “Fucking bastard”, unless you see “Frenchman” and “Russian” as insults), some others say that it was more something along the lines of “4 french refs in Montreal, think about it!”. Others say Doan was the one to speak, others are not sure who exactly should be blamed. On the other hand, you’ve got plenty of francophones that are ex-teammates of Shane Doan that went on to say that they couldn’t even begin to imagine him saying such things (ask George Laraque and Denis Gauthier, who both played with the guy).

    Anyway, this doesn’t change one bit to my previous answer. Look at the maths, and tell me why you think it’s unfair that the 20% of Canadian players that are from Québec received 20% of the invitation to play for team Canada? I know the Doan case is a nice diversion, but you’re missing the point.

    Vinster171

    May 28, 2009 at 9:38 am

  9. @ Marc

    Again, you misinterpret my points. I believe that some francophones and some anglophones are equally responsible for the problems. It just annoys me that AFG likes to minimize the importance of some franco’s actions or words, while emphasizing what those “bastard anglos” say or do.

    This representation of reality is simply not fair or adequate in any way. It is simply intellectually dishonnest to blame a whole people for the words of a minority of idiots. It is dishonnest when Quebec as a whole is blamed for Falardeau’s imbecility, so it is when English Canada is accused of some injustice because Shane Doan might have said this or that, or because of some “scientific” study that might be biased in the first place! That’s all I’m saying here.

    “I don’t think it’s constructive, and anyway if you try to put the entire blame on the other, you’re not going to get any positive response from them.”

    I whole-heartedly 100% agree with you. This is a big reason why I nearly always stand against AFG’s arguments.

    Vinster171

    May 28, 2009 at 9:45 am

  10. Don’t forget Buffalo’s French Connection. Of course, that was before the Muckler era. While I’ll never agree that there is discrimination towards francophone players everywhere in the NHL, I’d also have to say that Muckler is a big exception here…!

    Vinster171

    May 28, 2009 at 9:48 am

  11. The thing is, he sounds so much like Don Cherry. “Our good Canadian boys play good clean hard hockey, they hit and fight hard and clean, not like those Frenchies and Euros who are too pussified to ever fight and who wear visors so you can’t hit them back if they hit you cowardly (which they are).”

    I have problems with applying a certain morality to an entire people. In fairness, Rory didn’t claim that the Quebec way of playing hockey was less clean or less moral than the good ol’ Canadian one, he just said it was less tough. (Which is supposedly the “right” way to play hockey.) But it sounded like other people who would have no qualms about making this claim.

    Marc

    May 28, 2009 at 9:52 am

  12. @ Acajack

    “You’re right Vinster, these type of comments (and worse) are never made on TSN, but rather on CBC’s Coach’s Corner, paid for at least in part by your taxes and mine…”

    Does this change anything to what I previously said? My point is that everytime Don Cherry goes on with his usual stupidity, banners are raised and people in Québec go nuts, righfully so I have to say. When the same type of comments are made on RDS, nobody gives a $hit. That’s intellectual honesty for you? I am offended everytime Don Cherry throws dirt at French Canadian, but I am also offended everytime Anglos are dissed on Quebec TV. This is where I stand.

    “Of course, Quebec is not perfect either – but there doesn’t seem to be a lack of references out there regarding Quebec’s dirty laundry: almost 200,000 references on Google alone for various wording combinations that can only be related to the infamous “money and the ethnic vote” of Parizeau and referendum night fame.”

    Those comments were made on the aftermaths of one of the most important political event to ever take place in Québec. Context, my friend, context! Thinking about it, you could probably work with Lavoie and study these “comparable” events…

    Btw, any links to his works yet? I’d really like to take a look at it. Who knows, maybe he’s right!

    Vinster171

    May 28, 2009 at 9:58 am

  13. @ Marc

    Well, Rory does have an history on these board… hard to blame you for jumping to conclusions. Btw, “the good ol’ Canadian way” of playing hockey is long dead. Detroit proves it year after year with its load of talented euros. Don Cherry is a dinosaur from a (hopefully) soon to die era. Dinosaurs are usually narrow-minded, and you can’t expect them to change the way they were thinking 30 years ago. Evolution will clear that out soon enough..! ;)

    Vinster171

    May 28, 2009 at 10:02 am

  14. “In fairness, Rory didn’t claim that the Quebec way of playing hockey was less clean or less moral than the good ol’ Canadian one, he just said it was less tough. (Which is supposedly the “right” way to play hockey.) But it sounded like other people who would have no qualms about making this claim.”

    You’re damn right I didn’t claim that. Good to see that one of your two responses acknowledges that fact. I made no ststement about the kind of hockey I prefer, merely that Quebec hockey is a bit different than the game played in other provinces. Hitting is not allowed in Quebec until I beleive Bantam, whereas in the rest of Canada it is alowed at certain levels several years earlier. The QMJHL also has the strictest penalties of the three major junior leagues for fighting.

    The thing is AFG provided just two figures, points and salary, to prove his point. So, I had but that to use to try to disprove it. Like Vinster I’d like to see other stats.

    Anonymous

    May 28, 2009 at 10:07 am

  15. “Well, Rory does have an history on these board”

    I do?

    RoryBellows

    May 28, 2009 at 10:11 am

  16. Marc Lavoie published a book on the subject in 1998 called Désavantage numérique : les francophones dans la LNH. It was published by Vents d’ouest.

    Perhaps your local library might have a copy.

    Acajack

    May 28, 2009 at 10:16 am

  17. Thanks. I’m going to check it out.

    RoryBellows

    May 28, 2009 at 10:18 am

  18. “Does this change anything to what I previously said? My point is that everytime Don Cherry goes on with his usual stupidity, banners are raised and people in Québec go nuts, righfully so I have to say. When the same type of comments are made on RDS, nobody gives a $hit. That’s intellectual honesty for you?”

    Nobody pays attention to what is said on RDS (which is far rarer and tamer than Cherry’s rants about francophones and Europeans) comparatively to what is said on Coach’s Corner because way more francophones can and do watch Coach’s Corner than there are anglos who watch RDS.

    92% of English-speaking Canadians are incapable of understanding anything that is said on RDS, which is the real reason for the lack of outrage about comments made there occasionally, much more so than any “conspiracy of silence” that would somehow allow Quebecers to say whatever they want about anglos with impunity.

    Acajack

    May 28, 2009 at 10:21 am

  19. Well you did say “If these comments were made on TSN, people would be freaking out in Quebec. But on RDS, it somehow seems very acceptable to those watching.” This seems to imply that you believe anti-English sentiment in Quebec is more acceptable than anti-French sentiment in the rest of Canada. Ergo, francophones are a bit more responsible for the fact we can’t all get along.

    To be honest, I don’t notice anti-English sentiment on RDS. Maybe there is and I’m just immune to it, which would explain why Rory doesn’t notice Quebec-bashing unless someone says he’d kill all the frogs or something. He says they always talk about language. Right now, I guess that’s possible, since the Habs will have to hire a coach and we’re asking ourselves if this coach will have to be able to speak French. I guess to Rory this question is totally unimportant, since “the French all speak English anyway”. But I believe the Canadiens’ coach, being the team’s main frontman to the fans and media, has a responsibility to be able to speak to them, in their language if possible. Yes, I do believe speaking at least decent French (being able to answer journalists’ questions in French, for example) is an important skill in order to be the Habs’ coach.

    As well, the team captain is also a major spokesman for the Canadiens. That’s why people say it would have been good if Koivu had learned at least a bit of French since he became captain. (When was that, ten years ago?) It’s not necessary of course, but it would have been a good thing. Now it’s moot of course since he’s not coming back with the team.

    Now how people in Toronto would react if the Leafs were thinking about hiring a coach who doesn’t speak English is something we’ll never know about, since speaking English is of course necessary to the job.

    As for whether it is francophones or anglophones who are the most “anti-other”, I’ll say I believe each one has a different type of anti sentiment. Francophones are probably faster to point out supposed discrimination against them by anglophones. But anglophones are faster to attack francophones’ openness to the world. And while francophones would not deny that anglophones are a national-level group, anglophones tend to view francophones as merely a minority. (That may not be anti sentiment, it’s just a different way to view Canada’s history.)

    Marc

    May 28, 2009 at 10:21 am

  20. I don’t think I’ve ever disagreed with anything on this blog as strongly as I do Acajack’s statement that “what is said on RDS (which is far rarer and tamer than Cherry’s rants about francophones and Europeans)”

    I’ll grant you the tamer part, in the interest of not going off track, but far rarer??

    Don Cherry has said about 3 or 4 things on air about francophones.

    -He called Jean-Luc Brassard “some french guy”

    -He pointed out that french guys and europeans more often than Canadians wear visors. I’ll grant you that he was implying soemthing about their toughness.

    -He criticized Montrealers for booing the American anthem. (this one is a stretch, since Montreal does boo the anthem more often than any other city.

    Do you have any others? In his 28 or so years of broadcasting? Now watch RDS’ postgame show on any given night and count the number of times someone asks why a certain anglo is dressed in place of a good ol Quebecois, or why an anglo is behind the bench for the same reason?

    Any given night. If there aren’t at least 3 references, I’ll shut up.

    RoryBellows

    May 28, 2009 at 10:36 am

  21. Thanks. I’m going to check it out.

    PB

    May 28, 2009 at 10:42 am

  22. “@ Acajack

    “You’re right Vinster, these type of comments (and worse) are never made on TSN, but rather on CBC’s Coach’s Corner, paid for at least in part by your taxes and mine…”

    Does this change anything to what I previously said? My point is that everytime Don Cherry goes on with his usual stupidity, banners are raised and people in Québec go nuts, righfully so I have to say. When the same type of comments are made on RDS, nobody gives a $hit. That’s intellectual honesty for you? I am offended everytime Don Cherry throws dirt at French Canadian, but I am also offended everytime Anglos are dissed on Quebec TV. This is where I stand.

    “Those comments were made on the aftermaths of one of the most important political event to ever take place in Québec. Context, my friend, context!”

    Except that I Googled it in English. You would think that most of the discourse on the referendum would take place between Quebecers in French. For the sake of comparison, the words argent, votes, ethniques and Québec yield about 13,000 Google references in French.

    Other searches in English for Quebec-specific issues like “Bill 101” or “language police” also yield very high numbers of references (close to or well over 50,000). These numbers are for English, which is not even the main language of Quebec.

    On the other hand, nasty stuff that is ROC-related like searching for “Ipperwash and OPP”, Starlight Tours and police, Jim Keegstra, Malcolm Ross, NB MP Doug Young telling Bloc MP Osvaldo Nunez to find himself another country, Ontario MPP Gilles Bisson getting heckled with screams of “speak English!” in the Ontario legislature, dozens of Ontario municipalities declaring themselves English only as a slap to their often minuscule francophone populations, etc… all of them fail to register so much as 10,000 Google references – in English.

    It is very clear that a significant proportion of the English-Canadian media (and more recently, the cybersphere) has “it in” for Quebec.

    Now, in the interest of fairness, I would like to point out that by and large the English-Canadian political class does not behave this way and is generally very civilized, respectful and even shows remarkable poise and restraint when it comes to Quebec. Thank goodness.

    Acajack

    May 28, 2009 at 10:45 am

  23. @ Marc

    “This seems to imply that you believe anti-English sentiment in Quebec is more acceptable than anti-French sentiment in the rest of Canada. Ergo, francophones are a bit more responsible for the fact we can’t all get along”

    Nope. What it says is that we are quick to blame anglophones for their anti-French sentiment while we fail to notice that we do the same. The pattern is probably similar in English Canada. I do hope that there are some anglophones with similar opinions as mine that like to remind their fellow citizens of their responsibilities in our problems. Don’t push my reasoning farther than it is supposed to go.

    Overall, all this discussions haven’t changed my belief one bit. I still think that a vast majority of Canadians, whether they are anglos or francos, are sufficiently open-minded to understand that one side isn’t completely responsible for our “communication” problems. I still think that those that have opinions farther away from the center like to focus on individuals from the opposite side of the spectrum, and use their words or acts in order to create some sort of general feeling of intolerance/victimization. It’s a very dishonest way of getting your opinion across, and Harper has proven recently that “evil separatists” aren’t the only ones to use these techniques. AFG does it, and other bloggers with conservative allegiance most probably do it too.

    As for the coaching job of the Montreal Canadiens, I do agree with you that it is highly desirable that the next coach is fluent in French. Whether his name is Jean Tremblay or Jack Smith, I couldn’t care less however.

    Captaincy is another story, I think. The captain’s responsibility is to his teammates first. He is important for the fanbase to, and for the community he works in as well. Using these criteria, I think Koivu’s work has been incredible. I don’t think any recent Hab’s captain has given more time to the community, and lots of equipments in different Montreal hospitals were acquired thanks to the fundation that bears his name. I think it’s sad that lots of fans have forgotten all that over the last few years, and focused only on the language issue. I agree that he probably could have tried harder to learn French… but the guy is already fluent in Finnish, English and Swedish… There aren’t that many of us here that can speak three languages fluently. I know I can’t (my Vietnamese isn’t coming along really well…)

    If it makes you feel better, Koivu did learn a little bit of French :

    Vinster171

    May 28, 2009 at 11:00 am

  24. But aren’t they just asking for “local boys” in the same manner that Don Cherry always lauds and talks about ad nauseum in Coach’s Corner when he refers to “good Canadian boys”? In their minds, Georges Laraque, Donald Brashear, Mike Ribeiro and José Théodore are all “bons Québécois”, so I don’t see anything any more ethnic about it than what Cherry says about good Canadian boys (to the obvious exclusion of Europeans and probably most francophones as well), if that’s what they are saying.

    Acajack

    May 28, 2009 at 11:00 am

  25. ” I guess to Rory this question is totally unimportant, since “the French all speak English anyway”

    If you’re just going to make shit up, could you please leave my name out of it? Just say, “I suppose Frank doesn’t give a shit about french” and we’ll all know that “Frank” is the imaginary francophobe that lives in your paranoid little head.

    RoryBellows

    May 28, 2009 at 11:10 am

  26. @ Acajack

    Well, your examples actually prove my point. I’m not throwing the blame only on Québec, you know? Simply pointing out that our coverage of what should be considered an “injustice” is often biased. I’d expect it to be the same in the English-Canadian media, only the other way around. I’ll quote myself from a reply to Marc (to your credit, I’ve just posted it so you couldn’t have read it before you wrote your answer) :

    “…we are quick to blame anglophones for their anti-French sentiment while we fail to notice that we do the same. The pattern is probably similar in English Canada. I do hope that there are some anglophones with similar opinions as mine that like to remind their fellow citizens of their responsibilities in our problems. Don’t push my reasoning farther than it is supposed to go.”

    Am I surprised that Parizeau’s word generates more links in Google in English than in French, and more than other similar events? No.

    – First, the event surrounding this quote was very important for English Canada as well. It was National politics. The other events you mentioned were mostly of provincial interest (most of them, not all), so I’d expect less results from Google.

    – Also, I think it is normal that stuff like this would generate more results from the community that was targeted by the comments. Hence, more results in English than in French for Parizeau’s comments. Now, I’m too lazy to verify if the same is true for your other examples. Maybe they generate more results in French than in English (at least I would expecct), maybe not.

    – Finally, you can’t really use raw numbers here. The population of the ROC is bigger than that of Quebec, so you’d expect more links in English, which is the main language of the ROC, than in French. Also, Parizeau’s comments probably made it to the U.S. I’d expect that lots of the links you found might have been from US Newspaper.

    That being said, on a “relative” scale, I don’t think that the other events you mentioned should be banalized. These comments against francophones should not be tolerated. If I want to be true to my opinions, than I have to also say that derogaroty comments about anglophones should not be tolerated.

    Vinster171

    May 28, 2009 at 11:13 am

  27. “Don Cherry has said about 3 or 4 things on air about francophones.”

    I don’t just have a problem with what Don Cherry says about francophones on our national broadcaster. He has also often said nasty stuff about Europeans, such as mocking Alpo Suhonen’s name as “dog food”, and a host of other comments about European players taking away NHL jobs from “good Canadian boys”, etc.

    I don’t think that the fact that he is an intolerant hick can really be disputed by anyone.

    Word is that CBC brass would really like to can him but they are afraid of the public outcry. Seems like lots of people out there in Canada do agree with Cherry, or at the very least are willing to hold their noses and forgive him his intolerance.

    Acajack

    May 28, 2009 at 11:16 am

  28. So do I, mind you!

    Vinster171

    May 28, 2009 at 11:17 am

  29. @ Acajack

    You’re right. Doesn’t change my reasoning at all. I never cared about the fact that comments on RDS generates outrage in the ROC, and you’re right when you say that anyways, 92% of them would not understand. I never said there was a “conspiracy of silence”. To make it simple : it’s never been about how much our comments generate outrage in the ROC. All I said is that I’d like people here to be aware that they often do the same things they blame the ROC for doing, and I did mention that I hope there are some people in the ROC that share my point of view. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Vinster171

    May 28, 2009 at 11:21 am

  30. @ Acajack

    Insisting for dressing a francophone player over a more talented european or anglophone is eitheir :

    1- bigotry
    2- lack of hockey knowledge

    In both cases, those people fail the test and shouldn’t be on the air. Mind you, that’s how Jeff Hackett was ran out of town a few years ago while he was having the best moment of his career. He did completely fail with Philly the year after… just like Theo not long after.

    Vinster171

    May 28, 2009 at 11:25 am


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