AngryFrenchGuy

Big Macs are a Wonderful Thing

with 151 comments

mont-royl with cheese

Big Macs are awsome. They provide millions of poor people around the world the illusion of eating food, they can stop wars (the New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman has demonstrated that two countries that have a McDonald’s franchise have never been at war), and now Big Macs help us debunk one of the Canadian media’s most dearly held myths:

It turns out Montréal is not the most heavily taxed place in North America and that the cost of living is lower in Toronto than in the 514.

Every year the people at the swiss bank UBS publish a ranking of the cost of living in the world’s major cities based on the price of McDonald’s double story fat, sugar and salt delivery device. In 2009 Montrealers had to work an average of 15 minutes to pay for a Big Mac, a full 3 minutes more than those slackers in Toronto. Both cities are way below the world average of 37 minutes.

Another very juicy statistic compiled by the swiss bankers is the share of their salary workers in the world’s cities have to hand over to the governement in the form of taxes, social security, pension funds and medical insurance (whether private of public).

Power up your truth protection shields, Angryphones and CJAD listeners, you are not going to like this one: it turns out Montrealers get to keep 76% of their income for discretionary spending, more that the 75% Torontonians get to keep and even more than the mere 72% the citizens of New York City and Chicago get to take home.

And this would probably also be a good time to mention that Québec currently has a lower unemployment rate and lower corporate taxes than Ontario.

I don’t know about you, but I blame the separatist.

Oh yeah, and I know this one is going to hurt but I strongly recommend y’all take a drive to Ottawa whenever you have the chance. You will able to to witness for yourself that, contrary to what you’ve been told, the road is in much better shape on the Québec side of the border…

Written by angryfrenchguy

August 23, 2009 at 8:41 pm

151 Responses

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  1. “To the contrary, it would seem that English is stuck in “neutral” and French is stuck in “masculine” and “feminine”.”

    Do you really think so Edward?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_languages_by_number_of_native_speakers

    Pay particular attention to the footnotes on english and the link to the number of english recognizant speaker (primary or second/third language) in the various countries.

    I would think the figures are correct. The french language pales by comparison. and again..there is nothing wrong with the french language but its significance in the world is in fact declining.

    So then, is it (english) popular due to flexibility or precision. One can argue both sides of the debate, but one cannot argue with the numbers. Perhaps flexibility as another has indicated on this site translates into usefullness. If something is useful it will be utilized, if not useful it will cease to be of importance.

    ABP

    August 26, 2009 at 9:47 pm

  2. Jean, my Catholic brother,

    Note to self: fill that goddammed fucking apostasy form I’ve been putting-off for the last 30 years and bring it to the archbishop.

    I’m a Roman Catholic myself, but I think the Protestant sense of personal responsibility is something we should emulate. I think that our and other Catholicism-based countries are lacking a little bit of it.

    Good. Society is a organic whole where every individual has his role to play, and the converse is that Society has to care for it’s constituents.

    No. We only need to start managing our money a bit better. And for f*cks sake I do up that happens soon otherwise my generation will be caught with a monster of a debt to handle.

    Cry me a river. If we had voted YES back  1980, we would have been spared the ballooning of the canadian debt, courtesy of Mulroney.
    Somehow, I can agree with that. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again : the Bloc has not done such a bad job since it got to Ottawa. Sure, it has not accomplished much, but opposition party rarely do. On the other hand however, I’m thinking that the fact that the Bloc was there might have prevented the “federalist” view to evolve into something better. But then again, maybe I’m just naive.
    /meesa guess you are naive. When there is so much blatant evidence of the utter anglo-saxon incompetence of the federal government, things simply just **CANNOT** get any better.

    Disregarding someone’s arguments simply because they do not share the same opinion is, I have to say, somehow a sign of immaturity.

    Why should I be compelled to take account of thoroughly debunked arguments?

    Jean Naimard

    August 26, 2009 at 10:05 pm

  3. There are lots of interesting diverse constructs among languages that seem to leave those languages that lack them, wanting. For example in semitic languages there is singular, plural and dual (for things that come in pairs like eyes or lips).

    This is an interesting concept. The more a language is precise, the more reduntancy; in french, thanks to the gender of words, the fact that adjectives are accorded to their subjects means that if there are several words with adjectives in a phrase, when the words have different genders, there is no ambiguity towards wich adjective refers to which noun.

    English lacks a proper second person plural pronoun, hence odd constructions like “Yous” or “Yous guys” get made in some places like Ireland or Brooklyn. Japanese has a past tense that can be applied to adjectives instead of just verbs…. etc.

    English has a proper second plural pronoun: “you” (hmmm. that’s pretty close to “vous”). It’s just that “you” has displaced the original singular second person pronoun, “thou” (hmmmm, that’s quite close to “tu”, no?).

    I would think the figures are correct. The french language pales by comparison. and again..there is nothing wrong with the french language but its significance in the world is in fact declining.

    Perhaps, but english is an expedient language, and it’s relevance will decrease given the way the US is sinking more and more into financial ruins every day.

    Jean Naimard

    August 26, 2009 at 10:14 pm

  4. «If something is useful it will be utilized, if not useful it will cease to be of importance.»

    Then we should brace ourselves for a huge increase in Esperanto’s popularity.

    Arguing over whether English or French is the better or more useful language based on popularity is completely ludicrous.
    If History can teach us anything, it’s that the language of the more powerful is always the sexiest. Nothing to do with its intrinsic qualities.

    Languages get spread through military, economic and cultural imperialism.

    Raman

    August 26, 2009 at 10:22 pm

  5. “When you can so easily blame all your troubles on others there is no incentive to take responsibility for your own actions.”

    The Montreal Gazette’s editorial line in 22 words.

    I’ll give 20$ to the first person who can quote me a Gazette editorial that recognizes that Anglos, as voting and taxpaying citizens of Québec, share responsability for anything they don’t like about Québec instead of portraying them as hapless victims of the separatists.

    angryfrenchguy

    August 26, 2009 at 10:24 pm

  6. “In English you should spell it in English not in French. True we don’t write Peking anymore, but neither do we write 北京.”

    I know it took hours for my travel agent in Shangai to figure out the “Chinese name” for Montréal. They knew the Chinese names for Toronto and Vancouver (which sounded nothing like To-ron-to or Van-cou-ver) but not Montreal.

    Aparently the Chinese had to invent the character for Québec after De Gaulles’ Vive le Québec Libre, speech. Until then Québec did not exist as a chinese word or concept.

    angryfrenchguy

    August 26, 2009 at 10:39 pm

  7. “Perhaps, but english is an expedient , and it’s relevance will decrease given the way the US is sinking more and more into financial ruins every day.”

    This might have some relevance but I don’t think so for least for the next few decades…English has become the common denominator between many who do not share a common language (eg: hindu and mandarin). It is as you say expedient and useful in this context and the numbers suggest it is being widely supported and taught as a second language in many countries. Depending upon the economic and social liasons(isn’t that a french word) between north and latin america it is likely that espangol will emerge as the second most common language in the Americas. ( I think it is at this time from the figures I provided the link to from Wikipedia). One has only to walk through the Miami or Los Angeles airport to see this to be the reality.

    In Canada, we have two official languages. One utilized much more than the other by numbers. It is likely this trend will continue as in fact there is not really a need for the majority in Canada to speak in the minority language. It is simply not something useful in their daily routines. If something is not useful or widely utilized it’s importance will fade as we are currently witnessing in the decline of the minority language in Canada (outside of Quebec).

    Good, bad or indifferent as one may feel, it is the trend.

    ABP

    August 26, 2009 at 10:52 pm

  8. Odd your travel agent wouldn’t have known the ICAO standard designation for Dorval Airport (sorry the PET airport now)…YUL.

    ABP

    August 26, 2009 at 11:06 pm

  9. Yes YUL…it makes perfect sense after all. ;-)

    Edward

    August 26, 2009 at 11:43 pm

  10. I agree. English’s days are numbered, but whither goest English so goest French…at least until the Haitian economic renaissance.

    Edward

    August 26, 2009 at 11:46 pm

  11. as does Meng-te-li-ar

    Edward

    August 26, 2009 at 11:49 pm

  12. and boy have I collected THOSE frequent flier miles!

    Edward

    August 26, 2009 at 11:50 pm

  13. Oh, ta YUL!!! :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

    Jean Naimard

    August 27, 2009 at 1:22 am

  14. And after that, try saying “the english don’t hate the french”, (while thinking about a big lemon) with a straight face.

    Jean Naimard

    August 27, 2009 at 1:23 am

  15. I guess that it must be the anglos fault that our roads are in such poor shape !

    Give AFG any argument on any subject, from roads to margarine, and he can always come up with a language angle where somehow the English are the bad guys and the French the good guys.

    btw I haven’t read the Gazette in 20 years, almost as long as I have gone without eating margarine.

    NB margarine is the only product in your fridge that will never go bad !

    Dave

    August 27, 2009 at 6:21 am

  16. Give any anglo-saxon any subject, and he will inevitably cloak behind individual responsibility to blame everything on anyone but him.

    Jean Naimard

    August 27, 2009 at 9:44 am

  17. “Perhaps, but english is an expedient language, and it’s relevance will decrease given the way the US is sinking more and more into financial ruins every day.

    Let’s wait for Haiti, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, and Quebec to get us out of the crisis. So that the French language can spread and flourish.

    allophone

    August 27, 2009 at 11:04 am

  18. Enough Already! I am outing Jean Naimard.

    Jean Naimard is a well known Montrealer, as we say in Baie D’Urfe. He is a brilliant “performance artist” who pops up regularly on Montreal area blogs.

    Jean is presently performing his one man version of “Why I Am A Separatist”, by Marcel Chaput, on blogs around the city. Most of the literal minded persons who check into this blog have been overwhelmed by Jean’s performance. They think he means what he says. Alas, they don’t appreciate the man’s craft. But you all feel that 1960s vibe, you react, you emote…arghhh !.. you just didn’t understand why. Sorry to burst the bubble. Be well.

    Jean…please…don’t change a thing. You have nailed it Man ! Bravo! Bravo!

    Henri

    August 27, 2009 at 3:18 pm

  19. “Cry me a river. If we had voted YES back 1980, we would have been spared the ballooning of the canadian debt, courtesy of Mulroney.”

    Hate to break the news, but Québec, as a province, does have a debt of its own.

    “When there is so much blatant evidence of the utter anglo-saxon incompetence of the federal government, things simply just **CANNOT** get any better.”

    Well, there is much evidence that the French governement is not so competent either… does that mean that francos-latinos are incompetent as a whole? My guess is that governmental incompetence is mostly caused by **POLITICIANS**… And here, I’d say that both anglos and francos have not been blessed in the last decade.

    “Why should I be compelled to take account of thoroughly debunked arguments?”

    You know, saying that an argument is debunked does not make is so. You are a living proof of this: I’d say that lots of people here probably think your arguments are debunked, but yet, you keep using them. I get the feeling that you (and James) are not really here to argue anything anyways: you’re mostly here because you like to read what you’re typing, and because you expect to find a friendly public that will clap their hands at your every word.

    Vinster171

    August 27, 2009 at 3:55 pm

  20. Okay this “which language is best debate” is just ridiculous.

    “Pay particular attention to the footnotes on english and the link to the number of english recognizant speaker (primary or second/third language) in the various countries.”

    The evolution of a language has nothing to do with how many people are using it.

    “So then, is it (english) popular due to flexibility or precision.”

    It is popular because :
    1- England was the most successful colonial country
    2- the world economy has mostly been driven by the US during the last century

    Now that the US are on the down slop, and that China is becoming (or has already become) a force, those figures might change a little bit. So there you have it: the popularity of English has absolutely nothing to do with how precise it is.

    “English has a proper second plural pronoun: “you” (hmmm. that’s pretty close to “vous”). It’s just that “you” has displaced the original singular second person pronoun, “thou” (hmmmm, that’s quite close to “tu”, no?).”

    Not a surprise since about 40% of all English words are derived from French. One has to remember that England was invaded the French (Normans, to be more precise) at some point in time (year 1066 to be precise… thank you Wikipedia!)

    “…and it’s relevance will decrease given the way the US is sinking more and more into financial ruins every day.”

    Am I dreaming this or we are really actually agreeing on something?

    Vinster171

    August 27, 2009 at 4:07 pm

  21. “Let’s wait for Haiti, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, and Quebec to get us out of the crisis. So that the French language can spread and flourish”

    Was that comment really necessary? Is it not a fact that the US are in deep shit financially speaking? And that China will be the next economical power of this planet? As much as I don’t agree with Jean Naimard’s political position, and although he has some sort of superiority complex when it comes to “anglo-saxons”, I don’t recall reading anything from him that seemed to indicate that “French would save the world!”

    Comparing Québec to Third World countries is completely uncalled for.

    Vinster171

    August 27, 2009 at 4:12 pm

  22. Give any separatist any subject, and he will inevitably cloak behind cultural identity to blame anyone but him.

    Vinster171

    August 27, 2009 at 4:14 pm

  23. Yes, and likely at a faster rate.

    ABP

    August 27, 2009 at 4:16 pm

  24. Funny how the DR Congo (ex-Zaire) was colonized by the officially bilingual Belgians but wound up a member of the Francophonie.

    littlerob

    August 27, 2009 at 5:51 pm

  25. “(English) is popular because :
    1- England was the most successful colonial country
    2- the world economy has mostly been driven by the US during the last century

    Now that the US are on the down slop, and that China is becoming (or has already become) a force, those figures might change a little bit. So there you have it: the popularity of English has absolutely nothing to do with how precise it is.”

    More or less. The English actually used mostly Portugese for colonial affairs until the 18th century, at leats in Asia.

    The Chinese are among the most deeply invested in the use of English in the world. They have invested a lot of money in English.

    The number of unilingual native English speakers in the world is dropping (fast). The English-speaking economies might have started their decline (I’m not sure about that). But the very real decline of English-speaking peoples will not immediatly mean the decline of English as a world language.

    Unilingual native anglos, however, will rapidly become as useless and marginalized as unilingual Portugese or French-speakers.

    angryfrenchguy

    August 27, 2009 at 6:18 pm

  26. And so with you logic where does that leave french..

    It is already in decline…

    What are you actually saying….AGF…fench is done …or that you need to be multiligual in the new order of the world… Where at the end of the day one will likely become predominant…

    I doubt that french will have any predominance at all…that being said…it is a very nice language as I have previously stated.

    ABP

    August 27, 2009 at 10:40 pm

  27. @Vinster:

    “If people like you could just learn to shut the f*ck up, maybe it wouldn’t be so hard for people like me to try to convince their fellow citizens that not all anglos are arrogant dickheads.”

    AND

    “Was that comment really necessary? Is it not a fact that the US are in deep shit financially speaking? And that China will be the next economical power of this planet? As much as I don’t agree with Jean Naimard’s political position, and although he has some sort of superiority complex when it comes to “anglo-saxons”, I don’t recall reading anything from him that seemed to indicate that “French would save the world!”
    Comparing Québec to Third World countries is completely uncalled for.”

    Vinster, with these two comments (and many others) I guess now you can understand a bit more why people like me sometimes get frustrated and can sound like separatists to you.

    Acajack

    August 28, 2009 at 7:57 am

  28. Believe it or not, ACJ, your comments get to me too sometimes. The problem with you is that you claim to be an open minded Quebecois-slash-federalist (like Vinster undoubtedly is), but you always sound like a narrow-minded nationalist-slash-separatist, like your friend AFG. On this forum you’ve been behind him on every single issue.

    There is always a discrepancy between what you say you are, and what you say.

    allophone

    August 28, 2009 at 9:00 am

  29. Allophone, you’re the last person who should give lessons to anybody about open-mindedness, especially considering your bigoted views toward Québécois and French speakers.

    You and Jean Naimard are simply the two faces of the same coin.

    FX

    August 28, 2009 at 10:10 am

  30. Right, I’m a bigot because I think that French speakers are no better (and no worse) than speakers of other languages. Because I don’t think they’re any more (or any less) special than others.
    Do I need to accord a special status to French speakers? Do I have to be a Francophile? Am I a bigot if I’m not? Geez.

    But if you said I have bigoted views against the more nationalistic segment of the Quebecois society, then I would agree with you.

    allophone

    August 28, 2009 at 10:50 am


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