AngryFrenchGuy

Bill 104: The Supremes Got It Right

with 364 comments

Bill 104 quebec langauge law

The Bill 104 case was not about language. It was about fraud. The plaintiff’s represented by Brent Tyler were not contesting the articles of the Charter of the French Langage that say they couldn’t send their children to publicly funded English-language schools in Québec. They went to court to protect a right to cheat.

The Court has already examined the articles of Bill 101 that say only a child who has himself, or who’s parents have, received the majority of their schooling in English somewhere in Canada can go to public English schools in Québec. They ruled them to be just fine.

This case was not about that at all. This case was about parents who had found a loophole in the law by which they could buy their children a spot in a public school by sending one child to an unsubsidised private school for one year and then claim that their six year old child had received « the majority of his schooling in an English school in Canada. »

This case has nothing whatsoever with these parents’ right to choose the language of education of their children. They have that right. They exercised it when they paid for the private school.

This case was about my obligation to pay for the English-language education of the children of people too stupid and disoriented to find the English-speaking part of North America or too cheap to send them to summer camp at the Y.

Christ, doesn’t Tim Horton’s have a program or something?

The justices ruled that Bill 104, the law passed to close the loophole, was unconstitutional (not that Québec has ever signed that constitution) and contrary to a Charter of Rights and Freedoms purposely designed to open up such loopholes in Québec’s language law. Aware of all this, and of the political mess their ruling would probably cause, the justices suspended the application of their judgement for one year while the Québec City government lawyers find another way to patch the loophole.

The justices decided that an unconstitutional law should stay on the books for one whole year. In other words, they said the intent of the law was the right one, but that it was badly formulated, and gave Québec a year to fix it.  I’d say that’s quite a statement on the moral legitimacy of Brent Tyler and his gang’s cause.

Now, of course, it’s on. Pauline Marois is going to claim that the Charter of the French language is peril and that only independence can save the French language. The Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste will say something terribly old fashioned about the Québec Nation and Patrick Bourgeois will make veiled hints at violence.

The Liberals are going to act very upset, lest they get labeld as week on language.  Spaceman Marc Garneau might even take a crack at the posturing.

And, of course, Anglo Righters are going to claim the court gave every parent the moral right to find a way to send their kids to public English schools and you can expect a steady stream of angry and factually incorrect letters in all major English language dailies.

They’re all wrong.

Only the Supremes got it right.

Written by angryfrenchguy

October 22, 2009 at 7:48 pm

364 Responses

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  1. ABP writes:

    And when was I supposed to have belittled the lowly french canadians that you refer to. Seems to me I have always said that Quebec is an awesome province!!

    You have never belittled Quebec, ABP.

    But James belittles Quebec and Quebecers in every post he writes. James believes Quebecers are so low and unequal to him that they must be told what schools to go to and that free choice in their lives is not something they should have.

    Although, of course, it is okay for James to have these things…

    Tony Kondaks

    November 17, 2009 at 1:52 pm

  2. I’m not telling them what to do. You are, even though you couldn’t get yourself elected in a francophone constituency based on your colonial program nor even to the post of dogcatcher in Bumfuck, AZ for that matter. The Québécois elected representatives who forged the loi 101, and they for the most part support this law and every legislature they’ve elected has kept the educational provisions of the law and even sought to strengthen them. It’s been your colonial court that’s cut the law down in this regard, not people accountable to the Québécois electorate. And legislators are elected to legislate. So somebody should explain to you and johnniefreedomhouse that this distinguishes them from kings. This is what separates them from you, who are accountable to nobody.

    James

    November 17, 2009 at 11:34 pm

  3. as I’ve pointed out, Canada does not accord to aboriginals “freedom of choice” in language of education. Many have no access at all to education in their language

    Yes. ONLY in Québec are the Natives taught their historical languages. Know why? Because it’s part of Law 101. I know Kondaks won’t be happy to hear that but it’s the truth. Québec is far more friendly and accomodating to the Natives than Canada has, is, and ever will be.

    Marc

    November 18, 2009 at 1:01 am

  4. Still under challenge by Galganov and the french guy with the muffler shop.

    I’d think twice before you accept Galganov as your cheerleader. Go read his articles. And you’ll see he’s a righter than righter than right-wing radical. He’s called for Muslims to be banned from Canada. He believes Obama is a Muslim. And he recently has become Sarah Palin’s biggest fan.

    As for the muffler shop guy, he’s just a tool. Notice how he’s being demonized by his French peers.

    Marc

    November 18, 2009 at 1:07 am

  5. “As for the muffler shop guy, he’s just a tool. Notice how he’s being demonized by his French peers”

    Not sure that he doesn’t run a radiator shop which is how close I have paid any attention to the Russel Embrum issue. Guess if they want bilingual signs they can have them although I do not advocate them being encorced upon individuals. Whats wrong with freedom of choice? The collective hive again pressing their preferences upon individuals. (We know whats good for everyone)

    On Galganov, well, he is a bit over the top I must admit although at times he does make some reasonably sound arguments. On the issue of enforced signage, I have to somewhat agree with him as I am an advocate of individual rights and freedoms. I don’t agree with some of his tactics such as the boycott he was suggesting.

    On the native language issue! Actually out here there are many schools that offer aboriginal programs in native languages. You might not believe this but I have plagues and awards in my office which were given to me by aboriginal groups as a thank you for furthering aboriginal communications in Canada (not that I have contributed all that much) . Hard to believe, isn’t it?

    ABP

    November 18, 2009 at 2:44 am

  6. “Québec is far more friendly and accomodating to the Natives than Canada has, is, and ever will be”

    Yes, I remember how accomodating and amicable things were during the crisis in Kanasatake. I recall the residents of Chateuguay burning aboriginals in effigy, hanging by street lamps on the 108 just south of the blockade. I also remember the treatment of some aboriginals by the SQ which I witnessed. Guess they got caught on the wrong side of the line.

    One more thing on Galganov- not that I am defending him—but has he ever recommended or threatened acts of violence. I recall that some radicals in Quebec made threats with regards to the Plains of Abraham celebrations. There are wing nuts in both camps.

    ABP

    November 18, 2009 at 3:03 am

  7. Marc:

    “Freedom of choice in language of education” does not and has never meant you get to have publicly-funded education in the language of your choice; there are thousands of languages in the world and making such a choice available, paid by public funds, would be an impossibility.

    But, of course, you knew that.

    Freedom of choice in language of education means that you are free to choose the language of education that is available through publicly-funded educational institutions and access cannot be denied based upon a discriminatory basis.

    As for the aboriginal languages being available through publicly-funded schools: is such a school exists then it is my contention that no once can be denied access to such a school on a discriminatory basis. So if a publicly-funded school is available in the Cree language in Washcaganish, Quebec and you, a White person, moves to Washcaganish and seeks entry to such a school, you should not be denied entry.

    Tony Kondaks

    November 18, 2009 at 11:56 am

  8. James writes:

    The Québécois elected representatives who forged the loi 101, and they for the most part support this law and every legislature they’ve elected has kept the educational provisions of the law and even sought to strengthen them.

    I reluctantly accept the premise you put forward that the representatives in the National Assembly elected by the Quebec voters have, consistently, legislated and maintained the language of education laws, such as they are. That is democracy and I acknowledge that, although I do not accept the constitutional legitimacy of such a law nor its domestic or international legality. But that’s a different issue other than acknowledging that the Quebec people have democratically decided, through their elected representatives, to have this law.

    However, I am not convinced that the people “support” the law otherwise. That is, even though the law is as it is through the democratic process I am not convinced that the Quebec people actually want it. And it is this point upon which we had an extensive debate on this forum a few weeks ago when there were those of us, myself included, that insisted that there is no public opinion poll that we knew of that confirmed that the francophones of Quebec don’t support freedom of choice in language of education. And contrary to the polls and documentation you presented to us, there was no such evidence to confirm it.

    Although this may sound contradictory to you, it is not. An electorate doesn’t decide each and every issue through plebescite; we elect people to assemblies that decide each individual issue. Unpopular laws are created all the time. So it is completely consistent to say that an electorate can feel one way about a particular issue and yet their elected representatives, in majority, legislate in a completely opposite direction.

    Tony Kondaks

    November 18, 2009 at 12:06 pm

  9. Marc writes:

    (Galganov) believes Obama is a Muslim.

    Could you please cite exactly where Galganov has said such a thing?

    Citation, please.

    Tony Kondaks

    November 18, 2009 at 12:07 pm

  10. Marc writes:

    (Galganov) believes Obama is a Muslim.

    Could you please cite exactly where Galganov has said such a thing?

    Citation, please.

    Since you don’t want to do any research yourself…

    This is the article in question: http://tinyurl.com/yk423pl

    And here’s the quote: “I do not believe in a God. But if I did, I would be praying to Him or Her that we will survive 4 years of America’s first Moslem President, Barack HUSSEIN Obama.”

    Note the derogatory spelling (moslem) employed by many Jews.

    Marc

    November 18, 2009 at 12:59 pm

  11. Here’s a complaint that James, AFG, or Marc can lodge to the OLF:

    http://tinyurl.com/yzb6v36

    Note that not only is the name of the organisation in unilingual English but that there is no accent over the “e” in Quebec!

    Tony Kondaks

    November 18, 2009 at 1:00 pm

  12. Marc,

    Thank you for the reference.

    Why is “Moslem” a derogatory way of spelling “Muslim”?

    And on what basis do you say that this is something employed by Jews?

    Please see the following dictionary.com definition for “Moslem” and you’ll see there is no mention of it being a derogatory spelling:

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/moslem

    Where did you get this idea?

    Tony Kondaks

    November 18, 2009 at 3:56 pm

  13. in what year or when did any party in quebec run on an election platform of limiting anyone’s choice in decisions regarding their children’s future/education?

    who promised legislation saying that children would be legislated into one school system and one school system only?

    kings often made laws without consulting anyone or sought the advice of those who could provide strategies to make unpalatable regal desires seem reasonable – why consult when you can impose? all neat tidy and legal.

    we can see how well that worked out for them. this kind of behaviour can be replicated by any democratically elected government – not unusual – however, it is at their own risk. but for the most part, arbitrary legislation these days flows from the minds of totalitarians (elected or otherwise) – people who know what is better for you and they have the power to demonstrate why they are right and you are wrong.

    thankfully james (the oppressor) is not king nor is he likely to be elected to any position of responsibilty any time soon – and for this reason i feel quite comfortable that his literal understanding of anything and everything has a snowball’s chance in hell of ever enjoying any popularity beyond his immediate small circle of friends.

    johnnyonline

    November 18, 2009 at 8:38 pm

  14. tk,

    i imagine he picked the idea up at the last “apartheid israel” rally. the street conferences swimming in deep thought and concern for human relations.

    johnnyonline

    November 18, 2009 at 8:45 pm

  15. “people who know what is better for you and they have the power to demonstrate why they are right and you are wrong.”

    AKA- the do gooders who have no vested interest and only take from those that make, all with their noblest intentions…without having to worry about the cost of the bill…after all that is for the others to worry about.

    ABP

    November 18, 2009 at 10:37 pm

  16. the do gooders who have no vested interest and only take from those that make, all with their noblest intentions

    Pretty much explains the behavior of the English over the last 250 years.

    Marc

    November 19, 2009 at 12:32 pm

  17. “Here’s a complaint that James, AFG, or Marc can lodge to the OLF:
    http://tinyurl.com/yzb6v36
    Note that not only is the name of the organisation in unilingual English but that there is no accent over the “e” in Quebec!”

    It’s an internationally-registered copyrighted name!

    Plus, according to French grammar rules, it’s not a mistake to omit an accent on a capital letter. You can include or omit it.

    And nice touch by the Hell’s to have the French “MC” for “marque de commerce” next to their name on their jackets…

    Acajack

    November 19, 2009 at 12:33 pm

  18. @Marc: Just a rant on Jews and bigotry/intolerance/whatever you want to call it:

    I have seen it written more than once both on this blog and elsewhere that Indians have historically gotten a better deal and more respectful treatment from Francos than from Anglos, and I won’t gainsay this assertion on its face. Yet when the shit *really* hit the fan during the Oka crisis on 1990, at a point when relations between the Iroquois and the local whites were at their nadir (and at a point when Indians all over North America were demonstrating in solidarity with the Iroquois), the guy that stepped up to the plate to try to bring a peaceful solution to the standoff was Judge Alan B. Gold of the Cour Superieure du Québec, a member of the community that you appear to believe harbors a disproportionate number of bigots and racists. Now, whether Judge Gold deserves the credit for ending the standoff is arguable, although to paraphrase Marshal Joffre, it probably would have been his ass in a sling if the standoff had spiraled out of control, as it could have.

    Suffice to say that I think you may be basing your view of Jews mainly on what Howard Galganov writes. Soit. But whether you know it or not, the Jewish community in QC has more dimensions than that, and I think that QC gets a good bit of first rate service (not always necessarily acknowledged in some quarters) from it.

    And just so you know, I do not write “Indian” out of disrespect. I write it because every Indian I have ever met uses the word to refer to him/herself.

    littlerob

    November 19, 2009 at 1:01 pm

  19. “In what year or when did any party in quebec run on an election platform of limiting anyone’s choice in decisions regarding their children’s future/education?

    who promised legislation saying that children would be legislated into one school system and one school system only?”

    If you need a party’s positions on every single issue plastered on billboards and screamed from TV ads, then I would suggest that maybe you are not knowledgeable enough to cast your ballot.

    A party can’t possibly equally cover all of the issues in its platform in a campaign, and has to focus on a few of them in order to get elected.

    But surely anyone with a brain knows that a vote for the PQ is not a vote for laissez-faire on language.
    It’s been one of their prime tenets since the party was created in the 1960s.

    When the PQ campaigned for the 1976 election, its focus was on good government, but it also talked about sovereignty and also about reviewing language policies (since the language policies put in by the Bourassa Liberals pleased no one).

    I don’t think anyone who heard PQ leader René Lévesque talking about reviewing language policies thought that he meant a return to the previous laissez-faire status quo that tended to allow English to dominate Quebec.

    Acajack

    November 19, 2009 at 1:12 pm

  20. “I have seen it written more than once both on this blog and elsewhere that Indians have historically gotten a better deal and more respectful treatment from Francos than from Anglos, and I won’t gainsay this assertion on its face”

    It is really difficult to make a judgement on this one. Certainly, statistically it can be proven that by and large aboriginals in Quebec usually have lower incarceration rates, higher incomes, better native language retention rates, and generally fare better on most socio-economic measures than those in the rest of Canada.

    Also, historically there was much, much more racial mixing between French settlers and natives than between Anglo settlers and natives. This is something that you can observe not only in the northern half of North America, but also around the world: anglo colonists for a variety of reasons did not interbreed as much with the locals as did the French, Spanish and Portuguese.

    Today’s French Canadian population contains a significant métis component (perhaps even a slight majority), although many of its members are completely unaware of this fact or in denial about it.

    The darker of side of this relationship is of course the fact that aboriginals with official status are more often than not politically alienated from Quebec francophones. Part of the reason is likely the fact that most native communities in Quebec are anglicized, either because of historical relationships with the British or because of federal government residential schools that taught kids in English.

    Whatever the reason, if they feel any cultural commonality at all with non-native Canadians, for most aboriginals in Quebec that affinity is with English-speaking Canadians.

    And ugliness like Oka didn’t help improve things, regardless of what the socio-economic indicators might say.

    But this constant “siding with English Canada against Quebec” probably is a little bit strategic as well, since aboriginals know how vulnerable and sensitive Quebec is to criticism about intolerance and ethnocentrism. If one looks at recent history they have skilfully used this and other pressures in order to extract concessions from the Quebec government that other native groups in Canada could only dream of.

    When public opinion polls are taken, Quebecers are usually among the Canadians who are least receptive to native claims and grievances. Don’t know if it has anything to do with the constant political wrangling, or even the fact that many in Quebec actually are aware of the native blood in their veins, and therefore don’t see what the big deal is about from people who in many cases probably have a relatively similar genetic makeup to theirs.

    Acajack

    November 19, 2009 at 1:46 pm

  21. “anglo colonists…did not interbreed as much with the locals…”

    Or at least the interbreeding wasn’t acknowledged. I don’t know the situation in Canada that well, but there are communities all over the US (e. g. the “Jackson whites” of northern New Jersey, many of the residents of Neshoba County, Mississippi) which are, apparently, of mixed white and Indian descent; nobody said too much about the ancestry of these people for many years. There is also the case of the Lumbees of North Carolina, who seem to be of mixed black/white/Indian descent.

    littlerob

    November 19, 2009 at 3:55 pm

  22. Flash,

    Now Marois wants to extend the provisions of 101 to the daycares. (only parents educated in english can send their children to english daycares). I didn’t know there was “official” english and french daycares.

    “QUEBEC – The Parti Quebecois wants to amend Quebec’s language law to restrict access to English daycares.

    PQ leader Pauline Marois is calling for a change that would limit access to English daycares to the children of parents educated in English in Canada.

    She says the amendment is necessary because the presence of the French language in Montreal has faded considerably.”

    Canadian press.

    Interesting, when you consider that day care space is at a premium in Quebec. So, then, you restrict access to a daycare which results in less anglos in a particular setting and more french in another setting.

    Nothing like brainwashing the little tikes with the “us vs them” attitude at such a tender age.

    ABP

    November 19, 2009 at 7:55 pm

  23. the city of montreal is not quebec the province.

    however this will not stop anyone from saying that the sky is falling – particularly if that someone says they know how to stop the sky from hitting you on the head. i would not vote for for tante pauline and her gouvernemamman even if her name was the only one on the ballot

    this question of one language dominating the other is a problem in the minds of those who believe the government can spend its way out of debt, that humans have influenced climate change to the point that legislation is required and that equality is an ideal best achieved by reducing as many as possible to the lowest possible common denominator. ideas like this are promoted by people who think you are stupid.

    popular thought will always find its way into legislation (how many governments in democracies are interested in producing unpopular legislation?) – this leads to governance ever increasing in scope and size. i think often it would be better for governments to do nothing than involve its electors in another bureaucratic exercise in “herding cats”.

    whether any given legislation is beneficial or not for the governed population is less important than the law in question producing more votes in the next election.

    what i would like to underline is humans act in their own self interests as a rule and this is definitely a good thing. but when large numbers of individuals are pushed to one side of an issue by government in the name of insert-appropriate-term-here – a corruption of nature takes place. don’t say i didn’t tell you so.

    the political gloss on any subject is well… glossy.
    can we be surprised that apparently humans like shiny objects to the point that they are distacted enough to not notice their ability to act in their own self interest (occassionally referred to as freedom) is slipping away?

    i am continually surprised.

    johnnyonline

    November 19, 2009 at 9:36 pm

  24. Acajack:

    Re: Hell’s Angels

    Your points are well taken.

    However, I do recall a period in Quebec in the early ’80s in which I saw a lot of trademarked corporate names such as Pizza Hut changed to things like La Hutte a Pizza. Can’t remember if this was a requirement under Bill 101 that was later changed or not but, hey, I don’t think the Angels changed their names at any time.

    Curiously, I found a photo of the Angels’ jacket decal from England that had the “MC” as well…wonder if that’s a European thing that transcends French, which would explain why we’d see it in the English chapter…

    See: http://tinyurl.com/yzad2wx

    .

    Tony Kondaks

    November 19, 2009 at 10:33 pm

  25. Acajack asks:

    Today’s French Canadian population contains a significant métis component (perhaps even a slight majority), although many of its members are completely unaware of this fact or in denial about it.

    I heard once that 1 of 4 French Quebecers had at least some Indian blood.

    And there’s always that famous declaration by Pierre Trudeau where, in reference to himself, he once said: “I ask you: is this the face of an exclusively European man?” strongly suggesting his own partial Indian heritage. (I may be wrong here but he may have been saying it in response to that nasty comment by Rene Levesque in which he said about Trudeau: Oh, that’s just the Elliot in him speaking.

    Tony Kondaks

    November 19, 2009 at 10:48 pm

  26. Re: littlerob’s discussion about mixing with Indians.

    Almost every “old stock” anglo I know here in the States claims some Indian blood. Not so recent immigrants and their descendents (last 100 years, like my family) because Indians are/were so small a part of the population since most immigrants’ arrivals.

    And, remember, that until recently, French Canadians in Quebec didn’t assimilate immigrants the way anglos do (now French Canadians in Quebec assimilate immigrants by force of law).

    So I suspect “old stock” anglos have the same percentage of Indian blood as French Canadians do.

    Tony Kondaks

    November 19, 2009 at 10:52 pm

  27. “the city of montreal is not quebec the province.”

    Yes, I think this has merit.

    Quebec the province dislikes Montreal (apres tout, des maudit anglos) …but.. Quebec is nothing without Montreal, which in the end drives the economy of Quebec.

    Intersting condundrum they face.

    ABP

    November 20, 2009 at 12:17 am

  28. Nothing like brainwashing the little tikes with the “us vs them” attitude at such a tender age.

    Since languages are best learned and being exposed to early in life, that’s totally brainwashing. Uh-huh.

    And what, pray tell, is wrong with kids becoming French?

    Marc

    November 20, 2009 at 12:30 am

  29. Tony Kondaks

    November 20, 2009 at 12:54 am

  30. littlerob writes:

    But whether you know it or not, the Jewish community in QC has more dimensions than that, and I think that QC gets a good bit of first rate service (not always necessarily acknowledged in some quarters) from it.

    I recall several years ago when uber-separatist Gilles Rheaume decided that some slight against the francophone community by the Jewish General Hospital demanded that protest against this august institution. But I think it was his sister who was interviewed in the Gazette a day or two later in which she chastised Rheaume for doing so because in the pre-Medicare days, the Jewish General Hospital had saved the sight of one of Rheaume’s relatives (his father?) and had done it for free because the family couldn’t afford it.

    Tony Kondaks

    November 20, 2009 at 1:02 am


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