AngryFrenchGuy

A Place de Resistance and a Place of Hypocrisy

with 198 comments

Determined to make good on his ambition of providing a decent living to his children, Rémi M’ba (not his real name) moved his entire family to Ignace, a minuscule town on northern Ontario’s highway 11. The single father from Gabon and former PhD. student at the Université du Québec à Montréal was lured to Ontario by the province’s more generous pay scale and easier training for teachers.

« In Québec I would have had to study four more years for a 40 000$ a year job. In Ontario, after one year I was licensed and earning 64 000$. »

However, this monetary boon notwithstanding, adaptation to life on this lonely stretch of Trans-Canada highway has proven to be quite a struggle for the West African family. It’s cold, small and far. Hired to teach at the village’s French school, Rémi has also discovered a francophone community « completely colonized by English » where his children are doomed to lose the French aspect of their heritage.

Rémi is already planning to move south, but he refuses to raise his black children in central Toronto where, he says, the black community has been « plagued by crime, violence and gangs ». Finding a place where he, a French-speaking black man, belongs in Ontario has proven more difficult than he ever had imagined, but he vows to press on.

Rémi M’ba is hardly alone. An AngryFrenchMediaCenter analysis of English-Canada’s performance in a number of key sectors viewed as barometers of economic, cultural and political integration of minorities – inspired by a similar investigation by Andrew Chung of the Toronto Star – suggests that the bestest country in the world still has a long way to go before it can claim to be the colour blind multicultural Mecca it’s branding itself to be.

By carefully stitching together StatsCan data, carefully chosen anecdotes and the testimony of political activists we will present as independent scholars, the AngryFrenchMediaCenter will make the French people of Québec feel all warm inside by telling them what they want to hear: that they are so much better than the Anglos.

Among the self-serving facts carefully chosen to make Québec look good and Anglos like backward hicks:

Natives: The proportion of Natives in Saskatchewan’s prisons is seven time higher than in the population at large while in Québec it is only twice as high.

Politics: While a significant portion of Québec’s modern English-speaking population is composed of visible minorities, there is not a single minority mayor in the province’s English-majority towns, and only one minority councillor in all of the island of Montreal’s English-majority municipalities.

Sports: There are no Black English-Canadian goons in the National Hockey League while Québec has produced Montréal’s Georges Laraque and Québec City’s Donald Brashear, leading some people to wonder if Canadian culture isn’t teaching young black males that they are not allowed to fight back…

Culture: Despite the fact that 5 million Canadians – 15% of the population – are so-called visible-minorities, their visibility on Canadian television is… ok, that’s not fair. There is no Canadian television. Well, except for news…

Furthermore, with a quick google search that we will call « careful analysis », the AngryFrenchMediaCenter has discovered that there are only two visible minorities on the board of directors of Canada’s five big banks and no visible minorities on the board of the English Montreal School Board.

And while the number of visible minorities in Québec’s civil service is ever so slowly edging up, the number of visible minorities who work for the federal government has fallen from 9.8% in 2005-2006 to 8.7% in 2006-2007. A situation which the Public Service Commission says « is of great concern, since they remain the only under-represented designated group in the public service and their proportion of recruitment remains below their workforce availability. »

Ok… That’s enough.

First of all, let’s make it very clear, I though Andrew Chung’s Toronto Star series on Québec immigrants called A Place de Résistance was spot on at the meta level. I have written myself on this blog about the scandalous unemployment levels of Québec’s North Africans and Haitians and on their invisibility on TV.

However, I have no more patience for English-Canada’s need to constantly caress it’s inflated national pride ignore it’s own many social problems by constantly comparing itself to Québec, as if the integration of immigrants into the world’s most powerful and wealthy culture—the world’s Anglo culture—and the challenges facing a minority society of seven million French-speakers in North America could have anything in common!

Perhaps Andrew Chung could have explored the fact that every year an important number of immigrants to Québec and their children themselves strongly resist integration into Québec society, choosing, for example, to persue higher education in English, a path that effectively funnels them away from francophone social circles and institutions like le Mouvement Desjardins or the Québec civil service.

In fact, if Andrew Chung actually cared at all about Québec, Francophones and integration he wouldn’t be working for the Toronto Star, he’d be hard at work breaking down doors and invisible ceilings at La Presse, TVA and Radio-Canada.

Written by angryfrenchguy

January 20, 2010 at 4:40 pm

198 Responses

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  1. “Ce qui est comparable, dans le contexte de la Communauté Européenne….”

    OK, you make a good point in the population size of Quebec with some european countries being comparable. Of course the countries you mention are not surrounded by a sea of 330 million anglos. Small aircraft of similar type get along in mutually shared airspace…if , however, you add the big heavy faster jets in the mix problems are manifest. This has more relevance when you wish to treat the light aircraft and larger aircraft with rules and procedures that apply to both or attempt to favor the small aircraft as equal to the larger flying machines.

    Quebec and the french component of NA

    ABP

    January 26, 2010 at 1:13 am

  2. Sorry, hit the post button by mistake

    to continue.

    Quebec and the french component of NA is quite insignificant as I indicated in an earlier post. Language laws have been enacted not only in Quebec but across Canada as the OLA in 1969. Doesn’t seem to have much effect on the 2% which is in steady decline.

    Clearly obvious what the Quebecois should do if they do not wish assimilation.

    ABP

    January 26, 2010 at 1:21 am

  3. “La bataille pour la langue devrait être celle des fédéralistes puisqu’ils semblent croire encore en un Canada bilingue. Ce qui n’est pour moi qu’une vaste escrocquerie et monsieur M’ba en fut la victime.”

    Quite simple …. the feds need to Maintain power over the provinces. In order to do so they covet support in Quebec … Quebec and Ontario represent 60% of the votes. Official bilingualism was nothing more than a failed attempt at Appeasing Those in Quebec. (Also a make work project for bilinguals that due to geography and sociological factors are predominatly from Quebec). Without Quebec, the federal governments eastern power base would have evaporated and they would be out of business. How many Quebec prime ministers have we elected in the past 3 or 4 decades. Politics comes down to numbers in the end and that is really all the politicians really concern themselves. Some could argue about the BQ in Quebec …. The BQ are really neutral to the politics of Canada as they are not a national party and have no real chance of being effective outside of Quebec. Further, with waning population numbers Quebec’s electoral importance will be diluted by assigning more seats outside of Quebec. This will diminish any effect Quebec and their abstract political parties have on the ROC.

    Canada is not bilingual and likely never will be in spite of what our politicians and senior civil servants convey as lies to the world. Of what practical use is french in Red Deer, Alberta, except to practice language skills with your local federal office designated as 5% bilingual where they likely couldn’t communicate past “comment ca va” etc.

    The OLA has been a very expensive bad joke on all of Canada courtesy of good old Pierre. Bill 101, I could care less what goes on in Quebec…I suppose if your language laws become more stringent, more anglos will leave the province and thus you will have less people contributing to the economy.

    ABP

    January 26, 2010 at 1:58 am

  4. “Freedom is like beauty – it’s in the eye of the beholder”. – Acajack

    so, to extend your thought – would it follow that what one might find beautiful – another might find less than attractive?

    is oppression perceived by the same subjectivity in terms of ugly?

    i think both hold true and stand up to scrutiny in the real world (diverse bunch that we humans are). however, such fluid perceived value scales are infinitely more advantageous and useful for those who would impose an orthodoxy and this works across the entire political spectrum.

    i find your statement similar to another measure:
    how long is a piece of string?

    that whole premise would be funny if what was being compared came in an unlimited supply. the reality is we know that life is just not like that.

    beauty never fails to impress because it is uncommon.
    oppression is burdensome in its mildest forms.
    freedom is limited.

    who in their right mind would want: beauty to become common/banal, oppression to increase/intensify or freedom to decline/diminish?

    as for string – it seems everyone’s got a theory. and i like diversity and discussing ideas as much as the next guy; but the moment you force an idea on anyone – that is the moment the idea has failed.

    johnnyonline

    January 26, 2010 at 5:21 am

  5. “is oppression perceived by the same subjectivity in terms of ugly?”

    Of course. The definition of oppression is totally subjective.

    Not everyone agrees on the definition. Some people in Montreal thought that having a mayor who can’t speak English would be a form of oppression. And the whole issue about the guy who got himself and everyone else kicked off a bus when he got aggressive with a Montreal bus driver because she wouldn’t speak English to him is the same.

    Oppression or not? It’s all in the eye of the beholder.

    And what about this?

    http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=1264249761271&pagename=Zone-English-News/NWELayout

    Acajack

    January 26, 2010 at 9:33 am

  6. “So, yes, in contradiction to what I wrote, this is an example of Charest supporting and defending Canada with strong words. But, hey, he certainly didn’t hesitate in quickly adding that Quebec is a nation, too. Indeed, the words he uses even suggests a nation on the same level as Canada.”

    Charest is the Premier of Quebec, not the Prime Minister of Canada. He champions the interests of his province rather than begin a cheerleader for the entire country. Just like Danny Williams does.

    Charest has never even as much as hinted that the absolute best place for Quebec is within the Canadian federation.

    Acajack

    January 26, 2010 at 9:48 am

  7. “The OLA has been a very expensive bad joke on all of Canada courtesy of good old Pierre. Bill 101, I could care less what goes on in Quebec…I suppose if your language laws become more stringent, more anglos will leave the province and thus you will have less people contributing to the economy.”

    I will guess that you are not implying that only anglos can contribute to the economy? Or even *best* contribute to the economy?

    Acajack

    January 26, 2010 at 9:49 am

  8. Oops

    Charest has never even as much as hinted that the absolute best place for Quebec is NOT within the Canadian federation.

    Acajack

    January 26, 2010 at 10:15 am

  9. “I will guess that you are not implying that only anglos can contribute to the economy? Or even *best* contribute to the economy?”

    Absolutely not. The comment merely indicated that further out migration of anglos (or allos for that matter) from Quebec would impact the tax base of the province. Not difficult to understand. Of course if we look at the equalization anamolies in the country as a whole your suggestion of “best” may have some relevance and more precisely “who”.

    ABP

    January 26, 2010 at 11:52 am

  10. “Of course if we look at the equalization anamolies in the country as a whole your suggestion of “best” may have some relevance and more precisely “who”.”

    I dunno. Currently the highest per capita recipient of equalization is PEI, and it is 94% English-speaking.

    Historically, per person, Newfoundland has probably received the most equalization, and it is 98% English-speaking.

    Acajack

    January 26, 2010 at 12:32 pm

  11. ABP writes:

    Quebec and the french component of NA is quite insignificant as I indicated in an earlier post.

    There are only three languages that have official status to any great degree in North America and they are:

    English
    French
    Spanish

    Official language status gives French a step up on any of the other several hundred languages spoken within the borders of Quebec: government services in French on both the federal and provincial levels; French publicly-funded schools from daycare through to post-graduate schools; court and legislature proceedings in French; social and medical services in French; many commercial services in French, etc.

    There are about 6,000,000 French speakers in Quebec.

    To play the weeping game about the poor downtrodden French language is the song of the White European colonialist and reeks of elistism.

    And, no, I won’t go into my usual song and dance about the hundreds of aboriginal languages that are on the verge of extinction in North America that do not have the type of support that the conquering, colonialist, imperialist, exploiting-of-aboriginal-peoples French language has because I’ve done it ad infinitum on this forum and, obviously, hasn’t served to deprogram many from the notion that French is in danger simply because it is convenient to believe such bullshit.

    There is virtually no justification whatsoever for language laws and any time the courts have in fact allowed provisions of Bill 101 to stand it has occurred directly or indirectly as a result of the very successful blackmailing of Canada that the Quebec government has been engaged in for the past forty years in which they say: give us what we want or else we’ll separate and your country will be no more.

    Tony Kondaks

    January 26, 2010 at 1:34 pm

  12. Just saw a show on PBS called The Linguists which is about two scolars who go across the world searching out and documenting disappearing languages.

    Several of the languages have only a few speakers left and the taping they do of those languages are probably going to be the only record that will be left of them.

    Fascinating stuff and particularly relevant to any discussion of languages that its speakers claim are in danger. Every language supremacist in Quebec who sees the show should feel great shame whenever they open their yaps claiming that French is in danger:

    http://www.pbs.org/thelinguists/

    Tony Kondaks

    January 26, 2010 at 1:42 pm

  13. Here’s a website for languages that are truly in danger. Perhaps those on this website that continually harp about French being threatened will read up on these languages and then, thereafter, kindly shut up about French:

    http://www.livingtongues.org/aboutus.html

    Tony Kondaks

    January 26, 2010 at 1:53 pm

  14. “I dunno. Currently the highest per capita recipient of equalization is PEI, and it is 94% English-speaking.”

    Please get off the per capita thing which is so commonly used to offset the fact that Quebec is 20% – 23% of the population and now receives 60% of equalization. Quebec has never contributed a dime since program inception. So then ACJ, where is all this equalization money supposed to be coming from when all provinces are in deficit and thus have no surplus to share with the perceived less fortunate provinces.

    ABP

    January 26, 2010 at 1:58 pm

  15. “There are only three languages that have official status to any great degree in North America and they are:”

    Does Spanish have any “official” recognition in the US except for being on the cereal boxes. I don’t think it is recognized in Canada.

    ABP

    January 26, 2010 at 2:01 pm

  16. “Does Spanish have any “official” recognition in the US except for being on the cereal boxes. I don’t think it is recognized in Canada.”

    It doesn’t need official status in the U.S. as it is the official language of Mexico which is also part of North America.

    Acajack

    January 26, 2010 at 2:23 pm

  17. “Please get off the per capita thing which is so commonly used to offset the fact that Quebec is 20% – 23% of the population and now receives 60% of equalization.”

    It does matter a heck of a lot because the services to every single person on PEI get propped up by equalization to the tune of 2700 dollars, in Manitoba by 1700 and in Quebec by roughly 1000.

    Equalization is about services to people, not about government entities.

    Acajack

    January 26, 2010 at 2:29 pm

  18. “every single person on PEI get propped up by equalization to the tune of 2700 dollars”

    Hooray for a culture of defeatism. :)

    John

    January 26, 2010 at 2:50 pm

  19. “Fascinating stuff and particularly relevant to any discussion of languages that its speakers claim are in danger. Every language supremacist in Quebec who sees the show should feel great shame whenever they
    open their yaps claiming that French is in danger:”
    “There are about 6,000,000 French speakers in Quebec.
    To play the weeping game about the poor downtrodden French language is the song of the White European colonialist and reeks of elistism.”

    I for one have never compared French in North America to aboriginal languages that are near death.

    However, if you do truly recognize that a piece of human diversity dies with each extinct language and that that is a shame, you should appreciate the concern that people have about keeping their language (ie French in Quebec, Catalan in Catalonia, etc.) as vibrant as possible.

    Given what has happened with French elsewhere in North America, one should be able to appreciate that people in Quebec are vigilant about the same thing happening to them.

    And large numbers of speakers do not necessarily mean that a language is necessarily “safe”. Frisian in the Netherlands has between 500,000 and 700,000 speakers but is still considered endangered by UNESCO. Basque has just under a million speakers and is endangered as well.

    Things change fast – even with large groups of speakers. Breton is also in the several hundreds of thousands category, yet lost 30% of its speakers in 10 years (1997 to 2007)!

    Basque, Scots Gaelic, Frisian, Alsatian are all spoken by fairly large numbers of people yet all are losing 10% or more of their speakers every decade.

    Acajack

    January 26, 2010 at 3:09 pm

  20. ABP:

    Last time I looked, Mexico was part of North America.

    Tony Kondaks

    January 26, 2010 at 3:26 pm

  21. Acajack writes:

    Equalization is about services to people, not about government entities.

    I don’t think that’s right.

    Equalization goes directly to a province’s treasury with no strings attached as to how that money is to be spent:

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

    You are probably thinking of “transfer payments” which do go directly to individuals:

    http://www.investorwords.com/5050/transfer_payments.html

    Tony Kondaks

    January 26, 2010 at 3:30 pm

  22. Acajack, regarding the relative security of languages:

    If francophones Quebecers want to be concerned about their language even if, absurdly, they believe its endangered when it has 6,000,000 speakers, then by all means they should do whatever they feel is necessary to preserve and promote it…as long as it is within the confines of the law.

    My contention is:

    1) it is impossible to do that with government funds without violating equality rights because “language” is a prohibited basis of discrimination (and discrimination includes giving preferential treatment to one group in addition to being against something). So you cannot single out one language group for preferential treatment — the French language — because to do so is discrimination, particularly in light of the exponentially greater danger to other languages which according to the law is on equal footing with French.

    2) Francophones are free to preserve and promote the French language in Quebec outside governmental services as private citizens and in private, non-governmental associations.

    3) The best protection of all for the French language and culture in Quebec: separate and become your own fully independent country (no sovereignty-association, no nation-within-Canada bullshit).

    Tony Kondaks

    January 26, 2010 at 3:39 pm

  23. “If francophones Quebecers want to be concerned about their language even if, absurdly, they believe its endangered when it has 6,000,000 speakers, then by all means they should do whatever they feel is necessary to preserve and promote it…as long as it is within the confines of the law.”

    And just who makes laws Tony?

    Acajack

    January 26, 2010 at 3:56 pm

  24. Tony:

    According to the federal government, equalization is supposed to help guarantee reasonably comparable levels of health care, education, and welfare in all the provinces.

    Who can benefit from this other than humans?

    Acajack

    January 26, 2010 at 3:59 pm

  25. “So you cannot single out one language group for preferential treatment — the French language — because to do so is discrimination, particularly in light of the exponentially greater danger to other languages”

    I will agree that there are certainly several languages on Quebec territory which in exponentially greater danger than French. English is not one of them, however.

    Acajack

    January 26, 2010 at 4:00 pm

  26. ‘Equalization is about services to people, not about government entities.’

    Of course, equal services. Just like Alberta who per capita has given the most to equalization payments and received very little have 7.00 per day child care and subsidized college tuitions. Fair distribution of equal services my Western ass.

    ABP

    January 26, 2010 at 10:26 pm

  27. Acajack writes:

    I will agree that there are certainly several languages on Quebec territory which in exponentially greater danger than French. English is not one of them, however.

    No one said it was.

    But there is no justification for repressing it…or, for that matter, favoring French.

    Tony Kondaks

    January 26, 2010 at 10:56 pm

  28. @ibus

    “Quelle perte de temps et d’énergies !

    Il fut un temps où il apparaissait utile de discuter de ces sujets avec nos concitoyens anglophones, mais ce temps est révolu depuis au moins 15 ans.”

    Il faut convaincre les francophones, certainement, et même “prêcher aux convaincus” comme le remarquait Falardeau, parce qu’eux-mêmes finissent par se décourager, mais je vois au moins deux raisons de continuer à rester ici:
    a) Convaincre un seul anglophone sur ce forum serait déjà un gros accomplissement. Si le Canada et le Québec se séparaient d’un commmun accord (comme la Tchèquie et la Slovaquie) ce serait le meilleur des mondes.
    b) Même si nous ne convainquons personnes, nous pouvons _au minimum_ démontrer notre bonne foi et que nous ne sommes pas les ogres fascistes que la presse du ROC prétend que nous sommes (et le texte auquel réfère AFG nous montre à que c’est encore courant). Puisque le Canada a une “obligation de négocier” selon sa propre Cour Suprême, ce sera une bonne chose, quand viendra ce moment, que les gens nous perçoivent correctement, et pas à travers les yeux du National Post et cie. (rappelez-vous en 1995 les Jarilowski et autres décrivant les leaders péquistes comme des Hitler). AFG nous fournit cette opportunité d’une représentation anglophone du mouvement souverainiste.

    @acajack
    “However, if you do truly recognize that a piece of human diversity dies with each extinct language and that that is a shame, you should appreciate the concern that people have about keeping their language (ie French in Quebec, Catalan in Catalonia, etc.) as vibrant as possible.”

    Je seconde. It is weird to deplore that so many langage dies and then go on to critize those who take step so that their’s will not.

    @everyone about Charest:
    Every prime minister try to defend the interest of his province. As every MP defends the interest of his riding. That’s the job ! Charest (who played a big role as the “NO” de facto leader in 1995) is no independentist. There are no contradiction between his defense of Quebec and his defense of Canada. As for Bill 101, that he support it is no more a proof of “separatism” than that Mr. Clarity Law (Dion) himself support it (he is another one I am glad to see on the other side; someone who is accessible to reason is better to have as opponent than someone who isn’t).

    Tancrède

    January 27, 2010 at 5:14 am

  29. “AFG nous fournit cette opportunité d’une représentation anglophone du mouvement souverainiste.”

    …enfin, “en anglais” serait plus juste.

    Tancrède

    January 27, 2010 at 5:17 am

  30. “Of course, equal services. Just like Alberta who per capita has given the most to equalization payments and received very little have 7.00 per day child care and subsidized college tuitions. Fair distribution of equal services my Western ass.”

    To suggest that the reason Alberta, which has perhaps the lowest provincial income tax and no sales tax, does not have subsidized daycare is because of equalization (rather than the choices Alberta itself makes) is ludicrous.

    Acajack

    January 27, 2010 at 6:30 am


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