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. “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.”

    Ouin. Faudrait qu’on soit réduits, mettons, à 25 % de la population sur notre propre territoire avant qu’on ait le droit de faire quelque chose. Et puis à ce moment-là, toute mesure démocratique serait impossible.

    Le parfait scénario pour les assimilateurs, non?

    Acajack

    January 27, 2010 at 6:34 am

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

    When the United States of America stops favouring English, when Russia stops favouring Russian, when Brazil stops favouring Portuguese and when China stops favouring Mandarin, then sure, Quebec should stop favouring French.

    Acajack

    January 27, 2010 at 6:36 am

  3. Acajack writes:

    When the United States of America stops favouring English, when Russia stops favouring Russian, when Brazil stops favouring Portuguese and when China stops favouring Mandarin, then sure, Quebec should stop favouring French.

    1) What other countries do should have no bearing on what is right or wrong.

    2) How does the United States government “favour” English (other than provide governmental services in English). Does the U.S. have an equivalent of the hate law/race law Bill 101? If so, could you please point it out to me?

    Tony Kondaks

    January 27, 2010 at 11:40 am

  4. Tancrede writes:

    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.

    No one criticizes anyone who takes steps to protect their language that don’t violate other people’s rights…at least not on this forum. Who are you referring to who does this? And what have they said?

    Tony Kondaks

    January 27, 2010 at 12:12 pm

  5. tony,

    not to worry – according to my friend acajack – it’s only a perception. an illusion perhaps – more or less.

    johnnyonline

    January 27, 2010 at 8:42 pm

  6. “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.”

    No, the point is that Alberta and to some extent other provinces are, for the most part, paying for your daycare as well as other social programs. Hell, its only 5700 dollars per person flowing out of Alberta into the program. What is Quebec’s contribution? Remember the 13% vs 1.3% issue. Would you be ok with a 13% increase in your taxes so you could pay for your own programs which you wish to entertain and no one else in Canada enjoy,but are forced to contribute to yours. ACJ, Quebec is a welfare province as the evidence and statistics clearly indicate.

    Anyways, way off topic from the original post.

    ABP

    January 28, 2010 at 12:01 am

  7. “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.”

    Some would argue north america, middle america, central america.. Of course NAFTA would make it part of NA…or at least politically.

    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Is_Mexico_part_of_North_America_or_Central_America

    ABP

    January 28, 2010 at 12:36 am

  8. @tony:
    “No one criticizes anyone who takes steps to protect their language that don’t violate other people’s rights”…

    “hate law/race law”…

    “Right” again. Freedom. Etc. Yes: the right for the biggest guy to be able to have its boot “stamping on a human face – forever”. Again, these are not the “rights” we care for. Academic or not, the libertarian definition of right is clear-cut enough to see that racial segregation, as long as it is done by a corporation, is a “right”. This is not by most people standard a good definition of what is a right. That’s what is cool with clear theses: you know when they are wrong.

    As for the characterisation of bill 101 as a “hate law/race law” it is a bit over the top isn’t ? But I suppose you would so characterize affirmative action allowing blacks to get good jobs despite an hostile environment and hundreds of years of persecutions or exploitations. At this point, I think standard antiracists will know that you are not on their side, even if you are not a racist (which I wouldn’t accuse you to be).

    Tancrede

    January 28, 2010 at 10:18 am

  9. “2) How does the United States government “favour” English (other than provide governmental services in English). Does the U.S. have an equivalent of the hate law/race law Bill 101? If so, could you please point it out to me?”

    Every place does it differently. You may disagree with Quebec’s policies but as far as aboriginal communities and the historic anglo community, they are non-assimilationist. What the Quebec policies aim to prevent is in fact the English community assimilating everyone else. But the anglo community itself is free to remain English-speaking, and has all of the institutions it needs to ensure this will happen. The only restriction on the anglo community is that it not foist its language upon the 90+% of Quebec residents who are not anglophones.

    The United States, on the other hand, has pursued and in most cases continues to pursue assimilationist policies by refusing to allow minority institutions for groups established on its territory often long before their areas were annexed by the United States. This includes native Americans, native Hawaiians, Spanish speakers in the Rio Grande Valley and much of New Mexico, Cajuns in Louisiana, etc.

    Now, I am not necessarily suggesting that this type of nation-building by the U.S. is illegitimate. But to portray it as lily-white while Quebec is somehow a pariah is intellectually dishonest.

    Acajack

    January 28, 2010 at 10:38 am

  10. Tancrede writes:

    As for the characterisation of bill 101 as a “hate law/race law” it is a bit over the top isn’t ? But I suppose you would so characterize affirmative action allowing blacks to get good jobs despite an hostile environment and hundreds of years of persecutions or exploitations.

    I’m really not sure why you invoke affirmative action in the discussion. Is it your intention to suggest that Bill 101 is a form of affirmative action to right the wrongs of the alleged English Boot on the throat of French Quebec for 200 years?

    If so it will interest you to note that, unlike the American Bill of Rights, both the Canadian and Quebec charters of rights contain affirmative action clauses; that is, provisions that allow exceptions to equality rights so that aggrieved groups can have preferential treatment.

    And quess what, Tancrede? In all the numerous challenges to Bill 101 that have gone before the courts, the Quebec Government has, not once, invoked either of the affirmative action clauses as a justification. Why? Because they would be laughed out of court.

    Tony Kondaks

    January 28, 2010 at 10:59 am

  11. Why I declare Bill 101 to be a hate law/race law:

    1) Any time a law proactively discriminates, as Bill 101 does, against other groups by exclusion or preference it is, by default, a hate law. Thus, at this point, the onus is on those who support the law to demonstrate that it isn’t.

    2) Bill 101 is a race law because of the language of education provisions (which I have documented and won’t bore you with the details again…see chapters 2 & 5 of my book by clicking on my name).

    Tony Kondaks

    January 28, 2010 at 11:02 am

  12. Acajack writes:

    The United States, on the other hand, has pursued and in most cases continues to pursue assimilationist policies by refusing to allow minority institutions for groups established on its territory often long before their areas were annexed by the United States. This includes native Americans, native Hawaiians, Spanish speakers in the Rio Grande Valley and much of New Mexico, Cajuns in Louisiana, etc.

    Uh, Acajack, the question was phrased in the present tense. You’ll talking about things that happened perhaps 100s of years ago.

    Today. Please document.

    Tony Kondaks

    January 28, 2010 at 11:22 am

  13. Acajack writes:

    What the Quebec policies aim to prevent is in fact the English community assimilating everyone else. But the anglo community itself is free to remain English-speaking, and has all of the institutions it needs to ensure this will happen. The only restriction on the anglo community is that it not foist its language upon the 90+% of Quebec residents who are not anglophones.

    You’ve got the concept of assimilation bass-ackwards.

    The Quebec government aims — and it is quite open about this — to assimilate newcomers to Quebec into the French-speaking milieu. The anglo community doesn’t aim to assimilate anyone. Nor does it foist its language upon non-anglophones.

    Yes, many francophones and allophones freely choose to speak and communicate in English (as you yourself as a Acadian francophone is freely choosing to do on this forum) and associate with things English because English is the international langauge of commerce and communication. More power to you and them.

    But this is out of free choice and, indeed, against the tide of assimilationist policy of the Quebec government.

    So you’ve got it 180 degrees wrong, Acajack. I suggest you try standing on your head and perhaps you’ll see who in Quebec is doing the assimilating and who isn’t.

    Tony Kondaks

    January 28, 2010 at 11:30 am

  14. Somehow I knew francophones would end up being portrayed as the bad guys. Big surprise.

    Acajack

    January 28, 2010 at 3:28 pm

  15. We here in the US don’t *need* a counterpart to 101 to preserve English because the economic and social pressure to assimilate to English is so intense and pervasive. Even kids feel it; I know two sets of kids whose parents are attempting to raise them bilingual, but the kids speak English with their parents and with each other. Economically, you literally need English even to be able to run a popsicle stand. Though Spanish be by far the closest competitor to English here, Hispanics know that if they don’t learn English, they can expect to spend the rest of their lives as migrant farmworkers, kitchen help, or “lawn care professionals.” And if you happen to be an English speaker who knows another language and uses it in public, it won’t be long before you get a dirty look or a reminder that this is America and we speak English here. It has happened to me.

    littlerob

    January 28, 2010 at 8:29 pm

  16. “Somehow I knew francophones would end up being portrayed as the bad guys”

    If the shoe fits……it is only one province and one group who have language laws which elevate one linguistic group over others by law…OLF, 101 etc etc.

    ABP

    January 29, 2010 at 12:23 am

  17. La vie quotidienne d’un québécois: se faire insulter, diminuer, hair, calomnier, ridiculiser, ostraciser, dédaigner dans les blogues de toutes sortes, dans des sujets de toutes sortes, pour toutes sortes de raisons, au Canada Anglais. Et ils sont surpris qu’on aime mieux voyager au Sud….Et ils sont surpris que nous ne sentions pas Canadians? Plus elle se nourrit de faux raisonnements, de mensonges répétés inlassablement, d’anecdote choisies et montées en épingle ou carrément de faussetées, plus cette haine se croit légitime, dans le ROC. Mais jusqu’ou ira cette haine et cette diffamation? Ira t on jusqu’a suggérer notre extermination, pour le bien de l’humanité qui serait enfin libérée d’une de ses plus grande honte?

    midnightjack

    January 29, 2010 at 1:01 am

  18. midnightjack:

    If you’re not happy, you know where the door is…

    Tony Kondaks

    January 29, 2010 at 1:10 am

  19. Ce qui est pratique avec le Quebec, c’est que le racisme canadian qui se cache hypocritement depuis des années derriere un discours politically correct, peut maintenant se défouler en masse. Car au Canada, parler en mal des québécois est vue comme un discours ouvert, progressif, rationnel. C’esrune joie sans cesse renouvelée et partagée de tous de parler contre ce peuple inférieur et nuisible, cette tare de l’humanité…Ce racisme ne se cache plus, il a la pleine permission des elites pour s’affirmer et se radicaliser…Vous rappelez vous vos pitoyables déclarations mensongeres d’amour en 1995? Shame on Canada..

    midnightjack

    January 29, 2010 at 1:14 am

  20. De quoi je me mele, kondaks: tu as pris la porte toi-meme, de facon a calomnier de loin..

    midnightjack

    January 29, 2010 at 1:15 am

  21. Peut-on, par exemple, suite a l’augmentation radicale, constante et inquiétante de la haine du Roc pour les québécois, voyager au Canada sans craindre pour sa sécurité, si on ne mesure pas 7 pieds et on ne pese pas 400 livres? Meme si on fait tres attention de ne pas parler francais, ce qui serait vu comme de la PROVOCATION, si quelqu’un distingue un accent québecois derriere mon mauvais anglais, vais-je subir une sévere correction? L’opinion exprimée partout au Canada me donne raison de croire qu’a part au Québec et en Acadie, il peut etre dangereux pour un Québécois d’etre un Quebecois, meme muet. Alors j’aime mieux aller a New York ou ils ne savent meme pas qu’on existe..

    midnightjack

    January 29, 2010 at 2:23 am

  22. midnightjack :
    “Peut-on, par exemple, suite a l’augmentation radicale, constante et inquiétante de la haine du Roc pour les québécois, voyager au Canada sans craindre pour sa sécurité, si on ne mesure pas 7 pieds et on ne pese pas 400 livres?”

    Je ne crois pas que les coquerelles de blog tels TK et ABP soient représentatifs du canadien moyen. Voyage sans craintes.

    Tristan

    January 29, 2010 at 7:39 am

  23. Je faisais référence aux lecteurs des grands journaux canadiens, qui pissent de plaisir a nous diffamer. Je ne suis peut-etre pas d’accord avec les positions d’ABP, mais je sais qu’il ne cherche pas a salir les québécois: il est faché contre la péréquation, les lois sur le bilinguisme, sa moitié de boite de céréale en francais, mais pas contre les gens..

    midnightjack

    January 29, 2010 at 8:15 am

  24. @Tony Kondak:
    Yes, I do suggest that Bill 101 is affirmative action. If I were to list all the past atrocities, it would look like an horror movie, so I prefer to send you read a good book on the history of French Canadian in Canada. But the present count as well. It does not suffice to stop hanging people to count as non-racist.

    But I remark that you carefully avoided to say if, or not, you are against affirmative action (which is incoherent with a libertarian framework). It will be just to obvious, if you are against it, that this is the way you can most coherently block Bill 101 from being legitimate. And I remark that you characterization of a race/hate law above fit perfectly affirmative action. Granted, it is a sign of coherence, and not necessarily of racism; but that most people will disagree about that position on affirmative action, and perhaps see the connexion with your characterization of Bill 101 as a “race/hate law”.

    Tancrede

    January 29, 2010 at 8:20 am

  25. Again on bill 101 as an affirmative action law:

    …more to the point perhaps, the old power structure do not disappear overnight because we are granted some formal “rights” – even with bill 101, it is still very much in place. Not all of it is bad; it is normal that _some_ anglos will be leaders, as they represents the biggest minority – that would just be statistics. But I think that when a country has a power structure that follows the ethnic lines that were there before the decolonisation, this country has a problem. And yes, Bill 101 played a role in moving us slowly in the correct direction.

    Tancrede

    January 29, 2010 at 8:42 am

  26. @Trisan:
    “Je ne crois pas que les coquerelles de blog tels TK et ABP soient représentatifs du canadien moyen. Voyage sans craintes.”

    Best way to know it: look at the data:
    http://www2.lactualite.com/jean-francois-lisee/quebeccanada-je-taime-moi-non-plus/1711/

    Tancrede

    January 29, 2010 at 9:26 am

  27. “We here in the US don’t *need* a counterpart to 101 to preserve English because the economic and social pressure to assimilate to English is so intense and pervasive. Even kids feel it; I know two sets of kids whose parents are attempting to raise them bilingual, but the kids speak English with their parents and with each other. Economically, you literally need English even to be able to run a popsicle stand. Though Spanish be by far the closest competitor to English here, Hispanics know that if they don’t learn English, they can expect to spend the rest of their lives as migrant farmworkers, kitchen help, or “lawn care professionals.” And if you happen to be an English speaker who knows another language and uses it in public, it won’t be long before you get a dirty look or a reminder that this is America and we speak English here. It has happened to me.”

    A thoughtful and honest post as usual littlerob.
    Societies like the U.S. and English Canada have arrived at a pretty good level of social cohesion today due to legacy of measures (massacres, relocations, kids’ mouths washed with soap for speaking their native language, institutions like schools and hospitals taken over and switched to the “desired” language, etc.) that groups like the Québécois and the Catalans could never even consider in the 21st century (not that they necessarily would want to).

    In fact, what places like Quebec, Catalonia, Latvia, Estonia, etc. do to maintain their languages today falls far short of what Canada, Spain and the Soviet Union ever did to impose the “right” identity and the requisite linguistic and cultural practices on their minorities. Yet they still get denounced vociferously and hypocritically by those very people whose lofty and secure perch today was built on far worse abuses.

    Acajack

    January 29, 2010 at 9:42 am

  28. “Je ne crois pas que les coquerelles de blog tels TK et ABP soient représentatifs du canadien moyen. Voyage sans craintes.”

    Je suis d’accord avec ça. Un Québécois ne devrait pas craindre de voyager dans les autres provinces canadiennes. Quoique, à l’occasion, on a l’impression d’être jugé ou préjugé parce qu’on a une plaque du Québec sur notre voiture ou qu’on parle français entre nous. C’est assez rare mais ça arrive et c’est agaçant. Et ma femme et moi parlons anglais sans accent francophone perceptible. (Mais pas nos jeunes enfants bien sûr.)

    Je voyage partout mais je comprends tout de même certaines personnes qui préfèrent aller aux États-Unis où en général les gens se foutent carrément du fait qu’on soit Québécois, Allemand ou Italien et qu’on n’est pas perçus par certains comme des “casseux de pays”.

    Acajack

    January 29, 2010 at 9:50 am

  29. “Best way to know it: look at the data:
    http://www2.lactualite.com/jean-francois-lisee/quebeccanada-je-taime-moi-non-plus/1711

    Yup. This fact has been showing up in surveys for ages. You can find it in surveys from 1985, 1992, 1997, 2002, 2007, whenever… if you know where to look. I’ve seen surveys where people in Quebec gave the “least racist” responses, yet in another question in the very same survey Canadians in every single one of the other provinces labelled Quebec “the most racist” province!

    Whenever surveys like these are published, if they are convered at all in the ROC, it usually shuts up for a while most people who have a lily-white image of Anglo-Canada’s attitudes towards francophones.

    Then the survey fades from memory, becomes difficult to find (as with all surveys since they are snapshots in time and only indicative of that precise moment), and then the allegations and propaganda about how English Canadians are the good guys and francophones are the bad guys will resume and get out of control once again.

    Acajack

    January 29, 2010 at 10:21 am

  30. Tancrede writes:

    Yes, I do suggest that Bill 101 is affirmative action.

    But even the Quebec government appears to disagree with you, Tancrede, because, as I pointed out, I don’t know of any challenge to Bill 101 in which Quebec invoked affirmative action as a defense…and both the Quebec and Canadian charters of rights specifically have affirmative action provisions available to Quebec (or any other province) to use as a defense.

    I think the reason for this is that in order to claim the benefit of affirmative action a province would have to demonstrate that the group (ie Quebec francophones) seeking the benefit of affirmative action are deserving of preferential treatment.

    The following is the text of the Canadian charter’s affirmative action provision. Note the requirements needed in order for a group to avail themselves of its benefit:

    15 (2) Subsection (1) does not preclude any law, program or activity that has as its object the amelioration of conditions of disadvantaged individuals or groups including those that are disadvantaged because of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.

    I think Quebec knows that if they ever invoked 15(2) that they would be laughed out of court. And this would be for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that Quebec is 80% francophone and has had the right to vote for the entire time of Canada’s existence (and for a long, long time from before that). But in addition to that, to prove that Quebec francophones are somehow disadvantaged is preposterous on its face.

    If there is any disadvantage for Quebec francophones, it is, of course, in not knowing and speaking English. So any affirmative action program for francophones really should be that they have freedom of choice in language of education so that they can learn English.

    Quebec’s version of affirmative action is similar, requiring “hurdles” before anyone can invoke it.

    I think you have confused the issue by bringing up “French Canadians” which, of course, include francophones outside of Quebec. If we’re dealing with Bill 101 (which is the subject under discussion), let’s keep the discussion confined to Quebec, please.

    Also: you take me to task for describing Bill 101 as a “hate law/race law” yet you don’t have any hesitancy in describing what has happened to French Canadians as “atrocities”. Perhaps you should look up the definition in the dictionary.

    Tony Kondaks

    January 29, 2010 at 12:39 pm


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