Archive for March 2011

AngryFakeLeaks presents: The Senate’s Standing Commitee on Official Language’s lost report on Nunavut’s Anglos

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Press Release

The myths of the white man of Canada’s North as a wealthy adventurer backed by wealthy European powers and natural resources companies still plague the English-speaking minority of the Canadian territory of Nunavut, according to a report by the Senate’s Standing Commitee on Official Languages.

Research for the report titled “From Baffin to the 21st Century: The endangered vitality of the English-speaking minority of Nunavut”, was conducted by the same senators that published another stereotype-shattering study tittled “The vitality of Québec’s English-speaking communities: from myth to reality.” In both reports the senators describe an official-language community that often lacks access to many federal services most Canadian take for granted.

« People assume that because the white Anglos who come to Nunavut are all under government contract or working for mining companies that they are a privileged minority », explained committee chairwoman Andrée Dawson-Duplessis. « The reality is that sometimes in Nunavut you come in contact with people who don’t speak English. That can be very disorienting for some people. Especially the elderly. »

The Senate committee’s report recognizes that the situation of Nunavut’s English-speaking community is unique. All of Nunavut children go to English schools, English is the working language of federal government institutions and of the rapidly growing natural resources industry. 100% of immigrants and 36% of natives of the territory adopt English as their home language.

Yet the senate committee has found that these statistics hide the reality of a community whose vitality is in jeopardy. For example, it has found that in numerous small communities stretching from James Bay to the arctic circle, English-speaking Canadians have little to no access to health care, schools or vocational training in English. « If you take an airplane from Iqualuit to Igloolik, and then you take a snowmobile and head north for 3 hours, you will find small communities where there is no English-language vocational training», explained Dawson-Duplessis, adding that the Official Languages Act requires the Federal government to actively promote the development of minority Official-language communities everywhere in Canada.

« That situation make it very difficult for some people », she added. « Especially the elderly. »

In all the committee tabled 27 recommendations for the federal government, including the creation of programs to promote English-language literature, movies and television and introduce Inuktitut-speaking inhabitants of Nunavut to the richness of Anglo culture. It also recommend’s the direct financing of Anglo institutions. “It can be very confusing for some people to deal with a territorial government run by non-English speaking people”, said Dawson-Duplessis. “Especially for the elderly.”

“Canada’s image is a diverse and multicultural country”, said the committee chairwoman, “and the high birth rate of Nunavut’s natives, the highest in Canada, challenges that diversity.” For that reason the Senate recommended that the federal government encourage and facilitate English-speaking immigration to help the Anglo community maintain it’s demographic weight.

Nunavut’s English-speakers repeatedly told the senators they were very supportive of Inuits culture and that they wished that the English-speaking culture could be seen as an integral part of Northern life. In the word of Bernard Ross, chairman of the Nunavut Community Network: « To survive and thrive Nunavut’s English-speaking community must grow. That doesn’t have to happen at the expense of other communities. They can join us and grow with us. It’s win-win. »


Written by angryfrenchguy

March 15, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Sikhs, Saguenay and the World Order of Men Without Hats

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Men Without Hats

One of the great band logos of history: 514's Men Without Hats

A couple of years ago I was hired by Vanier College, an anglo CEGEP, to take some students on a field trip for what was either an architecture or religion class. It wasn’t exactly clear. Anyway me and the kids spent the day driving around Montreal, stopping at various synagogues, churches and temples.

The teacher seemed like a very nice, and from what I could hear from behind the diesel engine, knowledgable man. He was your stereotypical CBC/As things happen fellow with glasses and toast crumbs in his beard who made it a matter of principle to address me in French even though on that day he was the paying customer.

Just before noon we stopped at St.Joseph’s Oratory in Côte-des-Neiges. The teacher gave the students a brief introduction to the story of the not-yet-saint Brother André, the lowly doorman who was commanded by God to build a big-ass church on Mount-Royal and to dedicate it to Jesus’s dad.

Then, before letting the students out of the bus, he informed them that catholic tradition demands that visitors to a church uncover their heads.

« Of course », he added, « if your religion requires you to cover your head, you may keep your hats. »

All of the sudden, all was made clear.  That day, on the mountain, the lord came to me in the shape of that small man in a plaid shirt who looked like someone my dad would hang out with, and gave me the kabbalistic key to the split-level logical architecture used by the English Canadian media when discussing issues religion and law.  Here was the  wisdom of Younge Street used to solve conflicts between different incompatible religious requirements in all its simple clarity:

The rules of men with hats trump the rules of men without hats.

Everything made sense now. This was how MacLean’s Martin Patriquin could write an article about tensions between Outremont’s Hassidics—a hat and whig-wearing sect that openly enforces ethnic purity—and their secular neighbours, and portray the latter as the intolerant ones.

This was how Montreal Gazette could simultaneously argue that the religious paraphernalia of Sikhs (a hat people) is so holy that our democratically elected legislators are not qualified to even have an opinion about it AND that Christian (a hat-less faith) prayers and crosses do not belong in the civic space and that MNA’s are not only allowed, but required to legislate.

The rules of men with hats trump the rules of men without hats.

Of course.

Written by angryfrenchguy

March 7, 2011 at 8:42 pm