Language cops went too far yet again

5 Comments

The much maligned Tongue Troopers were dealt a severe blow by Quebec Superior Court yesterday. This is a real good week for Quebec’s Anglos and those who believe in tolerance, rights and freedom.

Years of PQ lies of the demise of the French language have been exposed as fear mongering nonsense. Although Marois’ final words stressed her worry about French in Quebec, Premier-Elect Couillard’s assertion that there isn’t a parent in Quebec that doesn’t want their child to be bilingual connected with voters.

Quebecers are waking up to the reality that English does not diminish the French language; that being bilingual offers opportunity and prosperity; that the Fleur de Lys flag belongs to us all; that religious signs are not a danger to society.

Voters have turned their backs on old, tired debate. They have rejected the fear mongering about identity. Many no longer believe political demagoguery that held them back from learning the predominant language in Canada and North America. The dark days forced upon us by the PQ have come to an end – hopefully for good.

If the real issues are the economy, health and education, the time has come for the government to find new job opportunities for the Language Cops who are a drain on our tax dollars, an international embarrassment and overzealous according to our courts.

Passover and Easter are wonderful opportunities to reflect on a brighter, more prosperous future here in Quebec. Live and let live.

 

Major retailers win against Quebec language watchdog in French sign battle.

Oh what a relief it is

1 Comment

It was an edge of your seat, sweaty palm, nail biter of an evening… for 18 whole minutes until CTV declared a Liberal victory.

 

I was hunkered down with my political brothers and sister, Anthony Housefather, Mitchell Brownstein and Ruth Kovac (the 2004 Demerger Team) along with Elaine Brownstein and Judy Hagshi. The stakes were high and our cheers were higher each time the red coloured results swiped across the screen. We toasted the election results, appropriately, with red wine.

 

Mitchell Brownstein, Anthony Housefather, Glenn J. Nashen and Ruth Kovac tost the Liberal victory with red wine in red goblets

Mitchell Brownstein, Anthony Housefather, Glenn J. Nashen and Ruth Kovac tost the Liberal victory with red wine in red goblets

We are very pleased with David Birnbaum’s victory in D’Arcy McGee, among the most decisive in Quebec with a 25,000 vote margin. David will be an excellent MNA for our riding. He fills enormous shoes worn by the ever so popular Lawrence Bergman but his experience, eloquence and compassion will take our level of representation to new heights.

 

Cote Saint-Lucers, in particular, will be relieved to see the despicable charter tossed into the National Assembly shredder, proposed language legislation shoved aside, Pauline Marois and her team reduced to crumbs, barely ahead of the CAQ in popular support.

 

So put away the For Sale signs, cancel the exploratory trips to Toronto and pack up your PQ kippa you bought in protest. It’s cool to be bilingual again and the Fleur de Lys flag belongs to us all, proudly next to the Maple Leaf.

 

There is hope that tomorrow will be better than yesterday. We will surely hold M. Couillard to his comments about English in Quebec and our place within Canada. But for tonight, let’s catch our collective breath, and pop an antacid. Plop plop fiz fiz. Oh what a relief it is!

This election can’t be over soon enough

1 Comment

I’m counting the minutes until they count the last ballot. I’m frustrated and worn out from the longest 33 day (plus 18 months) campaign in memory. I’m exhausted from clenching the newspapers, yelling at the TV and wincing at the radio. I waved my fist back at PKP and cringed at Janette Bertrand. I got angrier each day with Marois’ venomous attacks on Anglos and religious folk and Ontario students domiciled in Quebec yet robbed of their right to vote.

Mailloux spewed anti-semitic poison that would have led to demonstrations elsewhere in Canada, but here the Premier stood by her side and shook her head in agreement.

Lisée contradicted Drainville who contradicted Marois who contradicted herself. I could barely keep score.

Yes, Canadians would still be able to visit Quebec without a passport as our borders with the ROC would be open, Quebec would help set Canadian monetary policy… Forget unilateral declaration of independence. Marois just willed it by snapping her little fingers without a referendum or negotiation. Chutzpah!

The Premier of all Quebecers showed us that nous didn’t include us. No need to debate in English.  You, ain’t nous. (The only upside was that we didn’t have to see her face on telephone poles deep in D’Arcy McGee).

But, Couillard gained the courage and determination to say to Quebecers what no liberal leader has said as long as I could remember (except when Charest was leader of the PCs in Ottawa, I’ll give him that). The English-speaking people of Quebec are full partners, our language does not diminish theirs and every parent in Quebec wants their kid to be bilingual, if not trilingual. And, oh this was a biggie, maybe, just maybe, he could settle old scores by working on Quebec’s place within Canada.

Could we really be at the dawn of a new era? This may be the last big chance to fix what’s wrong in Quebec and in Canada. Our kids are more mobile than ever before. The bilingual ones can pick up and get a job well beyond Quebec’s borders. Not so for the one’s whose parents voted away their right to teach them English at a young age.

If we can just get beyond the old and tired debates about language and independence and work to become more bilingual and more united with our fellow Canadians (who transfer billions of dollars to our cash-starved, economically depressed province, merci very much), maybe, just maybe, we can look ahead to a brighter, healthier, richer, happier tomorrow.

Fingers crossed. I’m going to vote!

If Quebec separates, we keep Montreal

1 Comment

Jonathan Kay: If Quebec separates, we keep Montreal

National Post | March 5, 2014 

Having sown the political fields with an ugly campaign against ethnic garb and the English language, Quebec Premier Pauline Marois is now hoping to reap a bounty of votes in an April 7 provincial election. If she wins a majority, the province likely will hold a third sovereignty referendum. It’s been almost two decades since the last one, and separatist foot-dragging on the question of when they’ll get their “winning conditions” is beginning to take on a farcical Waiting-for-Godot aspect. If not now, when?

During the 1995 referendum campaign, the federalist forces held a downtown Montreal rally that drew an estimated 100,000 participants. But as Michael Den Tandt reported in Wednesday’s edition of the National Post, such scenes are unlikely to be repeated this time around. Quebec’s bloated welfare state and dysfunctional infrastructure programs suck in $16.3-billion more in federal money than the province gives back. Increasingly, Alberta is becoming Canada’s economic engine, as Quebec dawdles about developing its own energy resources and repels investors with its absurd language laws. To many Canadians, Quebec’s government looks less like a partner in confederation, and more like a bailout case.

Meanwhile, the Quebec government’s completely gratuitous attack on religious freedoms in the province finally has convinced many Canadians that the province’s society truly is distinct, albeit in the worst possible way. It goes without saying that not all Quebecers are xenophobes. But if they are willing to re-elect, in majority form, a government that builds its popularity at the expense of turbaned nine-year-old soccer players, hijabbed nurses, and yarmulke-wearing doctors, well that says something doesn’t it? We’re all federalists here, but the behaviour of Quebec’s government truly does strain the conceit that “Canadian values” hold interrupted sway from coast to coast.

So how should our federal government respond if a referendum is called by a re-elected Parti Québécois? Here are four suggestions:

First, don’t act as if Quebec separation would be some kind of apocalypse. Acting as if Quebec’s departure from Canada is unthinkable destroys our bargaining position on a hundred different issues once the referendum fails. Indeed, such hysteria is a major reason Quebec has built up that annual $16.3-billion bribe.

Second, notwithstanding the paragraph above, let’s not waste our breath lecturing Quebec about the economic fallout of separation. Like all sentimental nationalists, Quebec separatists see independence as a sort of magical elixir. Warning them about dollars and cents is like warning teenage poker players that all those cigars might eventually give them gum cancer.

Third, make NDP leader Thomas Mulcair — and every other soft federalist — tell us clearly whether he or she respects Canadian law. Specifically, the Clarity Act, which defines a valid referendum result as one based on “a clear expression of the will of the population,” expressed through “a clear majority” of voters — as opposed to the bare-bones majority standard of 50%-plus-one, which the NDP has supported since the Jack Layton era.

Fourth, and this is the big one: Have the courage to tell Quebec, flat out, that if Canada is divisible, so is Quebec. And whatever clear voting standard is used to adjudicate the overall result of the province’s referendum will be the same result used to adjudicate the status of the province’s northern Cree regions, the Eastern Townships, and, most importantly, Montreal.

There are several million people living in Quebec who oppose their provincial government’s separatist agenda

Which is to say: If 60% of Quebcers somehow can be convinced to vote for separation, while 60% of Montrealers vote to retain the status quo, then Ottawa should partition Montreal as part of sovereign Canada, free of Quebec’s parochial language laws, ethnic demagoguery and dead-end economic policies.

Partition wouldn’t be about Canada making any sort of land grab, even if that is how separatists would describe it. Partition would be about fulfilling our historical and constitutional obligations to Canadians — especially Anglophones and immigrants — who have grown up in this country expecting their government to respect basic rights (especially those pertaining to language and religion). Since Quebec’s separatists have shown that they have no intention of respecting these rights — indeed, that are willing to ostentatiously flout these rights as a means to appeal to the worst instincts of Québécois voters — the federal government must signal that it will act decisively when the votes are counted.

It is fine for jaded Canadians in Toronto and Calgary to say they’re tired of Quebec’s complaints, and that the province can just “go its own way” if it likes. But there are several million people living in Quebec who oppose their provincial government’s separatist agenda, and they may soon be looking to Ottawa for vindication of their rights. In the unlikely event that the separatists win a referendum, the voices of these Canadians must not be ignored.

National Post

Mayor Housefather’s Santa Claus poem on Bill 60 and the PQ

Leave a comment

Mayor Anthony Housefather of Côte Saint-Luc reads his poem entitled The PQ the Week Before Christmas.

 

Sermon by Rabbi Lionel Moses on the eve of Yom Kippur: Mme. Marois, read my lips!

4 Comments

The following is a brilliant and evocative speech by the rabbi of Shaare Zion Congregation in Montreal. Congratulations to Rabbi Moses. Y’asher Koach. May his words and his teachings inspire our government and our fellow citizens to show respect and tolerance for one another. For good.

Glenn

More

Open letter to Pauline Marois from Tommy Schnurmacher

1 Comment

Bravo to CJAD’s Tommy Schnurmacher for this poignant, tongue-in-cheek missive to the Premier of Quebec.

My open letter to Pauline Marois

Posted By: Tommy Schnurmacher tommy@cjad.com ·

Dear Pauline,

Sorry that I have not written sooner; it really has been ages since we spoke. Actually, we’ve never spoken before, but you know what they say – better late than never.

You do know, Pauline, that you certainly don’t need an invitation to drop by whenever you are in town. Pop by my studio any weekday between 9 and noon. I work at CJAD. Yes, CJAD. It’s an English radio station right on the corner of Rene-Levesque and Papineau, you can’t miss us. Even if I’m interviewing some Anglo, never mind just come right in, sit down and make yourself at home.

I must congratulate you on the proposed Charter of Quebec values. Everybody, but everybody, is talking about it. Many of my friends are concerned about the massive debt and economic situation in this province and you cannot imagine how elated they are that you have managed to take their mind off such a depressing subject.

I know that we have a $258 billion debt, but I hear that you will borrow close to $2 million to help spread the word about the charter. Those Liberals would probably waste that money on hiring more nurses or some silly research project.

Before I forget, Pauline, please convey my best regards to that charming Monsieur Drainville who did such a fine job introducing the Charter the other day. The artist rendering of the hijabs and kippas and turbans causing such consternation was not exactly Mona Lisa, but it really was very well done. A fine Quebecois artist no doubt.

Monsieur Drainville was very helpful to point out that the new charter is intended to unite us and provide clarity. I must commend him on his kind approach insisting that these measures will be phased in over a five year period so that those minorities get used to the idea of slowly being deprived of their rights without feeling like anyone is in an unseemly rush.

When it comes to referendums, the Clarity Bill, we both know, is utterly appalling, but you can never have too much clarity when it comes to banning religious minorities from landing a government job, now can you?

I know that you are such a busy woman having to comment on all those Brits punching each other out because of multiculturalism, but I hope you can help answer some questions from some of my dim-witted friends who just don’t get it.

One friend owns a big depanneur. He doesn’t want to hire more Muslim women or any religious Jews or Sikhs, but he has heard that it is against the law to discriminate against anyone on the basis of religion. He wants to know if it would be okay for him to tell these ethnics that he does not want to hire them because he wants to have a neutral depanneur.

There is also a question posed by my neighbour who owns a small daycare centre. She has three Muslim women working for her who wear hijabs. Apparently, they do a very good job with the little kids. She wants to know if she should fire them right away unless they take off the hijab. If they refuse, should she attempt it to remove herself or will there be a specific Quebec government office to call.

Before I sign off , I must also commend you on your decision to keep the crucifix in place in the National Assembly. It’s part of the patrimoine, n’est-ce pas? For some reason, that Argentinian man in the Vatican, you know, the one who wears a white kippa, he is under the impression that the crucifix is a religious symbol, but what does he know?

Pauline, you have always said that Quebec appreciates diversity and that in Quebec, there is a place for everyone. Thanks to this Charter, minorities will know their place.

A la prochaine,

Tommy

 

A very dark day in Quebec history

1 Comment

Quebec government pictogram displaying which religious symbols would be allowed under the Charter of Quebec Values

Quebec government pictogram displaying which religious symbols would be allowed under the Charter of Quebec Values

Cote Saint-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather stated at last night’s public council meeting that once we have seen the actual bill, which has yet to be tabled, we will play a leadership role and will respond to the specifics and strongly oppose any attempt to infringe upon the liberties of any faith practiced by any Cote Saint-Lucer or any Quebecer.

I will stand shoulder to shoulder with Mayor Housefather and members of Council to oppose such an unconscionable and despicable proposal launched by Pauline Marois’ Parti Quebecois government.

Once again, Quebec will be the laughingstock of international media. This negative perception does nothing to boost tourism, business or our lagging economy and standard of living.

Cote Saint-Luc should be an example of tolerance and respect regardless of one’s language, religion or culture. I will proudly speak out against any discrimination by the government and hope that you will too.

Aislin. The Gazette. September 10, 2013.

Aislin. The Gazette. September 10, 2013.

Quebec Independence: It’s the End of Chicken

1 Comment

For 150 years, Quebec has been fighting against the lunch menu imposed by the government of Canada that goes against our interests and values

This has got to be one of the funniest parodies I’ve seen of Premier Marois spewing platitudes on Quebec independence.  The clip is dubbed by a local, talented young man who is obviously in hiding and  unlikely to accept any Juneau Awards for his anonymous skills.  Enjoy the laugh.  It’s better than crying.

How Pastagate taps into larger, polarizing language issues in Quebec

Leave a comment

How Pastagate taps into larger, polarizing language issues in Quebec, Globe and Mail, March 1, 2013

INGRID PERITZ

MONTREAL — The Globe and Mail

Montreal chef David McMillan has gained international notice for his skills in the kitchen. But when he fielded a call from Al Jazeera this week, it wasn’t to talk about his famous lobster spaghetti.

 

The news network wanted to discuss his run-ins with Quebec’s language inspectors. Word had spread that his restaurant, Joe Beef, was nailed for various infractions – including an old decorative sign reading, “Exit,” and another saying, “Cherries.” For someone who would rather be shucking oysters than debating Quebec’s language rules, it was a discouraging turn.

“I love Quebec with all my heart. Our French culture and language are a treasure in North America,” Mr. McMillan says. “But this just makes me sad. All I keep wondering is, ‘Whatever happened to common sense?’ ”

 

His sentiments were echoed across Quebec this week in the wake of what has come to be dubbed Pastagate – a crackdown by Quebec language inspectors targeting restaurateurs for non-French words such as “pasta” and “steak.”

 

It brought embarrassing world attention to the Office québécois de la langue française, one of the agency’s worst public-relations disasters since 60 Minutes’ Morley Safer travelled to Montreal to follow a Quebec “language cop” in 1998 and declared: “The Marx Brothers would have been at home here.”

 

The OQLF withdrew some of their complaints and the government promised a review of the inspections process in the face of widespread ridicule (from anglophones and francophones alike). But the controversy taps into larger, polarizing, language issues in Quebec, which have been pushed to the fore by the election of the Parti Québécois.

 

Parliamentary hearings begin this month into Bill 14, legislation tabled in December by the minority PQ government of Pauline Marois that aims to toughen Quebec’s Charter of the French Language, known as Bill 101. Though the proposed provisions are less draconian than the jittery anglophone community had feared – the PQ repeatedly played the language card during last summer’s election campaign – they have sparked opposition among everyone from mayors to military families, and concerns from Canada’s Official Languages Commissioner, Graham Fraser.

 

Along with other restrictions, Bill 14 would extend French-language requirements to smaller businesses than before, and would strip bilingual municipalities of their status if the percentage of citizens who use English as their mother tongue were to drop below 50 per cent.

 

“I’m uncomfortable with using percentages as a way to define the vitality of a minority community,” says Mr. Fraser, a former journalist whose 1984 book on the PQ is still regarded as an essential reference. Even if a town’s English community grows, he notes, it would lose ground if the French community outpaces it.

 

“You’re allowing the numbers of the majority to define what the services and rights are of the minority,” he says. “The nature of minority rights … is not allowing a minority to be at the mercy of the majority.”

 

Mr. Fraser, who has met members of the Marois cabinet to share his views, says Quebec has legitimate reason to protect its language – a widely shared view in the province – as English becomes the de facto global language of business and science.

 

“One has to recognize that, yes, there are pressures and challenges for French,” he says. “But they don’t come from the English minority in Quebec.”

 

Mr. Fraser’s concerns are shared by many of the 83 mayors across Quebec who fear losing their towns’ bilingual status. For a municipality such as Côte Saint-Luc, a bedroom community of Montreal, that status means everything from sending bilingual tax bills to posting the word “Road” in addition to “Chemin” on street signs.

 

“Our city is functioning perfectly well,” says Côte Saint-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather, who is spearheading a protest against Bill 14, and questions who is hurt by the bilingual status of his and other municipalities. “What benefit is there for the government to do this?”

 

Some worries over the new legislation are also crossing Quebec’s linguistic divide. Francophone military families posted in the province currently get an exemption from Bill 101 allowing them to send their children to English school. Under Bill 14, they would lose that right.

 

Diane Adams, whose husband, Maxime Beaulieu, is based at CFB Valcartier in Quebec City, says she never knows if her family will get transferred to a base outside Quebec, where English will be required. Her sons, aged 9 and 11, have always attended the English-language Valcartier Elementary School.

 

“There’s not much stability in the military, so we look for stability. And this new law would wreck it,” says the Quebec-born Ms. Adams, whose husband has done a tour in Afghanistan. “The military is like a big family, and we’re feeling anxiety.”

 

The changes also risk dealing a blow to schools that welcome the military families; though the change would affect only a total of 682 children, in some cases, these children make up as much as two-thirds of the pupils at their English schools.

 

“Removing students from those small schools – in rural Quebec, near military bases – would be devastating,” Mr. Fraser says. “It’s going to result in schools being closed.”

 

The spike in language anxieties stand in stark contrast to the reality on the ground in places such as Montreal, where people go convivially about their day-to-day lives, switching between French and English. It’s what Mr. McMillan sees every day at his Notre Dame Street restaurant, where the staff speaks French but serves customers in whatever language they choose.

 

“The one thing we have here in Montreal is good food and drink,” he says. But he is worried about the Office québécois de la langue française’s 6-per-cent budget boost this year.

 

“I wish they’d take the money to educate their dumb inspectors.

 

“Better still, I wish they would just leave us alone.”

 

 

National Post editorial board: English is a right, not a privilege

1 Comment

 

National Post Editorial, Jan. 4, 2013

 

 

Language tensions are to Montreal what black flies are to the Laurentian mountains that lie to the city’s north: They’re easy to ignore individually, but collectively at peak season they can lead to near-intolerable frustration. Sometimes, they make residents feel they are paying too high a price for the pleasure of experiencing Quebec’s charms.

 

During the last provincial election, language tensions were ratcheted up to one of those near-intolerable peaks as a tried and true means of garnering votes by the Parti Québécois. PQ leader Pauline Marois and her minions spread false, fear-mongering tales of the French language’s demise in Montreal, and in subtle but effective ways, encouraged francophones to feel offended even by the sound of the English language.

 

On three separate occasions within weeks, an English-speaker allegedly was physically assaulted by a francophone who had simply overheard — not even been spoken to personally — other people speaking to each other in English, and who cited the sound of English as the reason for their animus.

 

Shortly after the election, a transport employee put up a sign on his subway collection booth that “here things are done in French” and refused to speak English to a woman making inquiries. A paramedic refused to speak English in an emergency situation involving a child in an anglo area. In October, a subway ticket taker allegedly grabbed a woman customer who spoke English to him in a headlock and punched her, allegedly telling the customer to “go back to your country” and “in Quebec, we can only speak French.”

 

This was one “black fly” too many, and brought blowback that demanded investigation. Montreal’s Société de transport de Montréal (STM) deplored the violence, but insisted Bill 101, Quebec’s language law, forbade it from legally compelling bus and subway workers to speak English.

 

In December, Montreal’s Gazette filed an access-to-information request with the STM, seeking a legal opinion on how Bill 101’s employee-language requirements apply to the agency. On Dec 21, the STM responded: “No such legal opinion exists.” But the Gazette investigation found otherwise in the language of Article 46 of Bill 101: “An employer is prohibited from making the obtaining of an employment or office dependent upon the knowledge or a specific level of knowledge of a language other than the official language, unless the nature of the duties requires such knowledge” (our emphasis).

 

For example, the Agence métropolitaine de transport (AMT), which runs Montreal commuter trains, requires front-line agents to be able to communicate in English. That is sensible, because the commuter trains serve areas of Montreal that are predominantly anglophone. It makes even more sense for buses and subway stations, because they not only serve anglophone residential areas, they also serve untold numbers of tourists and other unilingual visitors from the United States and the rest of Canada.

 

Montreal anglos wrongly have come to believe that the use of English by public service workers is a kindness rather than an obligation. Indeed, many of them believe that French is the only official language in Quebec. But English is in fact an official language in Quebec, by virtue of Section 133 of the BNA Act and the federal Official Languages Act. That rankles Quebec nationalists, but there is nothing they can do about it.

 

When the PQ came to power, they declared French the only official language of the National Assembly and the courts — even though everyone knew this was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court duly struck that down in the 1979 case of Attorney General vs. Blaikie.

 

Not all francophones in the Quebec government’s employ must be competent in English — just as not every Ontario government worker must know French. Obviously the working language of Quebec is French, just as English is the working language of most other provinces. But in those contexts where clear communication is required for citizens to make use of critical services, then both official languages should be admissible as a matter of course.

 

National Post

New law imperils English in suburbs

1 Comment

Henry Aubin: New law imperils English in suburbs

Loss of bilingual status is a devastating blow and a barrier to business

BY HENRY AUBIN, MONTREAL GAZETTE DECEMBER 7, 2012

The Marois government’s proposed law to tighten the Charter of the French Language would deal a truly devastating blow to most of the 65 municipalities in Quebec that possess official bilingual status. The bill would strip this designation from a town if fewer than 50 per cent of its residents have English as their mother tongue.

Six of the 12 suburbs on Montreal Island that now offer services in French and English would lose the legal ability to continue to do so in English. They are Côte-St-Luc, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Dorval, Kirkland, Mont-Royal and Senneville. (See table.)

Four other suburbs, whose English mother-tongue residents are steadily declining and now represent less than 55 per cent of the population, are on course to falling under the threshold within a few years. They are Baie d’Urfé, Beaconsfield, Pointe-Claire and Westmount. Hampstead and Montreal West, both of which are near the 60-per-cent mark, are safer ground. (The island’s two remaining suburbs, Montréal-Est and Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, do not have bilingual status.)

Municipalities not on the island would tend to lose their status at a considerably higher rate. Many of these mostly rural towns or villages have aging anglo communities.

(The government would determine whether a city or town is above or below the 50 per cent bar on the basis of Statistic Canada’s census. However, it is unclear how the government would define people with English as their mother tongue. Most people have only one language as their mother tongue, but others list two or even more on the census form, depending the circumstances of their infancy. The table gives figures for both options.)

The proposed law, Bill 14, tabled this week by the minister responsible for language, Diane De Courcy, comes completely out of the blue. It’s been a long time since language has been a notable issue in the island’s suburbs or in the more distant places. You have to wonder what the problem is that De Courcy set out to fix.

To be sure, the presence of English has become a hot political issue, but that controversy has been confined do Montreal’s central core, especially the shopping areas. De Courcy’s measure gives the core a free pass — the bill can’t revoke Montreal’s bilingual status because the city doesn’t have one.

Removing the suburbs’ bilingual standing would also be curious because it would reduce the attractiveness of Montreal for knowledge workers from English-speaking countries. When they move here, these workers often choose to live in a bilingual suburb where — as is only normal — they feel more linguistically hospitable.

The Mercer 2012 Quality of Living Index of cities — an annual ranking to help multinational companies and organizations make decisions — came out the day before De Courcy tabled the bill. It rated Montreal well behind Vancouver, Ottawa and Toronto. If the minority government succeeds in making Bill 14 law, it’s not going to help the economy.

Peter Trent, the Westmount mayor and leader of the island’s suburban mayors, is a moderate on language issues. He calls the measure “completely unacceptable” to anglo communities. As well, he notes an additional curiosity about the bill: “It wouldn’t help the cause of preserving French one jot.”

Trent notes a final curiosity about the bill: Those suburbs whose majority of English mother-tongue residents are rapidly shrinking might have no interest in attracting those newcomers who would further dilute the English mother-tongue presence. The law might thus have the perverse effect of making francophones unwelcome.

This measure might make short-term political sense: Riling the anglos is often a surefire way to boost the PQ in anglophobes’ eyes.

But as a step to advance the interests of francophones, the bill shoots itself in the foot. In the end, it would harm everybody.

Read more:http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Henry+Aubin+imperils+English+suburbs/7669480/story.html#ixzz2EUfHTkUV

 

A lesson in Quebec math: Bill 14 could put an end to many of Quebec’s bilingual cities

1 Comment

Watch Cote Saint-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather commenting on the Quebec government’s threat to bilingual status for many Quebec cities:

A lesson in Quebec math: Bill 14 could put an end to many of Quebec’s bilingual cities | CTV Montreal News.

Tell your Member of the National Assembly you don’t support Bill 14

>> Contact D’Arcy McGee MNA Lawrence Bergman (who represents all parts of CSL) – email,

>> Contact the Interim Leader of the Quebec Liberal Party Jean-Marc Fournier – email

>> Contact the leader of the Coalition Avenir Québec emailTwitter

Lisée building bridges? Is this a joke?

1 Comment

Ex-journalist has a long history of spearheading and supporting xenophobic campaigns against linguistic minorities

 

BY DON MACPHERSON, MONTREAL GAZETTE SEPTEMBER 19, 2012

 

 

 

Nobody can say anymore that Pauline Marois hasn’t got a sense of humour.

 

Not after she assigned Jean-François Lisée on Wednesday to build bridges between her new Parti Québécois government and the English-speaking community.

 

That has to be Pauline’s prank on her would-be replacement Lisée, or the anglophones, or both, right?

 

Okay, maybe Marois ran out of things to say to anglos after she read the 30-word, greeting-card message to “my fellow English-speaking Quebecers (sic)” written out for her in her election-night victory speech.

 

But surely Marois can’t think that, of the 54 members of her PQ caucus, Lisée is the best candidate to gain our trust for her.

 

If the new premier is really that clueless, then anglos aren’t the only Quebecers who should be worried.

 

Those bridges Lisée is supposed to build? They’re to replace ones he’s done so much to blow up.

 

The PQ’s idea of making newcomers to Quebec, even Canadian citizens moving here from other provinces, pass a French test before they can run for even an English school board? It was Lisée who proposed it first.

 

Or how about the PQ’s proposed “new Bill 101,” which would restrict admission to English-language colleges?

 

Pfft. Two years ago, Lisée proposed abolishing the English CEGEPs entirely.

 

You’re a bilingual anglo? Not good enough for Lisée.

 

Last November, he invited readers of his blog to report encounters with the diminishing minority of anglos who refuse to learn French.

 

Then came Lisée’s hatchet job on anglos in L’actualité magazine in April while he was doing double duty as a “journalist,” two months after it was announced he had joined a PQ sovereignty-strategy committee.

 

That was the “dossier” in which he criticized us for not embracing Bill 101, not defending French in Montreal against ourselves and, in the privacy of our own homes, not listening to the pop music of Marie-Mai.

 

Once he became a PQ candidate for the Sept. 4 election, Lisée became the party’s leading spokesman in its xenophobic campaign against linguistic minorities.

 

In a PQ communiqué titled “With a Parti Québécois government, Montreal will remain predominantly French-speaking,” Lisée, now the minister in Marois’s government responsible for the city, said:

 

“We refuse to be the generation that will see Montreal marginalize French! We shall not accept that francophones soon are in the minority on the island and we shall not let French lose its critical mass in Quebec’s metropolis.”

 

Does that read as anglo-friendly to you?

 

And:

 

“While we should be glad at the progress of French as a second language in Montreal, the decline in the proportion of Montrealers for whom French is the language mostly spoken is very worrying.”

 

That is, it was good that anglos and other linguistic minorities had learned French — but not good enough.

 

In a radio interview during the campaign, Lisée said the PQ would favour a prospective immigrant from France over one from China, because the one from France “lives in French with their family.”

 

But even living in French at home wasn’t good enough.

 

In a communiqué earlier in the campaign, the PQ had expressed concern over declines in the proportion of both Quebecers and Montrealers with French as their mother tongue.

 

And in another interview that surfaced during the campaign, Lisée said:

 

“From the moment where there isn’t a majority of people whose first language is French, it means there is no majority to defend it.”

 

So the only Quebecers who are good enough for Lisée are the ones with French as their mother tongue — which excludes the anglos to whom Marois now would have him build bridges.

 

Sérieusement, madame la première ministre?

 

dmacpherson@montrealgazette.com

 

Twitter:@MacphersonGaz

 

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

 

 

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Lis%c3%a9e+building+bridges+this+joke/7268996/story.html#ixzz2712RCGrb

Letter to the Gazette: Anglo leaders are not gone

Leave a comment

Letters to the editor

Montreal Gazette

Re: Anglo leaders are long gone, Aubin, Gazette, September, 11, 2012:

Anglo leadership suffered a fatal blow by the withdrawal of federal funding a dozen years ago. Alliance Quebec had advocated forcefully on behalf of English-speaking Quebecers for many years and was a pillar of national unity. While AQ has withered away into the Quebec Community Groups Network, a smaller yet important group for the many rural Anglo communities throughout Quebec, there still exists several outstanding and capable individuals who represent sizable English-speaking communities.

Cote Saint-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather is a young, dynamic and outspoken rights advocate. As president of AQ he acquired substantial knowledge of Quebec’s vast Anglo communities. Westmount Mayor Peter Trent is an eloquent spokesperson and renowned civic leader. Michael Applebaum is one of the highest ranking elected officials in the City of Montreal, representing the largest borough and most Anglo-populated of districts. These are but three obvious top picks for Pauline Marois to meet with in order to open vital channels of communication.

If Marois truly has the desire to reach out to English-speaking Quebecers she will find leaders willing to dialogue.

If government truly wants to develop Anglo leaders they can inject funds to sustain its advocacy organizations.

What’s truly sad is that the Quebec elections demonstrated that there is no interest on the part of federal or provincial leaders in supporting English-speaking Quebecers.

Glenn J. Nashen

***

Anglo leaders are long gone

It’s a mystery who Marois could meet because there is a void in the English community

BY HENRY AUBIN, THE GAZETTE SEPTEMBER 11, 2012

The poll in Saturday’s Gazette asked whether Premier-elect “Pauline Marois and leaders of Quebec’s English community should meet as soon as possible.” Seventy-four per cent of respondents said yes (including 79 per cent of anglos and, encouragingly, 73 per cent of francophones).

An anglo gunman’s deadly outburst outside a Parti Québécois victory rally would have made such a meeting top of mind for many poll respondents. But other issues, too, could benefit from discussion between anglo leaders and Marois, who held herself aloof from the Englishspeaking community during the campaign – issues such as the PQ’s plans to subject small businesses to the same francization rules as big companies, to bar francophone and allophone students from English CEGEPs and to withhold Quebec “citizenship” from immigrants who don’t speak French.

But there’s a problem. The people Marois would meet with is a mystery. Anglo leaders? What anglo leaders?

As a graduate student at the Université de Montréal, Jonathan Lang, noted in The Gazette the day before the poll, there’s a lack of “anglophone leaders popular enough, and who represent this diverse community strongly enough, to be able to speak forcefully on its behalf.”

It’s hardly a new problem. Reed Scowen, a former Liberal MNA from Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, made the same point in 2007, declaring that the English community’s “leadership infrastructure has disappeared.”

Twenty or 30 years ago, the anglo community was teeming with leaders – think, for example, of Alex Paterson, Victor and Michael Goldbloom, Eric Maldoff, Gretta Chambers, Joan Fraser, Peter Blaikie and, to cite a couple of less mainstream figures, Robert Libman and William Johnson. But that period is long gone. Little has changed since Scowen’s observation of five years ago: “Most people, when asked for a name (of a leader), might refer to the director of an anglophone educational institution, health centre or religious organization; these are competent people, but with public interests that do not go beyond their professional mandate.”

Why the 21st-century void? Leaders generally come from the ranks of the educated, and the post-1976 anglo exodus from Quebec included a disproportionately large number of these. A study by William Floch and Joanne Pocock has found that 61 per cent of all anglos born in Quebec who had earned bachelor’s degrees had moved to other parts of Canada by 2001. It’s even more distressing for those with master’s degrees, 66 per cent, and PhDs, 73 per cent. (Note that these figures, based on Statistics Canada data, only reflect moves to other provinces or the territories. That means that if moves to the U.S. and other countries were included, the figures would be even higher.)

The immigrants who are making the anglo community more heterogeneous are often preoccupied with establishing themselves professionally and contributing to their own ethnic community.

Add to that the changing zeitgeist. It was often common among welleducated, relatively well-to-do families to instill a sense of civic responsibility. They agreed with the saying, “Of those to whom much is given, much is expected.” To be sure, this attitude had a whiff of elitism – but of a good kind.

This sense of obligation to the community has given way to a new individualism. To be sure, the trend holds also in French Quebec (sociologist Guy Rocher has noted that the ideal of social solidarity is giving way to the “ideology of personal success”) and to the West in general.

I think the decline in church-going might also be a factor. That’s not only because of religious teaching per se (the “Of those to much is given” quote is biblical) but also because of the social dimension. Churches bring people together. They build a sense of community involvement that people can carry into their secular lives.

Though these attitudinal changes transcend English Quebec, they are felt particularly hard here because that community is a minority. Minorities can’t afford a leadership void if they aim to stay robust.

But let’s get back to that Gazette poll. Even though three-quarters of Quebecers might favour a meeting between Marois and anglo leaders, she has given no hint she’d like to meet with them, and there are no such leaders to invite even if she wanted to. The situation is not just absurd but sad.

Given the ongoing exodus of educated anglos and the thinness of respect for civic involvement, filling the leadership void won’t be easy.

haubin@montrealgazette.com

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Anglo+leaders+long+gone/7221343/story.html#ixzz26M64Olv9

Older Entries