First disappointment with the new Liberal Government

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Philippe Couillard’s arrival as Premier of all Quebecers came as a relief to most English-speaking citizens and to a majority of voters. He seems like a level-headed, sensible, no-nonsense character to fill the highest office after a miserable 18 months in Quebec politics.

So it comes as more than surprising, actually disappointing, when the nascent government announced they would appeal last month’s Quebec Superior Court ruling that large retailers including Gap, Best Buy, Costco, Walmart and Old Navy are not obliged to add French generic words to their internationally recognized brand names.
Does any Quebecer require Costco Wholesale to add a French language generic term like “Les entrepots” to clarify what store they’re going into?  Will a unilingual French-speaker enter a Gap store thinking it’s a café if they don’t add “Le magasin de vetements” on their store signs? Does such petty symbolism do anything to protect the French language? Give me a break.
This is ridiculous and petty strategic policy on the part of the Liberal Government whose members haven’t had enough time to move into their offices yet, let alone take such a sensitive and ill-advised decision to seek appeal.
French-speaking Quebecers are well served by signage and employees in their language throughout Quebec.  They are not being disrespected.  They have more safeguards to protect their language than any other jurisdiction in the world.  They are not inconvenienced.  French letters and words on signage are twice as large or twice as numerous as compared to English. They are not marginalized.  Store staff speak to them in their own language.
Let’s be honest. English-speaking Quebecers are the ones who are disrespected, poorly served, inconvenienced and marginalized by oppressive government policy, discriminatory language laws and overzealous language police.
Dr. Couillard, you inspired tens of thousands of Quebecers during the election campaign by indicating that it was a great benefit to be bilingual, that the English-speaking Quebecers are not enemies, that we are all Quebecers. Please be true to your convictions and vision and make us all feel like respected, equal citizens.
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Language cops went too far yet again

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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.

This election can’t be over soon enough

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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!

Opinion: Our opposition to Bill 14 – a question of principle

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Quebec Liberal leader Philippe Couillard and Liberal critic on language issues Marc Tanguay offer a refreshing and confident position on the language question. Their opposition to the “unnecessarily coercive and judicialized approach, and inflammatory measures,” of Bill 14 stand in stark contrast to that of the PQ government, let alone the CAQ that coward away from killing the bill outright.

Couillard and Tanguay speak of the benefits of bilingualism and multilingualism and of the great advantage that the million strong English-speaking  Quebecers – “they are not foreigners” – have in speaking at least two languages fluently.

They finally state what is plain to many but not enough in Quebec, that Francophones are placing themselves at a disadvantage by hindering themselves and their children off from greater opportunity.

I am far from a Liberal flag bearer.  Bill 22, Bill 178, these pieces of language restrictive legislation, along with hiring of more language cops came in under liberal governments.  However, the principles espoused in this opinion piece deserve praise and should be echoed by more and more Francophone leaders across Quebec.

Couillard and Tanguay close with, “Let’s choose to focus on our strengths and, above all, on our desire to live and prosper together.   Sounds good to me.

Opinion: Our opposition to Bill 14 – a question of principle (Montreal Gazette)

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