Calgary Stampede reverts to English-only ‘O Canada’


The Calgary Stampede’s chuckwagon event has been whipping crowds into a patriotic fervour since 1912. This year, however, Stampede event organizers say one aspect of the nightly spectacle is putting a damper on people’s enthusiasm: singing the French verses of O Canada

On Saturday, the second night of the Stampede, officials decided to drop French verses from the national anthem after receiving “overwhelming” feedback from spectators who said that the French lyrics were holding them back from expressing their patriotism.

“We obviously want a lot of audience participation when the anthem is sung, and we weren’t getting that participation Friday night,”  Stampede spokesperson Doug Fraser, told the Calgary Herald, referring to the opening night, when French lyrics were included in the national anthem. 

While the decision return to a unilingual anthem may have made many in Calgary sing louder and prouder, the decision did not sit well with some Quebec tourists. A delegation from Quebec City declined to comment, but Montreal-born Brigitte Donnon told the Herald “Canada is supposed to be bilingual.” 

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Calgary Stampede reverts to English-only ‘O Canada’

  1. Do they play our national anthem in both languages for every sport venue in Quebec? I’d bet my farm they don’t.

    • no of course not. however national events such as this one should merit it.

      • No worries, the Stampede board will likely get fined for their choice by the language police. No one in this country has the right to “shun” one of our official languages and get away with it….well, not quite no one but the people in the overwhelmiinging majority of the provinces do not have that right.

    • Yes. All the major events such as Habs game, major sports events have the anthem in both languages. Get your fact straight before assuming such stupidity.

      • “assuming such stupidity”….I am sorry but it is against the law in Quebec to put up signs in English and waiters and waitresses have been chastised for speaking too much English when waiting on people….yet it is ‘stupid” to assume that at venues they often sing the anthem in French only.

        • Again, the facts.

          Yes, official events taking places in Quebec where the anthem is sung will always offer its bilingual version, also known as its ONLY official version. How can it be more patriotic to do otherwise ?

          No, it’s not forbidden by law in Quebec to put up signs in English, but you need a strong cultural justification not to include French also. (And no, restaurants and shops don’t usually have that justification, but schools and community centres may have.)

          As in anywhere in this country, any customer in Quebec can ask to be served in their own language, but merchants are expected to at least offer service in French ; wouldn’t you consider it normal to be attended in English in your own cities ? I wonder how many immigrant waiters and waitresses are chastised in Calgary for speaking too little English…

          After all these years since the Bi and Bi Commission, it’s mind-boggling that some Canadians still can not accept to hear French, but they don’t get how unfair it is to force others to speak only English “because it’s the majority”.

          • What about the opportunity to attend school in the official language of your choice if you are new to the country. Is the government in Quebec allowing new immigrants to attend English schools if they chose to? We have Francophone schools in Alberta. We do not force new immigrants to attend English schools.

          • But they can go to school in English, if they are willing to pay for it !

            Yes, most immigrants who choose free public schools will only be allowed to send their children to the francophone school system, that is true. Unless, that is, if they themselves were schooled in an English-speaking facility somewhere in Canada. Now, that is not at all unreasonable !

            Furthermore, since a recent decision by the Supreme Court (in all its wisdom…), immigrant or Québécois parents can send their children to an English public school, for “humanitarian” reason, if one or more of them attended an English private school for at least a year, which then triggered the creation of “gateway schools”, if you will.

            And these restrictions only apply to elementary and high schools, there are absolutely no restrictions for cegep or university students.

            The thing is, the case for the “Children of Bill 101” is generally a success story. More than three quarters of them can now live, work and play in French, they can feel at home anywhere in Quebec or Canada, since most of them did also learn English, as well as speaking their parents original language ; this is why Montreal is now one of the most multilingual cities of the planet !

            Sugar Sammy, well known comedian originally from Montreal, is the perfect example of this success.

            * * * * * * * *

            French Canadian schools in the ROC, as in Alberta (well, maybe less in New Brunswick…) are now facing a new and disturbing challenge. While these school were built to help minority communities educate their children without the fear of assimilation, they are now being chosen by some English-speaking or immigrant parents as de facto immersion schools !

            Without a doubt, their intention is good, but the consequences of this choice sometimes put a lot of strain on an already fragile system.

          • what are you talking about? Of course it’s illegal to have an English sign in Quebec. Why do you think they have the language police handing fines to people who do not comply with bill 101. Unfortunately it’s the French who cannot accept the English language. You can put a French only sign anywhere across Canada no one would hand you a fine for doing so.
            Please do not give people outside of Quebec a false illusion, Quebec does not want or like anglophones or allophones. Let’s at least be honest about it.

    • Yes they do, farmer. Just don’t write anything about things you have no clues about, instead of just criticizing behind your computer people that you’ve probably never have met in your life.

  2. Canada, as in the Federal government, and the provincial New Brunswick government are bilingual. Other provinces are not. Quebec is uni lingual French.
    For anything non-governmental, it’s up to the organizers.

  3. I sure hope lots of people blow this way out of proportion. I’m in BC, and other than government events, I can’t recall the last time I heard the bi-lingual anthem. I would wager that if you were ask people in BC, AB, and SK the French lyrics to O Canada less than 5% could do it, so we sing the English-only anthem.

    • In other words, the West can’t be bothered to learn literally the first thing about the French language, one of the two official languages of their own country. Thanks, patriots!

      • No Johnny… the west can’t be bothered into being forced to speak or sing in a language that is completely historically irrelevant and has absolutely nothing to do with the west or the Calgary Stampede. Imposing a language and forcing citizens to pay for it, whether they want to or not, is not an act of patriotism, but rather a form of vandalism and historical revisionism.

  4. Exactly rules the rest of Canada does but Quebec gets treated like a baby as usual and gets to do their own set of rules.
    And Oli79 kiss my a#$ because if you like to eat a hole you are involved in agriculture jerk!

  5. Have you ever been in the Province of Quebec?…. If yes, you would know that it is NOT unilingual French….. Too many signs are in English only (we had to make a law to respect the French language which I suppose they don’t have in other provinces), too many people does speak stubernly only English and we’ve being served too many times in English only making us feel like we aren’t home. Why can’t we be respected for our language and people that doesn’t like that just move in an other province, since the majority is English. I was born in NB, left at 3 years old, was rased in a bilingual environment, living in the Province on Qc since always, speaking French, English and Spanish. More than small minded people who thinks that English is the center of the Universe. We are ready to receive people from all over the world and accept their differences but between Canadians, we can’t. Explain that! (I’m sure Vancouver people feel the same with the Chinese people.)

    • And it would be nice to have the Anthem in French & English and be proud of it….

      • Proud of what? Being forced to sing the anthem in francophone? Why would an historically English speaking Province, in an historically English speaking country be proud of being forced to sing in Quebec style french?

      • Yes I know that the English is almost globally spoken in business circles and I never said that I was against the language…. On the contrairy, I know it. I know 3 languages and I want my children to know the same. To be open minded about learning about different cultures, languages and work. Yes, it’s a choice. In a hotel where I used to work, same as the American who asked me *Do you speak American?* You know… like if it was a language… No, sorry, I speak English…. Why talking like Canada belongs only to English people…. Center of universe? Hum…. Travelling and working in a hotel, I meet a lot of Canadian people from other provinces that speak English and French. So, It’s wrong and retarded to say that Quebec is the only French Speaking province no? You may not like the Quebecers but maybe if you would speak the language you would know the people behing the language and the culture. Just to let you know http://www.ocol-clo.gc.ca/html/fr_canada_e.php So…. thinking that the Anthem has to be in English only…. it is pretty self centered. I’m sure you would do the same for your culture if it would be treatened. Because yes…. a lot of signs are in English only in Qc…. I don’t know on which planet people are living. You are right about our government being corrupted, but most of English people living here, which is more conservative likes it….. Check it out… we’re having new elections this summer and even everything that went out lately in the news…. check the results, Charest will be back with the corruptions. Not because I prefer the Parti Québécois but let say that we have no choice at all in our province. At all!!!! And Historically by the way, maybe I’m wrong but ready this… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Canada#New_France_and_colonization_1534 hum…. Oh well…. Historically …. pffff

    • Many Candaians are tired of kissing up to Quebec, one of the most corrupt provinces in the country, Quebecers always have a hand out for a handout. We’d have been a lot better off if the Parti Quebecois were able to seperate when it tried to. We’d have finally been rid of a bunch of insufferable, ungrateful, manipulative whiners.

    • Whether you like it or not Liz, the English language is almost globally spoken in business circles. However, I do believe Mandarin is the most widely spoken language in the world due to the sheer number of people of Chinese descent. Now in Alberta we have all kinds of immersion schools including French, Spanish, Mandarin and German. We are even opening Arabic immersion schools. We also have Franchophone schools for people who want to educate their children in French only. For people who chose a “private” school route, the government lets parents take the education subsidy and use it toward private schooling.
      There is no “English is the centre of the universe” attititude but rather an attitude that treats parents rather than the government as the experts on how their children should be educated.
      As for your explanation about people being “served:” to often in English only, the article in Macleans online wasn’t about how waiters were serving people in a language other than French, it was that the waiters were conversing with each other in a language other than French. Apparently Bill 101 mandates that work should be conducted in French and these waiters were breaking the rules by not speaking enough French to one another in the workplace, even though they were out of the ear-shot of customers. Does this not seem a bit “big brotherish” to you?

      • I;m from Quebec (but not french) and you have to understand that in the past the French had the Catholic Church telling them how to live, how to raise their children and to have many children. They don’t know how to govern themselves without being told what to do. So they replaced the Catholic Church with the PQ and Bill 101. It’s a true fact. The French do not know how to live in freedom.

        • Please Betts…. Reading you I think you are pretty small minded and you may just move in another province if you don’t like living in Quebec in French. You have planty other provinces you know. Nobody is retaining you unless you love yourself being said how to live. Your government is my government. It’s a shame that English people hates French peoples? By the way…. I was talking about the small minded people speaking English having an attitude of center of the universe…. not about the language. If the hat fits….

    • I’m sorry but you do not force people to speak your language in order to preserve it. You teach it in your home to your children. It’s a shame that the French hate the Englsh so much. After all the English gave you all your rights and freedoms even after they won the war on the Plains of Abraham. You should respect that and maybe your language will get some respect back.
      As for English being the center of the universe as you say……….well it actually is.
      Englsh is the language most commonly used around the world in business etc.
      If you don’t know English, chances are you won’t get far.

  6. Quebec – I think you lost the war – Get over it!
    Bi an Bi – the biggest waste of taxpayers dollars ever inflicted on the Canadian people

  7. This stuff about ‘I can’t express myself when I hear French’ is very curious indeed. Among adults, it’s generally accepted that, if you know the words in English, then you can choose to sing them, dummy. This is a patent cover-up. There were actually people booing the French words, and that’s why the bilingual version was pulled. It would never occur to them that they were booing their own national anthem, of course.

    • The bilingual version was back the next day….no “patent cover-up”. Not everything is a conspiracy. Apologies issued by the stampede board for anyone who they might have unintentionally offended…..no excuses made.

      • careInsider, the cover-up occurred after the press had reported the facts, that the bi-lingual version had been yanked because of anti-French feedback. The ‘cover-up’ is the spin on that, which you are repeating.
        Cultist, you obviously can’t read English, to say nothing of French. In my comments, it points out that you’re _allowed_ (by the U. N. Charter of Freedom!) to sing whatever words and in whatever language you wish to while the lady at the mike is warbling in French. It’s only because you’re in Alberta that you can’t understand that… because you never heard a live rendition of the anthem in anything but English (sung by the local barmaid, usually).

    • Those people weren’t booing their own national anthem… they were booing the fact that some nit wit decided to force people to sing the anthem in a language they don’t speak, even though they are forced to pay for it. Why should English speaking people be forced to pay for french, and why should they be forced to speak it, or in this case, sing in it? because Pierre Trudope said so?

  8. Oh, oh… call the french language police, and start forcing the people of the west to start not only speaking french, but singing in french too… if not, then french talkers will be “outraged” or “humiliated” or something. I guess being forced to spend 1.3 trillion dollars, and counting, on imposed “bilingualism” just isn’t enough for the special minority. Quebec was once an English speaking British Crown Colony and that historical fact has all but been erased from the history books… I certainly have never heard a french talker demanding that the English language and history of that Province be defended, or indeed promoted. The Government imposed french language industry is a colossal waste of taxpayer dollars and has little or no relevance in most of Canada… leave the french language bullying to Quebec. What does french have to do with the Calgary Stampede? Nothing! It’s ironic that french speaking Quebecers feel the need to impose draconian English language restrictions and outright bans of it’s usage with the ever lame excuse of protecting french, but see no contradiction in forcing English speaking Provinces to speak french. The imposition of the OLA, by a Quebecer, on an English speaking country was a poisonous act of divisivness, a cunning act of deviousness born out of hatred and indoctrination. Every English speaking Province left, should all impose an English Bill 101, just as Quebec imposed itself unilingual french. Time to end the charade and save ourselves 100’s of billions of dollars propping up the imposed french language industry. As was said to me in the former English speaking Province of Quebec last year… ” we speak french here, get used to it”… well, out west we speak English, get used it.

  9. Here are some words to Oh Canada sung November 11th at the official ceremonies in New Westminster BC 1942 “Oh Canada, our heritage , our love, Thy worth we praise all other lands obove, From sea to sea, throughout thy length, From pole to borderland, At Britains side, what’er betide, Unflinchingly we’ll stand, With heart we sing, “God Save The King” “Guide Thou the Empire wide” do we implore “And prosper Canada from shore to shore.” Sorry but here is no French on the brochure. There is a Union Jack and Canadian Red Ensign in colour on the top of the page.

    • Proof positive that BC was and is a sleepy British colony on a rocky shore.

      • Just like Quebec without the language tribalism and historical denial.

        • cultist, there’s a letter for ya in the mail packet.
          News of Napoleon’s defeat. Please give it to the governor. I’m sure it will raise the colony’s spirits!

          • Hey Faguloso, whats a “mail packet”? Napoleon? wasn’t he that syphilitic french midget who was defeated by the British at Waterloo.

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