Just give the man his baguel and no one will get hurt


At this weekend’s PQ brainstorming session—don’t call it a convention!—party members spent much of their time debating just how far they should extend Bill 101’s tentacles. As reported by Le Devoir‘s Antoine Robitaille, party president Jonathan Valois even made a strangely personal plea to Montreal’s wretched Anglos, whose doughy delicacies he just can’t resist:

[That French is disappearing] is a feeling many Montrealers share. Sometimes, it annoys us when I can’t buy a bagel in French. It annoys me. And that’s part of daily life for Montrealers.

It’s all true. In fact, that’s why I moved to Toronto. My last apartment in Montreal was just a few short blocks away from both St-Viateur Bagel and Fairmount Bagel, and the stress was overwhelming: O lord, when will you finally deliver Jonathan Valois from the modern-day calvary that is bagel shopping in this godforsaken place?

Thankfully, where I live now, bagels aren’t worth buying in any language. Deliverance at last.


Just give the man his baguel and no one will get hurt

  1. Why the hell would he care whether the bagel is bought in French, English, or Swahili, as long as he can buy one when he wants to?

    • I am anglo who lives west of toronto and I would be a little irritated, at least, if I had to speak french to buy some groceries from my local shop.

      I don't know about now, Phillipe, but Toronto used to have some great bagel shops. Find the Jewish communities and you will be in heaven, at least as far as bagels and lox go.

      • Perhaps there is a Kettleman's in Toronto?

        I beleive they are a Montreal -based chain and they are the best bagels I have found in Ottawa.

      • I'd be delighted if I had to use an unfamiliar language to buy groceries at the local store. It would be a good chance to practice.

    • That explains why you will never win your majority in Québec.

      St-Viateur and Fairmont are open 24/7 so one can purchase a delicious Montréal bagel (pronounced bay-gul and not bagg-l) from either establishment whenver one wants(I fall on the St-Viateur side of the eternal question).

      However, for M. Valois he claims that he cannot go and order his bagels in French and for him and many other Québecers – federalist and separatist alike – the French language must be of primary place in the linguistic space of Québec and Montréal.

      Whenever I am in that great Canadian city I am able to order my dozen half-and-half (six poppy seed, six sesame seed) in either English or French from the Ethiopian or Bengali or Jewish or whatever person working behind the counter at these Greek-owned places selling Azkenazhi Jewish traditional food creations in the second biggest fancophone city in the world.

      • "That explains why you will never win your majority in Québec."

        My majority? What?

        Anyway, are you seriously suggesting that Quebecers should decide how to vote based on whether people care about the French language? Forget principles, the national welfare, the common good….it all comes down to whether people can buy bagels in their chosen language.

        • "No wonder French culture is dying"

          Eat another chimichanga and go back to watching Jon and Kate +8.

      • Why the heck would you expect your bagels to be provided in French? Yiddish, Hebrew, whatever. Get your cheese and your pain in french, but bagels are not the slightest bit French to begin with.

        • So I should speak italian in order to buy pasta??? Wow you must have a 200+ IQ!

          • Yes, if you're buying pasta in Italy, you should speak Italian. If you're buying it in East Side Mario's, speak whatever the heck you like.

  2. It's very humiliating to buy an english bagel.

  3. You'd think once the whiny angryphones had moved to Toronto, they'd become interested in something else. Like..oh, I don't know…Toronto?

    • I suppose a Francophone can be an "angryphone." I still never imagined I'd be lumped in with them.

      And no, no one ever becomes interested in Toronto.

      • Sorry, I confused you with the other one…Dupond.

      • Or at least, anyone who does is immediately advised to get out and see the world.

  4. Deux pains ronds hasidiques aux pépins de sésame, svp. See? That isn't so hard.

    I used to live halfway between Fairmount and St. Viateur. Decided I preferred St. Viateur. Ate a lot of bagels.

    • The real poser here is whether this counts as progress or regress in the city's Franco-Judeo relations.

    • Will give that a try next time I pass by there. Will report on the quizzical looks I get in response. From the French guys in line with me.

  5. Here, let me take a crack at this…

    <point at the bagel I want while wearing a beret>

    see? easy!

    • But how do you hold up twelve fingers?

  6. sad to read an article like this so many years after "languague equality" was reached in Quebec and then spread across Canada–Perhaps one of the biggest consequences of Bill 101 was the mass exodus of Montreal's English (and often billingual) youth who were forced to leave their hometown and family behind in search of better political climate in which to raise their own families.

    • They're still leaving, cuz anglos can't get jobs in Quebec.

      • Yes they can. They're the bilingual ones.

  7. Handy, dandy, Google translation tells me – "Je voudrais six bagels, s'il vous plaît." So was it the lack of a word for bagel M. Valois is feeling is lacking, or the capability of using the french words around it?

    • Well, then, what you need is the Grand dictionnaire terminologique helpfully created by equalization-supporting Canadian taxpayers from the have provinces. Sorry, Paul, "bagel" is baguel, and not pain rond hasidique…


    • Well, then, what you need is the Grand dictionnaire terminologique helpfully created by equalization-supporting Canadian taxpayers from the have provinces. Sorry, Paul, "bagel" is baguel, and not pain rond hasidique…


  8. Poke him a bit harder. Shouldn't be that difficult to elucidate the real reason he is annoyed about bagel provision in Montreal: all the k***s don't know their place. They'll never be 100% pur laine, but maybe once Vichy 2.0 is installed in Quebec Valois can get his wish.

  9. Why don't they toss the anglos into internment camps and get it over with.
    If they're gonna whine about bagels, you know there is no end.

  10. I'm happy to order in any language. In Tokyo I order "bagels" in Japanese. They taste pretty good too. I understand the guy in the shop I frequent comes from Montreal. He speaks three languages and seems well adjusted.

  11. So, that fat lady at Eaton's? Now you know where she stocked up on her carbs…

  12. From my experience as a Toronto tourist who didn't have that Montreal instinctive sense of what language to speak before the employee speaks first, the first thing the old guy in St-Viateur will say to you if he doesn't know your language is an enthusiastic (if terribly accented) "Bonjour Monsieur". Which suggests that even leaving aside one's political views, our friend Mr Valois' empirical premise is false.

  13. Vien à St-Boniface tu peux les commander en français!

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