On Quebec and Andrew Potter: Tread carefully, Canada

In many countries an unpopular idea can prove costly. But not in Canada, the champion of academic freedom and free speech…. right?

McGill campus at night. (John Kelsey)

McGill campus at night. (John Kelsey)

I received a text message a couple of days ago. It began “Tread carefully, Scott”. And it went on to warn me against circulating a column written by Andrew Potter.

Potter is a friend. He’d just written a short essay for Maclean’s decrying the decay of Quebec. It was a mixture of data and anecdotes and it proposed a new way of explaining the chronic dysfunction of that province. Typically when an “outsider” (in this case an Anglo living in Montreal) criticizes Quebec, there is an immediate and predictable reaction. Quebecers are indignant and scream “That’s racist!” and other Canadians cringe and whisper “That’s insensitive.”

We’ve been on this ride before, at Maclean’s. In 2010, a cover story about Quebec’s endemic corruption led to a formal rebuke by Parliament. (And was then followed by years of more corruption scandals and trials.)

So the SMS message I received was not surprising. And perhaps the intentions were good—a friendly warning to make sure I didn’t side with a bad argument. But those words, “Tread carefully”, were infuriating.

I’ve heard them before, in other places. I lived in Southeast Asia for a while, in countries that were split deeply by ethnic and religious divides. As a diplomat, there were many issues that required me to step gingerly. The wrong idea, the wrong word, could fall on the wrong ears and create painful complications at best, or endanger people at worst. Those who had lived in these places longer than me would warn, “Tread carefully”.

In those years I worked with democracy activists and human rights advocates who needed to watch their words far more than I did. They knew that new ideas or even simply honesty, could be very dangerous. I used to talk to one priest in particular, who stubbornly refused to “tread carefully”. Father Hilario didn’t so much speak truth to power, as shouted it into their spittle-flecked faces. They killed him with a grenade.

Later in Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, I spent time in other countries where political debate was impossible. If you upset the wrong crowd, or if you made a politician uncomfortable, you could lose your job. You could be run out of town. Or worse. Even the most innocuous ideas could get you in trouble, and questioning or challenging another ethnic or linguistic group was all but impossible. In so many of those places, the press was free to write whatever they wanted, as long as it didn’t upset anyone. Journalists picked their way delicately past all but the most innocuous subjects.

But not in Canada. This is the new world. We are champions of free speech. Our campuses, our papers and our parliament are filled with debate and ideas and it can get angry and people are bruised. But we don’t need to “tread carefully” here. We understand the central importance of academic freedom, and the need to be able to test out unpopular notions. They may be wrong. But they may also end up being right. And when they are, we all move forward as a result. We pity those countries where the mob and their political puppets can pressure a university into forcing the resignation of a professor with an unpopular idea.

But not in Quebec. Not at McGill. There, Potter’s column sparked a wave of self-righteous fury, and indignant rebuttals. Politicians got involved. Several high-ranking officials called McGill to voice their unhappiness. Potter attempted to defuse the rage with a mea culpa and a retraction. But this is Quebec. This is McGill. He was forced to go through the ritual “resignation” —stepping down as head of his institute. (He kept his professorship at the university.) His ideas were too dangerous. He had upset another linguistic group. He had offended the wrong people.

Potter will do fine. He is one of Canada’s smartest and best writers. He is not unemployed. He is not in jail. He is not dead. This tempest knocked over his tea-cup and moved on.

But McGill and its principal, Suzanne Fortier, they will not do as well. They could have been silent. Instead, their actions have damaged their own reputations. Other academics will now feel threatened. The school’s star will begin to fade a little. And Quebec, long seen as a province unable and unwilling to look in the mirror, will look a little more provincial, a little more intolerant, a little more pathetic. But not as pathetic as the many Quebecers who were demanding Potter’s resignation. Diogenes said the mob is the mother of tyrants. In this case, the mob is the mother of fools.

The real losers though may be us. Canadians. Especially Canadians who want to debate new ideas. Maybe that message I received was right. Maybe now we do need to “tread carefully”.

Or, maybe we need to tell people who think so, they can just f–k off.


On Quebec and Andrew Potter: Tread carefully, Canada

  1. From a Canadian
    l will no longer stand quietly by and let Radical Islam put down roots in my Canada…
    l will resist their attempt to take away my free speech
    l look at Greece
    l look at Italy
    l look at Germany
    l look at France
    l look at England
    l think to myself why would l want this outdated farce in my Canada….
    why would l want Sharia Law in my Canada…
    why would l want no go zones in my Canada…
    why on earth would someone even consider this in this day and age
    Why should Canadian women cower in fear that Sharia Law might gain roots in Canada
    lm guessing that politicians have gotten so desperate for votes their now willing to sell out ordinary Canadians and their values for a few votes no matter where or how they get them
    lm all for responsible immigration….
    This push to fill my Canada with radicals is not responsible immigration !!
    when they pull up to the Canadian Border in a taxi only to be directed by US Customs where to go and cross illegally into Canada l can only shake my head in disbelief
    Why should we take these folks in when they break the law to get into Canada trying to jump the queue that other folks have waited years to get in….
    L think a wise idea would to be to slow down on the Islamic immigration into Canada until we see how Greece,Italy,France and England work out.
    Gotta be honest here…dosnt seem to be working out to well over there folks…am hoping Canadians are smarter than l give them credit for at this point
    This is your future folks…choose wisely
    l will no longer stand by quietly on the sidelines and see my Canada given away for a few simple votes
    l will engage my family
    l will engage my friends
    l will engage my coworkers
    l will ask them to also engage their own familys…their own friends and their coworkers as well
    l will not go quietly into that dark muslim night….

    A Canadian

    • Well said

      • Emily, my dear — print this copy off and tell them I published it, too. You might as well play you “OOOOO, I am going to tell Big Brother games” on two Canadians . “Two for the price of one”…imagine…!

        “Bravo!” Comox Courtenay.

        From a Canadian
        l will no longer stand quietly by and let Radical Islam put down roots in my Canada…
        l will resist their attempt to take away my free speech
        l look at Greece
        l look at Italy
        l look at Germany
        l look at France
        l look at England
        l think to myself why would l want this outdated farce in my Canada….
        why would l want Sharia Law in my Canada…
        why would l want no go zones in my Canada…
        why on earth would someone even consider this in this day and age
        Why should Canadian women cower in fear that Sharia Law might gain roots in Canada
        lm guessing that politicians have gotten so desperate for votes their now willing to sell out ordinary Canadians and their values for a few votes no matter where or how they get them
        lm all for responsible immigration….
        This push to fill my Canada with radicals is not responsible immigration !!
        when they pull up to the Canadian Border in a taxi only to be directed by US Customs where to go and cross illegally into Canada l can only shake my head in disbelief
        Why should we take these folks in when they break the law to get into Canada trying to jump the queue that other folks have waited years to get in….
        L think a wise idea would to be to slow down on the Islamic immigration into Canada until we see how Greece,Italy,France and England work out.
        Gotta be honest here…dosnt seem to be working out to well over there folks…am hoping Canadians are smarter than l give them credit for at this point
        This is your future folks…choose wisely
        l will no longer stand by quietly on the sidelines and see my Canada given away for a few simple votes
        l will engage my family
        l will engage my friends
        l will engage my coworkers
        l will ask them to also engage their own familys…their own friends and their coworkers as well
        l will not go quietly into that dark muslim night….

        A Canadian

    • The authorities have a copy of your original post.

      • Ironic – the title of the article is “Tread Carefully, Canada”.

        Did you miss the irony???

    • I agree.
      I will not tolerate people spreading hate, religious or otherwise.
      I will not tolerate intolerance, from anyone no matter how “more Canadian” they think they are.
      I will not tolerate those that take away free speech, unless that speech does nothing but spread hate.
      (got to hate those messy contradictions, ‘eh?)

      I look on with pride when Canadian cops help a border-jumping family across a snowy field, and then politely arrest them. I think of how much more Canadian that is than that Hungarian reporter kicking families as they ran from the police. I am a proud Canadian, and this makes me prouder still. And, yes, when the Canadian government deports 10,000 failed refugee claims a year, I’m okay with that too. I am not afraid of refugees; those that deserve to stay can. But, if their claims are not reasonable, then so be it. This respect for the law is also very Canadian.

      I too very much want to avoid having no-go zones in our country. That’s why I support initiatives to reduce poverty, especially on our reserves. If you want to stop the growth of radicalism, that’s the high priority target you should be concerned about. That’s where the angry young men are, and they have good cause to be angry. It’s long past time we did something positive about that.

      I am not afraid of immigrants. We have a very good immigration system in Canada, likely the best in the world, and we all benefit from it. Yes, I give much credit to the Canadian government for crafting such a good system. I credit our past politicians that saw far enough into the future to realise that the only way we would prosper as a country was through multiculturalism. I credit them for having the proverbial balls to push it through, past the objections of those that can’t see the truth or are too afraid to face it.

      I will engage those that spread fear or hate of others. Canada is great because of multiculturalism. We’ve been a multicultural nation for decades and it has worked out exceptionally well. I am not afraid.

      • Hi, David
        1) in 2008, the Auditor General chastised the Canada Border Service and Immigration Canada for allowing 44,000 people who had been refused the right of entry into Canada to “become misplaced”. 44,000 people who had been refused entry, just “gone”. Yes, some may have left …but many probably didn’t
        The Auditor General said that this high number of people weakened the Immigration system of which you are so proud. The AG also said that this many people running around un-accounted for weakens our national security.
        This year, rather than having got the problem under control, the number has jumped to 46,000.
        2) How dare you suggest that “the angry young men” are of First Nations heritage. The First Nations peoples of this country have been remarkably, astoundedly patient with our double-speak, our hypocrisy, and our broken promises. If the day comes that the First Nations peoples do rise up, well – it will have been long over-due. But their elders always advise patience….
        No, you really do need to turn off the CBC, and put down the Globe and Mail, and find a source in the Mainstream Media that will actually tell you the truth about the “angry young men” who are rampaging through Europe like the aggressive brutes that they are. (Yes, I know — it will be hard for you to find a source for this honest reporting — and you probably don’t want to see it , anyway. You are definitely who doesn’t want to be bothered by the facts, because your mind is made up.
        4) Comox Courtney, myself, and millions of other Canadians have said that they do not WANT a Canada in which, by 2050, less than half of the citizens will be white. That number comes from Statistics Canada. You will just have to forgive us that we like being around people who share the same history, the same culture, and ,yes, who look like us. This is not “racism”, it is common sense and human nature — to surround yourself with your own herd.
        I am happy for you that you have prospered in this diverse country of ours. Others have not, and we are tired of being burdened with the responsibility of all of the world’s woes. When you can write in this space that all of the homeless are off of the streets, that all of our Seniors can feel secure that they can stay in their own homes as long as they are physically able to, and when you can tell me that Justin Trudeau has , in fact, kept his promise to put the First Nations peoples in their rightful place of dignity and honor, then I will be happy to hear you tell me how wonderful our country is. Until then, myself and millions of other Canadians are saying to the “establishment, that which Scott Gilmore says in his article : F*** Off .

        • Lindsay someone

          I didn’t read the Potter article, which seemed to be the subject of this article, but the author of this piece didn’t expand on it except to say it was about Quebec and academic freedom. Was it about academic freedom? I hadn’t thought of short essays in Macleans being about academic freedom even if they were written by academics. I thought that was more to do with academic research on controversial issues.

          I think what Scott Gilmore is talking about is the general way that society keeps all its citizens from taking less desirable perspectives on politics or social issues, or on life itself. It’s how people conform and influence others, through discouraging certain view points in themselves and others.

        • 1: Of the 10,000,000 or so illegals in the US, around 100,000 of them are Canadian. There are more Canadians living abroad illegally than others are living here, and you’re worried? 44,000 is small potatoes, even accounting for 1/10th the population. And, yes, they are here illegally. They are being looked for. They will be deported if they get caught. The big fight in the US right now is that they weren’t being deported. Do you see the difference? Canadians follow the law and enforce the law. The only real question is how much money you want to spend on doing it. There are diminishing returns on that investment.

          2: I agree. My point was that disproportionately worrying about Muslims in Canada is absurd.

          Yes, Europe has a problem right now. They are being swamped by illegal immigrants, only some of which are refugees, and they happen to be mostly young, male, and yes…Muslim. 50,000 a week on average. European countries also have an abysmal record of assimilating immigrants. We, because of our geography, are not faced with this problem, at least at that magnitude. We also have a much better record of assimilating immigrants and refugees. Unless the US ends up fighting another civil war, we are not going to have your “aggressive brutes” rampaging about in great numbers. Not going to happen.

          As for point 4… all the years I spent in school, teacher after teacher told me that, being a post-boomer, there would be no pension system and no health care when I got older. But, here I am, older and wiser, and the boomers didn’t use everything up. Why? Because the politicians were smart enough to realise we needed lots of immigrants to back-fill the economy. I’m glad so many decided to come here and help us make Canada one of the best places in the world to live. And, I for one don’t give a F*** what colour they are.

          • Well argued, David. I respect your opinions.

          • David English

            That’s a very middle class – privileged – position. And middle-aged, it appears. As a baby boomer, I can see how the upcoming generations are concerned about their futures, but I wish they wouldn’t take out their antagonisms and frustrations on the people who weren’t the ones making themselves wealthy. If you are truly content with how your life turned out, then it is very likely you who did the using up of valuable resources. As for Muslims and others coming over here, what’s done is done, but keeping on bringing them in is not the answer. I gave birth to and raised my 2.1 children. But there are many women who didn’t and who are the reason we have to bring in more from other countries who, like their colleagues here, think it’s right and just to treat the poorer members of society with disrespect – and to deny them health care that would enhance their life as they grow older. I see the same in your mentality. You aren’t one of those being pushed to the bottom.

            You think we are good at assimilating immigrants? You think Eurpope has problems because they are not good at doing so? Just wait a few years and see how many disgruntled immigrants there are in Canada. Oh wait – Trudeau is wanting to bring in only the educated and well-off. He’s not stupid. The disgruntled are going to be long-time Canadians and youth who cannot get work, and the reason is not because they are not smart enough. It’s because those foreigners with money will get first chance at openings in universiities and at the great jobs in journalism, or education, or the professions. That’s how it works, David.

    • We get it Comox Courtney. You are an Evangelical white supremacist. You only want people who look just like you and worship the same as you do in the country. Your minions are just like you. Luckily neither you nor they are in the majority. You take every opportunity to repost this blog that you have repeatedly cut and pasted. It likely qualifies as hate propoganda but carry on. Bigots everywhere are applauding your narrow mind I am sure.

      • G Gage

        What exactly did Comox Courtenay say that you objected to?

        What in particular suggests to you that she is a white supremacist? (By the way, is there a hate law against people who put down white people or people raised Christian or who celebrate Christmas?)

        I read her post to mean that she wants the immigration issue to be looked at carefully. We have had many thousands of immigrants come here each year. It is problematic to think this can continue indefinitely without seriously considering the consequences. I am not a bigot but I my wellbeing has been undermined by people from foreign countries (as well as by white real-supremacist Canadians who see their wealth as making them superior to others).

        Gage – you have described comox’s intentions. But what has she actually said that got you going?

    • Comox – your attempt to detract us from the real subject matter – the monstrous fact that Quebec is a disgrace of human and Charter rights abuses riddled with illegal ‘ethnic cleansing laws’ – does nothing other than demonstrate how easy it’s been to brainwash an entire population into turning against our fellow human beings because OMG they’re not your clone. Your post makes it clear “fanaticism comes in all stripes” and if you think you’re better than that – know you are not. Shame on you and no you are not what Canadians and stand for.

      • Didi Miesen

        You claim to know the “real” subject matter of this article, but it would appear that the real issue is academic freedom, or in this case – a carelessly written piece for Macleans – thus, freedom of speech. The conclusion of this article follows through on that:

        “The real losers though may be us. Canadians. Especially Canadians who want to debate new ideas. Maybe that message I received was right. Maybe now we do need to “tread carefully”.”

        The anecdotal description of the essay to Macleans is just an example. And it does detract from knowledge of Canada’s historical roots of both England and France (and Europe in general (following the original inhabitants’ development of this land), and how far we have come. I think you are one who should take a look at what our country does stand for, and not simply make French and English the problem. Are we to lose our country’s culture completely to other cultures that may in time have the power to do whatever they like?

    • What this bit of bigotry has to do with Potter’s critique of Quebec is a mystery to me, regardless:

      From a Canadian
      I will no longer stand by and allow bigotry and xenophobia to put down roots in my Canada …
      I will resist their attempts to scape goat peoples and lie about them.
      I will look at the world.
      I will remember when Jews were denied safe haven in Canada.
      Why would I want hate and intolerance to pervade my society?
      Why would I accept lies about no-go zones, and the imposition of Sharia law when the there are no such risks?
      Why would I accept this evil nonsense when 1.1 million Canadians fought it between 1939 and 1945?
      Why should any woman cower in fear because of her religious beliefs?
      Why would anyone want to refuse a refugee in a country where refugees seeking asylum are subject to the most rigorous vetting of anyone?

      Lord, this is tiring and I may as well get to the point. Comox Courtney your words form nasty bit of paranoia and ignorance. Your comments are ripe with lies and the transductive reasoning of the far right and while you have the rights to your opinions, so do I. I find your rambling to be deeply offensive and will do battle with your type of dangerous rhetoric where ever I find it’s malevolent presence.

  2. The problem was not that Quebec was criticized all those years ago…….it was that no one else was.

    All provinces have crime, corruption, malfeasance and chicanery.

    But Quebec supposedly won the prize in a non-existent contest!

    If I was Quebecois I’d be peeved too.

    • Perhaps, but how come it is always Quebec we hear about when it comes to corruption. Probably because it is true.

      • Only one province in ten has this problem? Be serious.

        • I heard a story from a Quebecois worker.

          When he goes under an underpass he wears a hard hat; when he crosses a bridge over the St. Lawrence he wears a life vest.

          Corruption and a poor concrete mix is a way of life in Quebec
          When a British Columbian bragged that one mile of the Fraser Canyon Highway cost $1million due to the horrendous mountain terrain, the Quebecer said, “Maudit, one mile in Quebec costs $1million over flat land!”


      • Could it also be that you hear about corruption because Quebecers scream more loudly against it?

        When the ROC did not talk about aboriginal issues, did problems not exist in aboriginal communities? Today I read everywhere that the HoC has adopted M103, and I also read burried somewhere that some imam has been taped in a Montreal mosque while he was encouraging muslims to go and kill a jew. If I only read the headlines I would think islamophobia is a bigger problem than antisemitism.

        Recently CBC brought to light certain methods used by some bank supervisors and employees. I would love to know if there is a difference between Quebec and the ROC in those incidences. How do banks compare with Desjardins in their practices?

        Andrew Potter’s article was weak on facts and contained a link to StatsCan as a base to his arguments. The link eventually provides nothing. In academia, in journalism, that is unacceptable.

      • In Ontario we have the billion dollar ehealth scandal, the ORNGE scandal, various scandals with hydro including one where floods of complaints regarding overbilling were simply ignored. What about Grant Devine’s government in Saskatchewan – he and 12 members of his Cabinet were charged with fraud. Christie Clark in BC working hard for businesses including foreign companies. Forty years of Conservative government in Alberta – you know the guys who claim to be good financial managers but used up their Heritage fund instead of imposing a 2% sales tax while Norway also a petro state built themselves a billion dollar contingency fund.

        Potter’s article was biased, misleading and contained outrights lies (like being offered two bills in every restaurant). It was unworthy of an academic – especially the Director of Canadian Studies. Academic freedom should not mean abandoning academic standards.

    • Quebec is the author of their own ridicule. To blame it on the other Provinces is a lame excuse.

      What other Province has a full time staff of highly trained language police?
      Not only do they train their own language police — but they actually have magistrates that legislate language rules. Does the irony escape the Quebecois?
      Who cares about the font size of French words over English words? Who cares where French exists on a commercial sign vs. where the English is written? Quebec does!

      Quebec is not only the most pedantic Province in our Federation — but dare I say the Commonwealth?

        • very comment. much meme. true as phoque dough. much ignore, very woof.

        • Au contraire mon ami.

          It’s my knowledge of history that allowed me to make a very subtle point.

          Et vous etes tombre pour elle hamecon, ligne et lesthook.

      • No, Chip M. Québec is the most unique. Don’t you have police in your province who will hand out tickets to motorists who don’t observe the law? The language watchdog is the same: it’s there to ensure that the law is followed – as in any other law. Just because you may not like the law, it doesn’t make it any less valid.

        • This language law is very intriguing. Why is it that it is illegal for the ten other provinces not to have bilingual signs and yet it is illegal for Quebec to have Anglophone signs and for workers to speak English to one another on the job. Further, it is not illegal for persons to speak any language they wish in the other 10 provinces. We are bound to provide by law, government services in French. We provide schooling in many languages. We do not fear that English will be endangered. We do not treat those who speak French poorly but instead ensure we find interpreters to help them cope better and we have Francophone schools for anyone who wishes to attend no matter whether their parents are Francophone or not. Why do the other 10 provinces not require language police? Why is there no bigotry toward Francophones in those provinces? The handing out of tickets by language police sounds much like what Donald Trump is trying to achieve with his Muslim ban. It is an isolationist, bigoted and bullying way to force those who speak Canada’s other official language to speak the one that Quebec demands they speak. It is archaic.

          • It isn’t archaic; in fact it’s very modern. Your perception of ”bigotry” is odd. If there is no bigotry towards the francophones in other provinces, then all the more power to them. The bigotry in Québec is the subject of this Maclean’s article: the bigotry of Mr. Potter against Québec. And I don’t know why you bring up the language issue – Mr. Potter only made very subtle allusions to it. But since we’re on the issue, of course the other provinces don’t feel that English is endangered! There are over 330 million English speakers in North America! Hello? In the UK, Cornish, Irish, Manx, Welsh, and others are on the endangered list, and every effort is being made to ensure their survival (yes, they have language inspectors as well). Why not in Québec? 7 million vs. 330 million – that’s like attending a meeting of 100 people where 2 of them speak French. Is that too much to ask? I guess it is for some people.

          • Why is there no bigotry toward francophones in other provinces?! Oh god. Someone has been asleep.

            On March 9 2016 an article has been published on acadienouvelle to condemn a slew of outright hateful comments toward french speaking people in NB that were made on the CBC New Brunswick website.

            I am going to copy paste the examples that were given in that article :

            «The English won the battle of the plains of Abraham, but unfortunately lost the war. If the French want to be so elitist, please move to Quebec or better yet, take all your friends and move to France.»

            «Your correct. What shoud have been done is banish all the French to Louisiana.»

            «Imagine if all the Acadians were removed from NB , NS during the expulsion. Imagine how things would be much better. We wouldn’t be broke. We wouldn’t have to listen to all the crying.»

            «If anything this 2021 [se réferant aux jeux de la Francophonie] would be a perfect time to let the chiac-let alone the world know just what some of us English think about segregation/forced bilingualism/fake franco-phony… push the issue of segregation/forced bilingualism right back into their faces, plain and simple… sounds like a worthy plan.»

            «Great picture of her [Commissaire aux langues officielles du Nouveau-Brunswick]. Shows here as the franco-demoniac thing she is.»

            «Kris Austin and the People’s Alliance Party is the only party that will stand up for the people of New Brunswick and won’t be dictated from the 30 or more Francophone minority groups, that sneak behind closed doors like cowards away from the public with their me me attitude and demand what they want for themselves and the hell with the majority of the people who want important things done for the betterment of all the people of New Brunswick like, healthcare improved, help get…»

            «Show me a frenchman from France who can understand the french in NB and I’ll eat my hat.»

            «Segregation is alive and well here in New Brunswick !!! Next will be the daycares. This is a one way push with the agenda of power and control. The Francophone Elite will not stop until they have made this province into another Quebec. Divide and conquer and the majority of New Brunswickers sit back and do nothing. U of M should be proud of producing radicalized individuals such as Michel Doucet and Serge Rousselle!!!»

            «Closing the University de Moncton would help at solving a lot of the problems in this province.»

            «Between Irving and the french the province is sinking. Get rid of them both…»

            «Well among the two, I guess even Irving can wait a little bit, albeit how much they are not liked.»

            «Imagine this… The Acadian mafia in control of our justice system. Could it be anymore corrupt.»

            Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
            Anti-french and anti-Québécois sentiment is alive and well today.

      • Even if someone tried to explain why it matters, I doubt you would have the wisdom and intelligence to understand. If you did, you would already know why it matters.

  3. //But not in Canada. This is the new world. We are champions of free speech. Our campuses, our papers and our parliament are filled with debate and ideas and it can get angry and people are bruised. But we don’t need to “tread carefully” here.//

    Geez Scott, when was the last time you were on a university campus. It is political correctness run amok, with the need for safe spaces to protect vulnerable young minds from ideas.

    CBC hasn’t put a real conservative on the air for years. They put on clowns like Cherry and O’Leary and faux conservatives like Coyne. There is no real debate or venue for conservative ideas in the mainstream media in Canada.

    M-103 is “grooming” Canada for anti-blasphemy laws.

    Andrew Potter is “guilty” of Quebecois-phobia. Instead of debating Potter, they give him a mental disorder…a phobia…just like M-103.

  4. Academic freedom is about the right to pursue scholarship that rigorously pushes boundaries in the field to which you have devoted your life. It’s not about the right of untenured associate professors to publish shoddy, anecdotal op eds that wouldn’t be acceptable from an undergraduate. Even Potter knows he crossed a line. Do your friend a favour, Scott Gilmore, and let him preserve whatever credibility he has left by the doing the right thing.

    • Wrong, wrong and wrong again Julwat:. Potter DID NOT “cross the line”. He in fact exercised his Charter and Constitutional right and freedom to “Express his opinion” and furthermore to critique Quebecois political pathological Dysfunction with it’s outright criminal enactment and enforcement of “outright ethnic cleansing, racist and discriminatory beyond belief fascism against not only a major segment of the Provincial population but also against the rest of the country!!! What he did do that was wrong was naively believe that Quebec politicians abided by the same rules, regulations, laws of the land, sworn oaths and duty the rest of Canada’s Provinces not only abide by and honor but take for granted. That’s where he made the big mistake mon ami. He didn’t know what the 2 million non pure race franophone ‘Quebecois’… the Canadians still living in Quebeck not only know but have known for the past 35 ruled by madness years – and that is: Anglos, Allos are NOT ALLOWED to speak out… and if or when they dare do such a thing they will be severely punished and punished big time. Every non de souche Quebecker knows full well if or when they dare speak out against the lawless dictatorship Quebec has become – they’ll first and foremost be fired (that is if they even have a job) coupled with the same kind of media hate filled frenzy he was forced to endure!! Where he was ‘shoddy’, was that he only skimmed the surface in fact compared to what is and has been taking place all these “Maudit Anglais – C’est la fault de les Anglophones et autres freaking Quebec national anthem decades!! And you dare use the word “credibility”? How on earth could you even know the definition of the word – when credibility was erased and beaten out of anyone who dared tried to live it – decades ago? So spare us your foam at the mouth outrage mon ami. It’s beyond deplorable.

      • If Potter was expressing a well-thought out argument or the results of research he conducted within the university, then the subject being discussed is academic freedom. But if it was just a not so well-informed piece written for a magazine (Macleans) then it was just an opinion, just like the ones non-academic people write in comments’ sections, but he gets to write his for the magazine and get paid for it because he is supposed to be qualified to do so. It sounds like he didn’t take his piece too seriously when he wrote it and got it published. It’s probably a good example of complacency, and taking his academic credentials for granted.

  5. From a Canadian
    l will no longer stand quietly by and let Radical Islam put down roots in my Canada…
    l will resist their attempt to take away my free speech
    l look at Greece
    l look at Italy
    l look at Germany
    l look at France
    l look at England
    l think to myself why would l want this outdated farce in my Canada….
    why would l want Sharia Law in my Canada…
    why would l want no go zones in my Canada…
    why on earth would someone even consider this in this day and age
    Why should Canadian women cower in fear that Sharia Law might gain roots in Canada
    lm guessing that politicians have got

    • Oh spare us your anti muslim tirade. What say you take a good look at your own kitchen and clean that up before you look anywhere else – starting with Quebecois Anglo hate – erase all English fanaticism turned into a freaking law – that has destroyed multitudes of lives and the very Province itself? Or what you didn’t notice? Gee where have I heard that before?

      • Oh don’t you EFFING dare you hypocrite. Go reread your goddamn history and by that I don’t mean knowing dates. I mean read about your own ancestors, what they did and what they thought.

        The English always had a superiority complex about them. In their eyes, their culture was the best sht ever, everyone else’s culture was inferior and they saw it as their moral duty to convert everyone to their “superior” culture. What’s worse is that the American Revolutionary War has sent to Canada all the little Loyalists that were high as a kite on this ideology of English cultural superiority. A whole 40 000 of them. After French and Indian war, the English sent all the French elites back to France, leaving the French population gutted of their best minds and educated people.

        Ever since the English have been here, they have judged the French as inferior, as people that needed to be “civilized”, assimilated into their oh so superior culture, constantly putting them down, dismissing them, mocking them, deriding them, being patronizing, paternalistic. It was outright racism no longer than 50 years ago. FIFTY YEARS AGO, anglophones, in all their anglo-supremacist glory, were still telling francophones to “SPEAK WHITE” and refusing to hire francophones for anything other than low paid menial work and even sometimes refusing to serve them in their shops. Yeah I bet you didn’t know that. Or maybe you did, but you tried really hard to convince yourself that it wasn’t true because then you would have to admit you were wrong all along. So here’s how things were no longer than 50 years ago : The anglophones were in a better position than the francophones and they treated the francophones like sht. Then the quiet revolution happened and we took you a peg down or 2, as it ought to be. We took control of our institutions, put an end to your discriminatory BS thanks to Bill 101 forcing the use of French on the workplace and in public signage so the other 80% of the population could have a chance at a good job, understanding what they’re looking at and feeling at home in their home. Who knows, maybe if you hadn’t acted like complete shtheads and treated us with respect, consideration and as your equals, things would be better today. But you didn’t. So here we are today. You are now bitter because you have lost control. You still try to put us down, mock us, deride us, you’re still patronizing and paternalistic because deep inside you still think you’re better than us. This anglo-supremacist feeling is still alive and well today. It constantly rears its ugly head through POS hateful disguising as “critical” articles like this one, the one Potter wrote and other articles that are usually written by people who often never even set foot here, don’t speak French and YET, still think they know how our problems and how to run our things better than we do. It rears its ugly head in comments on various articles on the Internet whenever Québec is the subject of it (google qc8anddoublestandards for a long list of examples). It rears its ugly head when French communities elsewhere in Canada try to have services, funding or recognition and are met with opposition from anglos who like them better when they’re just being English like everyone else and not asking for anything special. It rears its ugly head when people accept British-Columbia’s refusal of the pipeline but when it comes to us to refuse, it suddenly becomes unacceptable and you try to shame us into accepting it by accusing us of threatening Canadian unity (Elizabeth May called out this BS double standard by the way).

        Shaming… that’s a new tactic you developed in the last decades. Since we are now in control in this province and you can’t just outright control what’s happening anymore, you now have to resort to trying to shame us into doing or not doing whatever pleases you and BOY do you do it often. You just did it when trying to reject the responsibility of your own hateful and supremacist actions and attitude on us and posing as poor, poor little victims of the evil Québecois. How many times have I read people comment that Québec was the laughing stock of THE WORLD, no less, for whatever is the current subject of discussion? Too many times to count despite how ridiculous it is.

        So how about you try this on for a change : Take ownership of what you did and are still doing and stop doing it. YOU stop the Québec and French hate that you started. Things are not going to change as long as you people will refuse to recognize that YOU have been the ones doing the bullying all along, that it never stopped and that the Québecois have only been reacting to it and trying to protect themselves from YOU. We don’t trust you and you have given us every reason in the world to be defensive.

  6. I honestly can’t tell if Rogers / MacLean’s is joking or if they are just mentally deficient. This article is a thousand times worse than Andrew Potter’s piece of garbage. What the actual living phoque ? Do you really want the FLQ back ? ‘Cause that’s how they get back to work. Years of work. Down the bin. We hate you equally but we keep it to ourselves. We can behave. Now this. You stupid phoques.

    • By the way I initiated a boycott of Rogers/FeedHoe (Fido) in Québec. Good phoquing luck MacLean’s. You will go Lean, no doubt !

      • I like Macleans and have subscribed to it on and off for decades but every few years they publish garbage like the Potter article. I remember in the 90s I cancelled my subscription when they published an article by Barbara Amiel in which she said that Israel would be perfectly justified in bombing Europe if it didn’t get its way on some issue or other. In the 2000s they had conspiracy theorist and Islamophobe Mark Stein as a regular columnist. Now this piece of garbage.
        As one commenter on this thread so aptly stated “Academic freedom is about the right to pursue scholarship that rigorously pushes boundaries in the field to which you have devoted your life. It’s not about the right of untenured associate professors (and even less so department heads) to publish shoddy, anecdotal op eds that wouldn’t be acceptable from an undergraduate.” Academic freedom should not mean abandoning academic standards.

        • Relayer76
          Well said. I wrote my own comment (in a response) on the matter of academic freedom here too (as well as about conforming to society’s unspoken rules). I don’t see one piece in a magazine as being something to do with academic freedom. But I do see the email Scott Gilmore mentions being about conforming to soceity’s norms or else.

  7. I make an effort to learn your language. I try. And there you are, you just shat on my ancestors graves. I should ‘just f-k off’. Sure. Watch and learn. Revenge is a dish best served from my great-grandchild. If you say truce, I say truce. Otherwise, phoque right off.

    • here’s my problem with your attitude, Sam. At the turn of the 19th century, French was the most common European language of the Mississippi watershed. Then Napoleon sold “Louisiana’ in order to fund his wars with the English. The Americans made no overt efforts at preserving the French language in their new territories. Hence, 200+ years on from Lewis & Clark, there is no French spoken down the Mississippi.
      Meanwhile, in typical British decency, the vanquished French in what became Canada were granted what amounts to a cultural enclave, where there exists to this day a unique society. The irony is that the French of Quebec have never managed to show a hint of gratitude for the ironic fact that British decency has allowed for the preservation of the remnants of New France, complete with that nasty streak of anti-Anglo bigotry.
      But we’re tired of that crap, Sam. Had their not been special dispensations for the French community within a British territory, had the French been treated within Canada as they were within Louisiana post-Madison, there would be little French, if any beyond a smattering here and there (i.e. modern day Louisiana), spoken anywhere in Canada. You have a different language solely because people your ancestors lost a war to were imbued with a profound sense of decency and honor.
      There is a great deal of aggravation within Anglo Canada over the attitude of the French. It stems largely from the fact that the French claim an oppression that is wholly imaginary. One simply has to imagine that the French had been the victors in the battle for Canada. Anyone with a basic understanding of history will know that the French would not have encouraged the existence of an English/Protestant cultural enclave within the Republic of New France. Not by a long shot. Then there’s the hard reality that is exemplified by examining life around the world in former French colonies versus former British colonies. Simply put, the English language is the language of religious, political, and economic liberty. On average, life in formerly French colonies is harder, shorter, and more brutish than in the places where the Royal Navy planted the flag.
      All we want, in return for the fact that the people who gave us a British system of governance and a language that is rooted in the concept of liberty vanquished your ancestors, is some tacit acknowledgment that you people understand that you’re far better off having been given the history you have instead of the opposite.
      If you can’t do that, then by all means emigrate back to the place of your ancestors. I guaran-ass-tee that you’ll be much happier there for the generations to come.

      • Bill Greenwood wrote
        “All we want, in return for the fact that the people who gave us a British system of governance and a language that is rooted in the concept of liberty vanquished your ancestors, is some tacit acknowledgment that you people understand that you’re far better off having been given the history you have instead of the opposite.
        If you can’t do that, then by all means emigrate back to the place of your ancestors. I guaran-ass-tee that you’ll be much happier there for the generations to come.”

        You’re talking about the French in Canada, or could you also be referring to the indigenous peoples – except they are already home.

        I see what you’re saying about the good the English-speaking did, and you make a lot of sense and come across as quite rational and thoughtful. So it is at odds with the tone of your argument to use a phrase that has been condemned as racist when said to Muslims or other immigrants – if you’re not happy here go back home. Personally, I don’t see it as a racist remark. It makes a lot of sense to say that to people who are complaining about life here. But we must be careful about using such comments – who we say them to, in particular. We could be accused of being Islamophobic or something similar.

      • To tell someone who has been oppressed that it is “wholly imaginary” is very odd. I am not surprised to read a lack of compassion in your post mind you. You are obviously another very proud Canadian who will stretch the truth to make yourself feel at peace.
        The french language was easily abandoned by the US in 1800’s because of population alone. The English who had claimed Canada from the natives and mainly French who were already living there did let the french stay without war but allowing the French language to exist was not out of decency, it was impossible for the English to be in control of the language and number of people speaking french. They used other ways to try to make speaking their language difficult over the next century.
        History of European power is ugly. Period. The lands touched by the British are no better off than any others. Look at Iraq, Sudan,and what has gone on in South Africa. We should learn from that history and move on to the present. We live in a unique country with the relational potential to be very open, understanding, environmentally conscious, kind and full of intelligent people. It starts with getting history right (French Canadian and First Nations), learning from it, and then living in the present with the goal of respecting each other and living peacefully.

        • Firstly, Karita- Without special dispensations and accommodations, French would have died on the vine in Canada. In the absence of special protections under British rule, the French language would be a linguistic sandspit in a sea of English and Spanish in North America. If we had not made accommodations just within government; if we had simply made English language skills mandatory at all levels of federal employment, French would have slowly died out as it has in the USA.
          That hard fact alone makes the French claims of English oppression laughably silly.
          As for the second part of your comment, look at the British Commonwealth and the USA. If you live in an English speaking country, or in a country that used to be a British territory or protectorate, the odds are highly in your favor as having a greater degree of religious, economic, and political liberty than if your place of residence is a former territory or protectorate of France, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Germany, or even the Netherlands.
          Had we remained under French rule on into the 19th century, it’s likely that most of Western Canada would have become part of the USA in the Louisiana Purchase. The Great Lakes region would have languished as a territory governed from Paris until at least the end of WW1.
          Both of these things are reasons to rejoice that we are formerly British and not formerly French to the same degree.

  8. Canada is like a disfunctionnal family. We hate each other. We also love each other’s strength. I love BC’s natural resources and easygoing life. I hate BC’s we-do-better’s attitude. I love Alta’s entrepreneur spirit. I hate Alberta’s wasteful and corrupt corporate bias. FortMac fire was a sign from God! Environment is a finite resource. Stop wasting. I love Sask, I don’t know shit about it. Potash for life, I guess. Manitoba. Man, I’d be somewhere else now. No. Winnipeg by night is so nice. As nice as… Helsinki by night. Same but colder. Ontario, who doesn’t love wine and tramways ? Sorry that was a mighty stereotype. Quebec is boring to me. Atlantic Canada is awesome. I spent my childhood there. Peace.

  9. Academic freedom should not be a cover for shoddy work as it reduces instances of grave injustice. Just look at the Scholars at Risk network for examples of such violations of academic freedom that deserve the spotlight and attention.

    Andrew Potter tried to elevate obnoxious observations into some semblance of an argument about Quebec culture and failed, tabarnak.

    The follow-up argument offered here is more overwrought hand-wringing and is a bit rich. Really, you’re in danger for jumping on this bandwagon? Oh, please. Mediocrity all around.

    Dear Maclean’s: Find some new voices. Perhaps you could go beyond the middle-aged white male of privilege you so adore. There are much more intelligent perspectives on Quebec.

    • LOL… “….much more intelligent perspectives in Quebec”… you dare say? What like “ethnic cleansing”… being a law? What like ‘Quebec being deemed the most racist in the country”? What, like Quebec have deteriorated from being the richest province in the country into the poorest, from the best place to live – into the worst and most corrupt and I repeat most racist ? What, when an Anglo dares speak up the entire politico and their hate filled brainwashed Anglo and Canada hating cult goes stark raving mad, screeching he’s Quebeck bashing – and demands he be ‘burned at the stake’… Quebecois style? What, when goose stoming “Language Police”.. terrorize businesses and the maudit Anglo public into total fear filled submission? What, when le gouvernement declares hospitals French only and refuses to speak that ‘dirty English” to frail and helpless patients and screeches at them to: “Parles en francais maudit, c’es le loi!!!! What, when there is no place for any Anglo or Allo to go for help from being bashed, grotesquely discriminated against – because they no longer have ANY RIGHTS. What, when a young black man gets freaking arrested for dancing a jig and eating an ice cream? What, when all management – spokespersons, political positions refuse to hire Anglos? C’est le loi, maudit!!! What, when over 2 million Canadians (Anglo/Allo Quebeckers) today are forced to endure being held captive – be prisoners of everything the free world denounces and holds in contempt – racism, discrimination and illegal dictatorial laws – gone wild; all built on a foundation of Quebec pure race – hate those damn Protestant Anglos and immigrants, and muslims those labeled “les autres”… And the list of outright demented abuses that have resulted in to date – 600,000 Canadians being forced out of their jobs, their homes – their history skewed and warped and maligned 24/7 these past 40 grotesque ‘discrimination made legal years’? What, when Quebec RIGHTFULLY is the laughing stock of the world? What, where a mans life, career is destroyed because he DARED speak the TRUTH and you all applaud? What, where a WALL has been criminally erected to DENY the ROC entry or the right to live and work and thrive in English or French? And the list goes on…. And you define that as intelligent perspectives right? Real smart mon ami. Real smart.

  10. About the differences between English Canada and Quebec, here are some other facts :

    Religious attendance (aged 15 +):
    According to StatCan: 25% in Quebec against 32% in Canada… So I’ll make a Andrew Potter of myself and conclude that more Canadians than Quebecers don’t believe in Darwin’s evolution theory and in science

    According to 2011 census : 48.4 of Quebecers are bilingual against 33.7% of Canadians… So I’ll make a Andrew Potter of myself and conclude that Quebecers are more open to other languages than French than Canadians are open to other languages than English.

    Quebec is the province with the highest income tax in Canada… So I’ll make a Andrew Potter of myself and conclude that social solidarity of Quebecers is higher that social solidarity of Canadians.


    • If Andrew Potter were a student, any self-respecting prof would have given him and F. He’s lucky McGill did not fire him. People pay over $1000 a semester for a university course. They deserve better than this.

      • Of course he would have been given an F in Quebec. After all he’s an Anglo and dared have a management position in an English (supposed English) University – Good grief how did he happen to slip through the wall of “No Anglos allowed or hired”? You fail to mention the REAL world that respects and honors human rights and freedoms, he of course would have been given an A++.

    • Guy, why on earth would you assume that “religious attendance” equates with science denial. You don’t know very much about the average church go-er in Canada. The evangelical neanderthals are a minority.

      • Why does this exercise in pearl clutching (oh, were it only so innocent) remind me of Voltaire?
        You know, “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you’re not allowed to criticize.”
        However, not being allowed to criticize the French is going to be replaced by not being able to criticize the Muslims. Oh, what will the French ever do when they find their place at the top of the pecking order has been usurped?
        I’ll stock up on popcorn. Aaand, make sure my car is insured against fire.

  11. Loved the reference to Diogenes. And yes, the mob is indeed the mother of both tyrants and fools. Look south.

  12. This is the slippery slope that hate speech laws bring to an immature nation where feelings are as
    delicate as those of a 13 year old girl.

    • !3 year-old girls are much tougher than you think. But middle aged academics; that’s another story

  13. Shame on you Scott Gilmore, Andrew Potter, MacLean’s and McGill University. I am sharing my experience and feeling in as many online opinion outlets as possible. Andrew Potter’s hurtful and ignorant opinion is the second horrendous encounter I have had with McGill University in the last couple of weeks. I was appalled at the the behaviour of a group of Kinesiology students leaving Montreal last Thursday who were headed to Winnipeg for a conference. It was 7am and they were pouring bailey’s in their coffees, obnoxiously talking about ridiculous personal issues, using profanities constantly, making fun of a Quebecer’s french accent, and just generally acting like bunch of bullies. I feel so sad and disgusted that this may be the next generation coming out of English Montreal. I wouldn’t hesitate to blame people like Andrew for this. He is a disgrace to the idea of respecting each other as humans. It is incredible to me that someone feels they have the right attack another’s culture so aggressively and with such arrogance. I hope he is forced reflect, learn, and change. Shame on Maclean’s for publishing this type of banter and shame on McGill for harbouring people like this and then throwing them to the wind. I recently suggested to someone that I thought the French-English respect relationship was in some sort of positive reconciliation in Canada. On Monday this was sadly proven wrong. We now have an opportunity to discuss the reality of this relationship.
    The obsession that many people have with politics is one of impossibly differing radical opinions, greed, blame and hate.
    I believe and hope that there is more to life than this. I hesitate to have an opinion unless is has been verified and is respectful. I do not want to hurt others.
    This hateful rhetoric toward French Canadians is hurtful. The politics are another issue.
    MY experiences in with French Canadians has been one of spirituality, love, and knowledge of truth about our world and country. Many very important social concepts have come out of Quebec and are positively influencing Canadians.
    I feel that English Canadians have very poor relations and understanding of our two most prominent minorities, French Canadians and First Nations. We have not been educated with true information about the Canadian history of these two groups of people. We do not even realize the pain and crime that our ancestors inflicted in this country?
    French Canadians have a truly unique culture that lives on. They are a unique combination of people who enjoy the north american way of life like English Canadians, but they also have their very own language, ideals, events, knowledge, schools, art, music, and television etc. They do not distrust or dislike english people for the same reasons english people dislike or distrust the french. They have knowledge of and still feel the recent history of being oppressed and abused by the dominant and always rich and powerful English.
    What is going on with English Canadians?? Is English Canada a culture of lost identities? One driven by individualism, dominance, and economics? Are we subconsciously jealous of some of the ways of French Canadians? Are we afraid of them? Are we embarrassed that we can’t communicate with them? What are the true reasons for our negative feelings, politics aside?
    I believe our cultures’ history education is largely at fault. Are still we too proud to learn or teach the truth?
    We are all humans on this planet and in this country. We are all equally human. No one is inherently wiser and more worthy than another. Tread carefully and thoughtfully.

    • Thank you Karita for perhaps the most intelligent writing here. I think you touched on something that I myself have been wondering about for the longest time. Whenever you ask a Québecois what a Québecois is, he or she will unhesitatingly tell you what it means to be one; but whenever you ask an English Canadian the same question (what is a Canadian), they always tell you that they’re not Americans. Knowing who you are is very different from just knowing who you are not. I tend to actually think that there is some form of jealousy here, like a woman who wants a divorce/seperation from her husband, only to hear him possessively say that she will never make it alone, that she is not good enough, that she will suffer etc.

      • YAWN – typical cut & paste Quebecois “Let me tell you what happened to me… when I had an encounter with an Anglo.. ( in your case your ridiculous repeated last weeks tale of pauvre mois . I heard an Anglo insult my Quebecois accent etc”… Coupled with your “Oh The Horror” Heart of Darkness spew. Decades of “Tell a lie long and often enough and it becomes a truth” (Goering) outright demented hate filled “Divide and Conquer” propaganda is in fact oozing out of your very pores mon ami. Parroting the disgusting Quebec special ‘educate the youth’ to hate Anglos, hate those immigrants, hate Canada and then adding the ‘icing on the cake’ to justify it with lecturing us about how distinct and special Quebec is the LIE about how francos were “oppressed” hundreds of years ago… and that is the reason “They ALL must be severely punished” because of course your great uncle told you – the Eatons saleslady told him to speak white.. right?
        Keep on posting your very special versions of Quebecois history and your special resulting insights and your very special ‘justifications’ of why Ethnic Cleansing is the LOI in Quebec .
        Newsflash: You mon ami actually know nothing about the REAL history of Quebeck or for that matter of Canada or for that matter about “Human Rights” or the “Truth”. I do though really pity any children you may have. Hopefully thanks to social media they’ll get lucky and escape the nightmare of believing they are entitled to ‘superior rights’ or that they have a ‘cultural duty’ to ‘Save the French language’ and the way to do it is to “Erase the others off the map”. Love and hugs

      • Here’s what a Canadian is: A human being who either was born in Canada or immigrated into Canada and who settled in one of the ten Provinces of Canada and who helps or helps grow the country and believes in the Constitution and Charter Of Rights and Freedoms and that ALL CANADIANS ARE EQUAL. A Canadian embraces both Official Languages of the country and embraces and is proud of its ‘multicultural essence and spirit’. A Canadian denounces and is appalled and rejects racism, bigotry, discrimination against their “fellow human being” and understands the wonder and benefits of sharing “our differences”, of the wonder of embracing the beauty of our differences – just like the wonder of a garden of many species of plants and flowers – each contributing their unique gift to be shared with the whole. A Canadian believes in education, health care, reaching out a ‘color blind’ helping hand to those in need. A Canadian believes the more languages we speak – the better we become and the better our lives and spirits are enhanced.
        What is a ‘Quebecois” A. Lee? You say you know… but don’t explain it. How about enlightening us – Canadians, okay?. Merci beaucoup.

        • Didi Miesen. What you say is all very fine – on paper. Tell that to the Montréal anglos who complain that the parking signs should be in English as well because they can’t understand them. I’m talking about anglos who were born here. When I went to Germany for the first time, the first thing I did was to memorize the days and months in German, specifically for that reason. It took me 30 minutes while I was on the plane. Give me a break. Bonne semaine à toi.

          • You’re speaking to a Montreal Anglo/Allo and given I am at the very least 30 years older than you and have been a Quebecker and Canadian much, much longer than you – don’t start your demented and pathetic attempt to ‘justify’; or of all things sneer the question of why non pure laines Quebeckers demand to have their/our English language on OUR signage – in OUR offices – in OUR Institutions and wherever the heck they please!! What on earth is the matter with you? Do you actually believe Quebec is a different freaking country? Is that the result of the disgusting maitre chez nous education you had forced upon you? The same education that totally erased the rights, language, culture freedoms of fellow citizens who built not only the Province – but the country and who gave their lives to guarantee YOU your right to your language and culture – right alongside theirs ? You went to Germany you say – well little boy/girl I was born in Germany – I personally know what ETHNIC CLEANSING – and the political division of a population does – what the disgusting erasure of a segment of the population does! Something QC education denied you – resulting in beyond ignorant, arrogant and downright insane posts like yours! Give you a break? What for so you can continue to terrorize people into submitting to your pure race No Anglos allowed version of nirvana? I repeat – What is a Quebecois? Don’t change the subject – answer the question. Rest assured I KNOW what a “Quebecois”… is today. But you tell us or don’t you know?

        • I guess the inhabitants of Yukon, Nunavut and Northwest Territories are not real Canadians, then?

      • Okay proud Didi Miesen. I would imagine that it feels wonderful to be proud. Can you step outside of proud for a moment.
        I’m not a Francophone by the way. Here are some facts.
        Charter of Human Rights: 
Québec 1975 
Canada 1982
        Discrimination based on sexual orientation 
& Civil Marriage Act:
 Québec 1977 & 2000 (a first in North America)
 Canada (2005)

Ban on TV ads aimed at children under 12/
ban on fast food advertising:
 Québec 1978 (a first) (World) 
Sweden 1991
 Norway 2001
 Canada (0)
        Operation Red Nose:
 Québec 1984 (a first in the world) 
Switzerland 1990 
France 1991 
Canada 1996 (some provinces)

        Ban on pesticides: 
Québec 1991 (a first in North America)
 Canada 2001 (some provinces)

        Breakfast Club:
 Québec 1994 (a first in the World) 
Canada 2005
        Subsidized day care:
 Québec 1997
 Canada (0)
        Culture Days:
 Québec 1997 (a first in North America)
 Canada 2007
        Carbon Tax:
 Québec 2009 
B.C. 2009
        Dying with Dignity:
 Québec 2013 Canada (0)

        There is not too much to complain about in Canada when it comes to French Canadians and First Nations people. We should be glad we have such peaceful minorities. Maybe spend your hateful energy on something that will positively impact the world.

        More facts:
        English in Quebec are ~ 600,000
        French in Quebec are ~ 6.2 million
        French in Ontario ~500,000
        English in Ontario ~ a lot
        There are 3 english universities in Quebec funded by the whole province’s people (mainly french speaking).
        There are approx. 4 English hospitals.
        There are two partly French Universities in Ontario and one French hospital in Ottawa that was almost closed in the 90’s but a demonstration reversed that.
        We don’t hear very much complaining about these inequities.

        Parts of Vancouver want to adopt language protection laws like in Quebec to protect against the Chinese language influx. How can we blame Quebec for trying so hard to protect their language?

        It must be difficult for certain English people to feel like they have lost control. I can acknowledge that this learned expectation (power) of their culture is troubled. But it’s time to look at relationships in this world. Try to see the other side for once.

        You are free to and it would probably be appreciated if you only wrote competently in one language here. The unneeded back and forth verging on sarcasm and arrogance.

  14. Here we go again with the old two solitudes babble ,the difference between them is that in Quebec subjects like corruption is part of an everyday debate and is discussed in in the media , in the rest of the country it is done behind closed doors just like drinking too much. Mr.Potter was fired because he came to this province as a scholar with a great reputation as a journalist,was paid with Quebec taxpayers money, and wrote an article based on alternate facts and half truths ,a la mode these days.He should have kept his red neck rethoric for himself and the editor of his blog should have read it before publishing but no surprise here it’s McLean and Rogers .This type of Canada ” phoque me up ” …À little bit but I still love it , a life with no debate would be pretty “drabe” and we could not laugh it up.Keep on trucking Canada we are still better than many others except for the narrow minders in heartland US of A…Cheers ! Sante !

  15. Funny that Potter and Gilmore talk about “endemic corruption” in Quebec but never point out to the overwhelming responsible for this catastrophe, the Quebec Liberal party. The Quebec that Potter and Gilmore describe is a Liberal Quebec from head to toe. 15 years of too shortly interrupted power, a reign that has changed Quebec to what it is today. To Potter and Gilmore assertions I would like to point something they might have not seen and that is very, very troubling; court documents released earlier this month (in one of many trials about cronyism that implies QLP) in witch a provincial police officer explains how the SQ protected (and still does apparently) QLP MP’s up to the PM Charest himself. You can read the full court affidavit here : http://quebec.huffingtonpost.ca/steve-e-fortin/philippe-couillard-operation-diligence_b_15589826.html Yep. You can add the end of the stonewall between police/justice and power, of one of the foundation of a democratic society, to the list of shameful catastrophes the federalists have brought to this Quebec Potter and Gilmore describe.

  16. The same short-cut again. Mr Potter resigned (or so) as head of the Canadian Institute. I think it’s good since he showed a bias toward Quebec society (for which he apologised). Quebec is (still) an important part of Canada and he had the responsability of studying it. So, to me, as a former student at McGill, it seemed important that he would not stay as head of the Institute. Does he had the right to write what he wrote? As a professor? Yes, absolutely. Academic freedom is not at stake at McGill nor in Quebec.

    • Poitras,

      You ask, ” Does he had the right to write what he wrote? As a professor?”

      As a journalist, or as an op-ed contributor he had the right (Isn’t that what Macleans publishes – people’s opinions, or journalists’ interpretations of the news?)

      I don’t see that he was writing in Macleans as a professor. He was giving his opinion, that’s all. It was not a well-thought-out piece, obviously. But that’s how journalists write too. They don’t have a list of sources – their reference material. they’re the ones who make up the news, aren’t they.

      I see that in one short page-long piece of writing, Potter has been judged, as though everything he expressed in that article is everything he knows about French Canada. In academia, profs do research that takes years, and involves looking at the subject from a number of different perspectives, taking into consideration other academics theories and their research on the topic also. This is the value of writing a book on the topic, that can be reflected upon, and time taken to consider what was missed. that’s not what an article in Macleans accomplishes.

      Potter should not have been coerced into quitting his position. I can understand he would have no choice, when faced with the anger of people who judge him based on this one piece. People do that a lot, when reading the ideas of others, at times seeming to be seeking out that one mistake which they can use against him (or her). They don’t bother looking any farther, they don’t have to.

      It may have been bad judgement to write the way he did, but was it necessary to punish him to that degree, to force him to quit or never hear the end of it?