Quebec Votes 2012: The most dangerous election in decades

Martin Patriquin explains how the PQ’s not-so-subtle attack on English has stoked a disturbing return of identity politics

The blame game

Photograph by Rogers Lemoyne

Pablo and Andrea Morales consider themselves Quebecers. The pair arrived in the province from Mendoza, Argentina, in 2005 and settled in Pierrefonds, a suburb on the western tip of Montreal. The decision to come to Canada came in 1999, shortly after a man put a gun to Andrea’s side and demanded her wallet.

Because they hardly knew how to say hello and goodbye in French, the couple took language courses; in 2006, Pablo, 42, was proficient enough to get a job as a technician at a perfume manufacturer where, as he puts it, “We work 100 per cent in French.” That same year, Andrea, 39, began work as a daycare worker. Their spoken French remains a bit halting and tentative. It’s partly because they still speak Spanish at home, and because they realize how much their linguistic efforts have been overshadowed by their three boys.

Though all three were born in Argentina, Pablo Jr., 17, Ignacio, 14, and Tomas, 12, speak French like, well, born-and-bred Quebecers. It’s no surprise: under Quebec’s language law, immigrants and French Quebecers alike must attend French school. Practically their entire scholarly life happens in French, including some 4,600 hours of grammar and conjugation instruction by the time they graduate. They speak Spanish and English as well.

The elder Pablo gushes about the reception he had upon arriving here, how his neighbours welcomed him with open arms. And yet he still has the occasional, nearly imperceptible feeling that he’s sometimes excluded. I mention the PQ campaign slogan C’est à nous de choisir (“It’s for us to choose”) and he nods. “I don’t feel like I’m part of the nous,” he says, invoking the French word for ‘us’. “We always felt a bit different than Quebecers.”

Quebec will welcome as many as 53,800 new immigrants in 2012—a crucial part of the province’s demographic reality and, as its population ages, its future. Yet in the midst of the run-up to the Sept. 4 election in which the sovereignist Parti Québécois is leading the polls, just how these new arrivals fit into the French fact of Quebec has become a flashpoint of the campaign.

The PQ has promised to introduce a raft of laws ostensibly designed to shore up what Péquiste candidate Jean-François Lisée termed the “very grave” decline of Québécois de souche—literally, old-stock Quebecers—on the island of Montreal.These include a Quebec citizen test that would prevent any new arrival from running for elected office without an appropriate knowledge of French. A PQ government would introduce a “secularism charter” enshrining both the equality between men and women and the supremacy of French in Quebec.

And as Parti Québécois leader Pauline Marois said recently, the party would forbid Québécois de souche and immigrants alike from attending Quebec’s finishing schools, known as CEGEPs, in English—lest more people are lost to that language.

Other parties have played the identity card as well during the campaign. A candidate for the right-of-centre Coalition Avenir Québec said his party would reduce the number of immigrants Quebec accepts in order to stem what he called “the importation of unemployment.” Premier Jean Charest, meanwhile, wouldn’t outright condemn xenophobic comments pronounced by a small-town mayor, if only because it might cost him votes.

Yet it is the Parti Québécois, which has twice attempted to take Quebec out of Canada and plans on trying again should it win on Sept. 4, that has most harped on the supposed decline of the French language—even if most statistics suggest otherwise—in order to form a government.

In doing so, the party of Jacques Parizeau— who, after the loss of the referendum on Quebec sovereignty in 1995, blamed it on “money and ethnic votes”—has drawn the ire of many voters, French and otherwise, as well as federalist and fellow sovereignist parties. It has also drawn comparisons to the Tea Party and the Front National. “The PQ is going after the fibre identitaire [identity vote],” says Will Prosper, a candidate for Québec Solidaire and a community organizer in the immigrant-rich area of Montreal North. “It’s not just anglophones, it’s immigrants who feel the fear.”

The Parti Québécois of 1968 was much different than today’s incarnation. The result of a coalition between two movements, the Ralliement National (RN) * and the more moderate Mouvement Souveraineté-Association (MSA), the PQ has long struggled internally over the means to the ultimate goal of separation. In eschewing the more radical, English-baiting rhetoric of the RN, party leader René Lévesque was firmly in the moderate camp, and was privately reluctant to introduce Bill 101 for fear of alienating Quebec’s English population. Yet whatever worries he had were trumped by his determination to have the French majority flourish socially and economically in their own language.

He had two caveats: the law would not apply to CEGEPs and universities, nor to businesses with fewer than 50 people. Along with the bureaucratic nightmare this would entail, Lévesque “had a horror of imposing French signs on corner stores,” as Graham Fraser notes in his biography of the politician.

Today’s PQ will undo the two conditions set by its founder and de facto secular saint. The reason, according to PQ language and immigration critic Yves-François Blanchet, is because the situation has changed since Lévesque was in power. “Fundamentally it’s not an English versus French phenomenon, because our relations are more cordial today than 40 years ago,” Blanchet says. “It has more to do with the integration of immigrants.”

Trim, intense and blessed with a politician’s baritone, Blanchet is either a hero or a scourge, depending on which official language you happen to speak. A colleague once dubbed the former weightlifter “Goon,” for his rather direct speaking style, and the nickname has stuck to the 47-year-old Péquiste national assembly member who represents the largely rural riding of Drummond, east of Montreal.

“I’m not an ayatollah,” he says after finishing his 12-grain bagel at a Tim Hortons in his riding. “It’s the volume of English that bothers me.” He notes how his Tim Hortons cup isn’t up to Bill 101 code (it should say “Les Cafés” rather than just “Café” above the logo). Neither, he notes, is the Subway across the street or the Canadian Tire in town. He tells a story about how he was recently served by a unilingual anglophone at a Vietnamese restaurant in Montreal’s Rosemont-La-Patrie district, and how he spoke back in English even though he has a rule never to do so in Montreal.

“I did it without realizing,” he says, noting the transaction was very courteous, and a French-speaking employee immediately came to take his order when he asked. Nevertheless, he says the encounter reminded him that many immigrants tend to embrace English rather than Quebec’s official language. “An immigrant can get off the plane in Dorval, he’ll see that he’s landed not in a French society but a bilingual society. He’ll go outside into Dorval, one of the most English communities on the island of Montreal, and he’ll say, ‘Why would I need to speak French here? There is none!’ Then he’ll get into the job market and find it is as easy to get a job in English as it is in French. That is a calamity in terms of the French language in Quebec.”

The problem isn’t irreversible, he says. All it takes is a Parti Québécois government willing to impose its linguistic will on new arrivals by ensuring they must speak French in order to run for public office, as well as applying Bill 101 at the CEGEP level and to small businesses. Part of the reason, he says, is because French Quebecers have softened their wariness of the English language. “It has maybe made us let our guard down. And if you let your guard down, you invite a threat.”

The cost of policing the “threat” will be heavy. Under the current law, Quebec’s 6,000 businesses with more than 50 employees must abide by the French language charter; policing these large businesses takes 250 staff from Quebec’s language office. According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), roughly 85 per cent of Quebec’s 240,000 registered businesses have less than 50 employees. “They’ll have to hire an army of civil servants” to apply Bill 101 to small- and medium-sized businesses, says CFIB Quebec’s vice-president, Martine Hébert.

Already, policing the language in which Quebecers are served is a pricey affair. According to documents obtained by Maclean’s through an Access to Information request, the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF) recently spent more than $136,000 producing a series of reports on the use of French on signs and in businesses in Montreal. By most measures these reports suggest French is doing quite well in Montreal: it was available in 95 per cent of businesses in downtown Montreal.

Quebec immigration ministry numbers throw doubt on the contention that immigrants are relentlessly drifting toward English. Under a 1978 provision with the federal government, the province controls 75 per cent of the flow of “economic immigrants”—as opposed to refugees and family reunification applicants—coming to Quebec.

In 2001, under PQ premier Bernard Landry, 47 per cent of those immigrants spoke French; in 2011, the number had climbed to 65 per cent. The PQ’s 1989 platform notes how “70 per cent of allophones”—those whose first language is neither French nor English—“adopt English as their daily language.” Today, that number stands at 49 per cent, according to OQLF statistics. “It marks the first time since we’ve done these studies that the majority of immigrants chose French over English,” says OQLF spokesperson Martin Bergeron.

By refusing to acknowledge the linguistic strides of new arrivals to Quebec, the PQ is “pointing the finger at immigrants to say that they don’t speak French,” says Culture Minister Christine St-Pierre. “That’s false. It’s a way to engender fear.”

Examples of the rhetoric are abundant. Péquiste Bernard Drainville recently tweeted how urgent it was to reinforce Bill 101 because “less than 50 per cent of Montrealers have French as a first language.”

His colleague Jean-François Lisée was even more direct. “From the moment where there isn’t a majority of people whose first language is French, it means there is no majority to defend it,” he said in an interview for Mort Ta Langue (“bite your tongue”), a documentary about the future of French in Quebec. “We can be very attached to our second languages, but I won’t go protest to defend English or Spanish.”

Far from shying away from it, some believe this brand of ethnic nationalism is key to both welcoming immigrants and achieving sovereignty. Sociologist and columnist Mathieu Bock-Côté, whose recent book Fin De Cycle traces the demise of the movement, says the PQ’s fortunes are brighter now that the party has embraced the nous aspect of Quebec’s francophone majority.

Click here to read a transcript of Martin Patriquin’s interview with Mathieu Bock-Côté

“The day after the referendum, traumatized by Jacques Parizeau’s words, sovereignists convinced themselves of the ‘historical guilt’ of Quebec nationalism,” he says. “We found our history to be cloistered, closed in on itself, xenophobic even. Wrongfully, of course. I believe one thing: the more French Quebecers assume their identity, the more they will be attractive to new arrivals.”

Yet one need only sit around the Morales’s table for 10 minutes to see how Bock-Côté’s assertion runs into problems. Pablo and Andrea may love Quebec to pieces—and speak English about as well as your average Torontonian speaks French—but the couple seems almost quaintly Canadian nonetheless. Andrea remembers the day in 2010 when she received her family’s Canadian citizenship papers. “I cried when I heard O Canada. It was the cherry on the cake.”

It’s a common theme amongst new arrivals to the province. A 2011 Association for Canadian Studies poll suggests the majority of immigrants identify as both Canadians and Quebecers. It’s a nightmare scenario for Péquistes: arguably the largest source of demographic growth in the province considers itself Québécois, but with a hearty serving of Maple Leaf Canadiana thrown into the mix.

While careful to note how there are differing levels of radicalism—and the Parti Québécois remains, on this scale, relatively tame—columnist Jérôme Lussier says that by delving into identity politics, the party is in league with other nationalist movements around the globe. “You find a number of political parties and movements who have certain attitudes, like a skeptical view of immigration and multiculturalism, a fierce defence of traditional values and a willingness to use the power of the state to impose a ‘national identity,’ like Europe’s Front National, English Defence League, Sweden Democrats, as well as in the Tea Party movement in the U.S.”

Certainly, France’s Front National seems to share the PQ’s wariness of immigration’s effect on language and culture. “They have reason to be worried” about immigration, says Sylvie Verez, the Front National’s Canadian representative. “I think that we are seeing the beginnings of what we lived through in France. In France, we let things go on for too long. Immigrants who don’t integrate are very dangerous. We hear less talk about them here because they are a minority right now.”

The PQ’s virage identitaire, or turn toward identity, has been fodder for political opponents—including fellow sovereignist parties who say it has gone too far. Québec Solidaire, a left-leaning, Montreal-centric sovereignist party, recently blasted the PQ for its “worrisome” stance on immigrants. For Québec Solidaire candidate Will Prosper, born in Montreal to a Haitian father and a Québécois mother, the defection from the PQ is a family affair. Inspired by Haiti’s independence, Will’s father Donald Prosper became a member of the Parti Québécois in 1980. He worked for and remained loyal to the party until Parizeau’s infamous post-referendum “money and ethnic votes” speech in 1995.

“It completely ripped his heart out to hear those words from the leader,” Will says. “I’m born in Quebec. I grew up here. Am I part of the nous? You see that there’s still a problem with this within in the party. It’s why many people with ethnic origins don’t feel included in the vision of the Parti Québécois.”

Sitting at her dining room table, surrounded by her bilingual husband and trilingual kids, Andrea Morales laughs over how much different she is from her sister, who lives in Toronto. She is punctual, organized, stressed about making plans, while Andrea has a distinctly Latin way with time and spontaneity. “She’s such an anglophone,” Andrea says. “We get into fights over it sometimes.” It’s a Canadian two-solitudes mini-cliché, and for the Parti Québécois, the perfect conundrum: a family that is part and parcel nous, despite itself.

*an earlier version of this article said the Parti Québécois was the result of a merger between the Mouvement Souveraineté-Association and Rassemblement pour l’indépendance nationale. In fact, it was between the MSA and Ralliement national,  Maclean’s regrets the error.

[<a href="http://storify.com/MacleansMag/readers-respond-the-most-dangerous-election-in-dec" target="_blank">View the story "Readers respond: The most dangerous election in decades" on Storify</a>]




Browse

Quebec Votes 2012: The most dangerous election in decades

  1. This comment was deleted.

    • Back slowly away from the caps lock, Norman.

      • Yeah, Inkless, it’s yelling but that story needs yelling. Just to rep[eat an old western rant, “who cares?” Quebec has been crying wold for years just to get more goodies. General Murray should have done it differently but he didn’t.

        • correction. for “rep[eat” read “repeat” for “wold” read “wolf.”

          • Or you could have just used the Edit function…

      • you are so funny… i needed a laugh, thanks.

  2. A wee little detail, but as I was there in 1968…

    The PQ is not the result of a coalition between the Mouvement Souverainté-Association (MSA) and the Ralliement pour l’indépendance nationale (RIN). It was formed by the coalition of the MSA and the Ralliement National (RN) then headed by Gilles Grégoire, a former créditiste who eventually did become a PQ MNA but had to quit and “sit” as an independent from his jail cell.

    The MSA could not come to an agreement with Pierre Bourgault’s RIN. Following the creation of the PQ, the RIN voted to dissolve.

    I wonder if Montreal would vote to separate from Quebec – partition was something suggested by Stephen Harper, wasn’t it?

  3. The hypocrisy never ceases to amaze me. For Mr. Blanchet and so many other Quebecres not being able to conduct every small, insignificant transaction of their daily lives in the language of their preference represents such an egregious indignity that all of English Canada must bend over backwards to make amends. Yet when an Anglophone encounters the same situation, not be able receive service in their preferred language, they are seen as perpetrating the injustice for not being fluent in both official languages.

    • All of Canada was french well before anglophones started settling in Ontario first and the other provinces after. We had equal representation under the Union because anglophones were a minority. After the 1867 British North America act we had proportionnal representation in the federal parliament because francophones were then a minority. Manitoba was constitutionnally obligated to publish its laws in both French and English yet they published them in English only for a century before the supreme court invalidated them (1). During that time, french canadian culture regressed in all parts of the country except Quebec where the francophone majority had at least the vital powers it needed to save itself from assimilation.

      Language is an important part of l’identité québécoise. It holds its roots in a common conception of history that cannot be shared with the anglophone minority of the province or immigrants that already have their national identity. To be part of the ”Nous” you must feel solidaire de la destinée de notre peuple, comprendre notre combat constant pour l’existence, ressentir nos griefs historiques, les injustices dont nous avons été les victimes. You must be willing to be part of l’aventure française en amérique. It is not all a question of language and certainly not a question of origin nor ethnicity. It is about the will to appropriate yourself a bit of french canadian identity.

      (1) http://scc.lexum.org/en/1985/1985scr1-721/1985scr1-721.html

      See also:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIxbFekkvg4 (at 2:02)

      • All of Canada was Native Indian for THOUSANDS of years WELL before the French AND English arrived here. They were put aside & their languages not respected. That set an example to those that now follow that everyone brings their own culture here to the “new” lands. Those first two Europeans had their turn, now its everyone else’s. Only difference is they are trilingual too.

        • Re-writing Canadian history is a well worn pst time of the french talking tribe of Quebec. To say that Canada was at one time french is an absurdity… a completely false narrative! John Cabot claimed all of North America for the British Crown in the 1400′s, Canada was explored mapped and constituted under British traditions. From Cabot in the 1400′s to the Paris Treaty in the 1600′s Canada has been English. John Cabot, James Cook. Sir John Franklin, Sir Humphrey Gilbert in 1583, Samuel Hearne 1765-1774, Henri Hudson also in the 1600′s, Alexander MacKenzie 1788-1795, Martin Forbisher-1576, David Thompson 1792-1812, George Vancouver 1792 1794 etc etc etc. The influence of France on Canada’s history is pulp, and the history of french talking British Colonists situated mainly in the British Crown Colony of Lower Canada (Quebec) is even less. No amount of historical revisionism and propaganda can change the facts that British North America was somehow “french”… it was not. The mistake made by the British in the building of British North America was to not adhere to the advise given by Lord Durham. False narratives and the re-writing of history are the refuge of fools, revolutionaries, and dictators. The Dominion of Canada was never a french State.

          • Talk about re-writing Canadian history. Yes, the Natives were there first. And there were lots of them before the British gave them smallpox-infected blankets, and before Alberta and Saskatchewan sterilized Indian women (http://canadiangenocide.nativeweb.org/intro2.html)

            For a long time before that, French Canadians settled in most of what we now call Canada and lived peacefully with the Natives. French-speaking people were a majority everywhere at some point (even in BC, where Victoria was home to a vibrant French-speaking community until the Gold Rush), and specially in Acadie (Nova Scotia and New Brunswick) before they were deported (by the British):
            http://www.learnliberty.org/videos/expulsion-acadians

          • Keep trying to re-write history to suit your narrative. The fact is, french speakers contributed nothing to the building of British North America… nothing! The mere fact that a very small tribe of British colonists had french as their language is meaningless. There were people in Canada who spoke other languages as well, but it certainly doesn’t mean they somehow built the place or should be afforded some kind of “special” status. The so-called “french fact” of Canada is meaningless! The french talkers only influence of any historical kind began in the 1960′s and 70′s, to say otherwise is to re-write history to suit ones agenda. Like most people I’m not interested in Quebec style propaganda and hate, Hitler tried the same thing, and is written extensively in Mein Kampf… save your re-written history for your tribe.

          • A small tribe of british colonists? Do you ignore that la Nouvelle France was a french colony that covered almost all of what was known of North America (1)? I cannot see how you could possibly say in all honesty that I’ve tried to rewrite history as I simply listed the facts. I believe you should go back to study your country’s history which began (like it or not) with french colonists.

            (1)
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_France

          • Nonsense, as I said I’m not interested in the re-writing of history. The so called “french fact” with regards to Canadian history has been exagerated to the point of being ridiclulous. It is a false narrative, and nothing more. Do you ignore the 350 year history of Lower Canada ( Quebec) being a British Crown Colony? Champlain came to the eastern shores of Lower Canada (Quebec) with 32 other people, by the end of the winter there were only 9 left… not much of a colony. France had given up all rights to North America when they signed the Paris Treaty in the 1600′s, French troops remained in Lower Canada which the French troops used as nothing more then an outpost for trade. The French were removed by the British and that was the end of any involvement from France. When the British began the monumental task of building Lower Canada (Quebec) they did a census of the canadien french talkers left behind by the French, they counted 400, hardly a significant number. Lower Canada was a British Crown Colony and no amount of historical revisionism and exageration are going to change that. “We (“francaphones”) must never waver from using the preposterous myth of two founding nations like a weapon”… Pierre Trudeau.

          • Pierre Trudeau. Probably the worst thing that ever happened to Quebec but that’s a different story. I don’t understand why you keep saying New France belonged to the British. You should go back to your history Books. I’ll just remind you that french canadians were a majority until 1867.

            Maybe you could list me your sources since all you say goes completely against what I was taught in school and what I’ve read just about everywhere else as well.

          • Stabbing a flag in the ground doesn’t make people on the land suddenly speak french or act like french citizens. Wow. The arrogance and ignorance is sickening. You’re so quick to slap English around you forget that you insult the many many aboriginals of this continent. Wow.

      • My, my ,you are somthing else… so …. special… tell me , what makes you think that you have the faintest idea about ‘my” or anyone elses national identity! did i just crawl out from under a rock. I was born in England and ‘my” culture goes back hundreds of years, do you really think i loaded it up bag and baggage and brought it with me ? chance would be fine thing.. I don’t think my “eleitist “attitude would have gone down too well with Canadiens , Maybe thats the difference between you and me. Oh you think i had my English Language so that was okay … not so . the differences of the English language would amaze you. I no longer speak it the way i used to. And when i go back ‘home” i have difficulties understanding what is said. You are no more special than i am. we live in Canada.

        • Forgive me but I’m not quite sure I understand your comment. I can assure though that I don’t mean to be rude or to sound like I know better. It seems to me though that many of my fellow french canadians feel the way I feel about this issue on some level. I tried to explain Quebec in the very few words my limited intellect would allow me to spit in a language I do not primarly think in, borrowing from great thinkers I personnaly admire for their honesty, their intellect and analysis. You should read from Mathieu Bock-Côté, le chanoine Lionel Groulx and perhaps a few historians from la Belle Province to better understand what I failed to demonstrate.

          I personnaly think that social solidarity can only be achieved through common identity. Identity to me is not limited to language but broader elements such as values and common history (and conception of history). I also think that the ROC has a strong and very positive canadian identity while a great part of quebecers don’t share (even though some do share it).

          On a side note I believe as well that this country will have rest from identity crises in Quebec either when, vanquished by a stronger adversary, the remains of the french canadian identity will disappear leaving the empty shell that the language is without culture and history or when both nations of this country try and succeed at understanding and actually feel compassion about the other. Only then will quebecers cease to feel threatened and only when they are equal partners will they be able to work side by side towards a better future. If my people stays strong and that such a comprehension between nations cannot be achieved only independance or the uncomfortable statu quo remain as options.

          I’m interested to read your opinion on my views. I’d also really enjoy reading about your perspective.

      • And a war changed that. Don’t think it can’t happen again.

  4. This is so depressing. It makes me really sad to see that this kind of blatant discrimination against immigrants and anglophones in Quebec is accepted politically. Montreal used to be the financial center of the country, but since the PQ began their totalitarian assault on English in Quebec, those companies all moved to Toronto. Everywhere else in Canada, we are taught about the value of multiculturalism and embracing as many languages and cultures as we can. Why is it so different in Quebec? Why is the PQ so xenophobic and racist? I don’t understand.

    • Why? Its very simple…While the majority of North America believes in individual rights the francophone culture believes in collective rights. Therefore, in simplistic terms, if you are not part of their culture you are not one of them but rather a threat to their concept of the ideal society. If you have heard of the expression “more Catholic than the Pope” you will understand that to be accepted you have to be, at the least, a rabid supporter of their cause. But then even that is not a guarantee of being accepted because like it or not you are not French.

      • Oh really, it is that simple is it?. Being an island of a few million French speakers in an ocean of North American English plays no part in their paranoia? Just check out how jumpy Canada gets when it feels its culture is threatened by US cultural corporatism.
        I’m not defending the PQ, but it doesn’t take a lot of effort to see how we got from speak white to the sad state of the sovereignty movement today.

        • Canada has bent over backwords for Quebec ! Are you suggesting that we ,Canadiens are somehow -wanting ? in our efforts to give french Quebec want they demand ? The countries and cultures that surround us all , are facts of life . Are you suggesting that Canada is made up of “Whites” ? Every one who came here left something very important behind for reasons known only to themselves. it was’nt easy. The people who travelled here had to start again from the bottom. not everyone who speaks English is the “same as the next person who speaks English ! and that goes for every other soul on earth ! Every country is made up of areas , regions. history, dialect , customs etc.etc. Things evolve , languages change , customs change people change. Thats just the way it is.
          But Quebec is different ? different from me ? you? and of course, Special… shall i give you my take on things ? If the French people had managed to hang on to Canada , and more and more French people came over and eventually created a wonderfull country for french people ( never mind the natives, they are savages so they don;t count) do you suppose that if a breakaway group of people decided that they wanted to promote the “culture ” that they gave up to be French, that it would be welcomed ? and that they would bend over backwords to let these people be who they once were ? I don’t think that would happen -ever.

          • No, i merely said i can understand some of their concerns about losing their culture. As a matter of fact i supported the Trudeau line[ which i still do] – that the French fact is better off inside Canada than outside of it.Please don’t make assumptions just because i make some attempt to see the “other” pov.
            I’m not at all interested in your “take on things”if all you have to say amounts to the French should just shut up and be grateful for all we have given them. It isn’t accurate, fair or helpful. And no i’m not saying the ROC is wanting in anyway.

          • Fact is my people was never treated well by the ROC. They even amended the Constitution whitout our agreement in 1982.

            I’m really tired of writing in English*. I find it exhausting to be honest. Perhaps we could continue the conversation in French since this is a bilingual country. Is it not?

            *Note: this is my 5th comment I believe. Second in reply to
            Anne Dunn .

          • The British North America Act, or the “Constitution” was amended by “francophones” from Quebec… Pierre Trudeau, Jean Chretin… The citizens of Canada were never consulted about the process, nor were they ever educated as to the consequences. If you have a problem with the Constitution being “amended” in 1982 blame your fellow tribesman, and most especially, Trudeau.

          • Quebec never signed. Trudeau and Chrétien are traitors. They never did like Quebec’s culture and felt it was their job to impose Liberal ideals to the province for its own good…

          • Nobody forces you to write in English. Instead, write to a French-language magazine and be happy.

      • pure bullshit. let’s say that I am hired by RIM to work on software code.
        I prefer my code to written in french.

        Do you think RIM will to tolerate my individual right to do so?

        • who gives a rats ass about your code ? do you give a rats ass about mine? sorry fella. but your likes and dislikes are your own affair, get over yourself !

        • You prefer to write in French because you are more comfortable in that language. I’ve worked in companies where the code and documentation was written in English and all other communication was in French. This is exactly the problem international businesses will have if they stay in Québec. Unilingual francophones unable or refusing to write in English for their English-speaking maintenance team. What is the best thing for them to do? Hire perfectly bilingual candidates and make it known they will be writing code in English or else moving elsewhere. That means less jobs for unilingual francophones, and more jobs for bilingual candidates, and more opportunities elsewhere that bilingual candidates can capitalize on if they so choose to. Either way, more options.

    • i will tell you why.. the french person from Quebec is not interested in anyone else but himself. He is the “Alpha and Omega ” the beginning and the end, The first and the last, There is nothing in between. When you come to Quebec you leave your family, your culture, your likes and dislikes and your Soul outside the door , for ever and ever and ever ..Amen. ( and you still wont fit in ,, could be your colour , or your religion , your strange sounding name…) never mind… think of all the things you will benefit from after all your sacrifices,,,,,,,,,?

    • “those companies all moved to Toronto” they were only following the market. Today
      those companies are moving from Toronto to Calgary and BC because they follow the market that all.

    • Because the French lost a battle on the Plains of Abraham in 1759 and they are STILL crying about it.

  5. “You find a number of political parties and movements who have certain
    attitudes, like a skeptical view of immigration and multiculturalism, a
    fierce defence of traditional values and a willingness to use the power
    of the state to impose a ‘national identity,’ like Europe’s Front
    National, English Defence League, Sweden Democrats, as well as in the
    Tea Party movement in the U.S.”

    Kenny’s changes may not put him up into this league, nevertheless i wonder how much room it leaves the federal govt to truly criticise the PQ? Along with a lot of other back to the future policies. In a weird way the CPC and PQ feed off and reinforce one another.

    This is the most striking part of this election to me; just how little the RoC or federalists have a horse in the race – Charest seems to be pretty much on his own. Bad timing for Canada that.
    Not everyone thinks this a bad idea – Chantal Hebert – but there are those who are commenting – Simpson today[ and every other day it almost seems. Present day Quebec and Canada having separate bedrooms seems to be his constant theme]. Doesn’t mean to say he doesn’t have a very good point, that no one seems able or capable of making our[ Canada] case these days – Harper being persona non grata within much of the province.
    Whatever you may think of the Meech/Mulroney and Trudeau/Lesveque stand off years you must admit we were at least engaged and capable of influencing the debate – even the outcome. Now we seem to have an eerie silence. No federal govt, not even a federal liberal voice, presumably reflecting their enfeebled state. Even the new kids on the block [NDP] seem to be mute or too conflicted to lead.
    Maybe it’ll all work out. But personally i’m starting to look back at those so called dark days of constitutional crisis and wrangling as the high point in our relations – anything is better than the irrelevance/impotence of our current federal voice in Quebec. We seem to have accepted irrelevance as the price of guarded but relative peace on the big national unity question. That just might be about to be proved an an illusion. That was pretty much Simpson’s point today. Once you limbs have atrophied it’s no tme to realize you have another mountain to climb or a country to hold together.

    • As an Albertan, I view the Quebec election as a descision time for Quebec. if the PQ wins and starts with their separation BS then the gloves will come off. Unlike previous federal governments that were beholding to Quebec for their mandates the present Government is in power due to the rest of Canada. When the Quebec people realize they will not be in a winning situation they will turn their back on separation for good. Issues such as no mail, federal bridge closures, federal port closures, lost jobs, lock outs, no NHL hockey, mass exodus of people, devalued housing, and living standards and other items too numerous to list which impact their daily lives will put an end to the dream.

      • Oh i agree fully. Harper’s the perfect guy to preside over the dissolution of Canada. We’ll just end with a whimper instead of a bang.
        And what makes you so sure he’d be able to hold the rest of the country together? …although i think it probably would, but it might not be as easy a ride as you seem to think it.

        • Quebec isn’t going anywhere. I trust the Canadian citizens in Quebec to do the right thing.

          • Thats just it! they are ‘Still there” You can throw a blanket over them but they still find away of getting out from underneith to myther us all to death.
            psst ? What are the Canadian citizens going to do ? I’m one of them , somebody got a plan..? i’m up for anything ..

      • You’ve been missing a key statistics here. Support for the “Yes” vote (this morning) have dropped to 28%. It has been going down steadily as the debates have been raging. The last time the favor for the “Yes” was that low was in 2007, when some were appreciative of the new Harper government (our grudge have always been with the LPC, not the CPC). Even if people want to say now we are “against Harper”, these are just the leftists. Old-schools separatists are against the Liberal Party first, and we’ve usually had friends in the (former) Progressive-Conservative and now in the Conservative government (who recognized the distinct nation and so fourth, things that were long overdue and rejected by, who else, Quebec-born Canadian PM). We’re our own worst enemies, and we needed someone from Alberta to “get it”.

  6. Let the rest of Canada decide weather they stay or go. If they stay they can pull their own weight , if they go they get nothing from the rest of us. they will have to learn english to trade with most of North America and the world for that matter. We have had our fill of the french crapp.

    • Personally I’d miss the poutine…tough to get decent poutine out west unless there’s a Quebecer making it. OTOH it should put some zip back into the Habs/leafs rivalry.

    • How would you do that?

    • Listen…. I don;t care if they learn English or German or Japanese. I will not be watching. They must take care of their responsibilities before they are “let loose” so to speak. As for the ‘aftermath” Canada has some serious damage control to do. This must never never be repeated. All Anglos and ethnic peoples need to be de programmed after our hellish experience.. I’m so tired ….

  7. Ah, when the masters of Quebec, the English speakers see their dominant rule threatened (they live like kings in Montreal, impose their language in the work place, have three universitues, etc.) they are disturbed and worried. Who knew?

    • what the hell are you blathering about ! dominant rule ! live like kings ! in your warped imagination perhaps . Impose MY language in the workplace ! whats it to you which language i chose to speak ! Mind your own buisiness, I live in Canada ! Get over yourself, you’re not that interesting !

      • In emotionally charged debates such as these, sorry to say but people like you who can’t remain levelheaded, start to throw oil on the fire. Discourse becomes enflamed and then peopleretreat into their nationalism not helpful after a while

  8. For the record: Canada is bilingual, at the behest of Quebec radicals. Quebec is unilingual, and the rest of the country turns a blind eye toward the hypocrisy. Screw off, Quebec. Nobody cares about your stupid dying language.

    • There is a difference between a policy of bilingualism and bilingualism on the ground as a social reality.

      Canada may be bilingual on paper but outside of Quebec it is mostly just that on paper.

      It is the reality that matter.. not the paper.. or the “official policy”

    • Official bilingualism leaves it to the citizen to choose the language in which he/she corresponds with the government. It is your choice to file your income tax in French or in English, to fill a passport application in French or English.
      There was never any attempt to push bilingualism on the ground as a social reality. On the contrary, official bilingualism is there to ensure that the English-speaking and French-speaking citizen can deal with the government without having to speak the other’s language.
      Screwing Quebec and French-speaking Canadians is an ongoing process. English-Canadian legislators have been found guilty of breaking the law of this land in many occasions, from schooling in Ontario to law-making in Manitoba, etc.

      • how Eletist is that ! What about everyone else ?

      • What utter rubbish! The OLA (“bilingualism”) was imposed on an English speaking nation that included Quebec. Imposing french as an “official language” has cost the taxpayer of this Nation 1.3 trillion dollars and counting… all of that spending happening within less then 45 years, which amounts to 400 billion dollars every 10 years. Yeah, Canadians are being “screwed” alright, but sure as hell isn’t french talkers. After wasting 1.3 trillion dollars on “bilingualism” and imposing french on all historically, and traditionally English speaking institutions only 12% of the Canadian population can speak English and french. The testing requirements for senior positions within the federal Government are based on proviciency in “both” languages, however, testing is different for English speakers then it is for “francophones”… “francophones do the equivalent of a grade 8 English exam, where as English speakers are required to have a University level understanding of french (Quebec french) If you want to talk about breaking the law, Quebec’s language laws are all illegal… Bill 22, Bill 101, were both struck down by the courts in Quebec and by the Supreme court of Canada as being illegal, Bill 178 is the suspension of the civil liberties of all English speaking Quebecers. Ontario spends 600 million dollars a year for the french tribe, made up mainly of federal Government workers that represent less then 4% of the population, BC spends 24 million dollars for less then 0.01% of the Province. Activist french language Judges have been ramming french language “group rights” over the freedom of the individual for decades, awarding 12.000 dollars to a “franco Ontarian” for receiving a sprite instead of a 7-up, even though 7-UP wasn’t available, Judges ordering Northern communities to build french language schools where the french population make up less then 0.01 % of the population, costing millions of dollars. You are too busy wallowing in your phony victimhood to see the reality, and a perfect example of how no matter how much English people are forced to spend on french, and no matter how many English traditions have to be destroyed or ethnically cleansed it will never ever be enough to satisfy the insatiable appetite for entitlements, historical revisionism, and welfare to prop up and manufacture the french “cause. You are pathetic!

        • If French was imposed on you I gather you speak it fluently? Does it hurt?

          • Why would I ever speak french? I live in an historically English speaking nation. I can speak one other language, but I don’t force you to pay for it, as it wouldn’t be fair or in any way relevant to do so. Yes, being forced to pay for an imposed, completely manufactured french language industry does hurt my wallet. The 100′s of billions of dollars Canadians are forced to pay for “Bilingualism” borders on the criminal, and like 82% of the population I don’t speak Quebec style french, but I am forced to pay for it whether I want to or not. Which I’m sure a professional victim and cultural parasite like yourself is very pleased about… how else would your manufactured “culture” survive if another culture wasn’t forced to pay for it… pathetic!

      • Exactly!

        • @LoraineLamontagne:disqus

    • We would have been ! had they not kicked us in teath ! Bunch of sociopaths..

  9. Great writing, M. Patriquin.

    I and countless other Montrealers relate to the Morales family — I will never be considered among the “nous” nor have the same right as them … despite my being fluent in French (and half-Belgian), living in a predominantly French neighbourhood, putting my sons in French school (though my Parisian siblings have their two daughters in English private school — because they have the right to pay for them to attend the school of their choice).

    How Canada allows in its midst fascist nation-building and two-tiered rights is beyond me.

    • Exactly ! We need to know what is going on here ! We need answers and soon, I am getting very very angry…

    • Fascist nation-building? How I pity you. You don’t understand anything. Would you like me to explain dans la langue qui m’est si chère?

      • Frédéric unwittingly proves the point about the fascist attitude when he expounds about his language to which he holds so dear. reminds me of ze Vaterland, mein dumme Freddy! If they all spoke as well as Bernard Landry, that would be an entirely different story, but with the prevailing “franglais” been spoken, I don’t see the point.

        • I’m disappointed by your comment. I suggest you try witnessing the demise of your own culture in slow-motion your hands tied by your own weaknesses.

          I’m not fascist. I’m quite shocked to be called names in general but this hit me hard. I don’t believe we are superior, simply different by history and culture. I don’t want a totalitarian government. I would never support eugenics. I want a place to call home.

          Don’t you think the fact that ”franglais” is prevalent is a good indicator that we constantly need to protect our culture?

  10. Let Quebec become independent and watch the PQ then implode. An independent Quebec would have to pay for its own extensive social programs(instead of having the rest of Canada subsidize it). The PQ would be forced to pay for these programs by a mix of austerity measures and desperate efforts to generate high economic growth. They would need to go hat in hand to other countries to push for foreign firms to invest in Quebec(thereby creating jobs and adding to the GDP). They would be at the disadvantage of starting out with a poor credit rating due to both their high provincial debt and lack of a long stable credit history(since they would be newly independent). These efforts would be mostly aimed at Canada and the United States(the two countries that would border an independent Quebec). These countries would at this point be unilingual english speaking nations. In addition, Quebec would have an embittered neighbor(Canada) that could put a strain on the Quebec economy by refusing to do business with them. Quebec would need to be on friendly terms with this neighboring(and probably significantly more right-wing revised Canada). An independent Quebec would have to offer such things as an english proficient workforce to better attract the two nations’ corporations. This would require overturning much of their language laws. They would probably also have to sharply reduce government regulations and probably cut some business taxes.The new nation might even have to go so far as to make english instruction mandatory in Quebec schools. Finally, the Quebec government would probably have to push for being a member of NAFTA(which would require that the new revised Canada not oppose this move). There are two possible end results. One, the majority of Quebecers end up regreting independence. Or two, Quebec stays independent but out of necessity becomes a significantly more economically conservative country. Either way, it doesn’t bode well for the PQ whose current platform is a mix of nationalism and social democratic economic policy.

    • Of course, they would find out that Independence was a pipe dream that didn’t work. However, rather than admit that staying in the Canadian Federation like good Starfleet Redshirts was the wiser choice, they’d give the “up yours” to English Canada out of spite. The PQ would then apply for Statehood. Of course, if Obama gets reelected, they’d promise to all come in as Democrats. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of people. Welcome to the United States, Quebecois, where Grievance is our Middle Name!

    • We’re bilingual for the most part. English is taught as a second language in every primary and secondary schools as well as in CEGEPS. To get my LL.B. I’ll need to reach at least Intermediate level English. Also, Canada wouldn’t benefit from refusing to trade with Quebec and 80% of Quebec’s exports go south of the border. It would be difficult for the US not to trade with a newly independant Quebec as Quebec sells electricity and other important goods and services to the US. It would be surprising considering trade agreements and international economic law. The economy would suffer from uncertainty and political instability but would eventually recover.

      Moreover, a nation’s destiny has nothing to do with economic considerations. It has to do with a peoples’s history, culture, values and vision for its future.

      • My first point is that one an independent Quebec’s economy would need to undergo massive social service cuts now that Canada was not subsidizing these programs. Two, a revised Canada would be rightfully angry at Quebecers and want nothing to do with them. Any loss from trade with Quebec would be eventually made up by Canada’s increased trade with Asia(especially) and South America. The current government has been running around making free trade agreements left and right. The loss of the Canadian market would be harder on Quebec(at least in the beginning). Mark my words, Quebec’s new leaders would be soon running to Ottawa doing some song and dance about how Quebec is independent but that it is Canada’s “best friend”. It is even possible that Quebec independence might push a considerably more right-wing nationalist Ottawa to support seccessionist activities by aboriginal groups on certain Quebec reservations. Third, Quebec trade with the U.S. works only as long as Canada allows it. A Canadian government threat to withdraw from NAFTA might stop this. In addition, the election of a Republican administration in the U.S. that would support fracking, mining and offshore drilling would make the U.S. more energy independent and less dependent on Quebec’s hydropower. Fifth, the U.S. would(at least initially) be distrustful of a independent PQ government that policies are based on the worst of western european social democracy. A PQ government would have to quickly declare itself a capitalist pro-free trade government and probably offer some major sweetners as least initially to get American companies to continue to invest there instead of Toronto or Calgary. These sweetners would alienate the PQ from its union base who generally call the shots on party policy.
        Finally, the sad truth is that much of the francophone culture has already turned its back on its history and culture. Quebec used to stand out for its strongly Roman Catholic french speaking population. Yet, now Quebecers have turned away from the faith of their birth. You talk about your French ancestry but were rather hesitant to take on the Nazis when they occuped mainland France in WW2(read about francophone opposition to conscription). All you have is poutine(which stinks), some mouthing from Marois about a secular culture(the meaning of which seems to change day by day), and your language. The sad fact is that Quebec had been in decline since the Great Depression. From 1940-1960, you had a corrupt religious party(National Union) running things. Then since the Quiet Revolution, you have been run by two crooked social democrat parties(Liberals and PQ) who have done nothing to fight widespread union corruption, a plummeting birthrate, or reform a lousy university system where academic standards have been replaced by an attitude that everyone should get a college education(instead of just qualified students who can handle the courseload). On your own, you guys have driven your province into a ditch while other provinces like Alberta, BC , and Ontario left you in the dust. Now however, an independent Quebec will magically become like a North American Switzerland(turning away from 70 years of big government decline) and become the go to place for investment and business startups. Read up on the history of the disintegration of Czechoslovakia in the 1990′s. See how well it did for Slovakia(Quebec) and you might have second thoughts.

        • Much of what you say is true, but the part about lacking a culture is ignorant nonsense. Quebec has a very strong and vibrant culture, cinema, theatre, television, magazines and newspapers, literature, you name it, about which anglos know little of course.

          • I believe he was talking about history pre-Révolution Tranquille. If so, he’s right I must admit. To my ever so profound despair…

        • It’s not an economical question. Ottawa and the ”Non” commitee have made it an economical question by spreading fear among Quebecers. I’d rather be free than be rich.

          You may or may not be right. I’m not economist or professor of political science. I’ve read a bit but since I’m not an expert my opinion is pretty much worthless. I also don’t think we’re as bad as you say economy-wise. We suffer from the west’s success. Our manufactures can’t export as much with the dollar being so high because of the success of ressource exploitation. That’s why were pushing for exploitation of ressources in the north.

          You are right when you say we’ve lost touch with our history. That we can blame on PQ and PLQ. The Charter also didn’t help. Mathieu Bock-Côté among others is active on that front trying to wake people up from their slumber.

          Note: I’m not saying I want secession. I just think the way we live in Canada is intolerable even more so since the supreme court refuted the two founding nations concept.

      • Don’t forget that Quebec s borders would shrink if it sought independence. The Inuit of northern Quebec are strongly opposed to separation and would ask for cessation. With the UNITED declaration of aboriginal rights, it would be a quite a fight for the new Quebec government. Goodbye natural resources!
        We (people of quebec) would see our taxes skyrocket, our social programs cut and a lot of the natural resources of the North would go with the Inuit. Cree etc. It’s a pipedream indeed but people are so emotionally caught up in it that they can’t see it for what it is. A fantasy.

        • Oops, * United Nations declaration of aboriginal rights

        • Scotland is going to vote on independance soon. I personnally think it would be possible for Quebec to become an independant country. It would be tough, but possible. I never said it would be worth it. I’m still undecided on the matter. Comments on this page have shook my certitudes I must admit…

          • …as in I think it would be worth it now as I’m shocked, angry and very sad. I’ll think of that when time will have passed and I’m less emotional about this.

        • I also don’t think your ”exposé” on the consequences of independance on territory is credible, but I’m not informed and I’d like if you could perhaps share your sources.

      • What makes you think a Quebec leaving Canada would get the entire landmass of Quebec province, huhn? How about ya’ll move to Anticosti Island and have that as your country?

  11. French talking Quebecers have been getting away with this lawlessness for decades… meh… Bill22 and Bill 101 have been ruled illegal by the courts, Bill 178 is used to suppress civil liberties for an undetermined amount of time, and yet no one on the federal scene has ever been willing to uphold Canadian law… so, if Parliament doesn’t care about upholding the laws of Canada, why the hell should anyone else. Trudeau could’ve and should’ve vetoed both Bill22 and Bill101 when the courts declared them illegal, unfortunately Trudeau was just as indoctrinated into the tribal “cause” as any other french talker. This lawless, bigoted, pampered, isolated society has been getting away with this BS for decades, time to end the charade and the double standards and wish Quebec Bon Voyage. Partition that Province and get it over with… it’s all so predictable and boring.

    • here Here! oh God yes, let it be over soon..

      • You make me (who thought Canada
        still had a chance to work) want a winning referendum more and more as I read your comments.

        • Good!! Have another referendum and vote to go, and remember the only people that don’t want Canada to work are bigots like you! This country has been turned upside down and distorted beyond recognition to placate people like you, and it’s never enough, and it never will be. So, get lost, you language parasitic bigot.

          • Vous m’attristez, je l’avoue. Je vous souhaite à vous l’indépendance du reste du Canada, puisque, semble-t-il, vous la désirez. Je vous rappelle simplement les tourments que mon peuple a subit après la conquête, que c’est lui qui a voulu un Canada indépendant de la métropole en premier (1837), et qu’il n’a toujours pas ratifié la Constitution de 1982 puisqu’on l’a adoptée en son absence. Il est à se rappeler d’ailleurs que cette même loi prévoit que pour l’adopter elle-même sous ses modalités il faudrait l’UNANIMITÉ de TOUTES les provinces et du fédéral.

            I suspect you are very frustrated in your life as your name suggests, so I’ll let you have this one. I’ll take it as however miserable I may be now or in the future, I still have the certainty that I’ll never sink to that level you’ve dropped to with that comment.

          • “mon peuple” … say no more.

  12. Jérôme Lussier and Martin Patriquin… are collaborators. Also, face it, Canadians are the most xenophobic people of the OCDE. And we are their Jews, the scapegoat for all their pathetic sense of nationalism is based entirely on a denial of the French presence, which is in effect, along with the Queen (and I’m a monarchist BTW), the only thing that differenciate them from the American hegemon. I mean, you have the hardcore brownshirts of Alberta. Then you have the crazy bankers of Toronto as tacit backers to this raging hatred. There will never be a fraction of the xenophobia of Canada within the Quebec borders, no one can match it. I actually find this regretful, as I do not mind the hatred of Canadians. Most of them don’t realize that if their name was Tremblay and they spoke French, their extremism would translate the same from our own point. That is, if you were the same person, with the same idea, but your language was French, you’d be an ardant separatist. It is two sides of the same coin. Canadian hatred is more extreme, but that is not a bad thing. I always try to promote Quebec xenophobia and islamophobia, which are actually good things. I wish Quebec would be more “Canadian” only in one way, they should be more hateful, just as canadians are. As seen everyday in all comments of all your insane medias.

    • Oh get over yourself ! who cares what you think ?


      • who cares what you think ?” That says it all doesn’t it.

    • Nonsense. Had Quebec decided to put its old *ressentiment* and old *rancunes* away and become a full partner, instead of a constant antagonist, things would have turned out very differently. Now it is too late.

  13. I see a lot of Quebecers who start to realize that its not about hating the English or hating Canada, but to realize that we are so different that maybe we were not meant to be together at the first place. During the last federal elections, a lot of Quebecers wished to help make a change IN CANADA by massively voting for a federal party. Unfortunately, they were alone.I am not a separatist myself, but I believe once Quebec separates, our relation as neighbors will greatly improve. People from the ROC will stop thinking they are feeding parasites and people from Quebec will stop thinking they get exploited by Canada.

    Unfortunately, the debate on the internet is degragated by a bunch of trolls, and locally there are people with a total lack of respect for society bashing Quebec. Why would you open a store in an area where the vast majority speaks a language without even saluting your clientele in their language? Try opening a store in Toronto without speaking a word of English just for fun. Is it that hard from english shop owners to learn a little “Bonjour, Merci and Au revoir”. Now they have to deal with harsher laws and rules because they were lacking any decency to start with.

    • J Campbell/Toronto;
      It is a matter of free choice;numb-nuts.

      • You are exactly what I meant by trolls. Your comment add no contribution to the debate whatsoever. I am surprised to see how your name calling message got allowed by the moderator. Sure, you can speak in the language of your choice to whoever, it is a matter of free choice. But when people start lacking of respect towards a community, than that community is fully justified to react by democratically enacting legislation that sometimes will feel oppressive to the others. A very similar situation is happening in some areas of the US where uni-lingual Spanish-speaking shops started to offend English-speaking citizens. Free choice can only exists within the limits of the law.

    • yeah … French people just don’t kindly to other folks. This isn’t about your damb language ! it never was , don’t you give Canadiens lessons on Manners ! Its your attitude and distain for other folks that get us cranked up ! You are not special any more than i am. Get your own ‘house cleared up before you start swinging you bat at me !

  14. Whilst the PQ plans to hire an army to police small and medium business the bridges are falling down, there are ten hour wait times at most emergency rooms and the province has the lowest high school finishing rate in the country. It is obviously French at any cost.

    I am an Australian that lived in Quebec for six years and I can assure you I was never part of the ‘nous’. My husband was born and raised in Quebec with a Quebecois mother and Greek father. His mother tongue is French and he is still not considered French Canadian. Can anyone see the problem here? No wonder people are not embracing the Quebec language and culture. Despite the fact that my son was also born in Quebec and most of our family are there, we moved to Dubai 12 months ago and we could not be happier.

    We are unlikely to ever return to Quebec. As an English speaker it is very difficult to embrace a place that seems to constantly remind you that you are not one of them. My son now attends a school with students from 70 different nationalities, there is a mosque on every corner and the society here could not be any more tolerant or accepting. We are free to speak whatever language we wish and practice whatever religion we desire. Maybe there are some lessons to be learnt from our Middle Eastern friends.

    • But we aren’t “one of them” ! and who in hells name would want to be ? Their has to be an uprising in this province , citizens need to stand up to this dictator ! if i had a buisiness and her “police showed up to see what language i and my employees were speaking – i would set a rabid dog on them! How is she getting away with this ? why isnt she being “bleeped” out ? and why isn’t our “Prime Minister” putting her in her place ? which should be in a mental hospital . What are we ? a bunch of whoosies ? cowtowing and bowing to this Evil woman ?

    • Good luck when your new ”
      Middle Eastern friends ” come and slash your throat. Is true Dubai it safe but try elsewhere in Middle East, you better stay in a gate community with heavy security. But any way, have fun!

  15. Quebec’s official codified language of business and government is French….not English…and really it was Canada’s Confederal..now federal system that saw this as acceptable. Not bilingualism….which is pretty much an ideal….not a reality in the rest of Canada….what’s the big deal if a political party can get enough votes to push their language? We, as Canadian, talk bilingualism…but really it’s like Coke-Zero…not the real thing…which does nothing for the sense of security of francophones in Quebec….try to find a francophone youth, even in Quebec, who hasn’t bastardized their French with English slang…and you can get a sense of French is always under threat. It is obvious…the international system is English…we as anglophone’s feel all bent of shape when they push back….but we have a big elephant always leaning against them.

    Patriquin is just being a “good” reporter polarizing the issue to make it attractive to the eyes…If you want to read about Quebec politics read Quebec papers (both in English and French)

    • Are they really asking people to lose their native language, or asking them to learn another one that is the official language of the province. Canadians have been very critical of immigrants who don’t learn English as well. Why can’t Quebeckers?

      the idea that French and English are equal is a joke, they are not at all. One has language has to do very little to get others to learn while French has a sense of marginalization….even Tocqueville in the 18th Century, I believe, wrote about the strangeness that Quebec was “French” but everywhere he looked, the signs were in English…..

      • i have never heard of Canadiens being Critical of people not learning English, what crap ! who have you been mixing with ? its rude to criticize anyone who has difficulties with another language. Believe me , not knowing the local lingo is isolating. who would intentially want to be isolated. Maybe they feel embarassed to be so inept. kindness goes a long way . No one want to be beaen over the head over language , and if i ever saw that taking place i would be angry. I should know it happend to me ! Inever became proficient in French , ( my kids are all fluent) as for me i would rather stick pins in my eyes to learn such an eletist language. I know a little Japanese though , my grand kids are Japanese. Did youknow that Japanese is one of the most difficult languages to learn ( of course you didn’t) Even japanese themselves say if they spen to long away from Japan they loose vast chunks of it ! Anyway i am sure i ‘lost you some time ago ,deviating away from French the way i have. never mind . I’m sure we can get along quite well as long as its brief. i have far better things to do with my time.

      • Bill 22 states that french is the “official language” of Quebec and Bill 22 is illegal as it has been struck down by both the Courts of Quebec and Canada, in other words stating that french is the “official language” of Quebec is to say that lawlessness is the culture of Quebec, not to mention that it wipes out 300 years of English history in that Province. The signs were in English because Lower Canada (Quebec) was a British Crown Colony, the fact that some Quebecers were still speaking french was because the British didn’t listen to Lord Durham, and instead allowed for french speakers to continue to speak the language of their tribe.

        • Struck down because… it was inconstitutionnal because… Trudeau and his friends adopted the charter without Quebec because… Quebec would never have signed it because… Quebec needs Bill 101 to protect its language.

          • Bill 22 and Bill101 were rejected by the Courts as illegal before french talking Quebecer Trudeau imposed his Charter. Furthermore, Trudeau could have and should have upheld the Laws of Canada and vetoed both of those illegal Bills, but he did not, instead he imposed french as an “official language” on the whole country and historically English speaking institutions. Before and after Trudeau imposed his “Charter” he agreed with his fellow french talking tribe in Quebec that the laws of Canada should be ignored. “Trudeau and his friends” ruined Canada, and Trudeau agreed with the imposition of illegal language laws in Quebec. “Quebec needs Bill 101 to protect it’s language” which defies 400 years of Quebec history, where french and English people lived side by side… Bill 101 is a disgrace, illegal, bigoted and nothing more then an ethnocentric power grab.

          • Get your facts straight. Quebec has used the constitution to its advantage:
            Section 33 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is part of the Constitution of Canada. It is commonly known as the notwithstanding clause (or “la clause dérogatoire” in French), or as the override power, and it allows Parliament or provincial legislatures to override certain portions of the Charter.
            After the Charter came into force in 1982, Quebec inserted a notwithstanding clause into all its laws; these expired in 1987, when the Quebec Liberals, having ousted the Parti Québécois, did not renew them. However, the most notable use of the notwithstanding clause came in the Quebec language law known as Bill 101 after sections of those laws were found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Canada in Ford v. Quebec (A.G.). On December 21, 1989, the National Assembly of Quebec employed the “notwithstanding clause” to override freedom of expression (section 2b), and equality rights (section 15). This allowed Quebec to continue the restriction against the posting of any commercial signs in languages other than French. In 1993, after the law was criticized by the United Nations Human Rights Committee, the Bourassa government had the provincial parliament rewrite the law to conform to the Charter, and the notwithstanding clause was removed.
            ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_Thirty-three_of_the_Canadian_Charter_of_Rights_and_Freedoms

          • FACT: Quebec never agreed to the constitutionnal amendment. Quebec did use sections of the Constitution because the Constitution is applicable to Quebec even though it never agreed on the amendment.

            My facts are perfectly straight.

          • You don’t seem to realize how big a deal it is that they modified the Constitution without Quebec’s consent. It’s just yet another example where the people of Quebec had constitutionnal amendment forced upon them. If you study Quebec’s constitutionnal history since 1763 you’ll easly see why that was perceived as a continuation of the historic oppression french canadians were victims of. Read Brun, Tremblay and Brouillet, Droit constitutionnel, 5th ed. for more informations.

            Fun fact: To make an amendment identical to 1982′s it would be now necessary to obtain consent of ALL the provinces and the federal government. It’s funny because the very amendment that requires unanimity for amendments regarding procedure was adopted with lower criteria than it now requires. With the complicity of the supreme court of course…

        • What the british tried to do didn’t work because french canadians refused to disappear. The british had to deal with it.

    • Fuddle duddle ! Language is highly over rated ! I would rather grunt if it would bring about some peace. Good manners never go out of style. Not everyone takes to a new language ! children can soak it up . How come other languages are not embraced in Quebec ? No ! i don’t want to hear that their are more of you than anyone else .thats a cop out and it wont wash anymore..what nothing to say ? I didn’t think so.

  16. Some good news: PQ will not get more than 35% of the vote & therefore no majority & therefore no referendum.
    1/4 of their voters are strategic voters (more than other parties per current poll) currently vs Liberal gvt they feel has had too many scandals,(whether real or perceived but not more than any 8 year old gvt). 
    Even if they did get a majority, this is now the oldest province as the baby boomers turn 66 here. There are more of them here bc there used to be 40 babies per 1,000 & now its down to just above 10, or 155k+/year vs. 85k now. 23% of Que. will be 65+ in 2025. They will want to have a stable economic envmt. retirement for their “guaranteed” pensions, not a casino situation (see Europe) with a province’s massive debt.
    Also, once the boomers pass away, the 25% of babies born to “les autres” & the intl immigration of 50k/yr to replace this old pop. will make it virtually impossible to reach the 50% mark on even an unclear ref. question, never mind the partition debate. Its share of Canada’s pop. is also declining  due mainly to its meager share of new immigrants. (they want less immigrants to replace this greying pop., who will work to pay taxes but I digress)
    Bottom line, PQ is peaking & will only decline in future due to no sources of growth in either the immigrants (mostly liberal growth) or the younger crowd (quebec Solidaire for urbanites & caq for suburanites). So even if they win this time, its all downhill from here. Bye bye!

  17. This comment was deleted.

    • This is ridiculous. It doesn’t even deserve a proper answer

  18. 3 days out, my seat projection has: PQ 67, PLQ 33, CAQ 23, QS 2 – but with 1 in 5 of the ridings too close to call, it’s impossible to tell whether the PQ will win a majority. They’re projected to win anywhere between 53 and 77 seats – full details at http://wp.me/p1B9j1-4Y

  19. Without reading all this, the English lost all their civil and language rights a long time ago, Fascism is alive and well in Quebec.

  20. I hate the French language, I left. I love speaking Spanish.

  21. In Quebec, if your name is not Belanger or Lapierre, you will not be accepted into the Quebecois tribe. I did not really care about this stupidity and racism as I always considered myself to be CANADIAN first and foremost. This family should move to Toronto as I did and finally be FREE.
    T. Shanahan
    Toronto
    ( Formerly from Montreal )

    • i love your use of the word “Tribe” so apt, and so rude in this context.

  22. Ahhh, you can tell four years have gone by, having not heard much about the dreaded Bill 101! It’s that time of year when La Belle Province turns into La Terrible Province and a small group of people hold the rest of the country hostage while they whine about indignities and not enough French anywhere to be found, even in their own province!!! It all reminds me of a quote I read recently which came when an interviewer asked a multi-billionaire, “So when is enough enough for you?” talking about $$ of course! The man answered, “When I have it ALL!” and that sort of sums it up for me. They always seem to forget that this is CANADA, not the Nation of Quebec!!! There are so many issues that are truly harrowing and need attention and meanwhile, there is not enough French spoken in Canada!?!

    • Identity will always be part of Quebec politics as long as it will be a part of Canada. You do not understand what it is to be a minority in your home country.

      • So get the heck out. Life will go on once you have your own nation.

  23. I just sent this in as a Letter to the Editory:
    I wasn’t counting on this: a new
    generation without the still very fresh memory of living under a thinly-veiled
    dictatorship. Young people here do not have that experience to base their
    decision on come Tuesday and, it seems, much of the Quebec population. I and
    many of us do. Beware of “change for change’s sake”. You can blame
    whomever you want for conditions here, but never forget that 25 years of PQ
    government focused solely on one objective ruined this province economically.
    We were once the financial heart of Canada, now we’re just a lovely tourist
    attraction; and if we separate, a miserable welfare state. I can tell you
    unequivocally that Quebec federalists such as myself will not take another PQ
    government lying down. Not this time!
    Vince Di Clemente
    Montreal, Qc.

    PS: If you consider publishing this
    letter, and to state the obvious, feel free to edit this in the past tense. I
    would be extremely saddened to see this letter in your magazine if you do
    because it would mean that the PQ was elected into power. God help us all, and
    not just in Quebec…

    • Poor you! It the end of the world, run Vince run.

      • Mockery is a very poor argument.

      • Thank you for the perfect example of your arrogance. Well done.

        • No problem, the pleasure is all mine.

  24. Time to move on..give them the Saguenay.. take away Rupert’s Land, Passports, and the dollar and let the ROC get on with life in the world. I suspect our dollar (not the Quebeois peso) would strengthen once we gettison the left wing fuck the english (and their money) french crowd. By the way, anyone check with the world? French is in the anals of languages along with extinct Amazonian tribes!!!!!!!!

  25. By the way, this time, lets be involved in the vote count…sorry Jean…and also get our military assets out of there NOW!

  26. My messages aren’t registering…I am totally pissed at this continual bribery…OK, give them the Sagueney…but no dollar, no passports, no Rupert”s Land…let them tell money to go away in an english north america….STOP SENDING THEM MONEY!

  27. What will happen to the head offices of Air CANADA, Bell CANADA, CANADIAN National, Business Development Bank of CANADA should Quebec seperate? Montreal is better off staying in Canada.

  28. If the Quebecois stay in Canada they will end up much as the Scots and the Irish and the Welsh have done as part of the UK. Maybe they will retain some local french “color” or “flavor” for a while, but gradually, (or rapidly if mass immigration continues), they will forget their distinct identity and language. It would be a loss to humanity but everyone knows it is true. So either recognize and accept this slow death or get out now while you still can. Just cut the cord and get out while you still have a culture to defend. Get it over with.

  29. Hi, I do not understand why English Quebecers are so ungry about french living here. It is a simple fact that here is French. If some immigrants think that they don’t feel include in the ” Nous” after all those years here, should be why they are not? I have latin and vietnemese friends that grow up in french school, and today they are part of “Us” .
    On the other side some English immigrants here since long, will never feel as they are part of “nous” as they do not know how Quebec is.

    • What completely distorted, bizarre point of view.

      • He’s right.

  30. Pour moi – et je suis d’origine Alglophone de la Colombie-Britannique – avec les noms de famille histoire Devine, Donoghy, Eggemundson, Sinclair, Armstrong, Garrick, Wyness, Duveen et Mi’Gmaw et autres – du débat actuel est très décourageant. Je suis extrêmement Métis… et par conséquent examiner moi-même d’être bien marque « Canadien ».
    Und vor vierzig jahren, habe Ich Deutsch gehlert – aber Ich habe es auch verlassen.
    Y oomenya govoritye Russkoro, chut chut.
    Et maitnant, “Necesario apprender Espanol”.
    And so, when politcal machinations stoop to co-opt culture and language as the gift-wrap for neo-neo-Marxist ambitions – the collectivist impulse to reduce the wonderful variety that is Canadian humankind to a lowest common denomiator – and recalling, as V.I Lenin stated in “The Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism ” (1913), “People always have been the foolish victims of deception and self-deception in politics, and they always will be…”, my preference is to shift my view to the Canada of all my immigrant and non-immigrant forberer’s dreams, and give thanks for le meilleur pays du monde.
    Gothe note, Opa.

    • You’re entitled to your opinion. I think that ideology can only lead to cultural homogenization which I don’t find desirable. We need a multitude of distinct cultures.

  31. Let’s let Quebec separate. And I live in Quebec, but I had enough about all this nonsense talk about separation. Next week after the Quebec separation, the Indians from the north (the North with all the natural resources) and the English and immigrant communities from the West Montreal will declare their choice for Canada and they will separate from Quebec. What it will be at the end? A Quebec with half of Montreal (the poor half), with Quebec City and with the regions that are poor and illiterate. In 4 years they will beg Canada in tears to take them back, but we wont. I’m a immigrant, I speak french fluently, my university studies are made here, I work with Quebecers, but I never blended in. If you walk on the Montreal streets, you’ll see Quebecers befriending only Quebecers, and that even if in Montreal live 1 million immigrants and 500 000 anglophones. Quebecers are only 47 or 48% of the total Montreal population, but they have only Quebecers friends and love partners. I bet if a Quebecer enter in a bar full with beautiful end enjoyable people from all over the world, and he sees only one other Quebecer in there, he’ll choose this one from all the people.

    • Wow un instant! I agreed until the last part. There is an awful lot of mixed marriages and “fraternization” here, as well as foreign adoptions.

  32. Taxed2death4ever is just talking a lot of bu**sh*t. and I think I know who he is. This being said, French will disappear from Quebec be it only because the terminology and syntax, both spoken and written, is quietly becoming English; the formula is: limx→1 f(x) = 0 (zero quality French)…slowly but surely, folks. It`s a global trend.

    • Talk about a lot of Bull##it… along comes 14th fart to say something completely irrelevant and ignorant.

      • LOL! Taxed2death4ever makes the most sense. I thank you!

  33. Do in Rome as Romans do, if I move to Argentina, I will learn spanish, but my daughter is already in her second year of spanish at Lachine St-Anne College, P.Q., if I move to Toronto, all my family is already bilingual, mais je vis au Québec donc je vis en français et je me sens canadien AUTANT QUE VOUS !!!

  34. Hey Marty! Long time no see – BTW don’t recognize the Québec I’ve lived in for the past 34 years in this article. Must be what we’ve been smoking lately.
    Cheers,
    Charlie

  35. Giovanni Caboto, not John Cabbot

  36. If your name is not Belanger or Lapierre you are not accepted in Quebec. Period. End of conversation. So, move to Toronto.

  37. I am in favor of the french canadians separating from Canada by way of geting on boats and paddling their way back to France and letting the First Nations take over their province once and for all. So tired of the whiney french… so tired of having to apologize to the rest of the world for quebec tourists/ignorance/rudeness.

  38. As a Manitoban, I would like to thank the French individuals who brought the case to court ,the Supreme Court who think logically on a limited number of cases, and of course Mr. Perreault for reminding me of the millions and millions of dollars that it cost to translate our laws into French. Of course, the only people to profite from this lengthy and idiotic chore were the French legal translators we had to import from Quebec. Sorry, I forgot the air lines who dropped these individuals off every Monday and took them home every Friday and the Hotels and resturants in Winnipeg that housed and fed them. If ever there was a reason for using the Notwithstanding Clause in the Charter, this was it. Certainly, we should have published all recent and future laws in both languages. Using reason and logical it was easily recognized that every Frence speaking lawyer practicing in Manitoba could translate the older existing laws for their clients. For the French only individuals from Quebec or France, we would have gladly provide a well educated bi-lingual clerk to help them.

  39. Insanity. Immigrants to CANADA should have the right to choose WHICH language they speak.

  40. So long as we can communicate, what does it matter what language we speak? Are our identities more important than the people struggling in poverty in Quebec? I personally identify myself as a human being- and the priority should be getting everone taken care of in terms of nourishment, education, employment, transportation, medical care, shelter etc…before we continue to spend resources arguing over what ‘shade’ of human being we are. Can we please get over ourselves and get our priorities straight?

Sign in to comment.