Ms Porridge44

This message is addressed to Ms Porridge44  who I have the pleasure to argue with on the

Ms Porridge44,

I was very pleased with your last message. It seems that we could at last have a genuine discussion. We obviously desagree on some fundamental issues, but I see that your are giving me your point of view sincerely and that you are not throwing arguments at my face.

There are things that you say for which I have a different perspective, may I tell you my point of view? I will say some things that might surprise you, maybe, I hope not, upset you. Don’t see it as an argument, as une joute verbale, see it as someone giving his point of view sincerely like you just did.

You said : « My emotion comes from francophone nationalists continuously trying to deny the English fact. » We don’t deny the fact, we fight it. It is not the same thing. To act and change reality, one has to see reality for what it is. Would we not see the overwhelming weight of english in North America, we would be fools, and we would not have acted, and we would not had linguistic politics. On this question, our eyes are wide open.

You said : « They seem very insecure in their identity […] » We have issues with our identity, our history is full of paradoxes. But I might surprise you by saying that I see a greater insecurity among canadians and among english quebecers. Today, a majority of quebecers see themselves as quebecers only or quebecers first. Our history is, as I said full of paradoxes and we have overcome a lot, and I would say that notre âme est trempée par les humiliations d’hier et les insultes d’aujourd’hui comme la lame de l’épée est trempée par le feu et l’eau (I have no words to express that in english…) On the other hand, for many english canadians, simply mentionning that Québec is a nation is an unbearable idea. When i see someone living in British-Columbia, which is quite far from Québec, feeling threatened by the existence of another nation in Québec, I can’t help to think that they must be insecure. And here in Québec, english quebecers who fear, right or wrongfully, for the place of english in Québec, who feel canadians, not quite quebecers, but resent being left out, would like to be included, etc. Aren’t there paradoxes and insecurity? I am not saying this as if I knew better. I ask questions. And I say that canadians often seem insecure to me.

Now, would you start throwing arguments at me that Québec is not a nation or that, no, the majority of quebecers don’t see themselves as quebecers only or first, it would be ironic… It would remind of your emotional response about english being universal or not…      :)

About the english that we « try to belittle it at every turn, giving arguments on how unimportant and insignificant it is. » If you engage in discussion in which you try to convince with logical arguments that english is important, that we sould learn it, that it is the dominant language in the world, you are calling for arguments opposing your point of view.

It might be difficult to understand how much emotional is this question. Let’s say you see a language as a mean of communication, like a telephone, i don’t care much if you tell me that your phone is more important than mine. But if you see french as a part of our identity, a part of our soul, a part of who we are, things are different. Now, when you tell me that your language is very important and that everyone should learn it, that I am stubborned in defending my language, you are telling me that, as a person, I have less value, that I am less important, that I should give up who I am and be someone else. And, of course, one will argue until the end of times to defend who he is and you, you are wondering what is all that fuss about a phone.

There is a misconception when one thinks that we reject english. We learn english, most of us speak english. When recently Jean Charest proposed that half of the sixth grade will be in english, there have been no outcry, it was more or less OK with mostly everyone. We are willing to learn english and we do. But on the other hand, if a politician would want to touch bill 101, he will be crucified, because it is the protection of the french language. One of our paradoxes.

There are a number of things that could be said about French. Maybe later.

You said : « my emotions come from the too many blogs I read where English bashing is the fashion ». I have read the National Post comments lately, the Gazette comments, there is not much I have not read about quebecers.  It is socialy accepted to spit on Québec and it almost doesn’t hurt me anymore. A tie is really forever broken.

I would like to come back to one of your previous post, but this one is already a little too long.

Just a final note about different perspectives.

You wrote (2:44 PM on February 9, 2011) at :

« I am very bilingual and I’m very proud that we are unique in Quebec. I love the friendly, open-hearted francophone people with their amazing sense of humour. The problem is that they turn very ugly when language issues come up. We could all live so much richer lives if we could find a way to get along. »

I could write almost the same thing :

I am very to some degree bilingual and I’m very proud that we are unique in Quebec. I love the friendly, open-hearted francophone anglophone people with their amazing sense of humour. The problem is that they turn very ugly when language sovereignty issue comes up. We could all live so much richer lives if we could find a way to get along.


(Would this long message hurt you, I would remove it from the blog.)


16 réflexions au sujet de « Ms Porridge44 »

  1. Porridge44

    Michel Patrice,

    This turned out to be quite a bit longer than I expected. I had a lot more to say than I initially thought. As you pointed out in your post, this not intended as hurtful whatsoever. I am just trying to make you understand another point of view. Thanks for the opportunity.

    You said: « We have issues with our identity«  Finally someone admitted it! Thank you for stating the obvious, now we can move on. Is that why you want to mess with our identity? We are secure in ours and I think the Francophones may be a little jealous, maybe you want to make us feel a little insecure as well. You may be correct in saying we are insecure but that is probably because you have made us that way. You said we: “resent being left out”, why are we being left out? You shut anyone out who is not like you, and maybe one day someone will admit that too. That was the main point of the article “Quebec residency programs biased against foreign-trained MDs”. You force everyone to walk down the same street as you with Bill 101, you tell the world: Here we are French, here the law says you must walk down this street with us, join us, be like us and help us build our future in French. Then as we are all walking down this street (of our own free will or not) you say: Hey, who are you? Why are you on my street? You are not like me, you do not belong here, get off this street, we do not like you because you are not like us, you do not have the same experiences we have and therefore you cannot understand us. You are not welcome here. Talk about paradox!

    Can you honestly say there is no discrimination in the public sector, including hospitals? I am aware of too many examples of perfectly qualified people not being able to practice. For example, I know a young lady who is a qualified nurse, she is bilingual but cannot practice in Quebec because she did not pass the French test. Does this make sense? We have a shortage of nurses and because she can speak French but makes a few errors in writing, the public has one less nurse, the hospital where she could work, that has mostly English patients has one less nurse! This I have heard this type of story over and over. Of course you will tell me that it doesn’t matter, language first! The problem is that emotion of language gets in the way of running things as they should be. That is why sovereignty is not an option for me, for you it will always be language above all! Forget about logic, forget about getting more qualified doctors, nurses, etc. It is more important to spend money on French tests and the bureaucracy surrounding it.

    Now about insecurity. You mentioned that a British Columbian is threatened by the thought of another nation in Québec. I don`t agree. I think they would be unhappy and disappointed that Quebec would change the face of this country, but they would not feel threatened. They would probably be saddened that this country no longer stretches from ocean to ocean.

    Now picture these BC residents as the ones who want to separate from Canada. They are always whining, crying and stomping their feet and trying to make trouble at every turn just to prove how “special” they are or to get more and more money, what if their social programs were more generous than anybody else’s yet they would continue to act like victims and use threats to get what they want? Would they start to get on your nerves? Perhaps you would get a little tired of hearing them and start to complain. Then of course they would be victims again because everyone is complaining about them….that fuels their fire and gives them more reason to separate from a Canada that they believe hates them. This is why you have read nasty comments in The Gazette and the National Post, not that I am excusing any of it but it is just for you to understand the point of view of the ROC. You need to step away from your language sore point and look at it through their eyes.

    I will not argue the nation of Quebec point. I think Quebec may in fact be a nation and I like that idea, we certainly are different and that makes me proud to be Québecoise. But what about PEI or Nova Scotia? Are they not unique? Are they not special as well? We are all unique and we come together by being Canadian. I am Canadian first, then Québecoise, you see — I am both. Let me say that with the way things have been going in the world lately, I literally thank God every morning that I am Canadian, we are so very lucky to live in such a peaceful society. Why would anybody want to mess with it? I would not feel safe if Québec were to separate from Canada, I think it would be unstable and I would be afraid (yes insecure!) of what would happen, I sincerely do not believe that Anglophones would be treated with much consideration, let alone immigrants. Why do you want a country anyway? What would you have that you don’t already have? I think you would have carte blanche to treat anyone who is different from you as badly as you wish, i.e. make us suffer for all the old pains you yourself have suffered, even if I personally have nothing to do with it. I believe THAT is the main reason you want sovereignty. You say you want to make your own decisions, about what exactly? How to spend our tax money? Well what would change exactly? We still need hospitals, roads, infrastructure, government, but we would need additional things as well, army, navy, more government to replace the federal employees, our own currency, a mint, borders, etc. etc. What exactly would be gained except the idea that you could humiliate anyone who is not Purlaine? Again, that is the main reason for sovereignty. I wish you would stop being victims, it would be better for all of us. Did you hear Duceppe the last few days? Victim, victim, victim, everyone is out to get him and the Quebecois people — victim and paranoid.

    About the phone…I am truly trying to understand your emotional attachment to the phone and you are correct, for me it is only a phone, just a tool for communicating and I don’t really care if mine the universal language or not. But I do wonder why you are not letting me use my phone as I please. And why are you forcing your phone on me? You have yours, I have mine. Yes, mine is more useful in North America so why would you try to stop me and force me to use yours? Is it because of your emotions and because you want to make it more significant to me. I could use your phone sometimes but I don’t want you to discriminate against me or fine me because I choose to use mine. By forcing it on me, I will use your words “you are calling for arguments opposing your point of view”, i.e. you are calling for resistance.

    It is interesting what you say at the end regarding my post and I will think about that too. And one last thing, why are you keeping my posts, it’s just a little creepy for me M. Patrice.


    I would not say that you are to some degree bilingual; your English is very good!

    1. Michel Patrice Auteur de l’article

      « And one last thing, why are you keeping my posts, it’s just a little creepy for me M. Patrice. »

      Ah! Ah! Sorry. Don’t worry, I don’t stick pins in Voodoo dolls. When I comment on a topic, I bookmark it to be able to read further replies. That’s why I had your post. : )

      Thank you for your message. I will come back to it when I have a little more time.

    2. Michel Patrice Auteur de l’article

      I have read your last message a couple of times and I think there is a lot more to say about it than I could. First, just a few quick comments.

      About the nurse who cannot practice because of a french test. Well, I think it is a stupid problem, and it is the kind of policy that I don’t like. (By the way, I think that one should have the right to study in an english Cegep if one wishes to…) On the other hand, if the only thing that keeps this young nurse to work is the failure of a french test, has she considered studying and rewritting the test? I have studied advanced calculus and notions of nuclear physic to get my diploma, yet I don’t use it in my daily work, there are things that one absurdly has to study to get a diploma, Frech might be one of them. I would not be much touched by someone complaining that he has not got his diploma because he failed nuclear physic. (But the point here is that I agree that the nurse situation is absurd.)

      About the Nation question, yes, PEI and Nova-Scotia are special too (isn’t Trudeau’s answer to the distinct society in the Meech Lake accord?…). And if they see themselves as a nation, a distinct society, or whatever, good for them. And I understand people in Alberta who are fed up with the federal government and with Québec.
      About your phone that I don’t let you use. It is an interesting question. I could tell you about it, but I fear that you would feel that I am trying belittle english, deny its importance and so on. I could come back to it later if you wish. I understand, reading your comments in general, that your major point of disagreement with Québec policies is with linguistic policies. I think I understand your frustrations with it, and, being quite stubborned myself, I understand your resistance.

      This being said, here is the main point of my comment.

      You said : « Why do you want a country anyway? What would you have that you don’t already have? I think you would have carte blanche to treat anyone who is different from you as badly as you wish, i.e. make us suffer for all the old pains you yourself have suffered, even if I personally have nothing to do with it. I believe THAT is the main reason you want sovereignty. […] What exactly would be gained except the idea that you could humiliate anyone who is not Purlaine? Again, that is the main reason for sovereignty. »

      I was hurt beyond what you can imagine by what you said. I have tought of many answers and yet I cannot begin to write something that would not put more oil on fire. If you read again what you wrote, is it really what you think? Vos paroles ont-elles dépassé votre pensée? If it is really what you think, then let me have a few more days to calm down, and I will answer a little later.


  2. Porridge44

    Monsieur Patrice,

    You are correct, there is too much to say and I am afraid that we could argue the same points forever. Both sides have good opinions and good arguments. Let me try to keep it brief this time.

    The nurse in question tried very hard to pass the test, she has taken it 3 times and they have told her she cannot practice in Quebec. As I mentioned, she can speak French but I guess her written doesn’t satisfy the Québec’s requirements. I understand this test is very difficult but I have not seen it myself. Thank you for seeing the silliness of this, that is all I really wanted. Unfortunately, many would not agree with you, this is why such a system is in place.

    You said “Your major point of disagreement with Québec policies is with linguistic policies” I disagree with many Quebec policies but I suppose you are correct in stating that language is one of the points I disagree with the most, again, it is not the French language per say that I have problems with, it is the way it is enforced that troubles me.

    As for what I wrote regarding separation from Canada, I may have exaggerated some of the scenarios, I am sorry that it hurt you but that was the general message I wanted to convey. Let me ask you this question: Can you tell me that that the flag-waiving, shouting separatists who do not want to hear a word of English at any of the St-Jean Baptiste celebrations, the person who gives me dirty looks when they hear me speaking English on the street, the radio adds that says “ici on parle français” and the person who repeats it to me on the street, the one who’s propagates “persecution by the English”…can you tell me that they don’t feel that way? The politicians have scared the people into thinking that English people are big bad monsters waiting to swallow them up and that they have to fight fight fight!!! Just today I read a comment on how you are victims of a “cultural genocide” in Quebec, this type of comment incites fear – and fear incites hatred. Sadly enough, I do believe what I said is true. I cannot speak for everyone but at least a few I spoke to have the same opinion: Outside your home you cannot force people do things your way but inside your home you can. For the separatists, Home = Quebec libre! and that means they will force people to do as they wish – which will be what exactly? I do understand your fight to keep French alive in North America, but do I have to be a casualty of this fight? I am just sitting here, on the phone, minding my own business and you are in my face about it, you are angry about it. Why don’t you tell me why I am wrong Michel. I would like to hear your arguments. Believe me, nothing would make me happier than to be proven wrong on this point!

    We may have to agree to disagree but at least we can leave this discussion with a bit more understanding of the other’s point of view.

    1. Michel Patrice Auteur de l’article

      About the nurse again. I said that that problem is absurd (and i mean it). Just a naive question : has she ever blamed her school system for not preparing her properly to work here? (The question might seem silly and inflammatory but picture a franco-ontarian, he has the right to study in french and he does, but if his education did not prepare him to work in english, he will have have a problem and he could rightfully blame his school system.)

      I am leaving for a few days (family weekend). I will come back with some more toughts about :

      – the question of immigrants after the independance.
      – the question of english quebecers after the independance.
      – why do we want to separate anyway
      – but what inspired me the most numerous ideas is your post in which you said that « that [we] are beginning to wake up and are realizing that there is a whole beautiful world out there and [we] are missing out on it. »

      I like to discuss with you. It is easier to write when I picture myself talking to someone, it focuses my mind on a subject and, at the same time, it brings many more new ideas going in different directions.

      Before I leave, some random toughts about immigrants that we, being monsters, would treat badly after a yes vote…

      On dit chez nous qu’il est difficile de dire bienvenue quand on n’est pas chez soi.

      « Peu importe d’où tu viens, si tu bats avec moi, tu es mon frère. » (guess who said that…)

      « Treat them* as a nation and they will act as a free people generally do—generously. » (John A. Macdonald) (* french canadians)

  3. Porridge44

    M. Patrice,

    Here are some more things for you to think about regarding your thoughts.

    « Si tu bats avec moi, tu es mon frère… » hmmmm, interesting, You would like others to go to battle with you, stand with you and fight for your dream. Who exactly is “tu”? Who do you want to go to battle with you? Me? I don’t think so. You have told me I’m not a “vrais québecoise” (not you of course but hypothetically) and I know that no matter how much French I know, how much I learn, you will never accept me as one of you. So why would I stand by you? Why don’t you try giving me a nod and a smile at the St-Jean Baptist celebration, maybe even a welcome handshake, be happy and proud that I am there to celebrate and that we are all together, share your dream. That way others may want to join you. Give me dirty looks on the street and tell me how to speak and I will fight back, you need my cooperation yet you treat me like the enemy. Very contradictory.

    « Treat them* as a nation and they will act as a free people generally do—generously. » Interesting again. So…we do not have a new constitution because it will NEVER be good enough for the separatists but we do separate from Canada, and we have a new country. All the people who don’t believe in your dream suddenly changed their mind and voted with you. Very exciting stuff, n’est pas? Then, and only then, you start being generous toward me and suddenly accept all those people you have fought against in the past. Wow! Something tells me it would not happen quite that way, and who would take that chance.

    I didn’t say you were monsters, I said “The politicians have scared the people into thinking that English people are big bad monsters…”

    Nurse : You make a good point about school preparing her, the schools are government run, they should be aware of the test and it’s silly requirements and prepare the students accordingly.


    1. Michel Patrice Auteur de l’article

      You said : « You have told me I’m not a “vrais québecoise” (not you of course but hypothetically) » ( You are beginning to put me in a different category. That’s nice, i appreciate.) And you add : »you will never accept me as one of you. […] Give me dirty looks on the street and tell me how to speak […] you treat me like the enemy. » What happened to « the friendly, open-hearted francophone people with their amazing sense of humour » that you earlier refered to? Those who give you big bad looks do not represent the majority of quebecers any more than Howard Galganov represents the majority of english quebecers.

      The quote about « si tu te bats avec moi » was from Falardeau asked about racism. Asked if he had a problem with minorities since he often criticizes them for opposing to the sovereignty of Québec, he answered something like « I don’t care if you are black, yellow, purple or whatever. I don’t care about where you come from, I care about where you are going. Si tu te bats avec moi, tu es mon frère. »

      (Your reaction will of course be to say that, you see, if you are opposed to sovereignty, you are not a true quebecer! That’s more or less what the journalist told him, and he replied : « well, if you want to stay in Canada, i guess you are a canadian… »)

      We could argue about that for a long time, and arguing that Falardeau is mad foaming at the mouth separatist would be quite beside the point. But I would like to point out that, in the 1995 referendum, everyone of any languages and any colors, in Québec for the last fourtheen generations or newly citizens out of the citizens mills put in place in months preceding the vote, have voted, the francos voted Yes at 60%, the anglos and the allos voted No in large majority, and we have respected the result of the vote since they were all quebecers. There have not been, I believe, one brick in one window. In many countries, such a situation would have turned into a blood bath.

      It is easy to say that immigrants oppose sovereignty because of our intolerant attitude. One forgets that there are other factors. One comes from Africa to live in Canada and settle in Montreal, he believes (rightfully I admit : )… ) that he is in Canada. He soon discovers that he is in Québec, a strange society inside Canada that don’t really feel it belongs to Canada, and he realizes that there is an ongoing struggle that has been lasting since no one remembers when. That man gave up everything to start over, to build a new life, hoping to over his family. That man wishes for stability. And I understand him. He missed the last decades of discussion, he plays safe and favors stability. Good common sense. There are other factors than our supposed intolerance.

      (About our intolerance, one should take a look at the comments following this article : It will give a more balanced view of our supposed intolerance.)

      In the past, they used to integrate to the anglophones, now they tend to integrate to the francophones. The children of bill 101 are more and more integrated to our society. Some are even sovereignist.

      I think of …
      Luck Mervil, haitian singer, souvereignist, once named Patriot of the Year.
      Dany Laferrière, brilliant haitian writer, souvereignist.
      Robin Philpot, pure stock anglo, journalist, souvereignist.
      Maka Kotto, comedian, from Cameroun, MNA member, Parti Québécois. Sovereignist.

      One man wrote : « Mais nous avons, depuis douze générations, trop bûché, trop semé, trop construit, trop sué, trop souffert, trop surmonté et trop triomphé pour ne pas faire le pari que nous parviendrons, encore une fois, à être à la hauteur de tout ce que nous avons reçu en héritage. » One would say that this man, talking of his people, of his ancestors and of the history of his people, can only be a quebecer, and indeed he is. And he was born in Monte Video in Uruguay and came to Québec at the age of 9. He embrassed to society he lives in and the society he lives in embrassed him. And he is my brother.

      Now, let’s say that Québec is an independant country. The man from Africa will be coming to Québec, he will know where he is going. Things will be clear. He will not be taken between two opposing factions. The question will have been settled. Those who will have been here before the independance, when they see that things are not so bad after all after the apocalypse that separation is supposed to be, they will go on with their lives. We will stop criticizing them for opposing separation.

      The historic english minority of Québec will probably see this as the end of the world, they will see that the time when they used to rule is definitely over, I understand that they will see this as something humiliating (and believe me, since I know what it is to be a minority, I will understand their humiliation and I will be the last to put their nose in it.) They will see this as the defeat of their people. But the new immigrants? They will have a more pragmatic attitude about this, for they don’t relate much to our history of a people struggling for its liberation, nor do they relate much to the history of the english who used to rule the land. They will have little to do with our age old fights. They will probably be to ones telling us (you and I) to get over it, that we would have now a country to build, relations to clarify with our canadians neighbors and so on.

      You said “The politicians have scared the people into thinking that English people are big bad monsters…” I say : « The politicians have scared the people into thinking that English people separatists are big bad monsters… »

      About the constitution that will be never enough for separatists . One should remember that René Lévesque gave up separatism, gave an honest try to « le beau risque », that we have voted massively for Mulroney who proposed to bring back Québec in « l’honneur et l’enthousiasme », that we have honestly engaged in the negaciation of the Meech Lake accord. We did not not ask for much and we would have signed the constitution. It was too much for english canadians. Parizeau was of course opposed to it, Bourassa bent over backward for it to succeed. And I remember people in Sault-Sainte-Marie whipping their feet on our flag, I was eighteen, and I had seen on TV the hate toward my kind. Are we eager to give one more try? We are not masochist to that point.


  4. Porridge44

    And very important…I will add to this comment:

    « Who do you want to go to battle with you? Me? I don’t think so. You have told me I’m not a “vrais québecoise” (not you of course but hypothetically) and I know that no matter how much French I know, how much I learn, you will never accept me as one of you.  »

    And why do I have to be a carbon copy of you to be accepted anyway? I am me! Can you not accept that I stand beside you as a sister eventhough we are different?

  5. Porridge44

    Bonjour M. Patrice,

    Here is my response to your comments:

    As for my contradiction on the French Québecois, I knew you would pick that up, it made me laugh! Yes, you are correct, the majority of francos are not the “dirty look type” although I have come across them more than once and felt the “hate toward my kind” as well. Just like the time I was told by an OLF officer that writing August on my binder was illegal! Perhaps these are examples of “turning ugly”.

    There are extremists on both sides of the argument and to acknowledge and quote Falardeau as one of your leaders is certainly inflammatory. No anglo in their right mind would walk with him. You mentioned H. Galganov, should I quote him as my hero and leader? He did try to fight you with your own medicine even if is somewhat extreme about it. If I remember correctly, he received death threats, so it is not all so peaceful and things could potentially get worse with separation, it will certainly give fuel to the extremists .

    Your view of a sovereign Quebec is much too romantic and rosy-eyed. What makes you think things would be better than they are now? I cannot say it better than G. Vézina who posted on Le Devoir at 11h07 on April 18:

    While you are there, read the comments and get a flavor of the general message that is conveyed. It just proves my previous observation — that sovereignty is all about getting rid of English (from one of the posts: “éliminer progressivement l’anglais à la radio”!).

    “the anglos voted no in a large majority” – It’s not hard to guess why.

    I had seen that article on failed multiculturalism and I tend to agree. People coming from many different countries with such diverse values need to find somewhat of a common identity. We should all have blended into the first nations way of life, after all they were here before any of us. You see, we can argue about the same old story forever but how about stepping beyond the Plaines of Abraham and the 1950s and moving into the 20th century?

    Having another referendum is a pointless waste of money. You see, we have already answered the question about sovereignty but, once again, you are not satisfied. You will never be happy until every last drop of English anything is wiped out of the province – again the real reason for sovereignty. What will likely go along with it is my job at an American company — and the 299 other jobs. So…the African will not come to this “country” because there are no jobs and it is not a prosperous country but a country of xenophobic people and high unemployment and perhaps even unrest. A country of elimination of English on the radio!

    By the way, I made a call today to our IT help desk in the US, there is no way I could communicate with that person in French. That is what happens in the real world and hiding behind Bill 101’s skirt is just a sorry excuse for racism and complacency.

    And finally, this is what it looks like to have the separatists in power…

    …despite warning the move is radical and unnecessary.

    …use of the notwithstanding clause to override rights

    …“We can propose other methods – without using a bazooka,”

  6. Michel Patrice Auteur de l’article

    The August on the cartable thing, is it true? It is silly. What was the context?

    I know that quoting Falardeau is inflammatory. Because he is often seen as a racist, i find it funny to quote the « you are my brother » quote. For the same reason, I find it funny to quote Gandhi : « Là où il n’y a le choix qu’entre lâcheté et violence, je conseillerai la violence. »

    It is getting late and I want to go back home. I will write a little longer later. Just a quick comment :

    About the IT help desk in the US which you could not communicate in french with. Well, what can I tell you? That is why we speak english too, because it is common sense.

    Don’t worry, I know that english is the world language. I remember the last time I told you that english was not as universal as one might think. : ) Vous aviez grimpé dans les rideaux d’une amusante façon.

    I think that the french question will be a very rich topic for arguing.


  7. Porridge44

    I am serious about “the cartable thing”. It was many years ago where the company I worked for needed to obtain their “certificat de francisation” from the OLF. Two inspectors came to our office and one of them came into my workspace and pointed at my binders where I had applied hand written stickers, Jan – March, April – July, etc. He pointed at them and said that it was not allowble and that I would have to change them to jan – mars, avril – juillet, etc. That is a true story — our taxes hard at work! Although I am sure some hardcore fanatics like Gilles Proulx and his followers would think that’s wonderful work.

    Did Ghandi really say that? Surprising.

    Ah finally! “Speaking English is only common sense”, voilà, c’était cela que je voulais dire quand, d’après toi, j’ai grimpé dans les rideaux. That is my point, it’s just common sense.

  8. Michel Patrice Auteur de l’article

    A few quick comments first.

    About the english words on the bider. I get the picture, it was during the francisation process. I imagine the picture and i can’t help smiling. I imagine this zealous officer of the OQLF and I imagine you with the same attitude as if the barbarians had entered Rome once again. From outside, there is something funny to it. But I can understand that you are not laughing.

    Gandhi really said that. There is more than non violence to Gandhi. He was a nationalist, he was against the domination of the british empire and he was a separatist.

    My view of sovereignty is perhaps too romantic. Your view of it is, for sure, apocalyptic. Why would your 300 jobs disappear after the independance? (This where you insert your description of the apocalypse…)

    A new referendum is a waste of money and we have already answered that question, twice. That is what I have been told countless times.

    Anyone under the age of 34 have never voted in a referendum, that’s a lot of people. Only people older than 49 have voted twice. How many people died since 1980? since 1995? They are no longer there to vote. The population is not the same just like the water under the bridge is never the same.

    And we voted for the conservatives in 1867. Yet, we vote every four years. Was not that question settled? : )

    About the article on failed multiculturalism. You think that people coming from many different countries with such diverse values need to find somewhat of a common identity. Interesting. We are not so different one from the other. We simply disagree on which common identity. Perhaps an immigrant could some day tell you « (…) why do I have to be a carbon copy of you to be accepted anyway? I am me! Can you not accept that I stand beside you as a sister eventhough we are different?» : )

    These were the quick comments.

    There is something that worries me a lot more that what would happen to english and immigrants after independance.

    Let’s say that we give up. If some people feel that Québec is an economic drag on Canada, they should wait and see for the day that we give up and settle in «le confort et l’indifférence», for the day that we see that the economic development and those other policies are decided outside of our territory in a Canada where we are more and more irrelevant and that we decide to let it be. When we will become a huge New-Brunswick, we will really be a drag.

    If we give up, it will be the louisianisation of our nation, a slow death. Les peuples qui meurent meurent longtemps et ça fait mal. (Falardeau again…) Franco-ontarians, franco-albertans, natives, cajuns are all dying people slowly going quietly down the assimilation road. They can be ignored because they are minorities on their own territory.

    Quebecers will be harder to ignore because they are a majority on their territory and they control their own government. They will take a very long time to die and it will be painfull.

    Nazi Germany was born from the humilitation and the despair of the german people.

    You see in the debate over english cegeps, over english on the radio, and so on, signs of intolerance. I see this intolerance as the first symptoms of the slow death of a proud nation, a slow and painfull death. I much more fear that we someday give up than whatever would come out of independance. I see the symptoms «(…)du sentiment dévorant de disparaître sur place de ce peuple qui n’en finit plus de ne pas naître.» (Miron)

    I could tell you a thousand times that the goal of sovereignty is not to eliminate english, you would still not believe me. It is not the goal.

    «Allons-nous mourir en nains quand nous sommes nés géants?» (Les géants)

    J’arrête pour ce soir, j’ai l’impression d’être de mauvaise compagnie. À plus tard.


  9. Russell

    An interesting read addressing the same old problem. Us and Them. We will never move pass this until our school systems merge. I am from a family of 9 the three oldest, myself included are basically English. Taught in English, worked in English, married English. Parents English. My younger siblings and parents moved when I was entering College to Saint Philippe. They ended up being taught in French, married French speaking wives and husbands, some unilingual. We get together at Xmas and a weekend every summer to play games. We are now about 60 family members of varyings degrees of bilingualism.
    There is no us or them we are a family. A Quebec family. A family who once voted Yes and No. As the years have passed I feel we have collectively moved more towards staying in Canada as French speaking Canadians. I personally struggle with French, but amazingly am improving. I blame my schooling of the 60’s.
    Why do we have language schools? Who is afraid? I have seen dual track schools. French speaking students and English students in the same building going to different classrooms at the bell. Students who were able, maybe attending the History class in another language. Students who represented their school on sports teams with an English coach in Basketball, but a French coach in Volleyball. It worked and worked well, but was forced to stop by the Department of Education. Why?
    Why are we afraid to be a community school? Until then we will never trust each other.

    1. Michel Patrice Auteur de l’article


      Your post is interesting. The old problem of us and them has to be taken with some perspective since sociology tells us that no human group can define itself without relation or comparison to the Other. One has conciouness of being white when he has consiousness that some others are black.

      But the more I read the forum of the Gazette or of the National Post, the more I see that there are really two solitudes. I participate in these forums and I am often seen as someone looking for a quarrel. Ironicaly, I might be among quebecers who have the most interest in engaging a discussion with the other solitude. Because of the nature of the forums, this relation is often based on confrontation, but there is a relation, while most francos simply ignore the « other solitude » since they simply have no interest in it.

      Merging our school system? Surprising and intelligent proposition. Indeed, perhaps the only way to bring the two solitudes together. Since francos, somewhere in the sixties, have begun to see themselves as a majority on their territory and since the younger generations are more self assured, they would probably agree to merge the two system since they would probably see themselves as the majority assimilating the anglo minority.

      I suspect though that the english community would reject the idea. They would see this as a threat to their historical rights. Some of them see bill 101 as a crime against humanity, I wonder what they would think of the disappearance of their school system.

      We had a family reunion two weeks ago, we were 60, three generations. There are some french-english couples in my family too. Interesting dynamics.

      I remember an article about english quebecers feeling slowly a little more quebecers. You might be interested :

      Michel Patrice


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