Moving On; a moving documentary.

I recently had the pleasure to accidently discover a short documentary that touches a very sensitive issue : the exodus of anglophones. And it deals with this issue with great sensibility. I expected a rant, it wasn’t.

The three part documentary is basicaly an interview with six english montrealers who left the linguisticly changing post quiet revolution Montréal. (One of them is former CHOM FM radio host Terry DiMonte.)

You can watch it on line :

Moving On; A Documentary in 3 Parts. Pt1: The First Wave

Moving On; A Documentary in 3 Parts. Pt2: The Second Wave

Moving On; A Documentary in 3 Parts: Montreal Reborn

In the first part, the six characters tell about their childhood in Montreal and about the time of the firt PQ election. I was first stricken by their story of a unilingual english community. « It was a 99.9% english neigborhood. » says one. Another tells about her school where everybody spoke english, where they had everything, she says, english, italians, greeks, but no french.

You have to understand that I don’t blame them for not speaking french. They did not choose to speak english, nor did I choose to speak french, they were raised that way by their parents who were themselves raised that way by their parents. They spoke the language of their community, that’s all. I also think that learning a second language is an enormous task, you just can’t say « learn french », it is not that simple. This being said, this narration of their childhood is a saddening illustration of the two solitudes.

And then, a thunderstrike, november 15th, 1976 the PQ was elected, their world suddenly changed. « It was a shock » says one of them. Interestingly, the PQ was first elected in 1976 and the quiet revolution began in early 60s. By 1976, Québec had already immensly changed, one had to be blind not to see the coming changes, nevertheless, they were shocked, to their eyes their world had suddenly changed, and many of them decided to leave this changing world where they felt they no longer fitted.

The documentary is also about what I would call the pain of exile. One tells about the pain of leaving behind friends and family, another tells about the first difficult times in this foreign canadian west where they were not always welcomed. One newspaper front page once said « Bums, unskilled not welcomed : Calgary mayor ». « There were times when you got the the look », says one. So « we kept quiet about we were from » says another.

If you are leaving not because you want to but because you feel forced to, exile is then, I believe, much more painful. I sometimes get fed up with anglos telling about all those who left because of big bad separatists, bla, bla, bla. But when you can relate to the pain of exile (and I can), you can understand their lasting resentment.

The first part ends with Steve Warnes reading an old letter from his mother, she tells about his young brother who misses his two older brothers. Mr Warnes is now a man in his fifties, these events occured long ago, yet he has to stop reading because his voice is breaking, he removes his glasses and wipes the tears in his eyes. Hearthbreaking. Truely.

Their story is tragic. Tragic as in greek tragedy. I think it is tragic because you can blame french quebeckers all you want but french quebeckers, unpleased with their situation, had to do what they did and those six english expatriates look like innocent bystanders taken in the storm of history.

French quebeckers were unpleased with their situation. So, given their number, they were able to change the rules of the game, and in this changing world, some could not compete anymore. It was a kind of « it was us or them » situation, hence the tragedy.

Patti MacNeil’s words illustrate quite well the situation : « I could have stayed forever given I could have learn the language and I didn’t. So I ended up, unilingual english with a french name, in a town where I have always worked in english, (…) if anything ever happened to CHOM, I wouldn’t have been able to work anywhere else. I didn’t have enough to do retail anymore. »

My theory is that those who left spoke less french than the average english montrealer. But I have never read anything about it proving me right or wrong. But it is not the point.

Usually, when english quebeckers tell french quebeckers about the exodus of anglophones, it is all about blaming french quebeckers, separatism, linguistic laws, our supposed intolerance, and so on, vous connaissez la chanson. This documentary gives a different sound, it tells of a human experience.

28 réflexions au sujet de « Moving On; a moving documentary. »

  1. John Krug

    « …french Quebcers, unpleased with their situation, had to do what they did… » This is a shameful remark. French Quebecers constituted the majority of the population, had a majority in the Quebec Legislature and lived in a democratic society. All they had to do was start their own businesses , speak French to each other any time they wanted and patronize or not patronize anglophone businesses as they saw fit. Instead they embarked upon a series of steps, many of which were ruled illegal by the courts as well as the United Nations, deprived anglophone Quebecers of their rights and civil liberties, which led to hundreds of thousands of Quebecers, including French Quebecers leaving Quebec. The end result: a province in financial difficulty propped up by equalization payments and an increasing willingness on the part of the ROC to see Quebec go its own way , which would ultimately result in default on its financial obligations as it would not be able to issue its own currency. In the meantime Quebec preoccupies itself with the never ending pettiness of the office de la langue francaise.

    The true irony is that with the allophone migration to Quebec there is now no possibility of a referendum ever succeeding.

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  2. Michel Patrice Auteur de l’article

    Mr Krug,

    I was glad to read a new comment from you since our last discussion about Québec and apartheid fell short.

    (I now only have a few minutes. As you can guess, I don’t agree with all that you said in your last comment but I will come back to it sometimes later.)

    You disagree with the part in which I say that  » …french Quebcers, unpleased with their situation, had to do what they did… » But what about the rest? Did you watch the documentary? Do you think it is nice to find an independentist who doesn’t blame english quebeckers for not speaking french?

    I would have expected you to have a fit over the Montreal vs Toronto post instead of this one.

    Michel

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  3. John Krug

    The term « apartheid » refers to the undemocratic system of discriminating between the rights of the whites and the blacks, which once existed in South Africa. Even though there is a difference between the apartheid that was practiced there and what is happening in Quebec, there are also some points of resemblance. There are two population groups in one region, one of which possesses all the rights and protections, while the other is deprived of rights and is ruled by the first group. This is a flagrantly undemocratic situation.

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    1. Michel Patrice Auteur de l’article

      Mr Krug,

      I get your point about Apartheid. Interestingly, there are other points of resemblance between Québec and South Africa.

      They colonized their territory following the Orange river, we did it following the Saint-Laurent. The Grand Trek toward the inner lands reminds of the deportation of the acadians. The Boers stubbornly resisted anglicization and kept their own language, this is a stuborness I can relate to. They had to fight the Bristish Empire just like we did. The war with Zoulous reminds of the war with the Iroquois.

      The Boers war reminds of the war of the Conquest. After losing the war, the Boers got back to work to built and develop their states and today, they rule their territory. After the Conquest, we did the same and we now rule our territory.

      Boers and quebeckers reconquered their land, not with guns and canons, but with patience and hard work. Boers and quebeckers reconquered their land by territorial osmosis (par le travail et la mise en valeur de leur territoire, I can’t find a proper translation for now).

      So there are points of resemblance. But I understand that is not what you meant.

      About the deprived of rights english minority, might I point that english quebeckers have the right to go to french or english schools as they wish. If they choose to go to english schools, they can attend english schools from kindergarden to university. At university level, they can choose between Concordia, Bishop and worldclass McGill (I am forgetting the fourth one…). Francos have to go to french schools. So, technically, anglos have a right that francos don’t have.

      About our linguistic laws being ruled illegal by the UN. According to the very british Habeas Corpus Act, one has the right to know the charges against him and the right to defend himself. So, please, tell me who spoke in the name of Québec at the UN assembly when we have been condemned.

      And the Supreme Court of Canada examined these laws more than once I believe and they ruled out quite a few parts of these law. So the remaining parts must be pretty legal.

      As I believe I said earlier, this not a matter of individal and collective rights, it is a matter of two peoples struggling for domination. The very idea that we rule seems offending to anglos. They speak the superior language don’t they? Why can’t they rule?

      Ok, I am just being obnoxious… You fight for your rights and for your language and you fight for your freedom to choose for yourself. Believe me, this is something I can relate to. But when you cry that Québec’s english minority is deprived of all rights and compare its fate with the fate of blacks in South Africa, it simply lacks credibility.

      Michel

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    2. Michel Patrice Auteur de l’article

      About Québec and South Africa again. It reminds me that Pierre Vallière wrote a book titled Nègres Blancs d’Amérique, that book was not about an oppressed Québec english minority. (It has little to do with our discussion, I just find it funny.)

      Michel

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  4. Steven

    « So, please, tell me who spoke in the name of Québec at the UN assembly when we have been condemned. »

    Bill 101’s original sign provision forbidding all languages other than French was condemned by the UN in 1993 because it infringed on freedom of expression. The fact that French must be « markedly predominant » is no better in my opinion, if anything it’s probably an even bigger slap in the face.

    « About the deprived of rights english minority, might I point that english quebeckers have the right to go to french or english schools as they wish. »

    Michel, I’m not sure if you’re aware, but English schools are closing yearly and it’s primarily because Bill 101 doesn’t allow any immigrant to attend our schools, not even if they come from English speaking countries. When a francophone immigrates to a province like Ontario, the person has the right to send his/her children to public French schools, and I don’t see why it can’t be the same in Quebec. Like francophones, we have a very low birthrate and need to rely on immigration in order to sustain our population. Tell me, Michel: How are our schools supposed to survive without immigrant support? Is this what you want, Michel? Are English schools necessary parasites for you? (and please answer this question from the bottom of your heart). We cherish our schools and I wish the Quebec gov’t did too instead of treating like institutions that need to be dealt with (read: eliminate).

    « And the Supreme Court of Canada examined these laws more than once I believe and they ruled out quite a few parts of these law. So the remaining parts must be pretty legal »

    They made very minor changes to Bill 101 and more recently, the Kangaroo Court gave Quebec a chance to rewrite the unconstitutional Bill 104, which has greatly hurt our educational system. They also decided to leave it up to Quebec to validate the « mother tongue » clause in the province, the stupidest move they could have done and it also happens to be the most vital section to our community’s survival.

    It’s too bad that the majority see our existence as a threat rather than an asset. It’s no wonder so many of us (including myself) don’t feel welcome here and wish to eventually Quebec

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    1. Michel Patrice Auteur de l’article

      Steven,

      Over the last few months, I have discussed many ones about economy, nationalism, identity and so on. Linguistic laws is the most sensitive topic. I came to believe that our linguistic laws might even be more a problem for the english quebecker community than the idea of independence itself.

      To answer your last comment :

      1- I know that our linguitic laws have been condemned by the UN. My question was, and it has not been answered : who spoke in the name of Québec to defend Québec when we were being judged? Have we been condemned without being given the opportunity to defend ourselves?

      2- When I said « that english quebeckers have the right to go to french or english schools as they wish » and that « Francos have to go to french schools », I meant to illustrate for commenter Mr. Krug that, in this instance, anglos had one more right that francos didn’t have.

      This being said, I am fully aware that too many english schools close because of lack of students, it is a subject that is much discussed among the english community. Bill 101 was voted to solve one problem (among many others) : immmigrants went to english schools, the goal of bill 101 in this regard was the francisation of immigrants. Cutting the supply of new students to english schools was not the goal, it was a side effect.

      You said : « When a francophone immigrates to a province like Ontario, the person has the right to send his/her children to public French schools. » Of course they are allowed to, they are allowed because they don’t, it is not a problem. Let’s imagine that all immigrants to Ontario went to french school, don’t you honestly think that ontarians would do nothing about it?

      How are english schools supposed to survive without immigrant support? I don’t know. The problem is the same for french communities outside Québec who are being assimilated a little more with each generation. Is is the cold harsh law of competition.

      You want an answer from the botton of my hearth and I will speak my hearth.

      How are english schools supposed to survive without immigrant support? I don’t know. And I don’t rejoice over it. I can put myself in your shoes. Immigrant support is vital to you. It is also vital to us. So, as a majority, we decided in our best interest according to our context and to our situation. On this issue, unlike perhaps any other, their is no common ground.

      You fight for the defense of your language and your identity, this is something I can relate to and it is something I respect. We have much in common. Francos and anglos are both a majority, one in Canada, one in Québec, we are both a minority, one in Canada, one in Québec, we both defend our language. We both tend to vote in pack, we for the Bloc (recently for the NDP…) you for the PLQ. We have a lot in common.

      (You will notice that I have never told you that you should learn the language and assimilate. This is something that I hate to be told myself.)

      You say that it’s too bad that the majority sees your existence as a threat rather than an asset. (I feel the same regarding Québec in Canada..) Well, english is both a threat and an asset. But how can something be something and its own opposite? Paradoxial isn’t it? As paradoxical as our situation.

      But I don’t hate english.

      And thank you for speaking your hearth too. Who knows, we could understand each other.

      Michel

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    2. Calgary Anonymous

      I have to agree; I’m all for not giving a choice to allophones as they should learn the language of the majority of the province in which they reside.

      I’m just not sure about the immigrants whose mother tongue is english, they are supposed to have a constitutional right to education in english. Comments?

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      1. Steven

        Not in Quebec. Read section 59 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The « mother tongue » clause is not in effect in Quebec. This means that if an American settles in Montreal for whatever reason, that person won’t have the right to send his/her child to a public English school, but the reverse is true in the other provinces. This is my main beef with Bill 101 and the federal government has indirectly hurt our community by not enforcing the mother tongue clause on Quebec.

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        1. Calgary Anonymous

          Yes I agree with you. I don’t have a problem with the spirit of Bill 101, but stopping Americans from sending their kids to english school seems counter-productive to me.

          I also don’t agree with the « French must be first and prominent » bit, but that’s another battle.

        2. Michel Patrice Auteur de l’article

          Steven,

          You are right, an american settling in Québec cannot send his child to english school. You resent the federal government for not enforcing the mother tongue clause on Québec. I understand your beef.

          But there is another part of this story. Original bill 101 stated that native english speaking newcomers from other canadian provinces had to go to french school, this refered to as « Québec clause ». This part of the law was ruled illegal by Supreme Court. Now, new comers from other canadian provinces can go to english school, this refered to as « Canada clause ». This is something you can thank federal government for.

          This change is an important change because today (2001 stats), 23% of english quebeckers from age 20 to 40 (those most likely to have children attending school) were born in other canadian provinces. So without the « Canada clause », we can think that your school system would have been deprived of another 23% of its students.

          Interestingly, the notwithstanding clause can be used to limit the freedom of conscience, of association and of fondamental justice, but it cannot be used against linguistic rights. Why? My theory is that freedom of conscience, assocation or justice do not threaten the canadian state, simply put, they don’t care, but limiting linguistic rights (in Québec) threatens the canadian state, so it matters. This might look cynical and it probably is.

          (I also remember that René Lévesque once proposed that the french minority in Canada should have the same rights than the english Québec minority, something like this. The idea was rejected, why? by who? and when? I don’t remember. What was it all about? I don’t rememeber, this is a part of the story I forgot.)

          (I haven’t finished reading the senatorial report, but so far it strikes me with its description of both of us being at the same a majority and a minority. I said many times that anglos and francos have a lot more in common than meets the eye.)

          Michel

      2. Steven

        It’s not just counter-productive, it’s spiteful. They’re purposely depriving English schools of immigrants so that eventually they will all close have finally have the English-free society that people like Camille Laurin wanted to create.

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      3. Michel Patrice Auteur de l’article

        You are « not sure about the immigrants whose mother tongue is english, they are supposed to have a constitutional right to education in english. »

        Should they have the right to education in english? Is this right or wrong? If a, why not b? You are not sure because you are now thinking in the abstract world of ideas.

        Voting this law, we did not act in the abstract world of ideas, we acted in concrete reality according to our interests. The question was : in our context and our situation, is it in our interest that english immigrants attend english school? It is not.

        States act in concrete reality. States do not ask themselves if war is right or wrong. States say : « we are attacked so we have to defend ourselves, so there will be war » or « we need this ressource or this territory, so we will go at war. »

        « Les Etats n’ont pas de sentiments, ils n’ont que des intérêts. » (Richelieu) (« States have no feeling, they only have interests. »)

        Michel

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        1. Steven

          I see no reason immigrants from English speaking countries should not be able to attend English schools. We all know that settlement in Quebec from other provinces is not very high, so this will barely have an effect on our schools. Other provinces know that allowing mother tongue francophones to attend French schools is crucial to their sustainability. It’s crucial for us too and one can only assume that the Quebec government wishes to see our school severely crippled.

          It is a concrete reality that enrollment in our schools is declining as a result of these laws and something must be done to reverse or halt this trend. We have the right to survive and flourish in this province. I believe roughly a quarter of Quebec immigrants speak English as a first language. Our cultures are not at war (or at least shouldn’t be) and a gain for our community doesn’t have to mean a loss for yours. We must work towards a win-win solution. I do not believe that a few hundred students a year will cripple the French education system in any way. This is why my answer is « a and not b »

  5. Steven

    Michel,

    You’re completely right when you say that Quebec’s language laws are a greater problem that separation. While the vast majority of us consider ourselves Canadians before anything else (after all, we did save the country twice), the soveregnist movement has failed to attract anglo support because it has never explained the rights that we would have in a sovereign Quebec.

    1. I believe it was Briain Mulroney and the Justice Minister at the time, Kim Campbell, who went to the UN and asked the UN to withdraw its condemnation. Because Quebec is a Canadian province, Canada got the blame for it instead of Quebec.

    2. Having no supply of foreign immigrants for our schools is a side effect that jeopardizes the very existence of our educational institutions. You also mention the situation in rural Quebec regarding immigration, but you must understand the major difference. In the case of rural Quebec, it is because no immigrant wishes to settle in those areas for obvious reasons (less jobs etc..) whereas in our case, it’s for legislative reasons. I’m afraid that in a few decades or so, there will not be a single English primary and secondary school left in Quebec and there’s no way that our community will stand by and let that happen! I’m not implying that immigrants should have compete freedom of choice if they decide to settle here, but some immigrants should be allowed to attend our schools–enough to keep our educational institutions intact for the long term future. If the Quebec government is sincere in its intentions to respect the English speaking community and allow it to grow and prosper, it will take the appropriate measures to make sure that our institutions survive. Actions are much more powerful than words

    Michel, if you’re willing to acknowledge that immigrant support is vital for us and our institutions, why aren’t you willing to make a compromise with your English counterparts and allow an appropriate portion of immigrants to attend our schools? Many anglophones feel that it is worthless to ask the provincial government to do more to assist our communities, which explains the fact that we usually tend to look to the federal government instead for assistance and encouragement.

    You raise an interesting point about « bloc voting ». While federal parties such as the NDP have spoken much and attempted to safeguard French rights in federal institutions, the PLQ has taken our vote for granted and attempts to please the nationalists (the ethnocentric types) at any chance they get instead of appeasing their main voter base. Without the anglo vote, they’d be a third party and they know it. John James « Goldilocks » Charest had a chance a year ago to demonstrate his compassion for our community when Bill 104 was found to be unconstitutional. This Bill has had a devastating impact on our community and instead of throwing the Bill out of the window as the majority of us expected him to, he passed an even more restrictive law (Bill 115) and is likely to do further damage. I’m sorry if it seems like I’m just going on a rant, but I’m just trying to demonstrate that no single party in Quebec is willing to fully acknowledge our existence and our right to grow and flourish.

    You say that English is both a threat and an asset. I disagree. English can, and should only be considered an asset for Quebeckers. Anyway, this topic regards the English community, not the language for it is our community that is in jeopardy.

    In order to get a clearer picture of our community, I suggest you read a Senate report on our community. They spent two years studying the facts for the report. Here it is:
    http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/SEN/Committee/403/offi/rep/rep04mar11-e.pdf

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    1. Michel Patrice Auteur de l’article

      The Senate report is 129 pages, it’s quite long but I promess to read the conclusion and to look at the graphes. I had my busiest day in a long while. I’ll come back to your comment in the next few days.

      Michel

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    2. Michel Patrice Auteur de l’article

      Steven,

      I forgot to tell you : you are the first one to answer my question about who spoke in the name of Québec at the UN assembly. This is something I did not know.

      As you can guess, I would have prefered that the prime minister of Québec could have spoken in the name of Québec…

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  6. John Krug

    Who spoke in the name of Quebec? Canada speaks for Canada because it is Canada that has a seat at the United Nations.Quebec is still part of Canada, although if it separated its territory would be significantly reduced, because , to use your logic, Quebec could not speak for anglophones or natives.

    I am glad to see that you have discovered No Dogs or Anglophones which exposes the pettiness, absurdity and bigotry of the sovereigntist view of life. I came across this gem there today:

    Ainsi, le MNQ veut s’assurer de la prédominance du français sur tous les sites où la Fête nationale est célébrée, a rappelé Mme Trottier. Si un artiste anglophone est invité, il doit s’adresser à la foule en français en plus de chanter des chansons dans la langue de Gilles Vigneault, a-t-elle ajouté.

    It just gets more absurd. Anglophones, chantez dans la langue de Gilles Vigneault. Always good for a laugh.

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    1. Michel Patrice Auteur de l’article

      Mr Krug,

      Of course, Canada speaks for Québec, I know it. What I say is that I would like to change that situation. And I know that you know what I meant.

      I discovered No Dogs or Anglophones a few days ago. Interesting crowd. Interesting comments.

      I too find absurd the debate around english artists at the St-Jean-Baptiste. It is something that is often discussed among francophones. But for some odd reasons, we are seldom willing to discuss it with people who feel compelled to throw at our faces our language policies as if they were crimes against humanity. There might be something wrong with us but we tend to dismiss people who tell us that we are petty, absurd or bigot.

      Out of curiosity, do you see any bigotery in No Dogs or Anglophone? Traces of intellectual dishonesty? Preconcived ideas? Slight exaggeration? Anything?

      Michel Patrice

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  7. John Krug

    When I wrote of No Dogs or Anglophones I was referring to its author, not the commentators, many of whom post crude remarks. That does not diminish the excellent quality of the writings of the author who exposes , yes, the pettiness, absurdity and bigotry of the sovereigntist view of life.

    While you are entitled to your opinions on language you are not entitled to your facts.Rather than focus on the commentators, I respectfully suggest that you read the author’s writings for at least the last 12 months and then write a review here as to fheir validity.

    You are a relatively young man. Therefore, your knowledge of what has occurred in Quebec since the 1940’s has to a large extent been based on what you have read rather than what you have lived through and personally witnessed. For example, you did not live through the murder of Pierre Laporte and the kidnapping of James Cross. You did not hear the helicopter overhead flying the kidnappers to the airport so they could have sanctuary in Cuba thanks to the weakness of Pierre Trudeau.I could go on and on and perhaps when I have more time I will, particularly since you have conveniently avoided dealing with issues that I raised in previous comments in response to your view that collective rights prevail over the fundamental rights of a minority and what appears to be a delight on your part that francophones in Quebec exercise such power in varios ways .

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    1. Michel Patrice Auteur de l’article

      I have little time to comment longer now, my comment will be short, although there is a lot more to say.

      You said : « […]since you have conveniently avoided dealing with issues that I raised in previous comments in response to your view that collective rights prevail over the fundamental rights of a minority[…] »

      About this I told you : « In fact, it is not a question of collective and/or individual rights ; as grown ups, perhaps we can face the fact that it is a matter of two socio-economical groups struggling for preponderance. » (august 9th)

      I don’t know if preponderance is a commonly used word in english, it means something like domination.

      Michel

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  8. Michel Patrice Auteur de l’article

    Steven (9 décembre 2011 à 17 05)

    Other provinces know that allowing mother tongue francophones to attend French schools is crucial to their sustainability.

    I understand your point of view. But the context of other provinces and of Québec is very different.

    Other provinces allow francophone immigrants to attend french school because it doesn’t really matter to them. Let’s say, for the sake of the discussion, that all of North American would be fench speaking and that french would be the new world lingua franca. Would this change the attitude of other provinces toward immigrants who would then attend french school in greater number? I think that, all of a sudden, it would then matter.

    Other provinces can afford magnanimity, it is a luxury that we don’t have.

    I could say, quite cynically, that I wouldn’t mind that immigrants were allowed to attend mohawk school, I wouldn’t mind because of course no immigrants want or will attend mohawk school.

    One of the key to understand quebeckers is, I think, this : quebeckers greatest fear is disappearance. If one analyses all of what we do and all that we have done through this filter, one would better understand our history, our actions and what we are. One would not necessarily agree, but one would simply better understand.

    This is why we seem unwilling to give up one inch, unwilling to absurd levels.

    Gaston Miron was telling in his writtings about « le sentiment dévorant de disparaître sur place de ce peuple qui n’en finit plus de ne pas naître. » If there is such a thing as the soul of Québec people, there it might be in eighteen words.

    Ironicaly, in your comment, you are telling me about your own fear of disappearance. The senatorial report that you brought to my attention, is more or less the narration of your disappearance. I said before that we are in many ways alike. We both feel that we are both disappearing, isn’t it mind boggling?

    I say a video that made me think of you and made me think of the many ressemblances of out two communities. It pictures a young Québec woman telling about the feeling of her people. Watch the video and imagine that this woman is an english quebecker, she could probably have said the exact same things, taking or leaving only a few words.

    We are alike in many ways.

    (I assume that you speak french ; if you don’t, I could translate the writtings if you wish.)

    Michel

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    1. Steven

      Michel,

      I don’t think other provinces allow mother tongue francophones to attend French schools because they’re not afraid to lose their cultural identity. They allow it because it’s common knowledge that people in North American, especially minorities, need immigrants to sustain their populations due to low birth rate. It’s also vital for their educational institutions. Same goes for the English minority in Quebec. I absolutely do not believe that a few immigrants attending our schools will endanger the French language in any way. If let’s say, 90% of them go to French schools, 9% English and the 1% Native school, wouldn’t that be a fair compromise? Respect is not a one way street.

      I will be very frank with you. I’m all for protecting the French language and culture, but not at the cost of OUR educational institutions. We want the government of Quebec to take the necessary steps to ensure our survival. Should it fail to, one can only assume gross negligence or a deliberate attempt to undermine our development and flourishing.

      I think the woman in the video expresses the feelings of the majority of French Quebeckers regardless of their political stripe. But you must realize that ever since the Quite Revolution and the subsequent language legislation, we are the ones who have been struggling to survive in the changing political landscape of Quebec. I don’t deny that we used to be the dominant minority, but our community has the right to exist and take the necessary measures to ensure our survival (or at least should have).

      I’ll have more to comment soon!

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  9. Michel Patrice Auteur de l’article

    Steven,

    I remembered of an article about english schools, you might be interested.

    http://www.lactualite.com/societe/le-pari-fou-des-ecoles-anglaises?page=0,0

    It was published last august in L’Acualité.

    I would like to have your thoughts on this :

    Let’s say we change bill 101 to allow english native speakers from any country to attend english schools.. According to you, what percentage of immigrants are english native speakers?

    And let’s say that Legault proposed such a change to bill 101, what kind of support do you think he would get from the english community? What if the PQ (stop laughing…) proposed the same thing?

    Michel

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    1. Steven

      Roughly over 10% of anglophones are currently in the French system due to legislation. If we can even get 2-3% of them in our school system it would be fantastic. A few hundred students means nothing to the French system, but it means a lot to our system. Case and point: Since the passing of Bill 104, many schools in the EMSB had to close down because of even lower enrollment. This loophole allowed a mere 4000 students to enter the English public system in 30 YEARS, which amounts to probably a little more than 100 a year. And we’re only talking about 8 or 9 non subsidized schools. If Bill 104 hadn’t passed, those schools would probably still be operating. Here’s a list of all the English schools that closed down in Montreal since Bill 104. You can imagine the devastation this brought to our community
      http://www.emsb.qc.ca/en/pressroom_en/pages/onepressrelease.asp?id=399

      If any party would propose to enact the mother tongue clause, I can assure you that anglophones would jump on board! Any such party can easily conquer the West Island and this party has to be able to make anglos realize that the Liberals have taken them for granted. The Equality Party went down the drains ever since they began talking about partition. I imagine this issue of no relevance to you in Quebec since 98% of the population is francophone, but it matters to us in Montreal. There is absolutely no excuse to forbid our language and culture in this wonderful city from growing and flourishing.

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      1. Michel Patrice Auteur de l’article

        When saying « I imagine this issue of no relevance to you », do you refer to the partition issue or the closing of english schools issue?

        Equality paty went down the drain since they began talking about partition?… why?

        Michel

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        1. Steven

          When I said « i imagine this issue is of no relevance to you » I was referring to the Bill 104 issue. What I meant was that since Quebec City is roughly 95-98% francophone, no one would really care if a few immigrants went to English schools instead of French. It would be like loosing a hair on your head. However, when 4000 immigrants in Montreal manage to get into the English school system in the course of over 30 years (133 students a year), everyone makes a big fuss. As I said earlier, our community is not willing to give up its existence at the cost of Quebec’s collective insecurity and quite frankly, paranoia.

          The Equality Party mainly lost power because of its stance on partition and because anglophones trusted the Liberals again after the referendum. My guess is that the anglophones thought that if they voted NO, they would ease some of the linguistic restrictions. I remember there was a protest organized by Galganov in front of Fairview Pointe Claire over unlingual French signs in a majority English speaking town. I can’t think of a bigger insult to our community. I think we anglos need another such party to speak on our behalf because it is very clear that the Liberals are not willing to do it in fear of losing the francophone vote.

  10. John Krug

    From today’s Montreal Gazette with respect to the sale of the home of Pauline Marois:

    « The sale of the property was not conditional on the buyer being a fluent French speaker, Marie Barrette, Marois’s press attaché, told Le Journal de Québec.

    “There were no sale conditions related to the origins of the person, but even better if it is a francophone. It’s nice. That makes one more in Quebec,” Barrette told the paper. »

    What shameless bigotry!

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