19 November 2009

"Two-tier health, two-tier education"

"PQ is pressuring Liberals to close Bill 101 loophole"


.. Should it be a tuition fee that can exceed $15,000 for every child for every year of her education? Or should it be the low, low bargain price of the same fee but for only one child for only one year, after which not only he but also his brothers and sisters and his children could attend English public schools for free? The answer was the lower price, until the one-year loophole was closed in 2002 by the adoption of Bill 104 by the Parti Québécois government of the day, with the support of the Liberal opposition

...And it can't simply re-introduce Bill 104 with a so-called "notwithstanding" clause, since the latter can't be invoked for a violation of minority language rights ...

The PQ thinks it has the answer. Last week it proposed to extend Bill 101's restrictions on admission to fully private English schools. It cited experts in constitutional law saying such a measure could be challenged only as a violation of freedom rather than minority language rights, and could therefore be shielded by a notwithstanding clause ...

18 November 2009

"The Pied Piper of Quebec"


... [Jacques Parizeau] lures Quebeckers with a Pied Piper's melody. But his spin on reality shows when he quotes selectively the report of five eminent experts in international law consulted in 1991 by the Quebec government. “The unanimous conclusion of their legal opinion is quite clear: The frontiers of a sovereign Quebec would be those of current Quebec.”

But Mr. Parizeau seems to forget that he published a letter in which he accused the Supreme Court of favouring the partition of a seceding Quebec. And he omits more pertinent quotations from the five experts: “The right to secession does not exist in international law.” And this: “The Quebec people exercises effectively its right to self-determination within the framework of the Canadian whole and is not legally authorized to invoke it to justify its future accession to independence.”

On May 19, 1994, Mr. Parizeau told the National Assembly: “There is the law. We are a law-abiding state. Canada and Quebec are not banana republics. There is the Constitution. There is international law. And we have been elected to defend the law.” After that beginning, he argued that Canada was divisible but Quebec was not. The law be damned.

Mr. Parizeau's flights of mythology would be amusing but for the ascendancy he holds as Quebec's most influential separatist. The crowds at his book launch Monday proved that. As such, he is more dangerous than ridiculous.

Keep in mind ...


... By federal law, Canadian Banks and Insurance Companies must be headquartered within Canada. There go the banks [out of Quebec]. By law, airlines cannot pick-up and deliver passengers from one national location to another national location unless that airline is headquartered in that nation. Goodbye Air Canada ...
Then there’s the Canada Export and Development Corporation that underwrites just about all of Bombardier’s sales abroad. Goodbye Bombardier along with other federally financed corporations in Quebec ...
Goodbye all the federal government jobs that disproportionately employ French Quebecers. Especially those who can speak some English ...

15 November 2009

Monarchism Vs. Nationalism


(Interestingly, the only known modern time the advice has been conflicted was when British Prime Minister Tony Blair advised the Queen to make Conrad Black a lord, and Jean Chrétien advised her not to. Mr. Black had to renounce his Canadian citizenship to escape Mr. Chrétien's constitutional reach.)

The Crown was essential to Canadian identity after 1867, with the declaration by Georges-Étienne Cartier, who did much to broker Quebec's entry into Confederation, that while Canadians would never be an ethnic nationality, they could be a political nationality whose unifying symbol was the Crown ...

11 November 2009

ADQ leader blames Tories for his undoing


One day after announcing his resignation, Action Démocratique du Québec Leader Gilles Taillon says he was the victim of a putsch organized by the former "owners" of the party.

Taillon settled his accounts in an open letter distributed to the media Wednesday, accusing former leader Mario Dumont, other influential members of the ADQ, and the federal Conservative Party.

In the letter, entitled "the masks have fallen," Taillon said that shortly after announcing his candidacy for the party leadership in April, he felt a certain "malaise among the former establishment of the party."

09 November 2009

On Nov. 11, remember how different Quebec is


... “We need to remember our soldiers have fought for freedoms — freedom of the press, freedom to enjoy the Olympics or the freedom to protest them, and the freedom to observe two minutes of silence.”

Overall, 85 per cent of Canadians said they will observe the tradition. Quebec had the lowest response, with two thirds of Quebecers saying they will stop for two minutes to honour soldiers who have fought for Canada ...

Fifty per cent of Quebecers believe that two minutes of silence should be made mandatory for individuals, schools and workplaces, compared to 71 per cent Canadians overall who think so, the poll results suggested ...

08 November 2009

"On accommodation, let the quiet revolution begin"


... All of this reasonable accommodation nonsense makes me heartily glad I don't live in Quebec. Especially since any society with the faintest pretension to being free and democratic never presumes to dictate to its citizens what they can and can't wear.

As I type this, I am wearing a chain with a little pendant on which is inscribed in Hebrew the Shema, the prayer that is central to Judaism. I'll wear what I please in this free country, regardless of whether I work in the private or public sector. It is none of the government's business that I'm wearing this chain, just as it is none of the government's business if someone, including a civil servant, wears a crucifix, a head scarf, a turban or any other symbol that expresses their identity and beliefs in some way.

The burka, however, does not fall into that category because it's about hiding, not about expression. However, as Bouchard said, "(A woman) has her right to choose to wear a burka in the street." Here again, no democratic government should be singling out an article of clothing for banning. Legislators telling women what they can't wear is just as chauvinistic and paternalistic as the men these women know in their own culture who are telling them what they must wear ...

Does it never occur to these commentators (mostly women) that some women in these social groups also uphold conservative dress values?

05 November 2009

"Extending 101 [to CEGEPS] is nonsensical"


.. In 2000, the Larose Commission on the State and Future of the French language ...reviewed the idea of extending Bill 101 limits on English eligibility to the CEGEP level. The arguments and statistics then were much the same as they are today. Unanimously, we did not carry the idea forward ...

While the proposal – if ever adopted – may satisfy a few into a false sense of security over the French language, it fails to address a far greater menace to the use of French at home and in the workplace. And that menace is not the English-speaking community or the English language, but rather the quality of French that is taught in Quebec schools regardless of whether those schools teach in French or English ...

... the percentage of allophones had reached an overall majority of enrolment in the French system’s primary and secondary levels on the island of Montreal. The Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste likened it to the “Louisianisation” of Quebec ...

Many factors weigh in on a young adult’s choice of which CEGEP to attend, some substantive, some trivial. The ultimate choice may not just be a question of language, but also proximity, curricula and other considerations particular to each student regardless of linguistic background ...

And let’s not forget that this proposal would also apply to francophone students who likely will be less than amused at having their rights stripped from them in a misguided attempt to restrict the rights of allophones ...

03 November 2009

The Latin SentiMentality


... Theories abound to explain the public-opinion gap between Quebec and the rest of Canada on euthanasia. Quebeckers, who rejected religion en masse starting in the 1960s, tend to be more liberal on a range of issues.

Mr. Bureau, who has promoted euthanasia for 25 years, said Canadians outside Quebec tend to defer to doctors and nurses who provide palliative care in the determination of how terminally ill people end their days. In Quebec, more people believe patients should have the last word, he said.

“Maybe it's because we're Latin and we tend to be less rational, more emotional,” said the college's president, Dr. Lamontagne.


Chantal Hebert: "Language law to face foe from within"


...While the Bill 104 debate has focused on immigrant parents, the reality is that some francophone parents had also been using the private school loophole to get their children into the English school system.

Their numbers may be small but they are part of a larger trend that increasingly sees French-speaking parents aspire to more effective English-language training for their children.

In the future, the competing aspirations of Quebec francophones are more likely to erode the consensus that underlies Bill 101 than the House of Commons or even the Supreme Court.

01 November 2009

The quality of French is strained. By the French.


... Anglophone students, after years of French in primary and secondary school, study more French in CEGEP, and the great majority of them emerge effectively bilingual. Many francophones naturally want the same advantage ...

The best thing Quebec's self-declared defenders of French could do for its continued survival is to ensure that it is taught well in primary and secondary schools - including English ones ...

The real language scandal is how poorly too many of the province's French-language school graduates speak and write French, one of the world's most elegant languages ...