27 December 2011

NDP race: Things have turned around for underdog Thomas Mulcair in NDP leadership race

He went into the campaign for the New Democratic Party leadership saying that the party's lack of a Quebec base created a structural disadvantage for him.

Today, halfway through the race and the first candidate to have visited every province meeting hundreds of NDP delegates, Outremont MP Thomas Mulcair says things have turned around for the better.

"We've been on an ascending curve," Mulcair said in a year-end interview with The Gazette. "Our campaign is picking up momentum week by week, day by day and it's going in the right direction

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/race+Things+have+turned+around+underdog+Thomas+Mulcair+leadership+race/5910505/story.html#ixzz1oOlBpGRC

11 December 2011

The stakes are raised in the war on English

The stakes are raised in the war on English

Testifying in his trial on drug-trafficking charges this week, Tony Conte, a 47-year-old Montreal native, said he could not understand certain text messages that he had received that were alleged to concern a drug transaction because he doesn't understand English.

Conte, an actor, testified that he has even had to turn down roles because of his lack of English.

For this heroic personal sacrifice, and for his exemplary, lifelong resistance to English assimilation, I nominate Conte for the next "patriot of the year" award of the anti-English Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Montréal ...

01 December 2011

Why the anglo-dinosaur hunt? Now it's trendy to 'out' them

Why the anglo-dinosaur hunt? Now it's trendy to 'out' them

When National Bank president Louis Vachon last week refused to fire a vice-president at National's Montreal headquarters who doesn't speak French, he said he "will not go English-hunting at the bank."

Elsewhere, however, the sport of unilingual-anglo hunting is growing in popularity.

Long restricted to captains of the Montreal Canadiens and clerks in stores on Ste. Catherine St., the hunt has recently been extended to holders of high federal office and managers in Montreal financial institutions.

29 November 2011

Source? Hells belle province

"Where there is smoke, there is fire. It is a very well-known fact that in Montreal, nothing gets done without "l'envelope" & it does not take a world class memory to recall the Globe & Mail expose, over the years, of the near immunity the Hells Angels have had in La Belle Province."

28 November 2011

Canada News: Montreal-area board considers making French mandatory in schoolyards - thestar.com

Canada News: Montreal-area board considers making French mandatory in schoolyards - thestar.com

MONTREAL—The Quebec government is reacting favourably to a plan by a Montreal school board to ban any other language than French from its schoolyards.

Culture Minister Christine St-Pierre says the French-language Commission scolaire de Montreal would be making an important effort to promote Quebec’s majority language.

“I think that children who attend school in French must obviously speak French among themselves,” she told reporters at the provincial legislature on Wednesday ...

27 November 2011

William Johnson: The legal status of English in Quebec

During the 1995 referendum, I maintained in The Gazette that a referendum did not confer a right to secede unilaterally and that, if Canada was divisible, Quebec was also divisible. That shocked even good anglos but my position was confirmed in August 1998 by the Supreme Court of Canada ...
In their analysis of Bill 22, Frank Scott, John Humphrey (who had drafted the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights), Irwin Cotler and four others wrote: "Section 1 which provides that French is 'the official language of the province of Quebec' is misleading in that it suggests that English is not also an official language in Quebec, which it is by virtue of Section 133 of the BNA Act and the federal Official Languages Act."
These eminent legal authorities asserted: "To promote the two cultures on the basis of equality and to allow them freedom for their natural growth and development is, we believe, the only proper policy for Quebec and for Canada, and the only one consistent with contemporary international standards of human rights."
In his initial draft of what became Bill 101, Camille Laurin had this in Section 1: "Le français est la seule langue officielle du Québec." But he was persuaded to drop seule when he was told that it would certainly be struck down by the courts, thus confirming that English was also an official language of Quebec ..

    18 November 2011

    We're Numero Un

    Canadian high schools flunk history: Study

    Maybe it's time for provincial education ministers to start hitting the books.

    Four provinces received a failing grade for their Canadian history high school curriculum in the latest Canadian History Report Card, released Monday by the Dominion Institute of Canada.

    "And nobody got an A, so nobody can sit back and say everything is fine," said Marc Chalifoux, executive director of the Dominion Institute. "The results are, frankly, troubling."

    Quebec took top honours with a B-plus. British Columbia, the Yukon and Ontario received Bs. At the other end of the scale, Alberta, Saskatchewan, P.E.I., Newfoundland and Labrador and the Northwest Territories all failed.

    Chalifoux said in Quebec, the primarily French-speaking province earned accolades for recently instituting two years of mandatory history.

    16 November 2011

    "Sovereignists want Quebec to defy Supreme Court ruling on Bill 104"


    MONTREAL – A downtown rally Monday evening will kick off “a vast campaign of public mobilization” designed to pressure the Quebec National Assembly to declare it will defy an Oct. 22 decision on English-language schooling in Quebec handed down by Canada’s highest court, prominent Quebec nationalist Mario Beaulieu said ... The court declared Bill 104 unconstitutional. The Quebec law had tightened access to English schooling in the province

    ...So much for sovereigntists respecting democracy, a large element of which is the rule of law, with all its checks and balances..

    [Bill 104] had been adopted in 2002 by the Quebec National Assembly – unanimously, Beaulieu and others noted repeatedly during an afternoon news conference at the SSJB headquarters ...

    The National(ist) Assembly does a lot of things unanimously; that doesn't make them sound. Take the long-gun registry ... please.

    “This judicial decision threatens the survival of the French language in Quebec,” Beaulieu declared, stating that Quebec never agreed to Canada’s 1982 constitution.

    Thus judicial decision affects about 1000 students per year; statistically insignificant in the French school system, but lifeblood for the anglos.
    Besides, Quebec may not have signed the constitution, but it is bound by it. That's also in the constitution.

    The first of what Beaulieu said will be a series of events around the province is to be held at 7 p.m. Monday near the SSJB offices, at the Just for Laughs museum, 2102 St. Laurent Blvd. just south of Sherbrooke St ...

    Just for laughs? That's for sure.

    14 November 2011

    Quebec ponders legal action over gun registry records - Politics - CBC News

    Quebec ponders legal action over gun registry records - Politics - CBC News

    In a rare showing of unity, the governing Liberals and opposition parties unanimously agreed on the resolution, tabled by the Parti-Quebecois's Stephane Bergeron.

    13 November 2011

    NDP unable to bridge the two solitudes

    NDP unable to bridge the two solitudes

    "Understanding diversity in English-speaking Montreal"

    Below an excerpt from a speech given by Dennis Smith, GMCDI Chair, to launch an event held on Friday May 22nd.


    "What better place to begin a conversation about diversity than in Montreal, the most diverse community in Quebec and one of the most diverse in Canada and North America. Montreal’s English-speaking community has a longstanding tradition of embracing diversity and is considered by many to be a model of successful integration.

    The GMCDI represents a group of community volunteers that wishes to engage and consult English-speaking Montrealers, community leaders, and local professionals on key issues affecting the English-speaking communities of the Greater Montreal Area. The 2007 Greater Montreal Community Development Initiative Report indicates that Quebec’s English-speaking communities have the highest level of diversity among provincial official-language minority communities in Canada in terms of their ethnic origin, place of birth, religion and visible minority status. The 2001 census indicates that one quarter of English-speakers in the Greater Montreal area identified themselves as members of a visible minority. Newcomers have continually modified the community’s composition and have been fundamental in contributing to the vitality of English-speaking Quebec. The strong presence of ethnic communities in the metropolitan area is the main reason organizers of this symposium exploring diversity in English-speaking Quebec decided to hold a specific forum about Montreal. Here the issue of diversity is specifically relevant and it is a key issue for the English-speaking community of Greater Montreal.

    While some individuals reluctantly accept the minority label, here in Quebec everyone belongs to a minority community and many are proud of that fact. The English-speaking community is a minority within a French-speaking majority that is also a minority. Ethnic groups are also minorities within those two groups. While we Quebecers have a lot in common, we do not always know how to address the issues we have in common as minority groups. We hope today's forum will help launch that important dialogue and we hope today’s conversation between Montreal’s diverse minorities is the first chat in a long lasting conversation.

    08 November 2011

    School Boreds


    In the 1998 province-wide school-board elections, the participation rate was only 12 per cent in the French boards. But in the English boards, it was nearly five times as high, 53 per cent, as an aroused anglophone electorate defied attempts by the PQ government to discourage it from voting.

    03 November 2011

    La Ligue des droits et libertés s'oppose à cette atteinte à la liberté d'expression

    ( 3 novembre 2011 ) –
    Suite à la décision du maire Régis Labeaume d'ordonner l'éviction des manifestants du mouvement « Occupons Québec » dans le quartier Saint-Roch, la Ligue des droits et libertés exprime son opposition à cette atteinte injustifiée à l'exercice de la liberté d'expression.
    En regard des enjeux de société fondamentaux soulevés par les « indignés » de Québec, les raisons invoquées pour éteindre leurs voix apparaissent bien dérisoires.
    Le maire Labeaume prétend que les manifestants se sont fait entendre et qu'ils devraient maintenant rentrer chez eux, comme s'il était du ressort du maire de Québec de fixer les limites de la liberté d'expression de ses citoyens.
    La capacité de durer témoigne du sérieux des occupants et fait partie de leur message.

    Ce mouvement international initié par les manifestants d'Espagne et de Wall Street lance un message politique qui devrait être préservé et non pas étouffé.
    La Ligue des droits et libertés rappelle à la population et aux élus que la liberté d'expression est reconnue comme étant le socle de la démocratie.
    Elle est reconnue dans la Déclaration universelle des droits de l'Homme et dans les pactes internationaux.
    Au Canada, elle est affirmée dans la constitution, dans la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés et dans la Charte québécoise des droits et libertés de la personne.
    Il s'agit d'un droit fondamental déterminant pour la démocratie.

    Lire la suite »»

    Isaac K. Funk - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Isaac K. Funk - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    31 October 2011

    "Immersion 2.0 gets an A-plus from students"

    Immersion 2.0 gets an A-plus from students

    It's the next logical step in second-language immersion.Call it Ultimate Immersion. Or Immersion 2.0. Not just anglophones studying in French, but anglophones and francophones studying together in the same class. It exists in Quebec, despite Bill 101. This new immersion is part of a three-year pilot project in desegregated education in Quebec, known as Option Études.

    It works like this: You recruit kids out of Grade 6. You go into English public schools, and into French public schools. You select kids with good social skills, and you put them together in the same class starting in Grade 7. From there, they go on to spend half their year in an English high school, and the other half in a French high school. This is the way it has been working in Châteauguay since the fall of 2007, when the first mixed class of 32 kids was created.

    Not that we should expect school desegregation to become the norm in Quebec. Separate French and English school systems still reflect the majority will of both language communities in this province, and no other Option Études programs are under way ...

    29 October 2011

    Coolopolis: Montreal's Top 10 gangland murders: #1 Nick Rizzuto

    Coolopolis: Montreal's Top 10 gangland murders: #1 Nick Rizzuto

    Tom the Bomb aims at Topp guns

    Tom the Bomb aims at Topp guns

    Tom Mulcair, defender of anglo rights no more

    Tom Mulcair, defender of anglo rights no more

    Pauline Marois's hold on the PQ leadership slips some more

    Pauline Marois's hold on the PQ leadership slips some more

    Mr. Mayor, I have a few suggestions

    Mr. Mayor, I have a few suggestions

    FLQ/Mafia/Liberal connections?

    Gagliano has 'no time' for talk about his past

    In 1972, then-premier Robert Bourassa called a public inquiry into organized crime in Quebec, in part because of concerns raised at the time over the involvement of members of the Cotroni Mafia family in the provincial Liberal leadership campaign of Pierre Laporte, who was later murdered by the FLQ.

    Police eventually discovered, and La Presse reported, that [Alfonso Gagliano]'s bookkeeping business handled accounts for Cuntrera's businesses while Gagliano was an MP.

    27 October 2011

    Louise Harel watch


    anglo-basher (critics of megacities are anglo colonialists), ignoring Franco anti-mergerites

    opportunist (took over established party without a leadership debate); but will be "coronated" later

    borough powers are regulated by the province, not the city (as she wishes)

    architect of the megacity by fiat, not referendum; refused consultation on the issue; her party (PQ) had not run on the issue, even disavowed it

    set up commission to study megacity proposal; when it recommended against it, she ignored it

    Her good examples:
    * Boston: in reality, that area had many more munis than MTL
    * Europe (34 countries had passed laws against forced mergers)
    * Toronto (costs had risen, not fallen)
    * would curb urban sprawl (has not)
    * would redistribute wealth (was not the best way to do so)

    supports super-majority requirements to leave the megacity (but leaving Canada requires a simple majority)

    a centralist, says the boroughs are too powerful ["quasi-villes"]

    a unilingualist in a cosmopolitan city

    an "evil sovereignist" (selon Fagstein)

    Coolopolis: Disenfranchising property owners contributes to corrupt city politics

    Coolopolis: Disenfranchising property owners contributes to corrupt city politics

    Occasionally a strange idea takes hold and gets political support. For example in 1985 the PQ passed Bill 29 which banned Jews and Muslims and other non-Protestants from voting in PSBGM board elections. Similarly only Catholics were to be allowed to vote in Catholic School Board elections. Those boards are history, of course, as the boards are based on language now.

    26 October 2011

    The 99% know all about inequality - thestar.com

    The 99% know all about inequality - thestar.com

    Achieving change: Is a global Robin Hood Tax the way to go?

    Achieving change: Is a global Robin Hood Tax the way to go?

    Quebec City arena deal faces court challenge

    Quebec City arena deal faces court challenge

    municipal merger/demerger arguments

    * balkanization fosters competition
    * lower costs, better services

    (according to studies)
    * per capita costs rise
    * services harder to manage
    * citizen participation drops

    25 October 2011

    Arcade Fire wins first ADISQ award

    Arcade Fire wins first ADISQ award

    Fire won its first ADISQ Award Monday night. Montreal's internationally acclaimed indie-rock band's latest release The Suburbs was named anglophone album of the year at L'Autre Gala de L'ADISQ. It's about time. Arcade Fire has all but taken over the... Full Article at Montreal Gazette

    Opinion: Bars open till 6 a.m.? Fun, check; headaches, check

    Opinion: Bars open till 6 a.m.? Fun, check; headaches, check

    "Why paying too much tax can be a good thing"


    OTTAWA – Some of Canada's largest corporations may be using the government as a high-yield investment account by deliberately overpaying on their annual tax returns to collect favourable interest rates, the federal auditor general says.

    In each of the last three years, top businesses have realized a $30 million windfall by paying a total of $4 billion into accounts managed by the Canada Revenue Agency that cover them in the event their tax returns are reassessed.

    The accounts have paid an interest rate of from 5 to 7 per cent since 2006. The rate is considerably more favourable than that offered by banks. Auditor General Sheila Fraser said it appears corporations were well aware of the favourable treatment they were getting with their federal accounts, though it is difficult to prove any company has set out to bilk taxpayers ...

    24 October 2011

    The Hill: One unilingual judge on SCC bench enough | Commentary | Law Times News

    The Hill: One unilingual judge on SCC bench enough | Commentary | Law Times News

    The law is clear. It stipulates that in Canada, everyone has the right to a hearing before the top court in either official language.
    The joke is that it doesn’t say that the person who is heard has to be understood by the judges.

    There’s one unilingual judge on the Supreme Court right now, Justice Marshall Rothstein. He still hasn’t learned French as he promised to do when he took the job. That causes a bind for his fellow judges when they get together to discuss cases.

    One unilingual judge on the bench is enough. That’s why the Barreau du Québec is opposing Moldaver’s appointment.

    Fair (voting) stinkum


    The matter gets chewed over in this province now and then, but typically nothing gets done; the PQ has parked it among things to be done after independence is achieved ...

    Duff Conacher, of the advocacy group Democracy Watch, notes that surveys show that only half of voters have a problem with the current voting system and that a greater turnoff for voters is the level of mendacity, unaccountability and tolerance of corruption in politics today.

    23 October 2011

    Alliance Quebec

    Graeme Decarie:

    I was suspicious of Alliance Quebec at the founding. I saw it as the move of a traditional anglo elite trying to preserve its power and influence among anglos. These were simply not my people. I grew up working class with a distaste for the sort of people who dominated at the founding of AQ, and did not believe they really gave a damn about our interests. That's why at the time, I did several broadcasts for CBC in which I was highly critical of it.

    I came to accept the necessity of it, though never happy with it, as I realized these were the only people with the connections and experience to set up an organization. I also came to realize that the majority of anglos simply were not going to support a more radical programme. And, while I could understand and sympathize with their rage, I could never support the Bill Johnsons because I realized they were hopelessly naive and, while they certainly understood the problem in pretty much the same way I understood it, did not understand the anglo community at all.

    One side featured too many compromisers, the other too many screamers and thrashers.

    The only group to gain was the rising leadership of the Jewish community. Into the 1970s, the anglo elite would barely give them a nod as sometimes useful lackeys. But the rapid decline of anglo elite power forced them to admit some Jews into the charmed circle.

    02 September 2011

    Quebec coalition takes aim at English in Montreal businesses - The Globe and Mail

    Quebec coalition takes aim at English in Montreal businesses - The Globe and Mail

    Mr. Legault, who earlier this year launched the right-leaning group, said the province’s language police must enforce the law and also urged francophone Quebeckers to demand that they be served in French. “Each Quebecker has a responsibility to ensure that the language of commerce is French,” the former Parti Québécois cabinet minister said. “People need to abide by the law so that Quebeckers can be served in French, especially in Montreal.”

    The proposal didn’t go over well with some Montreal merchants. Peter Siozos, head of Montreal’s Crescent Street Merchant Association, said businesses serve their customers in the language of their choice. “Cracking down by using language inspectors is showboating and outdated,” Mr. Siozos said.

    31 August 2011

    Trust a partisan (not) for a cheap shot.


    Trust toddsschneider to pull out of one more Montreal Gazette hate-laced Op-Ed[,] the paragraph were [sic] Don McPherson singles out the only Left politician in the Assemblée Nationale, eschewing MacPherson's critique of Mario Dumont and Monique Jérome-Forget's "transition allowances".

    I eschew nothing, besides the facile (and faulty) description that Macpherson is among the hate-mongers. One need not be a federalist to recognize a venal move among the Quebec political class, but it never hurts.

    Besides, Macpherson spares no legislative party in this critique, left, right or centre, so he singles out no one in particular.

    I posted the the link to the whole article for any interested (but fair-minded) readers to come to their own conclusions. I can't wait to see the Quebec solidaire press release on this one.

    30 August 2011

    Which country is that?


    So why is it that artists chez nous seem so at home dreaming up genre-bending multidisciplinary works that wow 'em everywhere from Montreal to Moscow?

    "It's because we do not have the weight of the history and tradition," said Pilon, who has been working in tandem with Lemieux for 20 years.

    "In Europe, they have these institutions that have existed forever and the director is God. Here in Quebec, theatre didn't exist until the late '50s, so everything was to be invented. We didn't have mentors. We're the generation of Expo 67, where everything was possible."

    But we're also different from our anglophone neighbours in the New World, Lemieux adds.

    "With our European roots, because of the language, that means we're a new country but we have this tradition, and we can make something new with it," Lemieux said. "Also it's because of our culture here. The hierarchy is much more horizontal. We can go and speak with (Cirque du Soleil boss) Guy Laliberté and we're at the same level as him. That would be impossible in another country."

    29 August 2011

    Longest-serving MP looks for recognition... again - Inside Politics

    Longest-serving MP looks for recognition... again - Inside Politics

    Bloc MP Louis Plamondon, the longest-serving MP in the House of Commons, checks the ballot box used to elect the Speaker at the start of the last Parliament in 2008. (Tom Hanson, The Canadian Press)

    28 August 2011

    school daze

    "Schools don't need more autonomy - school boards do"


    Quebec's English school boards, while facing enormous challenges of geography, resources, and restrictions on student eligibility, have had comparative success in terms of graduation rates. Close to 80 per cent of students across our nine member boards completed high school in 2007. That matches the objective set by the minister for the year 2020. In fact, six of Quebec's top seven school boards with respect to school completion rates were from the English sector.

    "Creating a culture of learning"


    In Quebec, one out of three students drops out before the end of the 12th grade - and this proportion, the highest in Canada, reaches 40 per cent in some poorer areas. The provincial government recently launched a $50-million campaign, partly financed by a private foundation, aimed at convincing students, and especially their parents, of the need to obtain at least a high-school diploma ...

    I was recently talking with a man who teaches French to newly arrived immigrants. His best students, every year, are the Chinese immigrants, even though their native language has nothing in common with French and their culture is very distant from Western culture. The reason is simple: "They're used to working hard," says the teacher. "They learned this in their own families."

    ... These Chinese immigrants are certainly not flush with money. They succeed and stay in school because the Chinese place a very high value on education - something, unfortunately, that is not a defining feature of Roman Catholic culture. Could this go back to the time when Catholics were discouraged from reading because reading and interpreting the Bible was the task of priests under the Pope's guidance? ...

    In any event, governments cannot force parents to value education and they can't force inattentive parents to make sure their children go to school even if they don't like school. But one thing governments should do is face this reality: Any initiative to lower dropout rates should be aimed at boys, who are the primary victims of this deplorable trend. Boys are much more prone than girls to drop out of school before the 12th grade - and this at a time when there are fewer and fewer good, unionized, blue-collar jobs available. Factories have relocated to Asia and industries in the resource sector are now highly automated. Girls with little education can get jobs in various lower level social and health services. There is no future for uneducated boys.

    26 August 2011

    Trudeau deconstructed

    Trudeau deconstructed

    Of all our passions and appetites, the love of power is of the most imperious and unsociable nature, since the pride of one man requires the submission of the multitude.

    -- Edward Gibbon,

    The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire

    Who Am I?

    • "Nous sommes écologistes" ("We are environmentalists")
    • "Nous sommes de gauche" ("We are on the Left")
    • "Nous sommes démocrates" ("We are democrats")
    • "Nous sommes alter-féministes" ("We are alter-feminists")
    • "Nous sommes altermondialistes" ("We are alter-globalists")
    • "Nous sommes d'un Québec pluriel" ("We are from a plural Quebec")
    • "Nous sommes d'un Canada souvereign et solidaire" ("We are from a sovereign and united Canada")
    • "Un autre parti, pour un autre Québec!" ("Another party, for another Quebec!")

    Quebec Bill 199 -- Charter of the French and English languages

    Bill 199 -- 1 of 3

    Bill 199

    Introduced in the National Assembly

    By Neil Cameron, MNA

    Member for Jacques-Cartier [Equality Party]

    Three leaders, three accents

    Opinion - The Globe and Mail

    Jack Layton was born in Hudson, near Montreal, and studied at McGill, at a time when French immersion classes were non-existent. He learned French mostly on the streets, through personal contact rather than by formal studies. His French is colloquial, and his syntax often faulty. His working-class accent sounds familiar, but it is very different from the mainstream accent that is considered the norm in French Canada – this standard being represented, for instance, by the news anchors of Société Radio-Canada.

    As the sovereignists splinter, a new rival to the Liberals emerges

    As the sovereignists splinter, a new rival to the Liberals emerges

    25 August 2011

    Canada News: Drainville says drastic reforms needed to pull PQ back from abyss - thestar.com

    Canada News: Drainville says drastic reforms needed to pull PQ back from abyss - thestar.com

    "Historian of Quebec's Royal 22nd Regiment wants them to know their past"


    Quebecers, who generally don't get bowled over by the prospect of military history, are known as pacifists who are more stringent opponents of military conflict than Canadians in other parts of the country.

    Yet the storied, Quebec-based Royal 22nd Regiment, the famed Van Doos, has never had much trouble over the years recruiting soldiers to fight for Canada in battles in France, Italy, Korea and other international hot spots, Lacombe acknowledges.

    The Royal 22nd easily recruited 5,000 volunteers shortly after the regiment was founded in 1914, even though French-Canadians were generally opposed to conscription during the First World War, said Lacombe, the unofficial "biographer" of the regiment, recently arrived in Afghanistan.

    "Even francophone medical grads are leaving Quebec"

    You want to retain more doctors? Let them practice in the language of their choice.


    Quebec has long benefited from unofficial linguistic protectionism; if skilled French-speaking Quebecers wanted to live, raise children, and work in their own language, there were few places in Canada outside this province where they could settle.
    So Quebec could offer lower pay and poorer working conditions and still retain talent.
    According to the most recent information from the Canadian Institute for Health Information, this province spent 11 per cent less per capita on health care than Ontario, and paid its doctors an average 25 per cent less. Even so, it had 23 per cent more doctors per 100,000 of population than its neighbour.

    to unionist

    " I wasn't talking about people living in a linguistic cocoon - in some "English quarter" of town - in some ghetto. I was talking about unilingual anglophones in Montréal (and largely elsewhere) who can go from Pre-K to postdoctoral studies in Montréal (and English-only public schooling totally tuition-free up to the end of CEGEP, which is the equivalent of Grade 13); deal with federal, provincial, and municipal officials in English; get health care in English, from GPs to specialists to hospitals to nursing homes; be CEOs of corporations based here; be professional hockey, football, or anything else players on local teams; shop anywhere, eat anywhere, watch movies and TV anywhere in English... "

    Almost as if anglo Quebecers have the privileges of other English Canadians. But such privileges have their limits here.

    Anyway, the claim is nonsense. Off the island of Montreal, some of those are rare privileges, resentfully delivered, if at all. Check with the Quebec [Anglo] Community Groups Network, and get back to us.

    Like, check the figures on anglos in all levels of the civil service in Quebec, a sector progressives should care about passionately.

    Furthermore, English-only education in Quebec is a myth, at least in Montreal. It's more like 60 % -40 % French, over the long term. Anyone care to correct this misconception further?

    If it's good enough for Jacques Parizeau ...

    ... it's good enough for me.

    Anyone who aspires to influence in the New Democratic Party of Canada, should be bilingual.

    Are we federalists, or not?

    Hospital overruns add to Charest's troubles


    Add this: With the government planning to spend $42 billion on construction and infrastructure during the next five years, including the hospitals, more questions are being asked. Why? Because there are reports in the media of criminal elements possibly infiltrating some construction companies; projects that cost 10 per cent more in public funds than in other provinces; tax evasion; cozying up among big construction bosses, some politicians and union leaders; lucrative contracts often given to the same firms at the provincial or municipal levels.

    ComSymp, maybe


    Asked if he is worried that in his negotiations with Ottawa, he could be dismissed as a "separatist" for taking tough stands, Bachand retorted: "Wasn't Pierre Trudeau a communist in his youth?"

    24 August 2011

    French nurses gravitate to English hospitals: recruiters


    Chemtob said young unilingual francophone nurses who choose to work at the Jewish because of the opportunity for day work tend to pick up English quite quickly.

    “We help them out a lot,” she said.

    But the help doesn’t happen in reverse, she said. Anglophone nurses who come to Montreal from outside Quebec lose their right to practise at all if they don’t pass French tests within a certain period of time, she said. The tests are administered by the Office québécois de la langue francaise, with input from the professional order of nurses.

    Chemtob said the tests ask too much of anglophones in terms of their ability to write French.

    “Most nurses at the Jewish don’t need to write French that well,” Chemtob said.

    23 August 2011

    Canadians of all political stripes will miss Jack Layton

    Canadians of all political stripes will miss Jack Layton

    The one notable thing we did have in common was our passion for electoral reform. Both times we met, we ended up discussing certain models of proportional representation — such as New Zealand's MMP system — that either interested us, or we felt should be used in some way, shape or form in Canada. Looking back now, it's a shame we never collaborated on a piece about this topic. I think it would have been interesting to see what we would have come up with.

    He earned the right to be remembered with the greats

    He earned the right to be remembered with the greats

    Patriots and Scoundrels


    René Lévesque once described a Quebecer as "someone who lives here and pays his taxes here." By that standard, Michael Sabia meets the test of being a Quebecer, having lived and paid his taxes, as well as raising his daughter here for the last 16 years. He's an Italo-Ontarian-Québécois. This is why we have words like allophone. He might not have been born in Quebec, but even better, he chose Quebec.


    For Bernie, that's it. Whatever his qualifications might be, the bilingual, Ontario-born-and-raised Sabia is not of the tribe, "not one of us," as Margaret Thatcher used to murmur so endearingly. He's a Canadian, he's an anglo, therefore he's a foreigner. As the outrage mounted, it was discouraging to note that Landry was not alone in this opinion ...

    [Reed Scowen] noted that Claude Lamoureux, Quebec-born, educated at the Université de Montréal and Laval, had enjoyed some success in Toronto. Indeed he did. Lamoureux retired in 2007 after nearly 18 years in charge of the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, another giant investment vehicle of the same order as the Caisse de dépôt.

    "If the Globe and Mail or Toronto Star were to say Claude Lamoureux shouldn't be running the Teachers' fund because he didn't understand the culture of English-speaking Canada, well, there'd be an explosion." Indeed.

    22 August 2011

    Layton loses battle with cancer

    Layton loses battle with cancer

    "He was very principled. He would never allow anyone to say anything personal about our opponents."

    Layton, occasionally referred to as "affable Jack," was nevertheless a combative partisan, at once critical of attack-style politics and a skilled practitioner of the art.

    Square this circle.

    Layton lost twice as a federal NDP candidate in Toronto in the 1990s, but in January 2003 — with a crucial endorsement from party icon Ed Broadbent — succeeded Alexa McDonough as the national leader of the New Democrats.

    In May 2005, in a move Layton characterized as his greatest achievement as NDP leader prior to the 2011 election, he won agreement from Martin to shift $4.6 billion in proposed corporate tax cuts to $4.6 billion in spending on an array of NDP-backed social programs, environmental initiatives and other measures.

    Sure. That pales beside MEDICARE.

    Under Turmel, the party will be in free-fall.

    What will be his tangible legacy?

    Angry Ed divorced an Asian and married a White; Jack Layton divorced a White and married an Asian.

    20 August 2011

    Honesty is the best policy for 'true' sovereignists

    Honesty is the best policy for 'true' sovereignists: It's not going to take place in a courtroom, but the de facto political trial of Parti Québécois leader Pauline Marois on charges of not promoting sovereignty strongly enough will open this weekend with the founding meeting Sunday of the Nouveau mouvement pour le Québec splinter group.

    18 August 2011

    Turmel turmoil

    Turmel turmoil

    If it's true that Layton and the NDP brass were aware of Turmel's most recent history and gave her the position anyway, you have to wonder what they were thinking. If they were broadsided and Turmel told them after the fact, you have to ask: Did it not occur to her this might be relevant information?The right choice for interim leader would have been - and still could be - Joe Comartin, and not because he's from Windsor-Tecumseh. Comartin has a long and impressive history within the party, and he has the respect of those across the floor.
    No one could ever question Comartin's commitment to his party and his country. He is a true "federalist," and at this stage of his career, we can't see him running for leader, so there would be nothing to distract him from the job at hand. Given how big that job is, Layton should reconsider his choice.

    16 August 2011

    Métro Montréal - Samedi, c’est la journée de la bière!

    Métro Montréal - Samedi, c’est la journée de la bière!

    Listen, fellas, there's already an International Beer Day. Maybe you couldn't read the website?

    Les Québécois sont invités à célébrer la bière de leur coin de pays samedi, lors de la troisième journée de la bière. Le but de cette journée? Développer la culture de la bière au Québec et créer un sentiment de fierté envers les produits et les artisans de bière du terroir. «Le consommateur recherche le goût, et la bière artisanale a du goût», déclare l’éditeur du magazine Bières et Plaisirs et initiateur de l’événement, Philippe Wouters.

    Selon ce dernier, la province connaît un véritable essor en ce qui concerne l’industrie brassicole artisanale. «Il y a plus de choix que jamais sur le marché», affirme M. Wouters. Aujourd’hui, 76 brasseries et micro-brasseries œuvrent au Québec, dont 14 à Montréal. Plus de 400 bières québécoises sont offertes sur les tablettes.

    Chez les Québécois, la bière a la cote, loin devant le vin et les spiritueux. En 2009, la vente annuelle de bière au Québec a été de 6 186 945 hectolitres et de 193 718 pour le vin et les spiritueux, selon l’Association des Brasseurs du Canada. Plutôt qu’utiliser la formule classique d’un festival où tout est réuni dans un même lieu, la journée québécoise de la bière met les amateurs au défi de visiter une brasserie près de chez eux et de se laisser tenter par de nouvelles bières artisanales ...

    14 August 2011

    Legitimate Political Questions

    The Star emailed every Quebec MP in the NDP caucus

    a short questionnaire

    soliciting their opinions on the political future of the province

    and whether they had changed over time

    They were asked if they had ever held a membership in another political party at the provincial or federal level

    That's between them, the party and Elections and Revenue Canada

    how they voted in the Quebec referendums,

    That's between them and the ballot box

    whether they ever cast a ballot for the Bloc Québécois

    That's both too much and too little to ask about; why not provincial parties?

    and whether they considered themselves federalists, sovereigntists or believed another term would best describe their beliefs

    A perfectly fair question.

    13 August 2011

    Quebethnic nationalism


    Quebec continues to save Canada from a permanent Conservative majority, time and time again. Even the [Action Democratique du Quebec] failed in almost every outing. The [Bloc Quebecois] is the most effective progressive force in parliament. There's no question that Quebec is the most progressive part of Canada. Certainly no evidence that Quebec would elect an ADQ-style government, since the ADQ was just destroyed.
    The ADQ was the official opposition in the previous provincial election leading to a minority government. That is the kind of failure the Ontario New Democratic Party dreams of at night. And the federal NDP has not the record of "support the bourgeois parties' minority government now, campaign on your platform later" of the Bloc Quebecois. The NDP has almost always tried to make Parliament and the country) work to the best of their ability.

    "Ethnic nationalism" is at a low because what the [Parti Quebecois] practices is no longer ethnic nationalism, it's as civic as Canadian nationalism, which is hardly as pure as the driven snow. ... it's posts like yours that make me want to support the efforts by some in Quebec to get out of Canada. If that attitude sums up Canadian nationalism (or should I say Ontario nationalism?), better off outside Canada."
    Let us put aside the debate as to whether Quebec belongs in Canada. Just tell us when in recent history an official opposition in English Canada said "speak white, hostie, or lose the right to vote or run for public office"?

    Some Modest Quebec Proposals

    Anglos should be as prportional in the public service as they are in the population.

    Civic nationalism does not pre-occupy itself with what language you speak at home; ethnic nationalism does.

    Quebec does not get a pass on its reactionary past, by extolling its putative progressive present.

    Montreal Francais? Pas legalement

    [Harel] has been disaffected by immigration, has ridiculed Westmount for its “anglo-British character that reeks of colonialism,’‘ and in spite of a court ruling that said otherwise, insisted that the Quebec government had “a right and an obligation to declare Montreal a French City".

    10 August 2011

    Ottawa snapshot: Waiting for Flaherty and Lebel’s unlikely fan - The Globe and Mail

    Ottawa snapshot: Waiting for Flaherty and Lebel’s unlikely fan - The Globe and Mail

    “Denis Lebel reminds us that many people have been associated with the Bloc for many different reasons quite separate and distinct from the sovereignty issue,” [Pat Martin] says. “I hope more former Bloc members come and join the NDP.”

    Just can't avoid the words 'separate' and 'distinct' in Quebec can we? Is this dog-whistle politics?

    Would the PM please shut up: Senior Conservative cabinet minister was BQ member for 7-plus years | rabble.ca

    Would the PM please shut up: Senior Conservative cabinet minister was BQ member for 7-plus years | rabble.ca

    Well, it's not April 1, and it's in the Globe and Mail just now, so presumably the fact Prime Minister Stephen Harper's transport minister, Denis Lebel, was a member of the theoretically separatist Bloc Quebecois for more than seven years during the 1990s means the federal Conservatives are either breathtaking hypocrites or they’re incompetent buffoons who didn't do their due diligence.

    Nothing theoretical; it was front and centre in the platform, all along, as confirmed by party spokesmen.

    Guaranteed, this story wouldn't have rated two inches on page B97 but for the fact the Conservatives have been raging for days about Acting Opposition Leader Nycole Turmel having once been a member of the BQ … just like the prime minister's esteemed cabinet colleague.

    At the very same time she was prominent in the NDP.

    The federal Liberals, desperately facing extinction, opportunistically piled on. One can hardly blame them after their historic rout in the May 2 federal election. But if there are no federal Liberal MPs from Quebec with a PQ/BQ taint, rest assured it is only because there are only seven Liberal MPs left in that province.

    Iffy logic, at best. Given that most francophones voted for "sovereignty" in 1995, some Liberal MPs are likely guilty of that transgression.

    As was written in this space last Friday, one can understand and sympathize with Turmel's association with the Bloc -- she is, after all, a social democrat and until Layton's Orange Wave crashed through Quebec before the federal election, the Bloc and the Parti Quebecois were the only social democratic shows in the French-speaking part of town.

    Nonsense. There were federal NDP 'posts' in Quebec all along.

    What this really shows is that both the BQ and PQ were mainstream parties in Quebec for a very long time, and many people with political ambitions no doubt joined them because that was the only way to have a realistic hope of political success.

    Success, at what cost to principles?

    The trouble with that kind of thing, of course, is that it could easily turn into a witchhunt. It would surely do the Conservatives no long-term good in Quebec -- which, for all their bravado about needing only Ontario and the West may be necessary for them to stay in power in the future.

    Debatable. The Tories just proved they can get a national majority without a significant Quebec presence.

    Hear the voices of anti-nationalist francophones:

    09 August 2011

    NDP support in Quebec could plummet if Layton doesn't return: Nanos | The Hill Times - Canada's Politics and Government Newsweekly

    In Quebec, politics comes back to personalism, not ideology. So much for our vaunted 'sophistication'.

    NDP support in Quebec could plummet if Layton doesn't return: Nanos | The Hill Times - Canada's Politics and Government Newsweekly

    In all the commotion, Mr. Nanos said the much more serious question facing New Democrats is the loss of Mr. Layton. Nanos polls have shown 51 per cent of Quebecers believe Mr. Layton has the best vision for Canada, with Mr. Harper getting only 16.5 per cent in that area, while 58.7 per cent of Quebecers say they trust Mr. Layton, compared to only 14.5 per cent for Mr. Harper.

    “Even compared to Stephen Harper, his brand is three and a half to four times stronger than Stephen Harper in the province of Quebec. It speaks to the enormity of the importance of Jack Layton to the New Democrats in Quebec,” said Mr. Nanos.

    “Now, the New Democrats are on the defensive and their message is significantly distracted,” he added. “They have to find a way that hopefully changes the channel, so that for voters, especially voters in Quebec, they’re not thinking ‘how about that Nycole Turmel being leader of the NDP?’ They want voters in Quebec to think ‘what are the NDP doing to challenge the Harper government?’”

    Lorne Gunter: A Tory used to support sovereignty. Many NDP still do. | Full Comment | National Post

    Lorne Gunter: A Tory used to support sovereignty. Many NDP still do. | Full Comment | National Post

    Alexandre Boulerice, the new NDP MP for Montreal’s Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie riding, admitted before the Turmel controversy surfaced that he remained active in QS, even after being elected to Parliament.

    And Cree leader Romeo Saganash, the new NDP MP for Abitibi-Baie-James-Nunavik-Eeyou and Claude Patry, the new MP for Jonquière-Alma, have both openly supported the sovereigntist cause in the past.

    By some counts, at least a dozen NDP MPs voted to break Canada apart in the 1995 Quebec referendum.

    PQ's flip-flop on leader, policy shows the party is in disarray

    PQ's flip-flop on leader, policy shows the party is in disarray:

    "To save the PQ, we have to change the PQ," said Drainville, calling for the party's "renewal." And Bérubé said that in his consultation, "everything will be on the table," including the PQ's newly adopted policy on achieving sovereignty.

    So this is how the PQ does things now: in reverse. Give the leader a confidence vote, then challenge the leader. Adopt the program, then consult the people. Hold the convention, then act as though it never happened.

    The PQ isn't marching toward sovereignty. It's moonwalking.

    Kyle Fact File


    The parents have been estranged since Kyle was an infant. The father would not immediately provide an affidavit to prove his son’s eligibility.


    Hugging his mother, the 11-year-old pronounced himself "very, very, very happy" after a Quebec-government administrative tribunal reversed an earlier ruling that would have sent Kyle back to a French-language school in the area where he said he had been bullied ...

    Kyle's marks have improved this year to Bs from Ds last year, she said. "And he's doing 60 per cent of the curriculum in French" at Willingdon, [his mother] added ...

    The Quebec tribunal reversed itself after it received affidavits from Kyle's grandmother in Alberta, as well as from his biological father, attesting to the father's English-language elementary education ...

    Kyle rules

    Yes, if a Quebec anglo child has learning difficulties with French, he is allowed to go to English school under ministry regulations. Not "special ed" schools, mind you, regular ones. We have no indication that`s Kyle`s situation, but the option is there. Thanks for understanding.

    Putting Kyle in the English public school system is not a whim, it's a right under Bill 101. By my reckoning, Kyle's French coming out of English school will be better than the English coming out of French schools. What's more effective at second language acquisition, a 40-60 percent FSL/English blend, or an hour a week in English as done in the francophone regions?

    Of course I live in Quebec, as opposed to some of the armchair "patriotes" on this board. Quebec is my home, where I live, work and love, like generations of anglos before me I belong, and I don't plan to leave.

    08 August 2011

    NDP set to wade into Quebec language debates

    Politics - The Globe and Mail

    A little-noticed private member’s bill that died a quiet death when the federal election was called has found new life as the NDP’s blueprint for the delicate task of legislating language rights in Quebec.

    NDP Leader Jack Layton told a popular Quebec talk show last weekend that his priorities for the next parliamentary session include tabling legislation that protects French-speaking employees in federally regulated industries ...

    07 August 2011

    William Johnson: Take heed, Canada – there’s renewed radicalism in Quebec

    Take heed, Canada – there’s renewed radicalism in Quebec - The Globe and Mail

    ... But the PQ leaders, except René Lévesque, never submitted to the rule of law. They claimed that the will of the people overrules the Constitution. “Quebec is free, free to determine its destiny, and we will liberate this energy,” Ms. Marois proclaimed. “We will take over all the powers that are essential to the flowering of a free people. Our legitimacy will come from the democratic will of our fellow citizens.” ...

    In Quebec, both Liberals and Péquistes refuse to recognize the legitimacy of the 1982 patriation of the Constitution – maintaining that it would have required the consent of the National Assembly, which was opposed – even though the Supreme Court demolished in 1982 the Quebec government’s insistence that Quebec’s opposition made the new Constitution illegitimate. The court ruled: “The Constitution Act, 1982 is now in force. Its legality is neither challenged nor assailable.” ...

    Ms. Marois will not even admit that secession lost in the referendums of 1980 and 1995. No, federalism won by fraud: “Twice before, we tried to bring this great undertaking to conclusion. Unfortunately, the Québécois were deceived. The people were misled by lies, by broken promises, by betrayals, by cheating, by the cowardice of the federalist camp.” ...

    Since Pierre Trudeau left the scene, no prime minister has called the bluff of separatist pretensions, especially the assumption that a referendum score provides an unconditional permit to secede. This has been the doctrine of Jacques Parizeau, Lucien Bouchard and Ms. Marois, but also of Robert Bourassa, Daniel Johnson and Jean Charest. It’s a dangerous myth that could plunge the country into civil strife. ...

    NDP Leadership uproar a gift to Quebec’s satirists - The Globe and Mail

    NDP Leadership uproar a gift to Quebec’s satirists - The Globe and Mail

    Mr. Chapleau said it will take time for his viewers to adapt to today’s reality and for the show to develop the comic traits of its new characters, such as anger-management issues beneath Mr. Mulcair’s silky public persona.

    In his Friday cartoon, Mr. Chapleau portrayed Ms. Turmel behind the podium of the Leader of the Official Opposition with, at the bottom, logos for the NDP, the Bloc Québécois, Québec Solidaire, Costco, the Canadian Automobile Association and Air Miles.

    05 August 2011

    No Dogs or Anglophones: Weekend Update - Volume 32

    No Dogs or Anglophones: Weekend Update - Volume 32

    Gilles Duceppe won't go away
    In an interview on RDI, June 21, Gilles Duceppe justified Quebec sovereignty in these terms:
    "If Quebeckers, within 15 years, will not move, they will inevitably be on the same slope as the Franco-Ontarians and the Acadians." It is a rapid assimilation, we should not hide from the truth."
    It seems that in order to remain relevant Mr Duceppe is upping the rhetoric, in a sad attempt to rekindle the separatist debate that has been firmly placed on the backburner by Quebec voters. The trouble for Mr. Duceppe is that he is yesterday's news, with little or no chance at a political comeback. He has come to symbolize failure and for a politician, it's the kiss of death.

    You'd think he'd get a reaction after making the above statement and he did. It wasn't what he expected.

    In an article in Le Devoi, Michel Paillé, took Mr. Duceppe to task. Using statistics, instead of emotion, the demgrapher showed that Mr. Duceepe's assertion is nothing but hot air.
    According to him, in fifteen years there will be more French-speaking Quebeckers than there are now, hardly the road to assimilation.

    Even if Quebec's proportion of Canada's population declines, Quebec's French society is still growing and is no danger of assimilation. LINK{FR}

    04 August 2011

    What Would Tommy Do?

    Tommy would go beyond the what to the why.

    Tommy would rise above partisanship, and give credit where it's due, like acknowledge John Diefenbaker and Emmett Hall as co-fathers of Medicare.

    Tommy would meet with commies, but he wouldn't let them control his party.

    Tommy would let his caucus break with him on occasion (e.g., the War Measures Act)

    03 August 2011

    Quebec Sovereigntaire


    French is the common language of Quebec, Bill 101 needs to be strengthened, etc.

    02 August 2011

    Do the nationalist math

    IF most Quebecers are francos,

    AND IF most franco Quebecois voted for sovereignty,

    THEN most Quebec political candidates will have been sovereignist.

    New NDP Leader was long-time member of Bloc Québécois


    The new leader of the federal NDP was a card-carrying member of the Bloc Québécois for five years and quit the sovereigntist party only last January, one month before she announced plans to run as a key member of Jack Layton’s team in Quebec, documents show.

    Nycole Turmel was chosen last week to lead the Official Opposition during Mr. Layton’s absence, and revelations about her long-standing sovereigntist ties are expected to fuel concerns in federalist circles about her commitment to national unity. In addition, Ms. Turmel’s recent support for the Bloc will prompt questions about ongoing ties between the NDP’s massive contingent of rookie MPs from Quebec and the province’s secessionist movement ...

    28 July 2011

    Que reigne Andre Pratte

    "38% plus un"


    Au cours d'une entrevue diffusée dimanche à l'émission Les coulisses du pouvoir (Radio-Canada), le chef du Bloc québécois a fait deux affirmations éminemment contestables. Plongés dans leur habituelle léthargie, les adversaires politiques de Gilles Duceppe ont laissé passer ces déclarations qui auraient dû les faire bondir.

    Interrogé sur la popularité de l'option souverainiste, M. Duceppe a déclaré: «Sur 200 élus québécois à Québec et à Ottawa, il y en a 101 qui sont souverainistes, les 49 du Bloc, les 51 du Parti québécois et M. Khadir de Québec solidaire. Ça fait 50% plus un.»

    Quel calcul tordu que voilà! Dans les faits, le Parti québécois, le Bloc et Québec solidaire ont obtenu 38,5% de tous les votes exprimés au Québec lors des élections fédérales et provinciales de l'automne. Les indépendantistes sont donc loin de leur mythique 50% plus un. Ils en sont plutôt à 38% plus un... et ce, même si le PQ et le Bloc ont tous deux répété, durant leur campagne respective, que l'indépendance n'était pas un enjeu des élections ...

    27 July 2011

    "Bad English an embarrassment"

    It happened again on a recent Saturday night on Crescent St. A tourist asked where I'm from, adding that I couldn't possibly be from here - my English is too good ...

    No wonder, though - it's not like there are many signs of us. All last weekend, prominent signage, the length and breadth of probably the largest sidewalk sale event in the city, proclaimed "The Sainte-Catherine Street celebrates" (translating La Sainte-Catherine célèbre) and "More than 2 km of sale" (for Plus de 2 km de soldes) ...
    In addition to being an embarrassing and insulting slap in the face to its largest - albeit dwindling - minority, these all-too-common occurrences demonstrate not only a lack of respect but also a lack professionalism. How is it that, with all the English speakers native to this fair city, not one could be found to proofread a poster that was to be splashed from one end to the other of the busiest downtown shopping hub for one of the retail sector's biggest events of the year? ...