13 May 2016

Survey reveals troubling data on religious tolerance in Quebec


  • 43 per cent of respondents said you should be suspicious of anyone who openly expresses their religion.
  • 45 per cent said they had a negative view of religion.
  • 48.9 per cent — roughly one out of two — said it bothered them to be attended to by a woman wearing a hijab.
  • Dan Delmar: Quebec Liberals add to irrational language laws

    When it’s estimated that over half of Quebecers struggle with literacy issues and new media are dominated by English-language content, the need for strengthening the French language shouldn’t be debatable; how to achieve tangible results for francophones, however, is.
    Culture Minister Hélène David announced on Tuesday that modifications in Quebec language law would force companies whose trademarked English names are protected to add French elements to their facades in the form of a descriptor, slogan or advertisement that communicates some form of commercial message.
    These are measures that are already adopted by the overwhelming majority of Quebec retailers, making the new regulations redundant at best. While it would be advisable for any Quebec business to communicate to its clients in French, it should not be the government’s role to dictate to entrepreneurs in the private sector how to go about doing that (the presence of the French language in the public sector has been, and should continue to be, protected by law).

    10 May 2016

    The meaning of national unity

    It involves national compromise

    Football Association in England/FIFA/Sikhs

    Turban question to be answered at weekend soccer assembly

    A spokesperson for the Football Association in England sent The Gazette an email saying that FIFA "has a rich tradition of giving everyone who wants to play football the opportunity to do so, irrespective of the faith, culture, beliefs, cultural background, sexual orientation, nationality and race.
    There are “many examples at the grassroots level where Sikhs enjoy the game without compromise to their faith or culture,” said the FA spokesperson, Tracey Bates.
    In fact, she said for several years a Sikh man named Jarnail Singh refereed many games in England’s senior leagues while wearing a patka, a square piece of cloth that is tied on top of the head.

    Patriquin: Why Quebec is fighting against [minority] language rights

    Why Quebec is fighting against its language rights

    Like much of its
    brethren outside of Quebec, Yukon’s French population faces a constant
    demographic challenge. Less than five per cent of the territory’s
    population have French as a mother tongue, according to the most recent
    census data. Survival of the language is largely predicated on French
    institutions like École Émilie-Tremblay, Yukon’s sole French school.

    In 2009, the Yukon government sought to strip the Commission scolaire francophone du Yukon,
    which oversees the school, of some of its funding and powers to recruit
    students from beyond Yukon’s 1,630 francophones. The matter went all
    the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.

    The school board’s plight would seem to have a natural ally in the Quebec government,
    often considered North America’s most formidable protector of the
    French language. And the government did indeed intervene in the
    case—against the school board. Giving the board such recruitment powers,
    Quebec’s attorney general’s office argued, “would compromise the
    fragile balance of Quebec’s linguistic dynamic.” Last May, the Supreme
    Court rendered a decision that mostly sided with the Yukon government.

    William Johnson: How Jack Layton [and the NDP] courted Bloc voters


    The game-changer of the 2011 election campaign is the New Democratic Party's surge in Quebec while the Bloc Québécois declined.
    None had predicted it. It took all by surprise. But was it an entirely unaccountable phenomenon? Hardly.
    From the time he won the NDP leadership in 2003, Jack Layton manoeuvred to build his party in Quebec from the ground up by courting the nationalist clientele of the Bloc Québécois. His strategy followed that of Brian Mulroney when the Progressive Conservative party was defunct in la belle province. The Tory leader built support in Quebec by recruiting separatists like Marcel Masse and Lucien Bouchard, then launching nationalist messages like treating the 1982 patriation of the Constitution as an infamy.

    English coming to Westmount parking signs - Montreal - CBC News

    English coming to Westmount parking signs - Montreal - CBC News

    The City of Westmount has opened the door to adding English to parking signs, following more than 20 years of back-and-forth battles with Quebec's language watchdog.Mayor Peter Trent tabled a roadmap for the changes at the last Westmount city council meeting.Entitled "Bilingual Parking Signs in Westmount," the document outlines the current status of parking signage in Westmount, past run-ins with the watchdog, as well as various ways to make the city's signage bilingual.

    04 May 2016

    Bill 101 signage regulations: Abusive, arbitrary and discriminatory

    Regulations announced Tuesday by Culture Minister Hélène David will require businesses with non-French trademarks to display prominent French signage, whether it is a slogan, a description or a message about what’s on sale.

    “It was essential to act in favour of the French language, which remains the common thread of our history,” David told a news conference outside a Montreal Wal-Mart (sic).
    David said that over the past 10 years, complaints to Quebec’s language watchdog about businesses with English names have been increasing. But the courts have determined that under existing language regulations, companies with an English brand name were not obliged to add a French phrase to their signs.
    In 2014, ruling on a court action brought by Best Buy, Costco, Gap, Old Navy, Guess, Wal-Mart, Toys “R” Us and Curves, Superior Court Justice Michel Yergeau wrote that it is up to the government to legislate if it believes a “wave” of English trademarks threatens Quebec’s French character.
    David pitched the new signs as “an opportunity to enrich Quebec’s French face” that could prove profitable to business. “It is a sign of respect toward the cultural environment of the Quebec collectivity,” she said.
    The Federation of Quebec Chambers of Commerce expressed support for the proposed changes. “We always support efforts and reasonable measures from the government that favour the French fact while contributing to the linguistic peace we observe today,” federation president Françoise Bertrand said.

    23 April 2016

    Québec needs not fear the Flying Spaghetti Monster | Life in Québec

    Québec needs not fear the Flying Spaghetti Monster | Life in Québec

    There continue to be important debates about the place for religious
    diversity within our society, and that’s not something we should take
    lightly. However, Québec needs not fear the absurd results to which the
    Flying Spaghetti Monster has taken other parts of the world and should
    really stop spending so much money on such nonsense.

    14 April 2016

    Bill 101: PRO-French Provisions? No, ANTI-English


    Quebec’s Bill 101 states that, “civil administration shall use only French in signs and posters, except where reasons of health or public safety require the use of another language as well.” The CISSS de Gaspésie was apparently in violation of this clause by having bilingual signs both for matters of health and safety (i.e. instructing people to wash their hands or wear masks in certain areas) but also for more minor instructions, such as directions to an examination room.

    Row over French descriptions on trademarks reignited in Quebec - Blog - World Trademark Review

    Row over French descriptions on trademarks reignited in Quebec - Blog - World Trademark Review

    La Presse reports
    that Prime Minister Philippe Couillard has intimated that an
    announcement on the charter is imminent, with plans to ask supermarkets
    to use French signage on their store facades. It reports, though, that
    due to the previous legal decision, the government has cooled on the
    notion of forcing companies to add a French descriptive term to their

    Burgundy Lion gets OQLF warning over TripAdvisor sticker on front window

    Lyle said the letter he received is vague, saying only that he contravened a law and that future action may be taken.
    A spokesman for the OQLF said the letter is only for information purposes, and there are no penalties involved. The agency's goal, Jean-Pierre Le Blanc said, is to let business owners know that French-language versions of such promotional stickers exist.
    "This is one of about 300 to 400 letters we sent this month to businesses," said Le Blanc. "It's not an investigation. It's not a complaint. It's an incentive."


    13 April 2016

    William Johnson: The myth of disestablished English - The Métropolitain

    The myth of disestablished English - The Métropolitain

    Even as English is again under attack at the National Assembly during the hearings on Bill 14, it is perhaps true that most Quebecers have been misled into believing that English is not also an official language of Quebec. But that’s entirely unfounded in fact or in law. English has been an official language of Quebec ever since 1763. Every law passed since then has been passed in English. Every law to be passed by the current Parti Québécois government will be passed in English as well as French, and the English text will be official, just as will be the French. 
    English is part of Quebec’s very identity. That part is largely what makes the difference between Quebec and other former colonies of France, such as Guadeloupe, Martinique, Louisiana, Haiti, Vietnam or Algeria. 
    So how has the myth been propagated that French is the “sole official language?”  It began with the trickery of Robert Bourassa’s Bill 22 of 1974, the so-called “Official Language Act, which proclaimed – in English as well as French: “French is the official language of the province of Québec.” ...

    SAQ looking into bilingual signage for some outlets | City News | thesuburban.com

    SAQ looking into bilingual signage for some outlets | City News | thesuburban.com

    Activist Murray Levine began a campaign recently to urge Quebecers to
    ask the SAQ to install bilingual signs in some areas of Quebec, in
    light of the fact the provincial Liquor Control Board of Ontario’s
    (LCBO) policy is to provide services in French as well as English in 112
    of its 634 outlets.

    “In Ontario’s 25 designated areas, the
    operational signage in every LCBO store must be bilingual,” says the
    board’s policy. “This type of signage includes stores’ permanent signs
    and general notices, such as those in the aisles and for customer

    Ontario’s French Language Services Act states that there
    are 26 designated areas where service is guaranteed in French by the
    provincial government. The criteria is 10 percent of a city’s population
    must be francophone, or there must be a population of at least 5,000
    francophones in an urban area.

    12 April 2016

    NDP: Sherbrooke Declaration

    English version of statement adopted in French by the General Council of the NDP (Quebec section) on Oct. 26, 2005.

    09 April 2016

    William Johnson: Quebec’s constitutional powers, real and imagined

    William Johnson: Quebec’s constitutional powers, real and imagined | National Post

    Quebec’s entire political class disgraced itself ... when the province’s National Assembly unanimously passed a motion that would be spurned as an absurdity in just about every mature democracy. Even Philippe Couillard’s nominally federalist Liberal members supported a motion that condemned the federal government for defending Canada’s constitutional order against a unilateral secession by Quebec.

    The motion stated: “[Quebec’s] National Assembly condemns the intrusion of the Government of Canada into Quebec’s democracy by its determination to have struck down the challenged articles of the Act Respecting the Exercise of the Fundamental Rights and Prerogatives of the Québec People and the Québec State. The National Assembly demands that the Government of Canada abstain from intervening and challenging the Act respecting the exercise of the fundamental rights and prerogatives of the Québec people and the Québec State.”

    The Act in question is Premier Lucien Bouchard’s Bill 99, which was passed in 2000 to counter the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling in the secession reference, and the federal Clarity Act. The Court had insisted that a majority vote for secession, even a “clear answer” to a “clear question,” would not give Quebec a mandate to secede. Independence could be achieved legally only through an amendment to the Constitution of Canada with the Parliament of Canada and the provinces concurring ...