The flavor of the week for the separatists establishment has become ‘francophobia’. In other words, the systematic hatred towards Francophones in the English and to a certain extent the French media in Canada and in Quebec. A coalition has been formed called ‘Unie contre la francophobie’, of which a number of well known Quebecers have signed.T
There is a document on their site that covers, rather extensively, cases of what appear to be ‘francophobia’. In fact, very little of it is directed at francophones specifically, but, granted it can be construed that way by some. The document is viewable here:
I think it is fair to say that the types of statements made that are supposedly ‘against’ francophones can be divided into two categories:
1. Well known news outlets, making sarcastic and somewhat defamatory statements about the Quebec political establishment and Quebec politicians themselves.
2. Remarks, images and content of a more odious nature by grass-roots dissenters to the Parti Quebecois, sovereignty politicians, separatists and the sovereignty movement in general. Most of the remarks and comments cited in the document fall into this category.
A look at the definition of ‘francophobia’ is as follows from Dictionary.com:
a person who fears or hates France, the French people, French culture, products, etc
I would consider statements such as ‘Frogs’, ‘Pepsi’, ‘Pepper’ to be francophobic statements because they clearly, without a doubt, express hatred towards francophones. I think we can all agree on this, and anyone who uses statements like this should be ashamed of themselves. On the inside of the first page of the document the statement ‘Fuck Frogs’ is displayed in a stylized manner, but no information is given to its context. I have seen statements like this in graffiti in and around Montreal, but not for many years. What is even less common is hearing these kinds of words and statements uttered in public.
What becomes immediately obvious as one reads through the document is that there is actually very scant evidence of francophobia presented. Instead, it contains a loose collection of excerpts from National Post, Gazette, Globe And Mail articles as well as comments in blogs, social media, bathroom walls, vandalism and the like. The vast majority of the arguments made target the Quebec separatists political establishment. This has nothing, I repeat nothing to do with the aforementioned definition of francophobia. Thus, the whole exercise is designed to prove that Francophones are somehow treated like the blacks were in the southern United States in the early 20th century and doesn’t amount to much more than a witch hunt against anyone who opposes the sovereignty movement inside or outside of Quebec, even naming the guilty in the English media.
Instead of trying to point out how untrue the claim of francophobia made by this document is, or rather, why this exercise is just a great way to excuse and reinforce separatist dogmatism, I will turn my attention instead to federalist and Canadian anger directed towards the sovereignty movement, of which pretty much all of the material in the document is a product of. Furthermore, notice that the accusations made in the document are entirely political. The anger is based fundamentally in the stress and strain that the separatist movement causes to Canada and federalist Quebec, and how it detracts from more important issues and consumes energy that could be used for much more important and pressing matters. Specifically, we are faced with, on a daily basis the ‘sword of Damocles’, which the Parti Quebecois dangles over our heads and the arrogance of separatists who believe that they can strip us federalists in Quebec of our country and identity. As Canadians, our sense of unity is held hostage, and as federalist Quebecers, our sense of economic, social and cultural security is held hostage. This is plenty enough to make people angry.
I agree that some examples of anger provided in the document are extreme, but people are looking for ways to vent their frustration and at times an effigy of a political figure, a slanderous statement or a comparison to a dictator helps one vent their frustration, captures the essence of ones’ feelings, and resonates with others that feel the same way, providing a desired sense of solidarity among other dissenters of the same stripe. I am sure that there is not a political entity or group in the history of man that has experienced at least some of the aforementioned in varied degree. But it appears, you cannot win against a separatist – if you agree with them and give them everything the want, they will still want more. If you disagree with them, they will call you a francophobe.
Besides the reasons for being angry mentioned above, here is a list of my top reasons for being angry – what are yours? Does this resonate with you?
Violating the rights of minorities
There is a very interesting statement on the first page of the website of ’Unie Contre La Francophobie’ (http://francophobie.org):
Au Québec, la misogynie, l’homophobie, l’intimidation,l’islamophobie et les préjugés contre les autochtones sont condamnés de plus en plus haut et fort dans tous les milieux. La francophobie, une autre forme de discrimination commence à réapparaître. Aujourd’hui, nous unissons nos voix pour la dénoncer! …
Notice how they slip “L’Islamaphobie” in there. Really ? Quebec condemns Islamaphobia ?
CTV did a report recently about the rising incidence of hatred towards Muslims in Quebec. This is what a spokesperson for the Muslim Council Of Montreal had to say about pre- and post announcement of the Quebec Charter Of Values :
“during the last 7 months, there have only been 25 complaints, but from Septemeber 15th to October 15th, there have been 115 complaints”
Note that means that there are 32 times the number of complaints per month than before the charter announcement. This makes the statement by francophobie.org that Quebec condemns Islamaphobia rather shocking – a shocking lie.
Let’s take a look at 2 highlights with respect to bill 14, another odious piece of legislation tabled by the Parti Quebecois;
1. Businesses that employ 26 to 49 regular employees must make French the everyday language of the workplace.
2. Government would have the power to revoke a municipality’s bilingual status if the anglophone population drops below 50 per cent.
There are a few other sinister points in the bill, but let’s keep it simple and treat these two points.
As for 1., I will give you a little background on myself – I work as a software developer. I have worked for a number of companies in Montreal. Of the 8 different (approximately) companies that I have worked for, French was the common language in 1 of them – furthermore, I had to look hard for that particular job because I wanted to work in a French environment. The reason ? French is not the language that is used in software firms globally. Furthermore, all of these companies had more than 26 employees. Imagine if they enacted a ridiculous law like this – it would devastate the IT sector in Quebec – there is no way they could comply with this law, they’d all leave.
As for 2. Anglophones have been an integral part of the city of Montreal and the province of Quebec for over 300 years. They are entitled to speak and do business in English. Let me repeat that as an Anglophone and Canadian, YOU ARE ENTITLED TO SPEAK AND DO BUSINESS IN ENGLISH IN MONTREAL. I don’t care what the law says.
I cannot think of a single thing that bill 14 is good for other than to spite Anglophones – can you ? It’s like saying ‘let’s encourage municipalities to discriminate against Anglophones, by stripping them of access to services in their own language’.
Lies about the economy and ‘economic benefits’ after a referendum win
Jean Marc Aussant has been probably the most visible go-to guy for the economic realities of sovereignty. His gig involves dispelling and demystifying federalists scare tactics, a noble cause indeed.
For all of his lofty credentials, what he is saying in the above video (a speech that contains a decent summary of his main ideas) amounts to nothing more than esoteric anti-federalist diatribe. There is nothing of substance in what he says with respect to the random and wide ranging possible outcomes at a social level following a referendum win. Notice how he refers to the Quebec of today – ‘today Quebec is in great shape economically’. But why doesn’t he talk about the Quebec of a post referendum win ? Isn’t that the whole point of being a ‘sovereignist economist’ and the elephant in the room ? Strange.
If you don’t think that a man with such credentials can be wrong (masters degree in economic analysis from the Université de Montreal), take a look at how wrong World Bank economists can be that have higher degrees from far more prestigious schools (phd’s from Harvard and The London School of Economics). An example of this on a large scale is the World Bank involvement in the Suharto regime in Indonesia – the economists at the World Bank were commissioned to provide aid for the country so that it could develop infrastructure and services – essentially a nation building effort. Suharto ended up stealing a large portion of the World Bank money allocated to Indonesia with the people of Indonesia picking up the tab, owing to date billions of dollars to the World Bank and impoverishing millions of people. Essentially, economic theory fails consistently to take into account human behavior. The case of Indonesia and Quebec are very similar, because they involve economists attempting to build an entirely new economic system by using trivial models that are incapable of taking into account the most basic assumptions of human nature and the socioeconomic contexts in which they are to be applied.
I am mentioning this because, if it is impossible for the best economists to predict the random variable of human nature when developing an economic model, how are we supposed to believe that Aussant’s model is even remotely credible, with the completely unpredictable events that would occur after a referendum win ?
In his speech in the video, Aussant talks about how Quebec is very fortunate compared to other countries in the world, that federalists will scare separatists by talking about debt which according to him is no big deal, how Canada will allow Quebec to maintain the Canadian dollar, equalization payments per capita, blah blah blah. These are actually never issues I personally considered a big deal when considering the economic repercussions of sovereignty. It becomes apparent that what he isn’t talking about means everything and what he is talking about means nothing. For example: how about businesses and 100′s of thousands of people leaving the province, massive government revenue losses, collapsing housing market, economic sectors affected by lower consumer spending, costs related to the establishing government services, etc. Since he doesn’t discuss any of these obvious issues, his entire speech equates to one thing: hogwash. He should go work for the World Bank.
There is clearly a culture of francophobia among separatists themselves. Pierre Falardeau was great at degrading federalist francophones. He created a character by the name of ‘Elvis Gratton’ to portray a sort of ‘Uncle Tom’ francophone. Uncle Tom was originally a character from the book by Harriet Beecher Stowe’s ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’. The book was a novel that sought to reveal the ills of slavery, and the ideas of the book were ironically considered to be a contributing factor to the American civil war. The term is used now to portray a sort of subservient individual who perceives themselves as inferior due to their race. This was exemplified also by Pierre Valliéres book ‘White Niggers of America’.
Falardeau constantly referred to francophones as being ‘colonized’, even though the history of Quebec shows no evidence of what happened to New France falling neatly into the category of ’colonized’. Rather, the term is used as a sales pitch: to lower ones self opinion so that sovereignty is necessarily the only way to elevate it. In other words ‘you are a colonized, oppressed people and sovereignty is equivalent to the emancipation from your oppressor’.
Another example of separatist francophobia is Louise Beaudoin’s statement in a interview with Maclean’s magazine, when she essentially says that Francophones need to have more self confidence, implying that they don’t have any to start off with, she also admits that Quebec is not really open to others, and only will be when it is sovereign:
Q (Macleans):You need sovereignty to be open to others ?
A (Beaudoin): Yes. To be open to others you need to be sure of oneself, and the only way to be totally sure of ourselves is to be sovereign. If you and I talk in 10 years after sovereignty, I’m convinced that Quebecers will have even more self-confidence, they’ll be far more advanced individually and collectively, and everyone will be more happy. There you go.
Clearly, separatist thinkers are trying to instill in francophones a sense of self-hatred and low self-esteem and to get them to blame this feeling on the colonial oppression that Canada has inflicted on them. The amazing thing to realize here, is that the separatists themselves are quite covertly francophobic themselves.
Let’s look at Anglophobia in Quebec, of which there is a myriad of examples. Here are some tidbits:
Pierre Curzi, with respect to Anglophones in an interview with Gilles Proulx (Pierre Curzi is on the francophobe.org panel), suggesting that a sovereign Quebec could strip Anglophones of their rights:
“We can’t take away their right to vote because that is a right we cannot control because we are still a province within the federation. Obviously, the day when the country is there, we will control citizenship, which will have more teeth, if I can dare to say so.”
In October, a 77 year old veteran and cancer patient in a Gatineau hospital is told by an orderly:
‘This isn’t a hotel. I don’t speak English; this is Quebec,”
“Speak to me in French! This is Quebec!”
In December, an article in LaMetropole targeting activist Murray Levine for simply wanting more English signs in Fairview shopping center on the West Island - a completely reasonable request since the West Island is over 70% English (and perfectly within the law):
“Pourquoi nous, les francophones, devrions-nous mettre un genou en terre pour ne pas irriter ces anglos si susceptibles? Je vous le dis, il faudra que Pointe-Claire se mette au français et vite, ou qu’ils plient bagages en Ontario.”
In other words, speak French or get out.
Grafitti – hatred towards Anglophones (see http://www.wiccab101.org/tedwrightswallsofshame.html for more examples)