Dear Sophie Durocher: It’s Time To Get Schooled

I made a promise to myself a few years back to always admit when I am wrong, but to call people out who are wrong as best I can. I invite anyone to prove me wrong – so Sophie, the ball is in your court.

We all know people are wrong for any number of reasons – whether it be that they are misinformed, they are lying, they are incompetent, etc… In the case of Sophie Durocher, a blogger/journalist at the Journal de Montreal, I believe she is so hell bent on making some kind of point, that she just ignores reality entirely. This is evidenced in a recent blog post of hers in the Journal de Montreal on the 29th of October. Now, one must take much of what is written in the Journal de Montreal with a grain of salt as it is a favorite separatist paper. However, it still is amusing to have a gander at what is written in it from time to time to see how ridiculously it diverges from the truth just to prove a point, especially as it relates to the separatist cause.

I will concede this to her: the Montreal English media does have a tendency at times to be over sensitive to the sovereignty movement – I think that this is the point of the article, but that unfortunately gets lost in a blizzard of misinformation.

So check out my letter to Sophie Durocher below, have a read, sign off in the comments and enjoy. I will tweet her the link to the article. To Sophie: I will translate everything below into French if you prefer.

Read the full article here: CTV et la peur de la Charte

Dear Sophie,

After reading your article ‘CTV et la peur de la charte’ in La Journal de Montreal, I would like to point out the items in the article that are either taken completely out of context, ignorant or just plain false. I will also point out one area where I think you are correct.

Following each quote by you, I will write my follow-up.

Ok, here we go:

You said:
Quoi? Vous ne saviez pas ? À cause de la méchante Charte des valeurs, de la pas fine Pauline Marois et de l’horrible Pastagate, des tonnes d’anglophones, de francophones et d’allophones font leur valise pour quitter cette sale province qu’est devenu le Québec. Vous ne voyez pas les embouteillages de camions de déménagement sur la 401 ?

I say:
You make it seem as though the CTV is in the minority in thinking that the Charter of Values is not the greatest idea. Let’s list who else thinks its a bad idea:

All 4 of the major mayorial candidates including the current mayor
The Jewish General Hospital
The city of Cote St Luc
Quebec city
Separatists Michel Rivard
Renowned philosopher David Taylor
Former Bloc MP Jean Dorion
Renowned sociologist Gerard Bouchard
Jacques Parizeau
Lucien Bouchard
34 % of Francophones
72 % of Anglophones
Not sure about ethnic minorities, but I am guessing it ain’t doing to well with them, because you know, it robs many of them of their freedom of religious expression

…Shall I continue?

Let’s turn our attention to pastagate. First I will give you a little background about Montreal. Montreal was a French only city up until about 1760, following this Scots, Irish, French and English all contributed to build the city into the amazing place that it is today. If you look at the flag of Montreal, the symbol of the city, these 4 cultures are represented on it. With bill 101, 200 000 anglophones left the province because they no longer felt welcome in the city. Most of my family left Montreal for Ontario and I can assure you that they are not a bunch of French-hating colonizing blokes – they are good, hardworking people. I am not disagreeing entirely with bill 101, I think something needed to be done to protect the French language, and Francophones were not treated fairly. Also, I can assure you that the remaining Anglophones in Montreal for the most part love it here.

The pastagate issue was hurtful for Anglophones, because it shows a lack of respect. We all know French is the dominant language, and we all accept that (in fact I really like it that way). But please, show some respect for Anglophones – the pastagate issue showed a tremendous lack of respect for a community that is integral to the city – the institutions which you don’t seem to think we deserve (see below) are evidence of this. So your sarcastic statement ‘l’horrible pastagate’ is insulting – hence the reaction from Anglophones and the English media.

You said:
Imaginez: vous êtes un anglophone, vous avez accès à des universités et des hôpitaux en anglais mais dans un resto de la rue St-Laurent vous ne pouvez pas commander des pastas. Scandale! Honey, let’s pack our things ! We’re leaving this godforsaken province where we are treated like animals !

I Say:
So you are implying here that Anglophones are not entitled to universities and hospitals that speak English? By that logic, Franco-Ontarians are not entitled to French universities (University of Ottawa, Laurentian University, Saint Paul University, University de Hearst) and hospitals in French (25 designated areas). Sorry Sophie, Montreal Anglophones have every right to the institutions that the Anglophone community built.

And ‘Honey, let’s pack our things’ – Really? Do you think that this is how Montreal Anglophones actually speak? I should create a poll on this blog to see how many Anglophones in Montreal actually refer to their spouse as ‘Honey’. I bet you my life savings it won’t be many.  Just for your information, Anglophones in North America are not this huge amorphous mass of zombies that are all identical. Californians are not like New Yorkers, Nor are Montreal Anglophones like Ontarian Anglophones – in fact I know a heck of alot less about Albertans than I do about French Quebecers. Furthermore, I even IDENTIFY more with Francophones than Albertans since I have lived in the same city as them my whole life.

You said:
(Gee. J’imagine ce que CTV ferait comme reportage s’ils s’intéressaient aux francos du Manitoba. Ou du Nouveau-Brunswick. Ça, ça ferait pleurer dans les chaumières.)

I Say:
I agree with you totally. I would love to see Francophones flourish in the rest of Canada, and I think that there is more work to be done. I think that Francophone culture is integral to this country and would be the first person to defend the development of Francophone institutions in other provinces. You did curiously leave out one province from your list above however – Ontario, which has the largest population of Francophones outside of Quebec. Ontario if you weren’t aware, has a Francophone population of over 600,000. Furthermore the population is increasing (by about 50,000 francophones over the past 5 years).

Now let me ask you this, the PQ tried to push through bill 14, which seeks to eliminate bilingual communities and make it even harder to do business in English in the province. Essentially trying to make Anglophones uncomfortable in their own homes. Is the government of Ontario trying to push through similar draconian policies, targeting Franco-Ontarians? Nope.

You said:
Bon, il y a seulement un petit problème avec ce reportage. On y parle de 17 000 personnes qui auraient quitté le Québec cette année, pour aller vivre dans d’autres provinces, comme par hasard depuis l’arrivée au pouvoir de Pauline la pas fine.

Mais selon statistiques Canada, toutes les provinces canadiennes, sauf l’Alberta et la Saskatchewan, ont un déficit d’immigration interprovinciale. (Il y a plus de gens qui quittent vers d’autres provinces que de gens qui arrivent en provenance des autres provinces.) L’Ontario a perdu 17 000 personnes vers une autre province en 2012. Le Québec en a perdu 6 000.

Quelqu’un à CTV s’est-il demandé pourquoi tant de gens quittaient l’Ontario ?

I say:
Whoa, this is the perfect example of taking data and twisting it and turning it into something it isn’t, just to prove a point. Let’s start from the top. You say that according to Statistics Canada, all provinces except Alberta and Saskatchewan experienced a net out migration, but did you ever look into why? And why are you comparing Quebec to Ontario’s data for 2012? Ontario’s population is over 13 million, Quebec’s is 8 million – don’t you think it makes sense that it has a greater outmigration of people than Quebec (if they were equal or Quebec had a greater outmigration, that would be extremely bad for Quebec).

Furthermore, let’s take a look (from the data that you referenced) what the trend in out-migration of Quebec is (forget the other provinces for a moment):

Average out-migration Quebec 2002-2007: -6,325
Average out-migration Quebec 2008-2009: -6,977
Average out-migration Quebec 2010-2012: -5,140
Out-migration Quebec 2012: -6,720
Out-migration Quebec 2013 in the first six months of 2013: -17,000

So 17,000 people have left Quebec in the first six months of 2013 when less than half this amount left Quebec on average since 2002 on a yearly basis. Wow, go figure, wonder why that could be.

And to answer your specific question about the out-migration from Ontario – this has to do with the job losses in the auto industry for the most part. Nothing to do with restrictive laws against Franco-Ontarians.

One last point, a little tip about research methods – even though the data you referenced is most likely correct, it is a report by the Toronto Dominion bank, referencing Statistics Canada data. This is bad practice – always reference the primary sources of your data.

The National Voice


2 thoughts on “Dear Sophie Durocher: It’s Time To Get Schooled

  1. “Now let me ask you this, the PQ tried to push through bill 14, which seeks to eliminate bilingual communities and make it even harder to do business in English in the province. Essentially trying to make Anglophones uncomfortable in their own homes. Is the government of Ontario trying to push through similar draconian policies, targeting Franco-Ontarians? Nope.”

    L’ontario a fait cela il y a une centaine d’années, Ils ont presque éradiqués la population Francophone de la province… Un autre torchon de propagande anglo. L’affaire Pastagate a été mise hors de proportion par le proprio du resto (pour la pub) et par la communauté anglo (pour se victimisé).

    Si les anglos quittent la province pour ce genre d’histore…. la sortie est à votre gauche.


    • Mordo,

      Explique-moi comment ce que j’ai dit est de la ‘propagande’ ? Je suis d’accord avec toi que le Pastagate a été mise hors de proportion (j’ai même indiquer dan mon bloque “The English media is overly sensitive”).

      C’est vrai que les relations Ontarios/Anglophone n’ont pas toujours été facile. Mais comment ca si il y a 600,000 Ontarois au’jourdui, les Anglophones ont presque éradiques les Ontarois?

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