Posted in Opinion, Slow News Day

French at the Olympics: Unsatisfied below 50%+1

You might think there are more important things to discuss, but to Quebec media, there’s nothing more important than condemning the Vancouver Olympic Committee for having banned the French language from the opening ceremonies.

Sure, they had Garou (unless you were watching on NBC – they cut to commercial when the francophone singer came on stage), and every announcement was in both languages (French first)*, and referee Michel Verrault read the officials’ oath in French, and IOC president Jacques Rogge read part of his statement in French, and Nikki Yanofsky performed the national anthem in both languages. But only one of the half-dozen songs of the ceremony were sung in French, narration by Donald Sutherland and slam poetry by Shane Koyczan weren’t translated into the langue de Molière, and VANOC chair John Furlong spoke with a thick anglo accent in the few words he spoke in French.

Réjean TremblayJean-Guy Fugère, Caroline Touzin, Rino Morin Rossignol, even Jean Charest and the Conservative government complained that there wasn’t enough French (though Michel David suggests the government didn’t complain enough).  Jean-François Bégin wonders why Wayne Gretzky was picked over Gaetan Boucher to be the one to light the flame. Patrick Lagacé sighs that we should have expected this insult to Quebec’s position in Canada’s heritage. Touzin says most of the volunteers there don’t speak French (many of the ones who do come from Quebec). Radio-Canada has a whole dossier on the topic.

The Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste expressed condemnation, according to a story that Associated Press decided was worth writing.

The Globe and Mail also editorialized in favour of more French, The Gazette devoted an editorial and two columns to the subject, and Paul Wells also chimed in, proving it’s not just francophones that noticed. (Though the National Post was lukewarm in its endorsement of the outrage, and the Vancouver Sun calls it “tedious regional whining” that is “best ignored for now”.) André Pratte and Guillaume Bourgault-Côté took notice of this.

Hell, even Richard Therrien complained about how commentators in France were pronouncing the city’s name in the anglo way. And Chantal Hébert complains about ignorant comments posted to news stories online (while asking for comment from her own ignorant online commentators).

And Ted Bird makes a funny. So did Andy Riga.

You know it’s gotten bad when even the Angry French Guy comes to the anglos’ defence.

Insufficient, but not insultingly so

My first reaction was to think, as Francis Vachon did, that we should give them a bit of a break because this was in Vancouver, not Quebec City. But I’m not going to defend the organizers – these are Canada’s games, not those of British Columbia, and French should have been more prominent. Hopefully they’ll improve things a bit for the closing ceremonies, if only by including an extra song in Canada’s other official language.

But the reaction from Quebec media – particularly Tremblay’s bitter sarcasm (he suggests it was insulting to Quebecers that First Nations were given such a large role) – is over the top. There was plenty of French at the ceremony (especially when you consider that most of it didn’t involve anyone talking at all), and the fact there wasn’t enough to satisfy some people doesn’t negate the effort made.

To me, the biggest language failure came not from VANOC or the IOC, but from the television media covering the ceremony. None of the Canadian networks provided any translation for those few parts that were only in one language. RDS and V (which basically just took the RDS feed and slapped its logo on it) didn’t translate speeches and narration into French. CTV, TSN and Rogers Sportsnet didn’t return the favour for speeches in French (and when those speeches came up, the closed captioning read the very helpful “[SPEAKING FRENCH]”). This despite the fact that speech text and translation were provided on giant screens at BC Place.

The closest thing to translation was NBC, which summarized the officials’ oath with a “basically what he’s saying here is…”

Meanwhile, during competitions, official on-screen graphics (provided by VANOC) are English-only, which astonishes me not only for the sake of Canadian bilingualism, but for every other country in the world that doesn’t speak English. Having English graphics on RDS and V is insulting, moreso to me than Garou singing off-key of Furlong’s pronunciation of “bienvenue”.

Suddenly, we care

What got to me most about this media overhyping was that suddenly Quebec seems to care about French outside of Quebec. Tremblay lamented the plight of the Acadian people, without mentioning that Quebec and its nationalist zealots are as responsible as the rest of the country for throwing them under the bus.

I’ve been of the view for a long time that the battle for the survival of the French language shouldn’t be fought in Quebec – where it is already dominant – but in the rest of Canada, where it is truly endangered. But Quebec sovereignists don’t care about the rest of Canada because they know Quebec will eventually separate and there will be no reason to protect the language outside its borders.

At least we can hope that this so-called controversy will help people understand that this country has a serious problem with language, and that nobody seems serious about fixing it.

UPDATE: Patrick Lagacé responds to this post, saying that the battle for French outside Quebec has already been lost. Even though he says I’m “dans le champ”, I actually agree with most of what he writes.

*It’s been pointed out that French is an official language of the Olympics and that official announcements are always in French. I know this. I’d like to think the announcements would be in both English and French regardless. But the fact remains that French was there. It’s not like they’re going to give the announcement in French twice (or once in French and once in Québécois joual).

81 thoughts on “French at the Olympics: Unsatisfied below 50%+1

  1. John

    What really struck me was that only one commentator, John Doyle of the Globe & Mail, mentioned how “white” the games opening was. He wrote:

    “As a TV event, the opening ceremonies broadcast was a so-so spectacle. Great individual bits and giant areas of unfocused hokum. Yes, the aboriginal dancers kept dancing on and it was nice to see an attempt at a cross-country tour of Canada from east to west, played out in music and dance, but boy, was it white. By the time the Olympic flag arrived carried by a carefully chosen group of Canadians, an outsider might have formed the impression that there are only two famous, non-white Canadians – Governor-General Michaëlle Jean and singer Measha Brueggergosman.”

    John

    Reply
  2. Jean Naimard

    Whoa, whoa, whoa. First of all, everybody take a valium.

    these are Canada’s games, not those of British Columbia, and French should have been more prominent.

    No. They are neither. It is not the country, nor the state/prefecture/administrative region/eparchy/province who organizes olympic games, but the city. So it would be more appropriate for the games to be chinese/english. Frog has nothing to do there, as the english are so fond of thinking out loud. They tolerate the chinese, because for now, they have money (unlike 87 years ago), and the chinese, being good people*, speak white as soon as they can.

    Hell, even Richard Therrien complained about how commentators in France were pronouncing the city’s name in the anglo way.

    French-from-France commentators always say anything “in the anglo way”. For some stupid reason, they find it cool. Interestingly, they do not find it cool to pronounce things the german way. I wonder why…

    But the reaction from Quebec media – particularly Tremblay’s bitter sarcasm (he suggests it was insulting to Quebecers that First Nations were given such a large role) – is over the top. There was plenty of French at the ceremony (especially when you consider that most of it didn’t involve anyone talking at all), and the fact there wasn’t enough to satisfy some people doesn’t negate the effort made.

    Of course, because ‘the numbers do not justify it”. I still wonder why we still have english schools here and why are we sinking 50% of the university hospitals budget in an english hospital.

    Tremblay lamented the plight of the Acadian people, without mentioning that Quebec and its nationalist zealots are as responsible as the rest of the country for throwing them under the bus.

    You conveniently forget to mention that the french outside of Québec are great masters at throwing us daggers in the back; it is mostly their support to the grits that has yielded the constant confrontational policy of the grits towards Québec nationalism for the last 40ish years or so.
    And this is deliberately maintained by the english, because they know very well that once Québec separates, it will give equal treatment to the english as the french are treated in Canada, and Canada certainly does not want to treat it’s french as well as the english are treated here. So the english do their usual backhanded way and manipulate the french against us.
     
    * Yeah, I love the chinese. There is nothing nicer than listening to the sound of two chinese talking to each other in the bus, or watching a chinese movie with subtitles. And the cuisine definitely kicks the french one. And them being good people, they also learn french here (it’s just too bad that the youngest ones don’t have the beautiful accent, though). And lastly, the writing is absolutely beautiful.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      It is not the country, nor the state/prefecture/administrative region/eparchy/province who organizes olympic games, but the city.

      That may be how the IOC awards the Games (even though much of it takes place outside Vancouver), but the ceremony played itself up as Canada first and foremost. There were tributes to the regions, and a poem about the country. You can’t have it both ways.

      Reply
      1. Shawn

        For sure. The Canadian Olympic committee selects one city as the country’s candidate, and I believe that’s the same in every nation. These Games are heavily subsidized at the federal level and cannot be said to be a purely municipal event.

        Reply
        1. Jean Naimard

          These Games are heavily subsidized at the federal level

          Bwahahahaha! This sure was not the case back in 1976…
          Oh, wait! After 1976, all the olympics in Canada were in english Canada, hence the heavy subsidization, despite the heavy corporatism.
          The canadian double standard hard at work again!!!

          Reply
          1. Fassero

            I don’t recall that to be exactly true. For one thing, the “heavy corporatism” of the Olympics did not really come about until the Los Angeles games in ’84. From ’76, I seem to recall Jean Drapeau advocating that he could make the Montreal games self-financing but, even to do that, he needed federal assistance because he wanted to nationally sell Olympic coins and stamp as well as launch the “Olympic lottery”. It was really the stubborness of Drapeau, and the Quebec government that was determined not to go to Trudeau when it was clear that structural completions were running way behind schedule and needed large cash infusions, that kept the Feds out.

            Reply
  3. wkh

    *nods approvingly at Steve*

    My thought is they care less not because they think they will separate, but caring about French outside Quebec would lead to a strong argument for “quid pro quo bitches, how about some Anglo love within Quebec?” And I can kind of see that because the argument “if you want to live and work and play in English, this is what Ottawa is for” can easily be turned into “if you want to live and work and play in French, this is what Quebec is for.” I could get into a large convoluted commentary on why this is not exactly the same, but to the Angryphones like the armchair commenters on the Gazette website who can’t be bothered to move their asses 45 minutes ouest (hahaha I did that on accident, so I’ll leave it) if they hate it so much here in Montreal where living a totally anglocentric life is not only possible but extremely easy, it’s precisely the same.

    Reply
  4. Tux

    In the immortal words of Zapp Brannigan:

    “I’ve never heard of such a brutal and shocking injustice that I cared so little about!”

    Quebec really needs to get over itself. Michel Rabagliati by simply drawing comics has done more for cross-cultural understanding AND for the preservation of Francophone culture than forced French language signage or speech ever has. Quebec is interesting, Quebec is charming, Quebec is cool, but to say that it is so unique and so special a culture that we must protect it from the influence of other cultures (Hello, xenophobia) and also make sure it is disproportionately represented at an event where it is but one of many participants is just silly.

    I’m 28, grew up in this city, and I’m bilingual. None of the people my age I know, Franco or Anglo, give half a damn about this stuff. We’re just waiting for the old farts to get a clue.

    Reply
    1. Jean Naimard

      Quebec really needs to get over itself. Michel Rabagliati by simply drawing comics has done more for cross-cultural understanding AND for the preservation of Francophone culture than forced French language signage or speech ever has. Quebec is interesting, Quebec is charming, Quebec is cool, but to say that it is so unique and so special a culture that we must protect it from the influence of other cultures (Hello, xenophobia)

      Hey look! Here is another one who grew-up in the Waste Island ghetto! Lemme guess, John Rennie High? And now that you can’t afford to live in Beauconsfield, you moved to Rosemont or Villeray (I could be mean and say Rivière-des-Prairies but I won’t).
      You are parrotting hook, line and sinker the typical disinformation about Québec that is ladled daily by canadian media.
      Us xenophobic? Oxdung! Oh, we sure don’t like those who come here and totally ignore the fact that we are french; but, hey! That’s what they do in Canada to those who ignore the fact that they’re english! If it’s okay for the english, it has to be okay for the french, no? We don’t hear you straining to denounce english-canadian xenophobia, eh?
      You’re just another politically-correct liberal-era pipsqueak that in reality keeps doing the mighty british empire work by insuring that only the english is promoted in Canada.

      and also make sure it is disproportionately represented at an event where it is but one of many participants is just silly.

      You totally fail to understand that we are a totally separate nation. We have nothing in common except bodily functions.

      I’m 28, grew up in this city, and I’m bilingual. None of the people my age I know, Franco or Anglo, give half a damn about this stuff. We’re just waiting for the old farts to get a clue.

      You may be bilingual, but that’s just a thin veeneer of respectability, because deep down, you are thoroughly english and thus you despise the french. Your post reeks of that.

      Reply
      1. Tux

        I didn’t grow up in the West Island, I grew up in NDG. Not that it makes a difference. *eyeroll*

        I’m not parroting anything, these are my views, arrived at after experience and reflection. Do you honestly think francophones and anglophones have nothing in common? I feel sorry for you, you will never experience the real Quebec. Quebec culture is not uniquely francophone or anglophone but a strange (and yes, unique, like ANY culture is unique) mix of the two. In my experience, the best parts are when the two cultures combine and collaborate.

        Which is why I think elevating either Quebec’s anglo or franco culture above the other is a mistake. One can’t exist without the other. Which is why French-language purism in the name of preserving culture doesn’t make any sense. In fact it actively limits free self-expression in both French and English.

        Listen, I think you should be able to be served in French or English here, and I think signs should be in French or bilingual (I don’t buy that font sizes preserve culture), I respect our history and where we come from but viewing Quebec as fundamentally separate from Canada, or saying that one culture or language deserves preservation more than another is just… stupid. It’s old thinking. Try thinking a little bigger. We aren’t just Quebecers or Canadians or Montrealers or even North Americans we are all these things. We are citizens of the world. In the information age, borders, culture, and language are just so much metadata. Attributes of a person but not defining characteristics. Maybe instead of a Quebecer you could be an artist. A lover. A fighter. But whatever you might choose to be, you are fundamentally the same as everyone else on Earth. Hatred persists because so many people have trouble accepting this simple fact. We are all the same. Embrace all cultures, they all have something to offer, and the great thing is that you can pick and choose which parts you keep for yourself.

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        1. Jean Naimard

          I didn’t grow up in the West Island, I grew up in NDG. Not that it makes a difference. *eyeroll*

          It still is the ghetto.

          I’m not parroting anything, these are my views, arrived at after experience and reflection.

          Funny that your “experience” and “reflection” has brought up typical rhodesian views. Just like many more in the ghetto.

          Do you honestly think francophones and anglophones have nothing in common? I feel sorry for you, you will never experience the real Quebec. Quebec culture is not uniquely francophone or anglophone but a strange (and yes, unique, like ANY culture is unique) mix of the two.

          Maybe in NDG.

          In my experience, the best parts are when the two cultures combine and collaborate.

          As long as it is done speaking white, eh?

          Which is why I think elevating either Quebec’s anglo or franco culture above the other is a mistake.

          You really show that you are an english. English are culturally unable to understand other cultures, and you are plainly showing that you absoluely **FAIL** to understand that it’s not a matter of a given culture being “above” another, it’s that one culture is constantly threatened by another, and that we have to take extreme steps to protect it.
          The free market has made english the dominant culture, so in order to protect the dominated culture, french, we have to resort to unfree-market methods.
          It is sad but that’s the way it is, and it won’t change, no matter how many poutines you east next week.

          One can’t exist without the other.

          Sure they can. French has thrived without english, and english is sure trying hard to make french disappear.

          Which is why French-language purism in the name of preserving culture doesn’t make any sense. In fact it actively limits free self-expression in both French and English.

          You just fell in the galganov trap.
          It’s not a matter of human rights. No one’s human rights have been denied under law 101. You are free to say whatever you do in the language you want, and I double-dog dare you to prove the opposite (hint: you won’t be able to. Even supreme court justices haven’t been able to, so I don’t think you’ll be able to).

          Listen, I think you should be able to be served in French or English here, and I think signs should be in French or bilingual

          No.
          If you can be served in english, immigrants won’t learn french.
          Again, you fell in the galganov trap, in addition of proving that you see the immigrants as nothing but tools to minorize the french.

          (I don’t buy that font sizes preserve culture),

          Of course you don’t buy it! You’re an english, and you are culurally incapable of doing so! It’s like asking a snail to do saumersaults.

          I respect our history and where we come from but viewing Quebec as fundamentally separate from Canada, or saying that one culture or language deserves preservation more than another is just… stupid.

          Galganov trap again. Why am I wasting time arguing with a wall here?

          It’s old thinking. Try thinking a little bigger. We aren’t just Quebecers or Canadians or Montrealers or even North Americans we are all these things. We are citizens of the world.

          The problem with the global village is that there are so many village idiots.
          Oh, marxists also think that there should be no nations. Marxism is doing real fine nowadays, if you haven’t noticed…

          In the information age, borders, culture, and language are just so much metadata. Attributes of a person but not defining characteristics.

          You are just trying to find excuses to not learn french.

          Maybe instead of a Quebecer you could be an artist. A lover. A fighter. But whatever you might choose to be, you are fundamentally the same as everyone else on Earth.

          Yeah, I eat, shit and piss. Just like my girlfriend’s cat. Your point is?

          Hatred persists because so many people have trouble accepting this simple fact.

          Hatred persists because some people take advantage of others, and hope that memories will fail in order to escape justice.

          We are all the same. Embrace all cultures, they all have something to offer, and the great thing is that you can pick and choose which parts you keep for yourself.

          As long as it’s done in english.

          Reply
  5. Marv

    This whole thing is rather silly and out of hand. The same people that complain about the lack of French at the Vancouver games are the same people the seem to go out of their way to surpress English in Quebec, and spread fear that new immigrants are not conforming to the “Quebec Society”. And then to complain that there was too much Native American representation in comparison to French, also shows a lack of respect for Native Americans or anybody else in this country. And, I don’t think the average Quebecers agree with this. I think there are some self rightious zealots in the Quebec media trying to stur up hate. And, I think they need to be called on for doing so. Clean up you own act before you complain about somebody elses.

    Reply
    1. Jean Naimard

      This whole thing is rather silly and out of hand. The same people that complain about the lack of French at the Vancouver games are the same people the seem to go out of their way to surpress English in Quebec, and spread fear that new immigrants are not conforming to the "Quebec Society".

      Another proof that the english only see the immigrants as tools to minorize the french.
      I’m not inventing this, it’s Marv himself who said it!

      I think there are some self rightious zealots in the Quebec media trying to stur up hate.

      The hate mostly come from the english who cannot accept that the french would want to stay french. We have endured a quarter millenium of veiled genocide, and you have the balls to say that it is us who hate?
      If we hated the english half as much as you imply, limeys would have been kicked back into the sea by 1765.

      And, I think they need to be called on for doing so. Clean up you own act before you complain about somebody elses.

      Canada has far more cleaning up to do.

      Reply
      1. Kevin

        The hate mostly come from the english who cannot accept that the french would want to stay french. We have endured a quarter millenium of veiled genocide, and you have the balls to say that it is us who hate?

        Oh give it up. When you have priests complaining that services at St. Joseph’s Oratory have too much english, when you have the managers at the Journal de Montreal staging stories about supposedly unilingual employees supposedly not getting hired in parts of the island, when you have the frigging SSJB marching with nooses to commemorate the 137th anniversary of people being executed, you cannot pretend that French-quebecers don’t have a core of hatred.

        Modern Canada has no wish to assimilate french Quebec, or francophones outside of Quebec.

        It may not have always been the case, but it’s definitely the case now.

        Live and let live.

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  6. Alain Simard

    When most commentator and news anchors havent any respect in just pronouncing “Alexandre Bilodeau” instead of “ALexander Bilodeau” you have the full measure of what’s really happening here, and why we consider this as a lack of french around this canadian event!

    Alain Simard

    Reply
    1. Simon

      and I would add that even when they told his name (just before the anthem). it was pronounced ALexandER Beelowdough.

      What a shame. I would have refused teh dawn medal…

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  7. Ray Adams

    So you think French-speakers are complaining for nothing, do you? OK, so here’s a little food for thought.

    If you take away that one song, tagged on at the last minute – because, as usual when English-speakers run the show, they realize at the last second that, hey, we don’t have anything in French for Quebec, the proof of this being that it is not on the official album of the Vancouver opening ceremonies – there was as much French in the opening ceremonies as there was in Beijing. Or Athens. Or Salt Lake City. Or Sydney. You know, all those places where French IS NOT the other official language!

    FYI, French is always the first language spoken at Olympic events because of one tiny little historical fact. It just so happens that it was a Frenchman who revived the Games in 1896. Perhaps the name Pierre de Coubertin rings a bell? And as a result of this, French and English are both official languages of the International Olympic Committee. Bet you did not know that!

    So why would we French-speaking Quebecers kvetch at being made second-class citizens of this so-called officially-bilingual country? Did it occur to you that the only time Quebec was evoked at all during the show part of the ceremony was as a DEVIL? Heck, we thought you LOVED us back in 1995!

    Here is another juicy bit of information for you to meditate on. The show part of the Montreal Games was bilingual throughout. The Calgary Games had a whole lot more cultural French elements in their opening ceremonies than Vancouver just had, and – dig this – the 2001 Jeux de la Francophonie in Ottawa were more bilingual than the Vancouver ceremonies.

    And you think we’re making a big fuss about nothing?

    Hell, why doesn’t Canada just say it wants us out instead of pretending it cares the least bit about Quebec since 1995?

    Oh, by the way, is English Canada so culturally devoid that VANOC had to get an Australian director for the opening ceremony?

    Reply
    1. Fassero

      Well, if you really must ask – there really isn’t a good English Canadian director. I don’t think a David Cronenberg bloodfest would fly. Nobody deserves the punishment that Atom E-boring-yan would inflict. Most of the best quality Canadian films – let’s face it – come from Quebec. So you’d need either a Quebec director or, for best, something out of Cirque du Soleil and/or Robert Lepage. They’ll get their chance soon enough.

      And so they picked an Australian. Big deal. Don’t they always say Australia is Canada transplanted in the southern hemisphere? :)

      Reply
    2. Jean Naimard

      Why did world-famous billionaire space-clown Guy Laliberté walk-out of the meeting with VANOC 20 minutes after it started?

      Did he feel that he should not waste his time with those people?

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      1. Fagstein Post author

        Why did world-famous billionaire space-clown Guy Laliberté walk-out of the meeting with VANOC 20 minutes after it started?

        Since we don’t know what was discussed at this meeting, what was offered, why it was called, why Laliberté walked out or anything else about this meeting, let’s just make shit up to fit whatever narrative we’ve decided to play out.

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  8. Goaltender Interference

    Unfortunately, this country hasn’t reached a level of maturity and self-confidence about its language questions to speak about it rationally. The same people who respond to all language questions with, “Au Québec on parle français” are those who, when they use more English than French in Vancouver, complain that “this is supposed to be a bilingual country”. Of course, I’ve heard much crazier stuff from supposedly educated Canadians outside Quebec who complain about the “costs” of bilingualism and/or having Quebec in the federation, without caring the slightest about actual facts.

    But none of this really affects our daily lives or the functioning of the country, as long as we don’t make more of a fuss about it than is warranted. I’m glad that most people no longer care about the sign laws that was pretty much the entirety of anglo-Quebecer political discussion in the 1980s and 90s. Hopefully, we can also start being a bit more chilled about how much French Saku Koivu speaks (pretty irrelevant now, I hope everyone realizes) and put away our stopwatches in figuring out how much French was in a fluffy entertainment show like the Olympic Opening Ceremonies.

    Reply
    1. Jean Naimard

      Hopefully, we can also start being a bit more chilled about how much French Saku Koivu speaks (pretty irrelevant now, I hope everyone realizes)

      Just as relevant as how much english Laraque spoke, I guess???
      (I can’t believe I’m making a smartarss hokey comment on a political thread)

      Reply
  9. Jean-Simon Deslauriers

    I’d like to add a precision here about the french language as part of the official messages. It’s actually a tradition in EVERY single olympic event to present them both in french and english, as they are the two official language of the olympics. If the country hosting the games have a different language, then a third one is added. I beleive that french is also always used before english, as a form of comemoration to the french guy who I cant remember the name who brought up the first modern olympic games. I’d have to check my facts on that tho. This, in no way, ruins the whole reasoning here, but it does correct a fact ;).

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  10. Fred Gignac

    Bah, laisses les pleurer. Quand les JO seront à Québec, c’est clair que ça ne sera pas plus bilingue, ça va être français-only. Et les journalistes de La Presse trouveront bien le moyen de chialer qu’il n’y a pas assez d’artistes de Montréal pour la cérémonie d’ouverture de Québec.

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    1. Gino Trifiro

      “c’est clair que ça ne sera pas plus bilingue, ça va être français-only”

      You know why it won’t be that way? Because whichever event is organized in Quebec, if it has a national impact, it’s always fully, completely bilingual. Just like all the information for the 400 years celebration of Quebec city were ALWAYS available in both languages. Just like new conference held by Charest are always bilingual. Just like any federal Minister coming from Quebec is ALWAYS bilingual.

      Spit on it as much as you want. Facts are facts and you can’t change that.

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        1. Omi-san

          In theory, you can’t work for the Quebec government if you don’t speak French. It’s also the official language of the province.

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          1. Josh

            Can you work for the government of Ontario if you don’t speak English?

            I think the argument that they put this site up in French at least helps to make francophones feel more welcome in the Ontario public service, something that Quebec doesn’t much care about for anglos.

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      1. Fred Gignac

        Then, I’ll be more than happy if it’s bilingual. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t spit on the fact it’s bilingual or not, I spit on nationalists that are always making fuss with things like this.

        I’m from Quebec City btw.

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        1. Jean Naimard

          Then, I’ll be more than happy if it’s bilingual. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t spit on the fact it’s bilingual or not, I spit on nationalists that are always making fuss with things like this.
          I’m from Quebec City btw.

          Which figures. Québec city is the bastion of carpet french who crawl in awe in front of the english. It is also the bastion of trash radio, too. And it was where the fascists had the greatest hold before WW-II.
          Québec city is the laughingstock of Québec.
          — signed a snug montrealer (vive le 514!!!)

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          1. Vincent

            I agree with you on the place of French at the ceremony, but your comment on Quebec city is as close-minded and as prejudiced as anything I’ve read on english blogs about this controversy.
            Disqualifying someone’s opinion because he comes from someplace is pretty bigoted to me.

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    2. Simon

      quelle honte ton commentaire…

      avec un raisonnement de même, j’espère que tu n’es pas en charge de rien d’important dans la vie.

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        1. Vincent

          Moi, je viens de Québec et ton commentaire reste tout aussi colon.

          Celui de Jean Naimard aussi est colon. Rempli de préjugés envers une collectivité de 600 000 (ville de Québec). Pas très différents de tout les bigôts qui crachent sur le Québec et les autres Canadiens français sur les blogues anglophones en ce moment.

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          1. Jean Naimard

            On a l’épiderme sensible à Vanier, hein? Qu’est-ce qu’André Arthur disait de bon à la radio aujourd’hui???

            Reply
  11. Fassero

    All overblown if you ask me. Forgotten by everybody is that French translation was actually provided inside the stadium on the large screen because the IOC requires all Olympiads to provide English and French announcing at event venues. In addition, all the complaining was rising the same day BC Place was having “Quebec Day” surrounding the medal handouts (which included, suitably enough, Alexandre Bilodeau’s gold) as part of it’s tribute to each of the provinces each day during the Games.

    Quebec City and/or the Mont Tremblant area will end up with a Games some time in the next 20 years and at that time they can do 80 percent or more of their stuff in French.

    Actually, if I thought a part of Canada was shut out, I’d say it was Southern Ontario (where 30 percent of the country lives) hands down. Maybe we could say the Toronto area is devoid of culture but I doubt anybody in that area could associate with anything going on in the ceremony.

    Besides, if the VANOC head spoke more French, tell me he wouldn’t have been ridiculed by the French media for his pronunciation.

    Reply
  12. Josh

    (which basically just took the RDS feed and slapped its logo on it)

    You say that with a sneer, as though V should have had it’s own production, but that’s just the way these things work. It’s not as if CTV, Sportsnet and TSN all had different productions. On all of them, it was the same camera angles, the same Lloyd and Brian.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Not its own production, but it could have, say, sent its own analysts and reporters. Oh wait, it doesn’t have any.

      We knew this would happen a while ago, but I find it funny that the French production involves a conventional TV network relying on a specialty channel’s resources, while in English it’s the other way around.

      Reply
  13. mephistau

    Sorry for my English but…

    C’est plate de même, mais les Anglos-québécois sont Québécois.
    Et je trouve ça vraiment rafraîchissant que M. Faguy soit désolé que le Français n’ait pas été plus présent dans une cérémonie officielle.
    À la face du monde?

    Je veux dire, c’est moi ou bien si la Belgique tient des cérémonies en français seulement…
    Ah oui!
    Deux-trois « tunes ».

    Mais ce n’est pas de ça que je voulais parler.
    C’est de: 
    « I’ve been of the view for a long time that the battle for the survival of the French language shouldn’t be fought in Quebec – where it is already dominant – but in the rest of Canada, where it is truly endangered. But Quebec sovereignists don’t care about the rest of Canada because they know Quebec will eventually separate and there will be no reason to protect the language outside its borders. »

    C’est de ça que je voulais parler.
    Bien sûr il y a la langue. Entre autre.

    Mais il y a aussi la culture.
    Et notre monsieur Fagstein sait qu’il est de culture Québécoise. Ou Quebecker.
    Parce qu’il a argumenté avec des amis de Toronto et de Calgary, et qu’après il se soit dit: d*mn, je suis un Quebecker!

    Comment pourrais-je dire?
    Les Canadiens sont de très bons voisins?
    Mais ils ne sont pas de ma famille.

    Par contre, les Anglos-québécois de la province sont de ma famille.
    Eux et ceux qui viennent:
    de l’Irlande, de l’Angleterre, de l’Écosse, de l’Allemagne, de l’Italie, de la Grèce, de la Russie, de l’Ukraine, de la Bulgarie, de la Hongrie, de Haïti, du Maroc, de l’Algérie, de l’Égypte, de l’Arménie, du Vietnam, de la Chine, du Salvador, de la Colombie, de partout ailleurs…

    Fagstein.
    Vous êtes un Québécois.
    Ça ne fait pas de vous un séparatiste, ne vous en faites pas.
    Une vraie fédération vous serait satisfaisante.

    L’Alberta? L’Ontario?
    ;)
    Moi aussi

    mephistau

    p.s. Sorry for my English.
    I cannot be that bad in my second language.

    Reply
  14. Gino Trifiro

    Problem is, these are not the Vancouver games. They are the Olympic games hosted by Canada whose national Olympic Committee chose Vancouver as the city in which the games would be presented.

    Now, I did not chose for Canada to be bilingual. And neither did you. But it’s in the country’s Constitution: Canada has 2 official languages. Not one more than the other.

    So, by doing everything in English (even translating into English a poem (Hymn to the North) written originally in French by François Xavier Garneau without saying one single f***ing word in French), VANOC clearly went against the country’s Constitution.

    Now, if Québec ever gets the Games, I wonder what would be the reaction if not one single English phrase were to be spoken beside having Rita MacNeil representing the Anglos…

    Bunch of whiners, of course….

    Reply
  15. Steph B.

    It’s clear that TROC (and anglophones in Quebec too) don’t give a …. about French.

    What bothers me is the constant hypocrisy of those who always come around and apologize.

    The organizing committee had YEARS to prepare. They shouldn’t be apologizing, and people like you shouldn’t be apologizing (by saying things “Hopefully they’ll improve things a bit for the closing ceremonies”). They (and you) should have the decency to say “we don’t give a …. about French. Get lost”. At least, this way, you wouldn’t be hypocrites. I find it rather insulting (*) that this be treated like an honest mistake or some sort of oversight. It’s not.

    It’s more like: let’s do as we want (ditch French), apologize when some folks complain, and move on to the next thing. It’s that way EVERY TIME.

    (*) I don’t really get insulted by this anymore. Heck, I didn’t even watch the ceremony… I knew what was going to happen… ’cause it’s the same everytime.

    PS. Your blog entry should be billingual, given the topic.

    Reply
    1. Fassero

      Why? Thanks to Google Translate, anyone can turn what he says into just about any “lingualism” they please…. :)

      Reply
  16. Francois

    Hi,

    It’s funny how media frenzies don’t normally represent any kind of social unrest. My friends, family and I (not a representative group either) suffer from mild Olympic apathy. We mainly discuss about who’s bringing the food, if Harper and other conservatives really believe the stupidities they are saying, what game to play and sometimes, the lack of snow downtown Vancouver.
    You wrote:
    “…suddenly Quebec seems to care about French outside of Quebec.”
    Strangely, comments similar to this one pop up in newspapers every 6 months (approximately) since my childhood: Bernard Lord election, Montford hospital, after every canadian survey and recently (December 2009) the unilingual tourism Quebec flyers.
    Medias never talk about Gaspesie’s francophone community, but we know they exist. When Medias don’t talk about French outside Quebec, does it mean they cease to exist (linguistic assimilation rates even worst then what they currently are).
    In Quebec’s faunae, Medias are blind borderline badgers high on crack. They tend to be irrational, hard to follow, not representative of global ideas but they are quite entertaining.

    Reply
  17. Louis Pigeon-Caron

    @Deslauriers

    You were speaking of Pierre de Coubertin.

    But, to be on the debate, the fact is that Quebecers complains about the fact that this is supposed to be a bilingual country. I’m pretty sure most of our concerns are about the fact that if an anglo comes to Québec, even in a rural-99% franco city, like Rimouski, he’ll be able to be served in English, for instance, where most of us francos wouldn’t even dare to think we could get served in french past Rideau Canal.

    Reply
    1. Jimmy Jack

      Not true, you aren’t looking hard enough. In any given larger busy restaurant, pub, store etc. almost anywhere in Canada, some staff member will speak French and be happy to help you. This show is kind of hokey, but the host never seems to have much problem finding French speakers any where he goes in North America.
      http://www.evasion.tv/emissions/viree_en_vr

      Reply
  18. Marc

    I’ve been of the view for a long time that the battle for the survival of the French language shouldn’t be fought in Quebec – where it is already dominant – but in the rest of Canada, where it is truly endangered.

    And how do you plan on accomplishing that? With lots of social engineering? How about having to take and pass a Frech course in order to renew your medicare card?

    help people understand that this country has a serious problem with language, and that nobody seems serious about fixing it.

    It’s only a problem to those who want to make it out to be one.

    Reply
  19. Liz

    I totally agree that French language should’ve been more present in Vancouver. We are in a bilingual country right?

    However, I’m willing to bet that, had the Olympics been in Quebec City, they would’ve given just as little importance to English, because in the province of Québec, the official language is french and that’s what the law states.

    It’s funny how the rest of Canada should be soooo bilingual when in our own province, people fight against bilingualism.

    French shouldn`t feel threatened by English in Québec. They should feel threatened by Chinese and Arabic languages where we can barely get a French or English service in stores operated by them.

    Again, how hypocrit, shouldn’t they follow bill 101 when it comes to “affichage”? I don`t see Office de la Langue Française going to Samy Fruits and ask them to label the fruit in french and not arabic. But God forbid if a store writes in both French and English in the same font size…

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      I’d be willing to bet that an Olympics in Quebec City would be more bilingual than one in Vancouver.

      And I shop at Sami Fruits, and can’t remember labels in Arabic.

      Reply
    2. Omi-san

      It’s funny how the rest of Canada should be soooo bilingual when in our own province, people fight against bilingualism.

      Again, how hypocrit, shouldn’t they follow bill 101 when it comes to “affichage”? I don`t see Office de la Langue Française going to Samy Fruits and ask them to label the fruit in french and not arabic. But God forbid if a store writes in both French and English in the same font size…

      Nobody fights against bilingualism in Québec. Hell, nearly all the sovereignists leaders from the Bloc or Parti Québecois have insisted in the importance of learning english. Quebec also has by far the biggets concentration of bilingual people in Canada.

      As for the Bill 101 and affichage, I don’t know where you have been during the last couple of years, but the Office québécois de la langue française has gone really, really soft since the 1995 referendum. They are understaffed, slow and pretty much only answer to direct complaints from citizens. They never take action on their own. If there has ever been a “language police” before, now we have shy, unarmed “language mall security”.

      Reply
      1. Josh

        That a government department hasn’t been enforcing things as harshly for the past decade or so is not an argument for its existence. Fact remains, there are no language police elsewhere in the country, and if you want to open a “magasin generale” in some other province, no one is going to try and stop you and even if someone did, the government would not be on their side.

        It’s a black mark against the province whether it exists in name only, or fully-funded.

        Reply
  20. Greek Guy

    Oh by the way, who said that the Olympics can be used by the IOC to promote the French language, or even use French as an official language of the Olympics. Some people may think that you can just walk into anybodies country and claim other peoples culture as theirs. Well, think again. Greek should be the official language of the Olympics, and English as the current lingua franca working language for communications between nations. Other people have cultures as well. You do not claim something that is not yours as yours.

    Reply
    1. Jean Naimard

      Oh by the way, who said that the Olympics can be used by the IOC to promote the French language, or even use French as an official language of the Olympics. Some people may think that you can just walk into anybodies country and claim other peoples culture as theirs. Well, think again. Greek should be the official language of the Olympics, and English as the current lingua franca working language for communications between nations. Other people have cultures as well. You do not claim something that is not yours as yours.

      Reply
    2. Jean Naimard

      Oh by the way, who said that the Olympics can be used by the IOC to promote the French language, or even use French as an official language of the Olympics. Some people may think that you can just walk into anybodies country and claim other peoples culture as theirs. Well, think again. Greek should be the official language of the Olympics, and English as the current lingua franca working language for communications between nations. Other people have cultures as well. You do not claim something that is not yours as yours.

      Heaven forbid that, back in 1896, the greek would have revived the ancient Olympic games!
      Helll no! The orthodox clergy would have been dead-set against a pagan celebration (and there is a greek law against pagan celebrations) where scantily-clad men pranced about in the stadium!
      It was a frenchman from secular France who revived the Olympic games, so it is only fitting that french shall be their official language and not greek, because the greek did nothing to revive those ancient games.

      Reply
      1. Greek Guy

        Oh really. and you’re an expert on Greek history. You are promoting cultural rape, and have no freaking idea what you’re even talking about. After the fall of the Roman Empire (Byzantium period) in 1451, the Hellenic peoples, as well as all a few other groups, where thrown into slavery for over 400 years. No thanks to the back stabbing of some Western European states. Only a handful of European allies stood by the capital Constantinople in it’s final days. A fall so great that it forced two of it’s allies to attempt the 1492 voyage across the Atlantic. By the end of the 1800’s Greece was still trying to get back up on it’s feet. So, don’t tell me about reviving the modern games. You do not walk into another country and steal there culture, and claim it for your own. GOT IT.

        And as for the Greek Orthodox Church, let’s get something straight. I was baptised in that Church, and that Church has been more opened minded than you think. In fact, your point of you of it is based on your ignorance, and xenophobia about anything that is not up your nose.

        Reply
        1. Jean Naimard

          You can toot your horn all you want (against the french, in the name of making sure that greek immigrants should not be forced to learn french), the fact remain that it’s not the greeks who revived the olympic games, but the french.

          Hence the absence of greek language in the modern olympiads.

          Reply
  21. Kevin

    Le sigh.

    First off, it’s the gorram opening ceremonies okay? One of the MOST BORING SPECTACLES EVER!
    Second, no matter what a bunch of yahoos think THESE ARE THE VANCOUVER GAMES.
    Vancouver, where nobody, NOBODY speaks or understands french unless they came from Quebec.

    So stop thinking it’s a deliberate insult or attack against Quebec.

    It’s just neglect. Neglect from John Furlong, Jack Poole, and the rest of the real estate agents and construction barons who make up VANOC. They’re a bunch of a&^holes who conned the F89k out of Vancouver and BC to get the games so they could line their own pockets.

    I lived in Vancouver for 7 years. I met John Furlong and Jack Poole, and I can think of nothing they deserve better than to have their legacy be shit upon by the entire world.

    But don’t chalk up the lack of French to be something they calculated. They are not that smart.

    Reply
  22. Jay

    @Louis

    “even in a rural-99% franco city, like Rimouski, he’ll be able to be served in English”

    I think you must be joking, I live in the 450 and let me tell you, I don’t even dare to speak English when dealing in public places(must be the only place where english people address each other in French..lol). Although I will agree with you that Francos have a much harder time outside Quebec than vice-versa. Etienne did put it best quoting from le devoir “À force de se voir présenter l’autre joue après chaque affront, pourquoi le Canada anglais ferait-il le moindre effort pour plaire au Québec?” i think the sad part is the confused reaction from VANOC officials when confronted by the media (ok, mostly La Presse, how ironic?) backlash. They really think they tried their best to include French in the opening ceremonies. So, in retrospect, how much is enough French in these games? 25%?. 50%?, what will make nationalists happy, (although I’m sure they must rejoicing over this). It’s Vancouver for god’s sake, If these games were held in Ottawa or T.O, things would be different i’m sure concerning the language issue. My 2 cents.

    Reply
  23. Mathieu

    Quebec’s elites play offended that Quebec culture had a smaller part in the show compared to the Natives. I can’t help but wonder why people still believe this is a bilingual country we live in. I don’t care about Vancouver. I don’t care they don’t speak French. And they didn’t care so much about maintaining the illusion that they cared either. The only reason games in Quebec City would be more bilingual is because we’re a linguistic minority. And they’d make a better opening show for sure. And there’d be snow. …Oh wait ! Wasn’t Quebec City competing against Vancouver for these games ?

    Reply
  24. Neumontréal

    My Angryphone cousins seem to forget that Canada’s official bilingualism is the prize — or carrot — with which Canadian federalists seek to gain the loyalty of soft-nationalist francophone Québécois who care about the future of the French language and culture in North America (to you closet anglo supremacists, yes they do have a culture) but who think it’s worth a go to try to work out their problems within the Federation. (This was kind of disproven after Meech Lake, but that’s a story everyone seems to like to forget.)

    The stick is the Supreme Court striking down Québec’s hard-won protections of the French Language that have become a consensus among the political classes in Québec. With the carrot, Canadian nationalists hope to get the Québécois to accept the stick.

    Canadian nationalists who complain about “French being rammed down their throats” and “who cares about French it’s Vancouver” do so at their peril — and in mysterious concord with Québécois nationalists — because this hostile attitude and the increasing laxity towards official bilingualism is only helping fuel the feelings among soft-nationalists that it’s better off that Québec become independent.

    Whoops, I mean — whO cAres iTs VanCouVer fRenCH suX iTs OvEr aLReADy. Carry on, chums!

    Reply
  25. John M

    What a non-issue, but of course the welfare state of Quebec needs something to take the masses minds off the fact that we are sinking further and further into debt because of ineffective governments.

    They got more french than I get in Quebec for the services I pay shitloads of taxes towards.

    Reply
  26. tooAshamedAboutSophiststoSay

    “… and English as the current lingua franca/ working language for communications between nations.”

    (“lingua franca” should have been italicised, by the way, as that is Latin… and is quite DEAD as a language. Also, lingua franca means “the only proper/ language,” so wash that tongue with soap. Do you want to get me started on why this perspective is convoluted? Assimilation is the keyword. GOOGLE the term (“define assimilation”) [as if “to google” was even a verb in the first place]). And, by the way, formatting is also expressed as a language… rofl.

    Well, actually, way — way — more people natively speak Chinese than English (yeah, yeah, they’re numbered in billions as opposed to mere millions). So, based on your premise, duh. Greek and Chinese for all Olympic gatherings, so be it.

    We’ll then all be stupid people who STILL can’t see that the universe goes way beyond our individual belly buttons. Nevertheless, we’ll all see red when we hear the word “language,” which means that we won’t understand that language IS culture AND culture RESTS on language, and that those relationships are so closely interwoven that they shouldn’t ever be questioned.

    Then THEY’ll (for those of you who can’t analyse a series of sentences, the THEY stands for the Greek and Chinese) tell all of us, both languages confounded, that we’re a minority so we should just shut up and STOP TRYING TO LEAVE A HERITAGE to our children. Then we’ll all be stuck. Not just those minority second-language-speaking F(*EW&(*&W….

    I’d call that perspective idiotic, but I prefer to be polite, so I’ll let you all make up your own mind (yeah, you each have only one, so that’s singular).

    When context-and-culturally-insensitive machines translate everything from Chinese for you, due to your lack of foresight, you’ll (yes, I realise it is supposed to be “you will,” but then I stoop to your own level, just to make (not “be”) sure you understand me – that is called “levelling down,” [notice the two Ls from my half-British inheritance] or vulgarizing) realise why it was so important to preserve a culture (as “small” and as “beneathing” as you might think it is), as opposed to making this a plain, dumb, syntactic and rhetorical issue to be discussed and constructively improved upon.

    I am disgusted. Language is a source of identity, enlightenment, enrichment, thought — and culture, again (oh, I forgot: culture, and knowledge of a lot of variations thereof is a GOOD thing = it makes you a clearer thinker [math equation to emphasize point, but then math is also a poorly understood language]). But that’s been lost somewhere in our assimilated, Americanized, educational system.

    Stop abusing it (your language, if you weren’t following) and use it efficiently and appropriately, whichever “brand” of language you choose.

    I’ve read no purely grammatical French nor purely grammatical English Canadian (you’ve assimilated those Zs, haven’t you?) comments here. Have you forgotten that the reason you speak “white” is the English (as in England, the geographical location, not the speech) people? Do you realize you’re still, in some very, very weird and abstract — and legal — way the vassals of a Kingdom?

    A shame, really. Again — lost culture, patriotism and pure, basic, ability to think and rationalize… just because some of you speak white and others speak, as eloquently said here, FROG.

    An non-apolegetic (or nonapologetic, if you’re current,) FROG.

    I

    Reply
    1. Jean Naimard

      Amen.
      Language is a cultural vehicle; culture is carried by language. The collective memory of a society mostly rests on language. Cut the language, and you also cut the collective memory of a society. It’s no wonder we fought tooth and nail to preserve our language and have endured extreme hardship fighting assimilation*, so not to lose our culture.
      A society is shaped by History; and History is shaped by geography.
      Here, we have the millenia long struggle between the french and english still going-on (it stills goes on in Europe, too).
      France and Britain have quite different history. First, France invaded Britain. Well, at least the upper-class did, and has ruled Britain ever since. In 1215, a weak king, Jean Sans Terre got suckered into signing the magna carta, which basically stripped the king of significant power and gave more power to lesser nobles.
      No such bullshit in France, where the King resolutely kept most power, and consolidated it more and more over time, culminating with Louis XIV’s† «l’État, c’est moi».
      Britain is a poor little island. Soon enough, it was extensively cultivated, logged and mined to the point that it became dependent on extrernal ressources. To do so, it had to build a huge mercantile empire; the richer and richer merchants managed to claim more and more power, thanks to the tenets of the magna carta they have managed to subvert to their mercantile ends. This gave rises to such horrenduous monsters such as the east/west india trade companies and the Hudson’s bay companies, mercantile empires who had their own armies, laid down their own laws and carried it’s own justice.
      We are still bearing the brunt of that mercantile assault on the planet, here, in Québec, where the invading english merchants plundered our ressources and still impose their government and language upon us. VANOC is one of the latest examples of this.
      Oh, I’m not saying that France is spotless in this record; it has had similar companies, too. But since France was not utterly dependent on it’s colonial resources (it’s the largest country in Europe, full of bountiful land and forests), it only offered lackluster support on that commercial empire. Which is why it could not be bothered to get back Canada when England offered it back at the end of the 7 year war. The french king could not care less about us (it also did not care about the french nation, which revolted less than 30 years later).
      The french Révolution was the major turning point of History that started the decline of dynastic rule over enslaved populations, and the rise of the modern nation-states.
      Subsequently, french colonial efforts were solely bourgeois endeavours; whenever the bourgeois managed to subvert the government, they had good support, but the real national sentiment was "who gives a shit"??? So it was not surprising that at the end of world war 2, De Gaulle resolutely set upon a decolonization program (which was, of course, bitterly fought by the bourgeois — but since they were not able to subvert parliament, the decolonization program went ahead with few hitches, in the colonies most subverted by the bourgeois, Algeria and Indochina).
      By contrast, after the war, Britain was so destitute and broke that it had no choice but accept the americans’ arm-twisting efforts to strip it of it’s empire. The United States of America finally had it’s revenge over it’s colonizers. Stripped of it’s ressources, Britain entered three decades of despondency and economic ruin (strict exchange controls were imposed until 1968) whereas France enjoyed three solid decades of unmatched economic expansion, despite having lost it’s empire and two disastrous colonial wars.
      So, right now, we are at the hands of the hereditary ennemy who has not stopped one second to grab at every opportunity to dominate and try to eradicate the french in a petty revenge over it’s cultural inferiority complex over the french (for every Shakespeare, we have dozens of epochal playwrights) — heck, at the time of the US revolution, the king of England did not speak english, and thus spoke to his ministers in french. The VANOC antics is the latest stage of a long series of such snubs that is far from over.
       
      * Is it a coincidence that in France, the purportedly most popular way of learning english is called “assimil”, to the point of having become stereotypical (“my taylor is rich”)???
      † That fucker is directly responsible for the eventual economic decline of France in the face of the United States, as his revocation of the edict of Nantes disastrously deprived France of valuable industrial talent. Had not that überjerk scrapped it, there would have been no United States of America, and the british empire would not have stood a chance.

      Reply
  27. MTLNASH

    Dman, we should forget about this languange thing and focus on how well our Quebec Athletes are representing Quebec Language, culture and pride in the Olympics past and present: Jean Luc Brassard, Sylvie Frechette, David Pelletier, Annie Pelletier, Myriam Bedard to now: Bilodeau, Jenn Heil, Clara Hughes, Jessica Dube, Joannie Rochette, Brodeur, Fleury, Luongo etc: Here’s a list of Quebecers in Vancouver:

    http://www.sportcom.qc.ca/ACCUEIL/NouvellesDetails/tabid/1109/Default.aspx?ItemId=1671&alias=sportcom.qc.ca&ModuleId=398&TabId=36&PortalId=0

    And damn was it amazing to see Bilodeau getting attention on NBC recaps and interview on the Today Show NBC with Merideth Viera! He and others are representing Quebec (Language, culture and pride)! Kill this language issue will ya!!!!

    Reply
  28. Franc

    “RDS and V (which basically just took the RDS feed and slapped its logo on it) didn’t translate speeches and narration into French.”

    Uh, Steve? I watched the whole show on RDS, and EVERYTHING that was in English was subtitled in French. Sutherland’s narrations, the welcomes from the Natives, Shane Koyczan. I think only the speeches might not have been translated.

    I just don’t understand why separatists would give a crap about what language they speak in a country they want no part of…

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      “I just don’t understand why separatists would give a crap about what language they speak in a country they want no part of…”

      This. Exactly.

      Reply
    2. Jean Naimard

      I just don’t understand why separatists would give a crap about what language they speak in a country they want no part of…

      Because it proves that Canada does not give a shit about us. The more proof that Canada is bad, the easier the separation will come.

      Reply
  29. Tux

    Jean Naimard, I challenge you to list the “challenges to culture” that an average French Quebecer would face growing up in this day and age. The Franco culture is strong and visible almost everywhere you go in Quebec. There’s nothing stopping people from participating. The Olympics not using “enough” French is no threat.

    Also, while the history lesson is appreciated, you’re using this historical narrative to prove that Anglos have a grudge against Francos? Because France’s economy was better at some point? Are you an idiot? I’m not aware of any of that history, and I don’t care to be, and I’d wager most people my age would agree. Rage away at your keyboard, you’re tilting at windmills and all the while opportunities to appreciate our differences and celebrate our similarities are passing you by.

    Reply
    1. Jean Naimard

      Jean Naimard, I challenge you to list the "challenges to culture" that an average French Quebecer would face growing up in this day and age.

      There are plenty. First and foremost is the immigrants that are continuously told by the english that they don’t need to learn french. This is in line with the long policy of minorizing the french. That‘s ONE challenge to culture.
      Now, if you want to pursue a military career and rise beyond corporal, you need to get some education that is only available in english. Officers that speak english only are promoted more than officers that speak french only.
      Before you say that why should we care about a “foreign” army, the french regiments of New-France have plenty of glorious history, and many of those endured under the british regime and kept kicking arse.

      The Franco culture is strong and visible almost everywhere you go in Quebec. There’s nothing stopping people from participating. The Olympics not using "enough" French is no threat.

      Sure it is a threat: it tells the immigrants that they can not learn french in Québec.

      Also, while the history lesson is appreciated, you’re using this historical narrative to prove that Anglos have a grudge against Francos?

      Sure. The english have a huge cultural inferiority complex in front of the french. Why else would they want to assimilate the french??? If they did not feel threatened by us, they certainly would not attempt to get rid of us.

      Because France’s economy was better at some point? Are you an idiot? I’m not aware of any of that history,

      Of course you’e not! It would prove that the english are not those financial wizards they purport to be, in order to economically dominate us by making us thing that we’re no good wilth finance.
      (Back in the XIXth century, french Canada was asked to bail-out english Canada after it was bankrupted by the incompetent family-compact. Twice. And nowadays, look how Québec companies run circles around canadian companies).

      and I don’t care to be, and I’d wager most people my age would agree. Rage away at your keyboard, you’re tilting at windmills and all the while opportunities to appreciate our differences and celebrate our similarities are passing you by.

      I “appreciate” our differences many times a week when I head out to the Waste-Island for business. I just wish the people out there in the ghetto would “celebrate” our similatiries as much as you are dreaming.

      Reply
    2. Marc

      I don’t care to be, and I’d wager most people my age would agree.

      Then you’d be surprised. A friend of mine decided last year to go back to school and take a couple day classes at UQAM. Those your age and younger put Loi 101 and all you say they don’t care about on a very high pedestal. And what about Parizeau getting standing ovations whenever he comes by to do the university circuit?

      Reply
  30. Jake

    Simple… Easy, let the french leave. They bitch about too little, too much- all of you leave us “Canadians” a lone, and without our payments or money (which is a lot from out “West”) lets see how you do. Starve, Crash, Burn?

    -Sounds good to me.

    OR be grateful the games are here, and this spotlight is on us.

    (I still like number one though.)

    Reply
  31. Angry Bureaucrat from Vancouver

    Re: Volunteers not speaking enough French, I’m a City of Vancouver Employee and as such was asked in an all-staff memo if I’d be interested in volunteering on the Host Team. One of the types of volunteers they were desperate for was French speakers. Now I’m not quite fluent, mais je parle plus mieux que John Furlong, but apparently this doesn’t matter and from what I understood even my terrible but serviceable French would’ve been appreciated. There was only one small problem; I didn’t want to volunteer because I’d like these things to be over. I kind of object to them and can’t pretend to get this excited over a two-week party. I and many other Vancouverites are not happy with these Olympics. I’m not talking about the traffic problems either; those are a minor but expected inconvenience, just like the hordes of tourists. We’re trying to enjoy the party, and are celebrating when Canadian, Quebecois(e) and others, win. Nevertheless, most of us do object to how the budget has exploded, which in a de facto sense makes them “Vancouver’s” and “British Columbia’s” games a lot more than it does “Canada’s games.” After all, we are doing the most to pay for them. I haven’t done a scientific survey, but I’d imagine most Vancouverites who can speak French lean to the left and the ones I’ve talked to weren’t interested in volunteering either.

    FWIW, yes, I think there should’ve been more French in the opening ceremony if we‘re trying to market this as a pan-Canadian experience (despite my cynicism on that). But when it comes to the city as a whole this is a, as Angry French Guy would say, a multi-coloured city where the lingua franca is English so the bilingual cliché’s are a bit tiresome. (I wouldn’t mind hearing some cool and modern francophone artists such as Coeur de Pirate, Orange Orange or Le Groupe Swing perform though.) You can’t expect us to be able to offer more than basic services in French that just about any other host city would have. A little more, because we’re Canadian, and there is federal money involved, but not a whole lot more. And I don’t even object to AFG’s point that if Quebec City wins in the future there should be as much English as there is French in Vancouver… I say sure, why not? There’s probably about the same amount of anglophones in Grenoble, France (a former host) as there is in Quebec City, so it only seems logical. In addition, if you use the transit system, well our Metro (Skytrain) at least and the Information Kiosks planted throughout the City, in French, aussi so it’s not as if this is some francophone graveyard or something.

    Reply
  32. malstain

    I’m a regular visitor to this site and enjoy a lot of the insights, but I have to say, you seem to have a pretty liberal policy towards approving comments. Does it really help anyone/anything/contribute to the discussion at all to let angryphones go on the “let Quebec go, good riddance” rant? Same for its counterpart, the barely coherent, paranoid and hateful anti-anglo rantings of a certain regular contributor?
    Seriously, I think the comments need to be moderated a little more. Otherwise it just spirals into a circular hatefest with people getting all inflamed, giving their own cultural group a bad name as if determined to confirm ugly stereotypes. So depressing. Why not encourage intelligent debate and let the trolls crawl away to their own forums?

    Reply
    1. Jean Naimard

      Hey, Malstain, if you’re not happy how Fagstein runs his blog, you are perfectly free to start your own one, which you will run as you see fit.

      And if it’s truly better, they will come to you…

      Reply
  33. adski

    Jean Naimard “You are parrotting hook, line and sinker the typical disinformation about Québec that is ladled daily by canadian media”

    Tux: “I’m not parroting anything, these are my views, arrived at after experience and reflection”

    I’m always amazed by how Quebec nationalists always dismiss opposing views by claiming that they “parrot” something expressed elsewhere, be it The Globe and Mail, The Gazette, or some other evil anti-Quebec “propaganda”. It’s as if noone can develop their own opinions based on personal experience and reflection.

    Just like Tux, I’ve lived in Montreal for most of my life (and no, not in the West Island!!!), and despite not being an avid reader of The Gazette or The Globe and Mail (imagine that!!!) I still find Quebecois nationalism repulsive. And noone “brainwashed” me into this repulsion – it is something that I arrived at without any outside influence.

    What do you say about that, Jean Naimard?

    Reply
  34. Pingback: What part of “terre de nos aïeux” don’t you understand? – Fagstein

  35. Mike Cochrane

    I thought there was too much French…there is more Spanish speaking people in the US you don’t see them speaking Spanish then French…you should be happy you had as much french as you did!

    Reply

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