[lg policy] Montreal: Turning back the language police in rural Quebec and Ottawa

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Sat Mar 10 15:48:14 UTC 2012

Postscript: Turning back the language police in rural Quebec and Ottawa

Pro-French language protesters rally outside the Bell Centre during a
demonstration denouncing the recent appointment of the unilingual head
coach of the Montreal Canadiens hockey team, in Montreal, Saturday,
January 7, 2012. (Graham Hughes / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Updated: Fri Mar. 09 2012 10:12:26 AM

By Barry Wilson, CTV Montreal Executive Producer, OPINION ,
ctvmontreal.ca, ctvmontreal.ca

MONTREAL — Sometimes you find strength and resolve in small and
unexpected places. This week, something quite remarkable happened in
Huntingdon, population about 2,500. The local council voted
unanimously to tell the Quebec government and its language office to
just butt out.

You see, Huntingdon was founded by the English and today the
population is 40 per cent English. Everyone gets along, like most of
us do, and the town offers services in English to its English
citizens. But someone under the cover anonymity, some malcontent,
decided to complain to the language watchdog because Huntingdon
doesn't quite qualify for official bilingual municipal status.

The town has been ordered to cease and desist. The council says it
will not stop offering services in English. In fact, it says the
language policy is both racist and discriminatory. The town says it
will go to court and even pay fines if it has to. Now, most clear
thinking country folk will tell you in the words of Charles Dickens:
Indeed the law sometimes is an ass.

Also on the language front this week we had the official opposition in
Ottawa lamenting the fact that its restrictive language bill was
defeated in the Commons  The NDP seems to have replaced the Bloc in
more ways than one. It is no friend of English speaking Quebecers. You
see, the NDP wants to make Bill 101 apply to federally regulated
businesses in Quebec. That would include banks, transport companies
and a host of others.

Perhaps we can be thankful for small mercies, because the NDP says it
would make an exception for English broadcasters like CTV. Merci mes
amies, vous etes tres gentiles.

Another day, another student protest.

I wonder who they think they are playing to? Clearly the government is
not going to change its policy and I believe most Quebecers support
the government's position.

Standing up to what is essentially an interest group might even do
Charest and the Liberals some good. If the students were truly
committed to their best interests they would be protesting against the
massive Quebec debt they will be saddled with one day.

According to one estimate its increasing by $359 a second. That's
slightly more than one yearly tuition increase. Do the math. Do you
think Quebec's financial situation is so different from that in Greece
or other countries on the brink?

And consider this, even after all the increases take effect, Quebec
students will still be paying for only 17 per cent of the real cost of
their studies you and I will be picking up the most of the tab.
Perhaps the protests about how unfair all of this is should be
replaced by a simple "Thank you."


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