View Full Version : Canada and a separate Quebec, I don't get it

24th Nov 2006, 15:17
I simply do not understand why those who wish for a separate Quebec do so?


I am not picking sides here, just looking for those more knowledgeable to elaborate if they choose.

24th Nov 2006, 15:30
I take it that, if Quebec becomes a nation within a nation, the province will no longer benefit from the cream of inward investment it has experienced over the years.

24th Nov 2006, 17:07
I simply do not understand why those who wish for a separate Quebec do so?
[ .

Read Lord Durham's Report of 1838 and ask yourself what if anything has changed over two hundred years.

If I drive sixty miles or so South I cross into the United States, which is the same as here, only better. If I drive five miles North, I am in Quebec, which is abroad.

The emptiness of multi-cultural claptrap, which really amounts to multi-isolations, could scarcely be better illustrated. Your family can live in Quebec for two hundred years, you can plant your church, your Scottish Presbyterians can control the lumber and the fur and the pulp-mill, and you may run the place for a few generations, but the Nation continues resilient and indifferent to you. It does so in a French you do not understand, with a diet you do not share, and a music you cannot play, and one day you will disappear but the nation will not. This has nothing to do with trivialities like economics or balance of trade.

Not only at the modest levels of society is the distinction between English Canada and French Canada to be seen. You have not met an educated Canadian until you have met a gentleman from one of the old Quebec families, raised at a lycee, then Laval, and finally at Oxford or Harvard.

You and I are Scottish-Canadian, or Ukrainian-Canadian, or Greek-Canadian, but....: "Moi! Je suis Canadien, moi!".

Whether I like all this is quite another topic, but it is as I see it. Some here know Quebec better than I. It would be interesting to see their views.

24th Nov 2006, 17:20
I simply do not understand why those who wish for a separate Quebec do so?Two reasons:
1.Due to the makeup of Parliament, with a large group from Quebec voting in lock-step on most issues, pandering to Quebec is a mechanism for political success on other issues.
2.Quebec has been very successful at getting a disproportionate degree of power by dusting off the separatist issue every few years, though IMHO most folks there have no real desire to separate, considering the economic calamity which would follow.

As a friend of mine used to say about the issue: "tiresome, very tiresome".

24th Nov 2006, 17:26
Two reasons:
1 As a friend of mine used to say about the issue: "tiresome, very tiresome".

He too will pass.

24th Nov 2006, 17:54
Do all Canadians/Canadiens get a vote when the separation plebecite comes up from time to time, or is it just les Quebecois?

24th Nov 2006, 18:12
Not much point if les Quebecois say they want to leave.

It'd be like the Montenegrans saying they want to leave Yugoslavia and the Serbs voting to keep them in. A bit of an extreme comparison, but it wouldn't make for a good relationship with the neighbours either way would it?

Better to let them go if they want. If it all works out for the best, then everyone's a winner. If not, then the 'told you so' 'don't come crying to us' brigades are proved correct and huge numbers of Quebec citizens emigrate to St Pierre & Miquelon. Fín.

Lon More
24th Nov 2006, 18:17
Drifting to an aviation post, There was a move (1970s?)to make all ATC conversations in French within the province and to insist that all Canadian ATC be bi-lingual. Ironic considering the location of ICAO HQ Still have an "English is the language of international aviation" badge somewhere.
There were also moves afoot to force operators to have all manuals in both languages, guess the reduced payload available knocked this one on the head.

24th Nov 2006, 18:19
Nah, the Froggies still cant get over losing the power struggle over Canada to the Brits all those colonial years ago.
Ranked em ever since.

Lon More
24th Nov 2006, 18:24
yeah, we should take back Calais - solve all the booze cruise problems

Fun Police
24th Nov 2006, 18:27
BenThere, if the rest of canada was allowed to vote in these referendums, quebec just might end up separating because many english canadians are so fed up with this nonsense that they would probably vote to kick 'em out. :ugh:

24th Nov 2006, 18:36
yeah, we should take back Calais - solve all the booze cruise problems

Nahhh, just let them take back Hastings and build a few supermarkets. Less effort on the part of those this side of the Channel and cheap booze galore all the same.


24th Nov 2006, 19:56
Nah, the Froggies

Not so simple as that. Two sets of Froggies. The Froggies in Frogreich snigger at those in Quebec, who in return detest the Frogreich Frogs. For my own part, tiresome though some find them, and more particularly their politics, I rather like les habitants. Those I meet I treat with respect and they treat me with respect.

tony draper
24th Nov 2006, 20:35
One must admit in my days tootling up and down the St Lawrence the French part was more fun going ashorewise.some of the other parts were really dour in those days,having fun seemed to be frowned upon,I recal sitting in a bar,(it did not merit the name Pub) can't remember where now, no women allowed no music,dont think spirits were available, cold tiled walls like a Victoria railway station convenience, blokes sitting at table sipping at beers in a desultary manner, when the door half opens, a leg appears, then a shoulder, then a arm with hand a violin is held in same, deedlee deedlee deedlee dee! the disembodied arrm and violin play a swift jig, the arm and violin dissapear another arm with a different hand appears and throws a cap onto the floor ,desultary drinkers reach in to pockets in a desultary manner grope for coins and fling them hatwards again desultilarilly (is there such a word)the previously three quarter invisible figure scuttles into room snatches up cap and coins and flees into the night.
**** me! one is a curious cove and watches this enthralled
One made enquires, no entertainment allowed,they said, if the musician is not completely in the room when he performs the constabulary can do nought.
One kids you not.
Saying that one alus liked Canada

24th Nov 2006, 21:22
It seems only a short while ago that an RAF chap asked a simple question of a professor from McGill Uni at the tactics course in Halifax. "How much does bi-lingualism cost Canada?"
This prompted a furious reaction from a Cdr Canadian Navy in charge of the first all FR-CA crew of a new class of patrol vessel - a really virulent attack. My man insisted it was a a simple question, "All those military publications printed upside down in each language must cost twice as much. No?" More virulent attack. Professor is scuffing his feet, embarassed to hell not knowing what to say. At the back of the room an ancient major stands up and says he can find the answer. Pootles off to the library and comes back with a government year book which has figures from a couple of years back. Answer - result. The attack continues and if looks could kill the major was dead. Did he have a career to worry about? No - that's why he did what he did.
A couple of hours later I'm in my mate's car on the way back to his place for the w/e. "Hey you and the other light colonels in the front row were a bit reticent during that exchange earlier" says I "what gives?" I want to be a full colonel, he replied, and if I'd spoken up on the side of the questioner, by the time we get back to my place there would have been an anonymous call to the hot line stating that Lt Col xxxyyy spoke in an international forum and was not supportive of bi-lingualism in Canada. The word would have come down and my boss would be telling me I could forget about being a full colonel. Now it was his turn to be as embarassed as hell. I felt very sorry for him.
Q. Is it true that shop signs in Montreal MUST be in French?
The Ancient Mariner

Fun Police
24th Nov 2006, 21:50
all signs in quebec must be in french.

24th Nov 2006, 21:56

Think about it, would this come as a surprise to any French speaking person? I doubt it - begs the question why bother (in this case anyway). Your average Jo reading that would mutter a quick "sans déconner!" under their breath.

Fun Police
24th Nov 2006, 22:03
for our american friends.

24th Nov 2006, 22:13
for our american friends.

Indeed, a country world famous for the ability of its people to speak fluent French :E.

(Any degree of sarcasm is of course directed away from the Cajun communities of Louisiana, who to this day speak the language - or a version of it anyway ;): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Council_for_the_Development_of_French_in_Louisiana Perhaps the sign is for their benefit, in which case I stand corrected).

24th Nov 2006, 22:54
all signs in quebec must be in french.

Oui. Bien sur.

And not only in French but in the French officiel. This mandates not "Stop" (which I believe is used universally on the Continent -- is it?) but "Arret"; and not "Le Hot Dog" but "Le Chien Chaud"; and not "Le Hamburger" but "Le Hambourgeois". The French officiel apart, there is the spoken French, not of either France or the Bureau des Langues Officielles but of the rue: namely and c'est a dire "Joual" which you know better as "Cheval", as in "Un carton de Mark Ten King Size". This adds enrichissement to la vie by making us, Yep, multi-cultural. But not too multi-culturel. One friend is a docteur en droit, no less, from the faculty of law in Paris; Paris, France, that is. It was good enough here to excuse him preliminary studies in arts, but if he really wanted to be admitted to preliminary study in law for call to le barreau he had still to win his licence en droit from the U of XXX in the boonies. "Stick cela, mon vieux, ou (avec accent) le soleil ne brille pas, ou (sans accent), Qu'il mange la merde et s'il l'aime, l'otez lui".

24th Nov 2006, 23:02
Indeed, a country world famous for the ability of its people to speak fluent French :E.

We haven't had to give up as many times so we don't find French all that useful.

(Now, Spanish on the other hand, might just be useful in less than a few years.........)

24th Nov 2006, 23:10
Indeed all signs, even private commercial signs, in Quebec must have French larger than English.The culture still exists in the armed forces. Before officers are allowed to train as pilots they must go off and do 30 weeks of SLT (Second Language Training) In fact, if anything, it is getting worse.

If you are Francophone and appear in court in any province the proceedings must be translated for you.

tony draper
24th Nov 2006, 23:28
Farting in the wind they are, 100 years from now, aged linguistic nerds will get together on Saturday afternoons and hold meetings in back rooms of public libraries and speak and read dead languages at each other, French, German,Russian ect ect,and 1000 years from now the language spoken in the colonies of the second planet of Beta Reticulum will be English.

24th Nov 2006, 23:36
1000 years from now the language spoken in the colonies of the second planet of Beta Reticulum will be English.

Of the American variety probably, with not a Jock or Geordie dialect within a million light years :E

tony draper
24th Nov 2006, 23:46
Not so not so, indeed people wll have to attend university for years to lean the ancient Jockistani and Geordie tongues and will be much in demand on learned panel games on the Telly,anyone speaking Geordie will command a high price.
Whey aye man!!

25th Nov 2006, 04:00
During my 3 years in Canada, I was somewhat surprised on a few occasions by some of the "rules", such as:

- 22% of promotions in the Armed Forces (certainly at the time) had to be of people of French extraction. This occasionally meant that if (for example) you were going to promote 100 people to the rank of major, then 22 of those had to be French Canadian, even if it meant going down to number 116 in the "merit list" to find enough. Of course, the converse would also be true, that you might have to go down to number 116 in the list to find the last non-French Canadian to promote.

- A friend of mine religiously ticked the box for "bilingual - yes" in his annual personnel report. Every year it was sent back to him with a note saying "you are not bilingual, please change it". Every year he sent it back saying, "I speak Engish, German and Ukrainian fluently and I am - therefore - bilingual". Without fail, it was returned with a note saying, "for the purposes of this report, you are only bilingual if you speak English and French".

- Davaar- I too was surprised to see the signs saying
when in France they use


25th Nov 2006, 06:30
Personally one has never understood why the Canucks didn't chuck Quebec out to stand on their own two webbed feet years ago.

Damned upstart French. One blames the French.

Vive Canada.


25th Nov 2006, 08:11
Of the American variety probably No, of the Indian Engish (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_English)variety I feel. (India will pass China in around 2035 (http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/HK01Ad01.html))

I feel sure Mr Duck will concur. They tend to speak and write it better than us these days anyway. Sort of like passing on the torch.....

25th Nov 2006, 14:12
One of the apparent hang-ups of Quebeckers is that their French is often very peculiar. The further one gets towards Ontario and away from Quebec city the stranger it can be.
For example, a sign at a street corner saying "Pas de renversement."
To a Frenchman this would be quite baffling. Renverser is to knock over, for example, a glass of beer.
It is in fact a literal translation of the English "No tipping" (as in throwing away old sofas by the roadside). The French would say (were it necessary in France) something like "Defense de deposer de dechets."
A Quebec government/academic commission some years ago recommended that French should be much better taught in Quebec so as to, inter alia, limit this tendency to literally translate English.
Another thing which baffles Frenchmen is the reply to "Merci" or thank you, to which a Quebecker will reply "Bienvenue" - totally daft in French, but it's a direct translation of the North American "You're welcome".
The strangeness of Quebec extends also to food, which although generally excellent, has a sort of national dish which, one imagines, must owe a lot to the English genius for truly awful confections. It is called "Poutine" and consists of chips covered with thick gravy with lumps of white cheese in it - truly revolting.
Let's not forget either that Colonel Sanders' outlets in Quebec are not KFC for "Kentucky Fried Chicken", but PFK for "Poulet frit de Kentucky".
Oddest thing is visiting the Federal Capital Ottawa. Looks not unlike Dundee or Aberdeen but with a Brussels flavour as in "Rue Ontario Street". Ottawa is two cities Ottawa-Hull in fact and Ottawa is mainly anglophone. Cross the river to Hull and you will find it almost entirely francophone, after a fashion, and pronounced "Ull".
To my mind nothing can beat the curious settlement names found on the south bank of the St. Lawrence, where a typically English name will be adorned with a French epithet, something on the lines of "(H)uddersfield les-deux-eglises" or "Croydon des bonnes eaux."
Strange place Quebec. If it did decide to secede, about 3/4 of the province (in the north where the minerals and hydro are and where much of the area is native north american tribal) would probably secede from it, leaving it very much impoverished.
Even wierder than Quebecois is the rarer Albertan French brought to the Rockies by early French trappers. It is similar to Cajun, but even more incomprehensible.
BTW "Cajun" comes from "Arcadien" which is what: French settlers were called when they moved from English Canada down to what was then French Louisiane, later sold to the USA.

25th Nov 2006, 14:20
Many years ago some fool was vapouring in the House of Commons on: "What .... Ah ... What is the ... Ah ... cause of unemployment?"

Said Davie Kirkwood, MP, of Red Clydeside: "It's the want o' work. Dae ye no' ken".

So: What is a nation? That depends; there is no abstract definition; and Who cares?

The press here is gearing up to the new sub-industry of the Quebec nation. What is a nation? How does this fit with multi-culturalism? As obgraham's friend put it: "tiresome". Who cares what he thinks? He'd better get used to it. The Papineau rebellion was tiresome too, I expect, and William Lyon Mackenzie, and Louis Riel, and that little fracas at Duck Lake. It was tiresome to William Lyon Mackenzie King that Camillien Houde the Mayor of Montreal had to be arrested on Mount Royal in full flow of anti-war speech, and tiresome that that shower in Quebec would not agree to conscription in time of war ("Not our war, mon gars"); said he: "Conscription if necessary; but not necessarily conscription". The "zombies" were tiresome and so were the FLQ, and Pearson thought it tiresome when de Gaulle came up with: "Vive le Quebec libre!". Trudeau found Rene Levesque tiresome with: "Sovereignty-association". Tabernouche! What does that mean? [see above: (a) "What is a nation?" and (b) "Who cares?"]. Get used to tiresome.

I found it all pretty tiresome too when I lived in Montreal. It was not that an exodus occurred, just that one by one people (that is, my sort) found jobs in Vancouver or Toronto or even ... Gulp! ... Hamilton and went there, as eventually I too moved to Ontario. I had a great job, lovely car, got along well, but was not one of the culture. The effort to become one of the culture would have been immense, and did I really want that anyway? Not really. I was multiculturalism, and I did not like it.

My move does not mean that I think the French in Quebec are wrong. They are wrong for me, of course, but not for them. Today's National Post has a headline "Death of Multiculturalism" and a quotation from the Rt (very Rev?)Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, C of E Bishop of Rochester: "The multiculturalism beloved by our political and civic bureaucracies ... is the partial cause of alienation and extremism".

Spare me, and them, the economic arguments: "Moi, je suis canadien, moi."

25th Nov 2006, 14:41
Try this on for size.......

Every Government Agency must provide it's services, both in French and English. Right across the country. And all government documentation must also be in French and English, applications for SIN cards, passports etc. etc. And even the national Airline must provide all documents in French and English. All this duplication of paper, and services, comes at an increase in cost to us. The Taxpayer.

25th Nov 2006, 16:45
Good post, Davaar. What I found "tiresome" while I lived in Montreal for a number of years was the fact that the sense of victimhood took over all aspects of Quebec politics and society. That said, I plead guilty to not taking advantage of the opportunity to become bilingual while I was there -- I consider it one of the biggest mistakes I made.
What my friend, and I found "tiresome" while we lived outside Quebec, was similar -- all aspects of Canadian politics eventuallly degenerage into a discussion of bilingualism and what special arrangements might be made to placate Quebec.
Now that I live SOTB in the good ole "States", the same thing happens here -- except now it is skin color that dominates domestic legislation, and a large number of politicians see that at the root of every single issue.
I say, let em go, (PQ, that is!)and perhaps put a stop to the hijacking of the rest of the country. The Indians, of course, will not agree. And that siolution won't apply down here!

25th Nov 2006, 17:36
For President:E

26th Nov 2006, 01:28
Try this on for size.......
Every Government Agency must provide it's services, both in French and English. Right across the country. And all government documentation must also be in French and English, applications for SIN cards, passports etc. etc. And even the national Airline must provide all documents in French and English. All this duplication of paper, and services, comes at an increase in cost to us. The Taxpayer.

What burns my ass are the cereal boxes. I have to read French with my morning corn flakes. :Fe:

PP I like it. Viva el Presidenté! ..err..le Président. :ok:

26th Nov 2006, 04:50
Many phases of the moon ago, I spent an enjoyable month in "Mont Royale" while learning about CAE's 737 sims.

At that time, my Froggese was pretty fluent (not used it for years, so it's decidedly rough now:uhoh:) but it took a little while to learn that one goes to work in "le khar" and has "deux oeufs beekin" for brekky!

In the evenings (whilst frequenting places of intoxicating liquids;)) I found that the French-speakers loved to chat with me to practice their English. Conversations usually ended up with me speaking French and them speaking English back - easier to speak the "foreign" language as you have the choice of vocabulary that you know)

One of our crew had the old English attitude that "Wogs should learn to speak English", and hated every day of our course, but I had a great time. Somewhat like France, I found that an attempt to speak French (?) would often result in a reply in English that was better than mine, whereas my colleague seemed to find that "nobody spoke a word of English":E

I also liked the free-living attitude of the ladies, many of whom sported badges saying "Oui", and I looked forward to taking them up on it!:p

As for "dual language" - there was none of that when I collected a parking ticket- it was all in Frogese :eek:, but I did my bit for multi-cultural relations by paying it anyway:cool:

Vive la difference:ok:

26th Nov 2006, 13:12
one goes to work in "le khar"

One cold day in Montreal my car was dribbling condensation from the exhaust. So I learned when the chap next to me at the traffic lights wound down his window to tell me:

"Beh! Ton char pisse"!

I treasure the moment.

26th Nov 2006, 14:02
As for "dual language" - there was none of that when I collected a parking ticket- it was all in Frogese :eek:, but I did my bit for multi-cultural relations by paying it anyway:cool:
Vive la difference:ok:
You are an honest person.....unlike moi....I have pangs of guilt for not paying my parking ticket in the tabernak province in April '93. On the other hand, I am being spiteful and wouldn't give the dastarbs a single penny unless I was in the back seat of a cruiser with the fistycuffs on for non-payment.

26th Nov 2006, 20:29
Take some comfort in the fact that others also do their best at trying to confuse tourists with their bi-lingual signs :E. Below, examples of Welsh, Scottish and Irish attempts:


26th Nov 2006, 23:08
One assumes that when/if Québec becomes a 'nation', then so will the rest of Canada.

How likely is it, then, that Canadian National Railways will henceforth only operate and maintain facilities in Canada, and that the Canadian Department of National Defence will, well... , defend only Canada?

No prizes for the politically correct answer.

Here in Canada's only officially bilingual province (hint - not Québec) the general feeling appears to be 'If they go, they take only what they brung to Confederation' - i.e. considerably less than would be indicated by the current provincial borders.

27th Nov 2006, 00:02
..they take only what they brung to Confederation,..
Agreed. If Canada is divisable, so's Quebec. The lands draining into James and Hudson's Bay was originally the property of the Hudson's Bay Company. Where I was born and brought up will vote to rejoin Newfoundland le lendemain.

On the other hand, those that think of Canada as a nation have also got it wrong. Canada ceased to be a nation the day the Liberals decared it multicultural. On that day the nation of Canada had a stake driven through its heart, the nails were pounded into the coffin, it was lowered into the grave and cement was poured on the sarcophagus. All that was left behind was the hyphen.

27th Nov 2006, 00:59
I'm with Rab K & Daedalus on this one, the "French" the Quebec peoples speak is more a bastard language than "French" as the world knows it.

Its worse than American English in that a native French speaker cannot understand it, it should be re-classified as a language in its own right.

As for their political/seperatist ambitions - no opinion.

27th Nov 2006, 01:11
I'm constantly told that Winnipeg has the largest Frenchy-Canuk whatever outside of Quebec. The St Boniface area just to the east of Downtown certainly is like stepping into another world.

Thing I can never understand and it pisses me off somewhat is the attitude in that part of the city. There's a big shopping mall (St Vital) that you quite often see shoppers abusing the poor girl behind the till in Sears in a form of French. There was a vote change council by-laws so that road/street/shop signs would be in French in that part of the city as well. Thing is, the "French" they speak is a bastardised version of the mother tongue (as my buddy Davaar and daedalus mention)......kind like us Ozmates speaking a bastardised version of English ;)

27th Nov 2006, 03:16
But we can understand the Ozmates. Quebecois usually can't be understood in France. Joual is rather nice when spoken by a young lady though.

An then there's the Newfie joke about Quebec separation....

"Well bye, that will make it easier to get to Toronto."

Speaking as someone who lived in Montreal for 17 years and left in'74 sick of the politics, winter and to make it easier to get a good job without fluency in French.

galaxy flyer
27th Nov 2006, 04:45
But we can understand the Ozmates. Quebecois usually can't be understood in France.

Rolling thunder--I wouldn't be so sure about Ozmates being understood in Blighty or Spamland!! As a septic, I have had conversations in numerous "English-speaking" locales in which neither of us understood the other. Sometimes I blame the slang, sometimes the accent and sometimes both.


27th Nov 2006, 04:53
Fair enough. I understand the Ozmates. I spent a year in Oz talking with them.