Updates from June, 2022 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 18:58 on 2022-06-18 Permalink | Reply  

    My browser tabs are piling up with language and adjacent stories, so here’s an infodump.

    Did 600,000 anglophones leave Quebec between 1971 and 2015 chiefly because of language laws? The Fraser Institute thinks so; Louise Leduc looks at several other studies from Quebec which strive to propose other reasons so many people left.

    The festival that used to be called Folk Fest sur le Canal had to be renamed Festival sur le canal after complaints about the English part of its old name. It’s taking place this weekend for the first time since 2020.

    Le Devoir faces the assessment of a “boutique advisory firm” called Sanctuary Counsel, according to which Quebec has a high rating for charm but loses points because of French. I can’t count how many times I’ve read variations on I’d love to visit Montreal but I don’t speak French, will I encounter hostility there? worded in various ways in forums worldwide over the years. This is slightly balanced by the people who love the idea of French so much that they will doggedly write “Montréal” even when writing in English, to make it sound more exotic. But it’s clearly an obstacle for many.

    Rima Elkouri describes the government report, quickly silenced around the discussions of Bill 96, that clearly stated that it’s impossible to learn French in six months. As she writes, if this law was really about teaching newcomers French, it would not include such an impossible hurdle.

    André Pratte lays out clearly why constant breakage of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms leaves it in tatters, and Le Devoir’s Marco Bélair-Cirino lays out how federal justice minister David Lametti may approach consulting the Supreme Court on the limits of the notwithstanding clause.

    • Uatu 20:39 on 2022-06-18 Permalink

      Ironically the bill 101 kids I knew moved out of province because their French was so good they easily got jobs as French teachers. Great job OLF!

    • Richard 21:17 on 2022-06-18 Permalink

      2019 was the last year the Folk Fest went about “normally”. The original founders, Matt and Rebecca, have unfortunately bailed. But Tanya and Carl have thankfully picked up the torch. Crap weather did no favours to the Friday and Saturday lineups. Here’s hoping enough folks will show up Sunday to convince them to keep soldiering on. As one of the volunteers, this fest seems right on the verge of survival. Come on out Sunday and let’s help keep this great anglo tradition going.

      As for anyone who thinks “folk” is a four-letter-word: go fuck yourself.

    • Kevin 23:20 on 2022-06-18 Permalink

  • Kate 12:58 on 2022-06-18 Permalink | Reply  

    Every so often we remember we’re on an island in a big river. Several pieces this weekend underline this.

    Alexandre Pratt in La Presse gives us a whirlwind tour of the best parks on the water, while Metro considers the lack of places to tie up a boat, if you have one.

    The beach being constructed in Pointe‑aux‑Trembles is off limits indefinitely while studies are done on the chevalier cuivré, an endangered species of fish specific to southern Quebec, called the copper redhorse in English, its scientific name Moxostoma hubbsi.

    • Kate 10:01 on 2022-06-18 Permalink | Reply  

      The OQLF will be investigating the illegal use of English by Groupe Spectra, who run not only the Francos, but also the jazz festival, after Radio‑Canada revealed that the langue de Shakespeare was sometimes used within its walls.

      I can’t quite imagine Spectra making useful deals with international musical artists in French only, so they will have to have some English on the premises. But since Covid, we all have a better understanding of isolating dangerous pathogens: Spectra should isolate English in one area. Its speakers will wear a sign, perhaps a red armband, to indicate they have permission to speak a language regarded as a dangerous pathogen, but it will not be accepted in the rest of the office, or outside in the smoking area.

      • DeWolf 10:33 on 2022-06-18 Permalink

        I don’t think the issue here is that English is “sometimes used.” It’s that francophone employees are having to work in English because their unilingual anglophone bosses are unable to conduct a meeting or give instructions in French. I’m not sure why that should be acceptable at festival of French-language music.

        “Des techniciens nous ont communiqué leur malaise et leur étonnement. Notre boss, il nous parle exclusivement en anglais, sauf un mot en français, par-ci par-là, raconte l’un d’eux.”

        “Avant même que le géant américain Live Nation ne prenne possession de 49 % de l’Équipe Spectra, en 2020, notre source raconte que certaines réunions se tenaient en anglais, même s’il n’y avait qu’un seul anglophone parmi la vingtaine de personnes autour de la table.”


      • Kate 11:23 on 2022-06-18 Permalink

        The question the top Spectra people will have to answer is why they chose to hire unilingual anglophones as managers. Hell, where did they even find unilingual anglos? Were they advertising outside of Quebec?

        But I also think if Spectra was hiring anglophones, it must have had reasons. Big festivals bringing in international stars will have to use English. Any company dealing internationally, with its own branches or others, will have to use English. They will simply have to keep the language in isolation, like a pathogen, because language is a virus.

      • Robert H 16:37 on 2022-06-18 Permalink

        Yes, the OQLF can be a vehicle for nitpicking, officious nonsense masquerading as “investigation,” but this time the complaints seem to be legitimate. At a festival meant to promote and celebrate francophone songs and performers, why should technical and clerial staff, most of whom were french-speaking, receive communications in memos and hold meetings exclusively in english? Situations in which workers felt pressured to switch to english because of the presence of a single english speaker should have been anticipated by whomever was resposible for hiring. If Spectra needed to bring in unilingual anglophone talent, a work-around could have been provided, but it seems the will was not there. What’s more, workers making such complaints should not need to request anonymity for fear they might be branded as troublemakers and not be considered for future jobs. This is the sort of matter for which the OQLF allegedly was created.

    • Kate 09:16 on 2022-06-18 Permalink | Reply  

      The mask mandate is ended – for now – on public transit in Quebec, but from what I’ve seen, people have been treating it as optional for a week or two anyway, and nobody has been enforcing it.

      • EmilyG 09:52 on 2022-06-18 Permalink

        Lack of enforcement of this rule has been a problem for a while.

      • Tim S. 11:13 on 2022-06-18 Permalink

        I’ve actually been impressed with just how many people did wear their masks despite the complete lack of enforcement.

    Compose new post
    Next post/Next comment
    Previous post/Previous comment
    Show/Hide comments
    Go to top
    Go to login
    Show/Hide help
    shift + esc