Updates from June, 2022 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 19:14 on 2022-06-24 Permalink | Reply  

    Bonne Saint-Jean. François Legault has celebrated the day by emphasizing that Quebec has only one culture – his. As he’s been saying all along, new immigrants are expected to integrate and adapt to Quebec culture – the one, the only valued culture.

    I don’t quite know what to say about that. My mother’s side of the family came here in the 1840s. I don’t know which of them spoke Irish as well, but they spoke English from the time they arrived. One g‑g‑grandfather was a blacksmith from Tipperary, the other a carpenter from County Meath who got his start here working on the Beauharnois canal. They and their wives and children are buried up in Notre-Dame-des-Neiges and their descendants have scattered to the four winds, but I’m still here, four generations later – and I grew up speaking English.

    Dad came here from England when he was 11. He lived in Hochelaga and soon learned to speak French so he wouldn’t get beaten up. But there were English-language schools in Hochelaga then, defying the truism that anglos did not live east of the Main, and he went to one.

    My mother never got comfortable in French, but she did pick up some Ukrainian from her neighbours and co‑workers in the Point.

    Both my parents worked, voted, paid their taxes. They did not integrate, not in the sense Legault means, but they were part of this society.

    If I’d had kids, I would have spoken to them in English. What does that make me?

    • dhomas 19:57 on 2022-06-24 Permalink

      There’s still an English school in HoMa: Edward Murphy, part of EMSB (it’s about a 5 minutes bike ride from my house).
      My parents arrived here from Italy pre Bill 101. They were both sent to English school because they didn’t know enough French to go to French school and therefore would have been a nuisance to the native francophones. They nonetheless learned French as they saw the benefit to knowing multiple languages (also, Italian being a romance language is quite similar to French), a value they passed along to their children (proud polyglot here, speaking 4 languages). My parents, like many other immigrants, helped to build this city and province, both literally and figuratively.
      I speak to my children in English. My wife speaks to them in French. My parents speak to them in Italian (they also have Italian classes at school). My mother-in-law speaks to them in Portuguese. Since we don’t exclusively speak French, though, we are part of the culture that is left out of the CAQ’s definition because it doesn’t fit their narrative.

    • steph 20:48 on 2022-06-24 Permalink

      Provincial elections in October. Hopefuly enough people want to take out the trash.

    • EmilyG 22:20 on 2022-06-24 Permalink

      This idea of “interculturalism” rather than multiculturalism, has been around for quite some time now in Quebec, particularly among francophones in Quebec. I think maybe it’s gotten particularly extreme lately, or at least has become more prominent or obvious.

    • EmilyG 22:22 on 2022-06-24 Permalink

      I’ve even seen organizations that purport to help recent immigrants, and claim to try to integrate them into an “intercultural” society.
      It’s a problem, of course.

    • Kevin 08:33 on 2022-06-25 Permalink

      ‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

      ’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

      ’The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.’

    • Robert H 12:58 on 2022-06-25 Permalink

      @Kate, @dhomas: You are both the walking, breathing embodiments of an inconvenient fact for M. Legault and those who believe in his monoculture. What’s more, your lives are a rebuke to the CAQ platform. Your roots run as deep as any «de souche», and your claims as citizens are just as legitimate, parce que vous êtes aussi de souche. I’ll bet you didn’t realize you were subversives–embedded agents of multiculturalism. Try to be discreet.

    • EmilyG 14:17 on 2022-06-25 Permalink

      Legault says that Quebec has only one culture – his.

      Indigenous peoples were here first, and their cultures should be protected.

      But Legault insists there’s no systemic racism in Quebec.

    • Uatu 21:12 on 2022-06-25 Permalink

      Yeah, yeah that’s nice about the culture. I already know I’m never going to be a real Quebecois. Now what about the paramedic shortage and the shutdown of ERs because of a shortage of healthcare workers? Also I’m still waiting like everyone else for a GP. What about that? C’mon, Legault give us an answer and what you’re going to do about it!

  • Kate 09:08 on 2022-06-24 Permalink | Reply  

    Radio-Canada summarizes the odd way the Plateau got its name – from a school that originally opened where Place des Arts is now, which then moved up to its present location inside Lafontaine Park. The bus (or possibly tram) driver on Sherbrooke would call out “Plateau!” at the corner, and the name began to be used for the whole area.

    The school as an institution is now marking its 150th year.

    • DeWolf 10:56 on 2022-06-24 Permalink

      If I’m not mistaken, the western part of the Plateau was never referred to as such until fairly recently. I remember coming across an old poster made by community activists trying to fight the number of arsons in St-Louis (the area around Prince Arthur, Pine, Roy, etc.) in the 1970s. These days, St-Louis is a name I almost never hear.

    • Kate 14:17 on 2022-06-24 Permalink

      My father lived in what we’d now call the Plateau and Mile End at various points before he married my mother, but he never used those names. To him, the areas were defined by the parishes he attended – St Dominic’s when he lived on Fullum and Messier, and St Michael’s when he was on Waverly and Park Avenue.

    • Robert H 14:38 on 2022-06-25 Permalink

      My education in local lore continues: I’ve always believed in the topographical origin of the Plateau’s name. Not that I ever bothered to ask anyone. It was that quartier at the top of the slope, along the edge of which ran Sherbrooke Street, and lay generally west and south of the CP tracks. It just made sense to me. As for the school in Parc Lafontaine, fancying myself an amateur architect, I suspected the building was a product of the 1920s or 30s with its low-key art deco flourishes. I remember disliking it being in the middle of a park and wanting to reduce what I considered its beige institutional drabness to rubble. My attitude has softened considerably, but I was also of “la croyance populaire” that it was named after the district. That just made sense to me too. Once again, I have to check my assumptions. The old, original building on its earthen platform lived up to Lucien Lapointe’s description quoted in the article and makes me regret a little Place des Arts. Not the first time I’ve learned something reading this blog. Thank you!

      P.S. Kate, your anecdote about your father referring to an area by its parish name reminds me very much of Boston where I lived many years. I became used to referencing “Saint Gregory’s” or “Saint Mark’s.” Like Montreal, Boston is a city where people agree on the centers of neighborhoods, but argue about the boundaries.

  • Kate 07:54 on 2022-06-24 Permalink | Reply  

    Quebec is putting up two million bucks into fighting gun violence in seven Montreal boroughs, meant to create recreational spaces for youth to distract them from the fun of owning a firearm.

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