Vive Le Quebec Libre! (or, Anglo Privilege)

7 Sep

Yesterday morning, I woke up to find several posts on my Facebook feed about the recent provincial election in Quebec. Almost every post was disappointed and scolding in tone, admonishing La Belle Province as if they were a wayward child. Oh Quebec, the subtext seemed to say, why can’t you stop talking about separating and start behaving like a normal province? Why can’t you just be happy with everything we’ve already given you?

Full disclosure: I was born in Quebec and lived there for the first few years of my life. My parents were both born in Quebec. My mother’s (anglophone) family has lived there for several generations. My father’s family (who are anglophone, but come from a francophone background) moved there from the Maritimes in the mid-50s.

Fuller disclosure: I love Quebec, especially Montreal. I love the little frivolous things, like the buildings with outdoor wrought-iron staircases leading to second and third story apartments, and the giant Farine Five Roses sign that greets you as you pull into the train station. I love the people, and their laid-back attitude. I love how much they appreciate art and culture. I love the food.

I love the bigger things, too. In fact what I love most about Quebec are its socialist ideals and the fact that its people are willing to stand up and fight for what they believe in.

I would say that Quebec is easily the most-hated province, with Ontario coming in a close second. When I talk to people about Quebec, I often get negative reactions. The complaint that I hear most often is that the Quebecois are rude and want to make anglophones feel bad by refusing to speak English to them.

I hear this story a lot, actually. Usually, it’s an anglophone from a province other than Quebec traveling through there for whatever reason. They’re upset because they’re certain that every Quebecois is perfectly proficient in English but simply chooses not to speak it just to prove some kind of political point.

The funny thing is, while working in retail, I’ve heard these exact same people complain about francophone Quebecois visiting Ontario and refusing to speak English when shopping in their store. When I’ve suggested that these people greet the francophones in French, I receive blank stares. But I don’t speak French, they tell me.

So let’s break this down: it’s fine for you to go to another province and refuse to speak their language, and you expect to get service in your own mother tongue. However, when the Quebecois come to your province, they have to speak English, and they should expect to receive service only in English. It’s fine for you to speak zero French, but the Quebecois need to suck it up and speak English, right?

Here’s the thing: most francophes feel just as shy about their English as you do about your French. Here’s the other thing: I am calling total bullshit on your story. Whenever I go to Quebec, I speak French, in which I am fairly fluent. A good chunk of the time the person I am talking to will hear my accent and switch to English, either because they want to make me feel more comfortable or because they want the chance to practice their English.

If someone in Quebec is not speaking English to you, chances are that they just flat-out do not speak English.

The second complaint that I most often hear is that Quebec just wants more and more from the federal government and is never satisfied. I’ve heard people say that now that Quebec has French as its only official language and their culture is protected, why don’t they just stop? I mean, their rights are protected now, yes? This is like saying that women are totally equal to men and so feminism can end now, which is to say: totally untrue.

Francophones in Quebec had a pretty shitty deal up until the Quiet Revolution. They were kept oppressed by various premiers (but especially Duplessis) and (unsurprisingly) the Catholic church. English was (and, really, still is) the de-facto language of the federal government, and the majority of the ruling class in Quebec were anglophones. In order to get a good job in Quebec, it helped greatly to be perfectly fluent in English. It helped even more to have an anglophone surname.

Before the Quiet Revolution, unemployment for able-bodied francophone men was high, reaching 50% in some areas, but for the anglos it remained low. Although 80 percent of the Quebecois were francophone, they owned only 28.3% of the businesses in the province. The majority of those businesses were involved in manufacturing, but they accounted for only 15.4% of Quebec’s production. The anglos controlled everything else.

And then there was the threat against the francophone language and culture. Seems ridiculous, right? Except that it’s not. Let’s look at another francophone culture in Canada: the Acadians (i.e. my people!).

The vast majority of people with Acadian surnames are anglophones (myself included). Up until recently, it was often economically and culturally advantageous for the Acadians to assimilate, and many of them did. When my great-grandmother moved from rural Cape Breton to Halifax, she stopped speaking French altogether, even though it was her mother tongue. She didn’t teach her children to speak French, and would flat-out refuse to speak to her brothers and sisters in any language except English. For her, there seemed to be little advantage in passing her culture along to her children, and every advantage in having them grow up speaking only English. Towards the end of her life she began to regret her decision, but by then, of course, it was too late.

Unfortunately, this is a very common story.

So it’s not a totally unfounded fear that the Quebec language and culture could slowly and methodically be eroded by the anglophone majority in Canada. And it’s not like we have a federal government that is super supportive of them; it often seems like the Harper administration does its best to thwart Quebec at every turn.

And then there’s separatism. That’s the biggest one that people freak out over. I feel like a lot of this (not ALL of it, but a lot) stems from this idea that, hey, we’re Canada. We’re super nice. Why won’t Quebec love us even though we’re clearly the nicest nation on earth? If Quebec doesn’t recognize how awesome we are, then it must be because there’s something wrong with Quebec, right?

Canada, I’ve got two things to say to you:

1) As my mother would say, not everyone is going to like you and you just need to deal with it.

2) Maybe you aren’t as awesome as you think you are.

My mother (who was, don’t forget, an anglophone who grew up in pre and post Quiet Revolution Quebec) has always said that it’s easier to be an anglophone in Quebec than a francophone anywhere in the rest of Canada. You are far, far more likely to be able to find English services in Quebec than French services anywhere else. But you probably don’t see it that way because you have what I’ve decided to call Anglo Privilege.

Anglo Privilege may lead you to say any or all of the following:

“We won at the Plains of Abraham! Quebec needs to accept that!”

“They’re ruining their children’s lives by having them grow up speaking French – English is the leading business language of the REST of the WORLD.”

“Imagine how upset people would be if we had ENGLISH language laws in the rest of Canada!”

“They’re just threatening to separate because they want MORE from us!”

Buddy, I got news for you: they’re threatening to separate because they’re unhappy. The Parti Québécois keeps getting elected because the francophones in Quebec are concerned that the federal government and the rest of Canada do not have the best interests of their province and its people at heart. And every time you bitch about Quebec and how high maintenance they are and how they should just get over it already, you are reinforcing that view.

You guys, Quebec is awesome. They have socialized daycare, free post-secondary education (CEGEP), and, in addition to a one-year parental leave, they offer five weeks of leave to the partner of the person taking the parental leave. Plus they like to have demonstrations and riots! So many riots. All kidding aside, if it were possible for our family, I would move there in a heartbeat.

And so I say, Vive Le Québec Libre! And if you’re afraid of the possibility of Québec separating, then I would urge you to help build a Canada that contains a Québec Libre, whatever that term means to the people of Quebec. Surely this is something we can figure out if we work on it together? You know, like an actual, unified country would?

Okay, but really, shouldn’t it be Farine Cinq Roses? Where are the language police when you need them…

180 Responses to “Vive Le Quebec Libre! (or, Anglo Privilege)”

  1. Blus April 1, 2014 at 11:26 pm #

    sociologueerrant, don’t feel depressed. I just think your coworkers didn’t know how to respond to your statements.

    It feels to most Anglos when told this that we are being accused of not having contributed to Quebec society when in fact we have. It makes us feel marginalized to be told this. Particularly to those of us who are still here and love it.

    It’s our home too, just as much as yours. We want to feel welcome and accepted, warts and all. Right now, given what is going on, we’re feeling nervous and perhaps a little bit paranoid and we’re definitely not feeling the love… Rightly or wrongly.

    These types of thoughts make us feel like unwelcome outsiders just as many Quebecois seem to feel when visiting other areas of Canada. It’s not right to feel that way there and it’s not right here. I’d like to think we can rise above that. Quebec is much more liberal in so many aspects of it’s collective thinking.

    Many of the institutions you are referring to were built and funded by Anglophones and our tax dollars are every bit as valid as anybody else who pays taxes – too many and too many misspent taxes I’m sure you will agree – here in Quebec.

    So we don’t view ourselves as an “entitled” group. I believe this is essentially what they feel you are telling them in their minds.

    It’s not a question of right or wrong here, because we won’t change people’s beliefs, sometimes they are just too ingrained and it’s too hard for us to truly understand another’s point of view in a meaningful way. I’m just hoping you might feel better if you see how your comments might be perceived.

    I had a French friend point me to this blog and I am grateful that he did. He wants me to understand what it means to be a Quebecer to him I think. What he doesn’t realize perhaps is that I already know a lot of what has been written and I hope he knows now that I share, if not all what he feels, a great deal of it.

    It’s nice to see respectful dialog as opposed to some of the stuff you hear in the media or the comments sections at those media sites and I am truly disappointed by some of the vitriol I see spouted there. I can’t believe people can be so bitter and negative.

    I am a semi-bilingual Montrealer. I feel extremely lucky that all my Francophone friends are willing to speak to me in English if there is any danger of being misunderstood.

    Some of them will tell you that is all the time!

    Regardless, I love them all and hope they feel the same way about me. I think they do.

    I respect the fact that they respect me enough to be willing to share who they are with me.

    I don’t like how this current election campaign seems to be pitting us (all Quebecers) against each other when I feel what it’s really all about is control and power for a privileged few who will do what they want once they are in power regardless of what they have promised. It’s our difficult job as the electorate to pick the one that will benefit all Quebecers equally.

    To all my fellow Quebecers who are in favour of a separate Quebec, you need to cut the rest of Canada a bit of slack. It’s not just a Quebec issue despite what you want to believe. Leaving Canada will have a huge impact on the rest of Canada and a change for them in many meaningful ways. It is what it is, but you can’t expect them to view it as fair to have no say in something that will affect them so profoundly. You don’t have to care, but you should at least understand this and accept it as their reality.

    Remember, inside WE’RE ALL THE SAME. We’re all worried about paying our bills, feeding our families, making sure everybody is healthy and happy and that we don’t hurt anybody else.

  2. jfjoubert April 1, 2014 at 11:45 pm #

    Reblogged this on Quebec ma ville.

    • Kevin J Mason April 2, 2014 at 2:16 pm #

      Let go of this whole f*cking language thing. This is more than about national identity and feeling part of the “in” group. You know what will happen with the customer service thing if Quebec separated? The SAME f*cking thing. Anglos will still go to Quebec and expect to be served in English, and Francos will still go to Ontario and expect to be served in French, but get served in English because some people just don’t speak French. Get over it. Some people just don’t speak your language. If you speak only English, then you’re a knob if you get insulted because a French only person doest serve you in English and vice versa. My point is that the language barrier will still be there even of you separate, unless you plan to build a wall around Quebec. The reality is, that Quebec is surrounded by an English continent. You can’t just close yourself off and preserve the French, forget it. Lucien bouchard even sent his kids to university in California, so they could get English education, because in a English dominated part of the world, it’s kind of important. That’s just it – you live in an English dominated part of the world. Get used to it because if you try to wall yourself off to protect a language and a national identity, and not allow it to develop and change, then it will eventually fail. Especially economically. Quebec’s economy will be ruined if they separate. Forget receiving any federal aid from Canada, which already give Quebec more federal aid than any other province. Even people in FRANCE speak more English than they do in Quebec. I know, I’ve been there, and speaking English in Cannes gets you further than it does in Quebec city. You have to allow your culture and language to bend with the shifting of the culture in the rest of North America. Also, the reason that the rest of Canada thinks that Quebec is filled with idiots is because of the whole separation thing. It really does look that you think you’re too good for us because you speak French.

      • Justin April 2, 2014 at 11:37 pm #

        What a jerk you are… you should seriously read this text again with more attention…

      • RobinHoude April 3, 2014 at 2:01 pm #

        Threats and hate, as usual. Be like us and get over it. By the way, 40% of Québec are bilingual while 17% of the rest of Canada is… And we can’t have our own culture and language and still be Worth the rest of Canada??

      • Michel April 3, 2014 at 2:20 pm #

        Wow. Convincing. You’re right, we should shut up and die. That’ll be perfect. I feel enthusiastic about slowly disappear. You had me this time… C’mon, the idea is not to wall ourselves but to exist as ourselves in the world instead of surviving as a shadowed part of a country filled with people like you, who wants us to “bend and shift” with the rest of North America. You sound like you didn’t even read the text you comment.

      • J Christian Gagnon April 3, 2014 at 4:58 pm #

        You are totally off! You’re talking like you grandad mon ami… English unilinguist are the one building a wall not opening their mind to a diffent way of seeing and understanding things by learning another langiuage. Québec should fuckoff from Canada, so you can build your anglo nation and we can continue to build ours en Français! Anglos feels they are the best since the defeat of Napoléon at Waterloo and always try to impose their mind on otehrs ever since. It became a sickness. And if you feel that we are too good for you, YOU have a perception problem.

      • chikoune April 6, 2014 at 5:43 pm #

        An how com u dont rite like dis? Maybe because you’re not really down with what the Internet is doing to the English language? Do you get my drift?

      • Marie April 10, 2014 at 5:30 am #

        France has a population of 66 millions. People may use English words in France, but the vast majority of their presidents never speaks English with other world leaders. Cannes is not France, it’s a small town with a movie festival. You probably did not travel much in France. It’s the same with Belgium. Québec has its own culture, its writers, artists, actors, are not the exact copies of the American culture like they are in other provinces. Canada was founded in Hochelaga, Ville-Marie (Québec, Montréal), Trois-Rivières, by French Canadians. And in case you did not know, the national anthem was written by a French Canadian poet, in 1880, and translated in English in 1906. You want to assimilate French Quebecers ? What about the Natives ? We should assimilate them too ? Forbid them to speak their language because they live in North America ? That is called discrimination, sir. Canadians from other provinces should respect the French culture and be proud of it if they really love Canada. And by the way, I give 10 000 $ each year to Ottawa, taken from my wages, and I expect respect for that. Parlez-vous français, monsieur ? Êtes-vous bilingue ? I am a French Quebecer and I am bilingual. Are you ? Last but not least, when I go to Vermont, New York, Philadelphia, Louisiana, etc., there are always Americans who recognize my accent and are happy to speak French, even if to say bonjour et merci. What about you ?

      • Richard J. Champagne-Girouard April 12, 2014 at 7:18 pm #

        I am from Manitoba and my first language is french. And by living in a small town we had to learn the english language. It didn’t kill us to learn another language. But in your case, it would. And have you been to the province of Quebec? And if you make an effort to speak french when you come to Montreal, you will be appreciated.

      • Olivier April 17, 2014 at 4:47 pm #

        Funny. Have you actually ever been to France? The common French person is actually worse than any Quebecois. I lived there for 4 years and friends visiting me complained that French would simply turn away/ pass by when they addressed them in English to ask for directions. The French consider their language to be the #1 language in the world with no need to learn anything else unless absolutely necessary. And even then they check twice if the effort is really necessary.
        Plus, if we follow your logic, should everybody give up their language and identity and simply assimilate into English? Because English is the economic language after all today, even if you don’t live in a place like Quebec where you are surrounded by Anglophones.
        I give you that much at least: I believe that much of the current brouhaha is made up by the political class. It’s like Ukrainian people said lately: the division between the Russian and Ukrainian parts of the population barely exists in everyday life. It’s mainly whipped up by the political class and their extremist followers for their personal gain. The same takes place in Quebec. Sadly, too few realize it

      • Vivien August 10, 2014 at 11:28 am #

        “Even people in FRANCE speak more English than they do in Quebec.”

        No, that’s so wrong, I’m French and I can tell you that France like Spain and Italy has some real difficulty with English, the northern countries like Norway or Sweden are way way better. Quebecois are better than us as well and it’s not hard ^^
        I have been living in London for several months and I could see in a glance who came from the south of europe and who came from the north.
        If you go in a French company you’ll see that 90% of the personnel doesn’t speak English at all. They learned it at school and may remember some useless things like “hello”, “where is my umbrella ?”, “Brian is in the Kitchen” or some basics sentences like that but they won’t be able to talk to you more than 10s and your main answer will be something like “hein euh, wait *look around* euh ok I’m sorry I don’t speak English” or your interlocutor will just repeat “Sorry can you speak more slowly I didn’t understand” and finally find someone else to talk to you ^^

        The Quebecois are really better than us, most of them seem to speak English fluently and they need to, even to find a job.

    • periagoge April 3, 2014 at 1:26 am #

      Thanks for the great read. It’s refreshing with all the Quebec bashing going on. The only thing I would add: I am tired of reading in the ROC media that separatists are really trying to blackmail Canada in getting more things from them. This is just silly, dedicated separatists have pretty much given up on Canada (at least since Meech) and actually wants to create a new country, not out of spite or anti-anglo resentment but because they already feel like they belong to a distinct political society. They don’t hate Canadians, just like they probably don’t hate Vermonters…

      • J Christian Gagnon April 3, 2014 at 5:00 pm #

        Bravo! Well explained!

    • Rachel April 3, 2014 at 2:39 pm #

      I live in Quebec and I speak English and French very well. I think it’s only a matter of principles. If an Ontarian is coming to Quebec (that is very french..) then it should only be right that he/she speak french. Why would they expect us, in our own province, to speak english just because they are from Ontario? It’s the same thing if people from Quebec go to Ontario. They aren’t going to speak to us in french; they will speak to us in their language, english. It’s as simple as that.

      • Ronaldo May 9, 2014 at 10:01 pm #

        Are you saying that anyone going to Quebec, wether they are just passing by as a tourist or visiting friends, needs to learn French? When you travel to a non-francophone country what language do you use? Should those countries expect you to speak their language, as a matter of principle? My point is, French is a beautiful language but, unfortunately, it is not the leading business language used by the rest of the world. French is a beautiful language that will continue to flourish so there is no need to force it to people.

      • Robin Houde May 10, 2014 at 10:18 pm #

        Yes Ronaldo? What language do you use when you visit other contries?? If you really actually visit them 😉 I’ve personnally learned a bit of the language of every contry i’ve visited… And french and spanish is pretty usefull in all latin contries… Way more than english!

  3. JC Little (@AnimatedWoman) April 2, 2014 at 5:49 am #

    I love this. But I wish to point out that Québec/Montréal Anglos (like me) are not the same as the ones invoking Anglo-privilege in the rest of Canada. Please don’t lump us in with them.

    Vive l’hiver!

    • J Christian Gagnon April 3, 2014 at 5:01 pm #

      I give you reason Miss Little… OUR anglos are not as mean or obnoxious to us! Vive la révolution républicaine!

  4. Marc-André Lapointe April 2, 2014 at 12:39 pm #


  5. Mathieu April 2, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

    Thank you. Just thank you !!
    Now, how can we educate the other 99% Canadians about this ?

    Canada doesn’t work. We need something like the European Union, where the nations recognize each other and have the right to pull out of treaties that don’t agree with their values. (And for your question, yeah, Canada is not that great; under Harper it is so far from OUR VALUES, and traveling, I get asked why we dropped Kyoto and went to war in various places…

  6. kathy April 2, 2014 at 2:55 pm #

    I love how someone who doesnt live here and endure the day to day discrimination that most anglos/allos go thru feels that they can go ahead and condemn people who just want to have their basic human rights. What people here want, (french and english) is to be treated fairly based on their actions, and not the language they speak. is that too much to ask? is it too much to ask that I am not told to go back to england (I am not from england) or that I am not told off for mispronouncing a word or askign someone to repeat something that I did not understand? I am glad that you feel you have a real outlook on how things work here, becuase you have family that came from here, and pass thru from time to time. but let me tell you, you are one of those dangerous types of people who talk and have no actualy knowledge of whats going on.
    also, not going to keep going, but does the maltreatement of the french before the quiet revolution, justify the maltreatment of the non francophones now? their grandparents mistreatment is the cause of all the misreatment of all the non francophones now? thats a dangerous concept… congrats on your public display of ignorance!
    P.s its not all francophones that act in this way, but the few who are raised in ignorance and the close minded manner that they are somehow intitled. Natives were here before them, they have to try to remember that.

    • John April 2, 2014 at 7:55 pm #

      Exactly this. The article is basically telling Anglos that they should just accept less human rights and shut up.

      It’s annoying when people make articles like this that try and portray English speakers as people who want everyone else to speak English. They obviously have no idea what is going on in Quebec and are basing their entire article on the few Facebook posts they read.

      Not to mention s/he ignores that fact that Quebec has cheap school, etc because they get a lot of money from Canada. Perhaps s/he is mistaking the 250 billion dollar debt as a surplus? or maybe they don’t realize that Quebec made a 20 billion dollar profit from Canada last year alone (and yet the debt went up).

      • Jérôme Pilette April 2, 2014 at 8:33 pm #

        You should call human rights watch, you talk as if Québec was a living hell for anglos. Thats total BS. And I tought the Quebecers where whiners. You should apply for the ‘oppressed people of the year’ award…I’m sure Black people, Jews and Armenians will vote for you hands up!

        Seriously dude, we have cheap schools because we chose to, with the ‘revolution tranquille, way back in the days, not because we’re living on the wellfare of the rest of Canada and have been receiving money for the last 10 years.

        Check your stats. Realignment comes and goes, before the liberals of Jean Charest, Québec was the 2nd richest province in Canada and WE were sending money to poorer provinces.

        Here are bonus facts:

        Toronto is the Canada’s metropole today because a while ago the governement had the Saint-Laurent dug deeper so ships could go farther than Montréal, therefore stealing most of the Montréal port’s business.
        So we gave Toronto its maritime business capability.

        We also gave Newfoundland the Labrador (‘gave’ here, is a term used to describe the fact that a private council from London took it from us and gave it to Newfoundland, wich was still a british colony back then.) Just for the record, know that there’s not only potatoes in Labrador, but also helluva hydro-electric potential.

        Radio Canada 17 mars 2014
        ”Combien Québec donne-t-il au fédéral, et combien le Québec reçoit-il du fédéral?

        La réponse à cette question se trouve à la page 46 des Comptes économiques des revenus et dépenses du Québec, édition 2013, document publié par l’Institut de la statistique du Québec.

        Ainsi, en 2012, en impôts, cotisations, revenus et transferts, le Québec a envoyé à Ottawa une somme totale de 44,554 milliards de dollars. En retour, le fédéral a envoyé au Québec en dépenses, transferts et intérêts un total de 60,815 milliards de dollars. Le gouvernement du Canada a donc versé un montant net supplémentaire au Québec de 16,261 milliards de dollars.”

        You can take round corners like that anytime you want, I’ll gladly take the 3.739 billion dollars you look over. Anyways, these are only figures in one aspect of the economy. There’s plenty of ways to get that back from our pockets.

        If Québec is such bad business for Canada, since years, if Québec is dragging Canada down, why doesn’t Canada throw Québec away?

      • John April 3, 2014 at 1:04 am #

        ah yes Jérôme Pilette, I’m sure you know what Anglos have to go through each day right? I mean that is an English name right? 😉 I could post any of the hundreds of articles demonstrating anti-anglo sentiment or I could post any of the dozens of personal stories I have, but I won’t bother because things like that have been on the news all the time for the past few year.

        and Quebec recently rich? Man, that’s just a total lie. I’ll post you a few links that show that there is no truth at all to the idea that Quebec is doing fine economically.

        Perhaps you’d like a look at this article which indicates that Quebec has been the leading receiver in equalization payments for 57 years straight. and Quebec has taken over 260 billion dollars in those payments since ’57. oh and if Quebec is doing so well then how come it’s equalization payments increased over a billion dollars this year?

        link here:

        or You can look at this which has a link to a study that shows Quebec’s standard of living in 2010 wasn’t so hot.

        oh and here is an article that discusses why separatists are looney to think Quebec is financially fine and also discusses 6 other lies seperatists try to propagate:

        Oh and this has a section that links to a report published by the University of Montreal… and it shows that Quebec has been becoming proportionally poorer over the past few decades… not only that but it has some sad prospects for the future too.

        I can’t tell if you were lying on purpose or if you’re really that misinformed. I can’t even individually respond to everything you said because it’s all wrong. I mean even the article you linked doesn’t say I’m wrong… and to be honest, considering the links I posted, the 3 billion I overestimated is peanuts.

      • scrypticwriter July 29, 2015 at 8:46 pm #

        cry me a fucking river…

    • John April 2, 2014 at 10:21 pm #

      agree 100%

      • John April 2, 2014 at 10:23 pm #

        agree 100% with Kathy, and John.

      • Marco de Guate April 5, 2014 at 9:56 pm #

        As a Franco-Ontarian, I have been through much worse than what the English go through in Québec.

      • John April 14, 2014 at 5:48 pm #

        “As a Franco-Ontarian, I have been through much worse than what the English go through in Québec.”

        Wow, undermining the plight of another by saying yours is worse? Pretty sick mentality.

  7. Maxime Vincent April 2, 2014 at 4:11 pm #

    As a franco from Québec and a separatist, I must admit I did learn english and I do need it to work in my field. What Anglos and Canadians in general don’t seem to understand is that we don’t hate them. In fact,most canadians are nice people.

    The thing is: we don’t have to be married. it jsut makes it arkward. If we become an independent nation, we could be best buds and go out all the time and do nice stuiff together and build a treehouse and stuff. What I’m saying is that most of us franco will vote for the PQ and for the separation of Québec because we don’t feel the need for other people to decide for us.

    It might seem weird or wrong, but we just want to decide for ourselves instead of someone choosing what’s best for us. And I think it might be benefical for our relationship as nations. Hell, if we separate, I’ll go to ontario celebrate the first of july (Which I never did in my entire life because I never felt canadian what so ever). Alright, good article and you guys have a nice day.


    • Brook Bakay April 3, 2014 at 1:05 am #

      Maxime, in what sense does the rest of Canada “decide what’s best for you”? What powers is Quebec lacking? We control our language, finances, immigration, culture, education… We can opt out of any federal legislation using the notwithstanding clause. As far as I can tell, all separation does is get rid of equalization payments and force us to replace a lot of federal infrastructure.

      • Lou DA April 3, 2014 at 5:41 pm #

        We do not control our finances as long as we keep sending taxes to Ottawa. In turn, those taxes are used to finance stuff we do no agree with (buying F-35s for instance). We have no control whatsoever over criminal law: although we would like the laws to reflect the progressive nature of our society (by legalizing marijuana and prostitution for instance), we just can’t because some dumb rednecks out west disagree with it. We’re risking our safety by not having a firearm registry anymore just so harper can please his redneck albertan friends. Finally, we can’t opt out from any federal legislation with the nothwithstanding clause which only allows provincial governments to bypass section 2 and 7-15 of the canadian charter.

      • Maxime Vincent April 3, 2014 at 6:25 pm #

        That question is so retarded, I won’t even consider answering it.

        “It’s not so bad, we jsut decide for half your infrastructures and elect a fucking retard conservative government your entire province voted against during the last elections.”

        Québec was conquered by strenght of arms. We got severly raped. Did you ever see a conqueror murder, rape and plunder a country for their own good.

        Up until the 70’s the federal government overtly preached the assimilation of Québécois as an inferior labour force that had to remain in check, out of the power and the resources and the means to control ourselves.

        Just open a history book once in a while. Or did the Canadians school tell you that we kindly asked you to fuck us over for 200 years?

        Be mindful, we are coming a long way. We have 400 years of history on this land, and don’t tell me the “don’t live in the past! bullshit, it is still affecting us today and if we are not doing so well economically it’s because of this artificial state of poorness and unpowerment that was preserved.

        Oh yeah I forgot, you may want to look into the “Rapatriement de la constitution”. You know, maybe that has something to do with the powers we are lacking: the ones we got stripped from.

        good day and all, I’m not mad at you, I just despise ignorance.

      • John Jancar April 3, 2014 at 6:31 pm #

        It’s time for Quebec to realize, the best role it has, it as a province of Canada. Canada is a great nation, a leader in many areas, and a major player on the world scene. Quebec has no chance of ever becoming anywhere near as prominent, so what on Earth is the benefit of separating. Oh we can speak French all we want now. It’s an absurd idea.

        Quebec as a nation, would be a joke of a nation. No military, no scientific or cultural achievements, no great tourist attractions, no great exports except paper. Quebec would be a leader in paper manufacturing, that’s about it. Is that what Quebec really wants, to be a mediocre nation at best, just for the sake of being a nation. Just for the sake of saying, we are our own nation. It’s an absurd thing.

        All this to “preserve french culture” you won’t preserve french culture, American western culture is spreading here fast, and you won’t stop it, even if you separate. People will still watch the American TV shows, listen to the American music, wear the American style clothes. Quebec will forever be trying to catch up to American culture, and it will never catch up. The best they can do is have cheap knock offs of American culture, like french rap, french reality shows, french game shows, etc. And it will never be as good, because America is far superior in culture and there’s nothing in sight to think that will change.

        Quebec as a supporting role in Canada, is its best role. Not everyone is meant to be a leader, some people are meant to be the supporting cast. And Quebec is one of those types. Quebec won’t be a leader in anything, so it’s best role, is to help Canada become as successful as it can be, because Canada has more potential. But instead of doing that, it spends most of its time fighting Canada, and fighting the “English”, because they fear losing their “identity”.

        Your identity should be as a supporting role for Canada, that’s what your identity should be. French culture will never compete with English culture, it just won’t happen, it’s a losing battle. The sooner you accept that, the better. The sooner you accept your supporting role, and start making things easier for everyone, the better.

        You can keep your french language….but accept that, French will never be bigger than English, your culture will never be as big or influential as English culture. You will have to accept playing the secondary role, or simply vanish as English ends up overpowering you. There are no other options, you either integrate or vanish. You accept your secondary supporting role, or vanish. Those are your options, so choose wisely.

      • Frédéric Marchand April 17, 2014 at 4:35 pm #

        John Jancar, you probably don’t realise it, but you are reason # 1 why 40% of Québécois want to separate from your great country. So much hate and condescension. Reading you, I’m asking myself why the hell do they fight separatism that hard if they hate Québec so much?. You look like an angry husband trying, between two slaps in the face, to convince his beaten wife to stay with him. Cause as everyone knows it, he’s the best! I’ve already spent too much time answering your stupid comment. Have a great angry day sir!

  8. Denis April 2, 2014 at 7:07 pm #

    Merci! Revenez vivre ici quand vous pourrez, cela améliorera mon pays.

  9. Véronique April 2, 2014 at 7:57 pm #

    I share the same point of view as the writer but I would’ve never been able to put it up like she did. Great job 🙂

    I am from Montréal, was fully raised in French, got English classes in school (as well as Spanish). I love speaking English to tourists (whether they are Canadian or not) and am afraid that Québec will separate and the outcome that it may have on our economy.

    Relevant anecdote: One of my french-speaking colleague had to communicate on the phone and email to another one based in Ontario. The Ontario guy told our boss he never wanted to deal again with the other one’s terrible accent and bad English grammar unless he got better at it. My boss shut him up and said: “At least he speaks English. Call back when you speak French”. He never complained afterward 😉

  10. Bruno Lacroix April 2, 2014 at 10:15 pm #

    Reblogged this on Histoire et Civilisation and commented:
    Mon genre d’Anglo…

  11. Justin April 2, 2014 at 11:43 pm #

    Thank you very much for this amazing article. I wish the rest of the Canada could understand we have a whole different culture and that we are proud of it. We want to preserve it and make our own choices according what we think is best for us.

    From a french canadian that doesn’t hate any anglo.

  12. Montréal Bilingue - Bilingual Montreal April 3, 2014 at 2:37 am #


    There is a lot of truth to what you say, but you have to look at it from an anglo perspective too, which you seem to oppose without understanding. It was not the average working anglo that was oppressing the French before the Quiet Revolution, but the rich Londonite elite, alongside the Duplessis and the Catholic Church. But they did pay the ultimate price for not having stood up for their francophone neighbors.

    Now, however, the situation is reversed, The provincial governement is talking about a war on Bonjour-Hi and ”anglicization”. It is the anglophones and the English language that is marginalized and used as a menace to further control the francophone population by the new clergy: the State and the Unions.

    In reality, it takes the will of both language groups to achieve harmony, so putting it as only the rest of Canada need to do such an overture is not going to get us there. I consider French and English both important languages in Canada and while in Canada we need to valorize the French language it is not sustainable if English is called a ”menace” and a ”foreign language” by procinvial politicians here. Certainly one glace at Montreal’s flag could tell them how wrong they are, but they don’t care, they are out to make their dream of French-Only Montréal a reality. So much so, they added a clause into our city charter in 2008 to say that Montreal is a unilingual city. Does that sound fair, reasobale or reconciliatory?

    And P.S, Farine Five Roses used to have a bilingual sign: Farine Five Roses Flour. ”Flour” was removed and destroyed during the 70s. It was a beautiful sign. You might be bothered by the English branding, but considering the size of the US market the company is serving I find it is actually touching it had a bilingual descriptive from the get go and I wish to see it back one day. So the question is – was it really to protect French, or was it to eliminate English?

    Considering we are still talking about additional language laws in 2014 (bill 14), while French in Quebec is at 94.4%, I think we now need to stop fighting for languages and stand up for balance and harmony.

    Montreal Concordia Salus

  13. happy_exmontrealer April 3, 2014 at 7:00 am #

    “All kidding aside, if it were possible for our family, I would move there in a heartbeat.”

    Well-written article, and I love Quebec (and especially Montreal) for all the reasons you list. I agree, it’s awesome.

    But for me, you lost 99% of your credibility when you said you didn’t live there. I invite you to move there and spend 20+ years living there as an anglophone. You might still like Montreal and Quebec for all the same reasons you list. But I don’t think you would have the will or desire to write a post like this one after having experienced the subtle but surmountable day-to-day stuff that goes on that’s simply too difficult to convey to anybody that has not gone through it.

    • happy_exmontrealer April 3, 2014 at 7:10 am #

      uhh… *surmountable -> cumulative..

  14. Simon Menard April 3, 2014 at 12:12 pm #

    reading all the comments from english people i can see just there why Quebec want to quit Canada …

    • Carl Kipps April 3, 2014 at 3:03 pm #

      All the comments? Give me a break. T’exagères vraiment la.

    • Andrea V. April 3, 2014 at 7:01 pm #

      Some of us had no choice but to move to quebec… And some how we manage to like the place and blend right in being anglos. The way people treated me here made me feel extremely small… I speak 3 languages and try very hard with french and even that i try i still get discreminated and look down. Canada is a wonderful country and invest a lot of money to teach french to our children. My biggest issue is why do quebec people still stuck into the pass? If african americans can move on from slavery and other cultures can move on from many other terrible historical events, why are people in this province making such a fuzz about the pass….

      Lets take the canadian arm forces as an example… Any base in Canada is bilingual, if you visit bases in Quebec they only have their stuff in french and mostly serve you in french… Fair eh?

      • Maxime Vincent April 3, 2014 at 8:46 pm #

        If you forget history, you are doomed to repeat the past.

        Because these past events have an impact on the present. Also, it is still of actuality that our culture is very different. Just see the way people think here, it’s much more progressive than most of canada. Doin’t even speak about legalising marijuana in alberta man, buit here no one really gives a damn. Hell, I even smoked weed with a cop once (he wasn’t on service, but still).

        Why is it fair for you guys to incclude us when we clearly don’t want to be part of yout “greater good”. Maybe we don’t give a fuck about your perception of what is right for us. NMaybe we just want to descide for ourselves. Maybe we want to be tour friend,

  15. John Jancar April 3, 2014 at 5:04 pm #

    This will be a hard truth to swallow, but swallow it you must. French Quebec culture is on its way out the door, and there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s an obsolete culture, and American culture will come to dominate this area, because its the more advanced culture.

    It’s already dominating this area, do you see the music the kids listen to, the clothes they wear, the TV shows they watch. It’s all American, or some cheap knock off of American culture. French Quebec has no real culture to speak of, there’s very little true original cultural creations from Quebec. Aside from poutine, there’s nothing. Everything is a knock of from someone else, it’s always been, and you know that.

    There’s no “cultural identity” in French Quebec, aside from the French language. Everything else was phased out long ago. Not many Quebecers these days are Roman Catholic, not many Quebecers these days wear the traditional Acadian dress, not many Quebecers today, in any way, resemble Quebecers from 50 or 100 years ago. The only thing French Quebec still clings to, is the French language, and even that is on the way out.

    It’s the law of nature. A more dominant culture will eventually spread and overtake weaker cultures, that’s just how it goes. Quebec had no real culture to speak of, and what little there was, became obsolete a long time ago. That’s how it goes in life, French culture is too weak to survive, and a more advanced culture is taking over. You can try and fight it, you can cry about it, you can try and force out other cultures, but it won’t work, and it’s never worked throughout history.


    • Édouard April 3, 2014 at 6:02 pm #

      «French Quebec has no real culture to speak of, there’s very little true original cultural creations from Quebec. Aside from poutine, there’s nothing. Everything is a knock of from someone else, it’s always been, and you know that.»

      Ahhh, ignorance…

      – Les Cowboys fringants
      – Beau Dommage
      – Ariane Moffatt
      – Mes Aïeux
      – Harmonium
      – Octobre
      – Stefie Shock
      – Dumas
      – Gilles Vigneault
      – Daniel Bélanger
      – Robert Charlebois
      – Jean Leloup
      – Richard Desjardins
      – Jean-Pierre Ferland
      – Félix Leclerc
      – et tant d’autres

      – Émile Nelligan
      – Patrick Senécal
      – Gaston Miron
      – Réjean Ducharme
      – Michel Tremblay
      – Marie Laberge
      – Georges Dor
      – Dany Laferrière
      – Yves Beauchemin
      – Paul-Émile Borduas
      – Raymond Lévesque
      – etc

      – Denys Arcand
      – Charles Binamé
      – Yves Desgagnés
      – Pierre Falardeau
      – Podz
      – Claude Jutra
      – Jean-Claude Lauzon
      – Léa Pool
      – Louis Saïa
      – Jean-Marc Vallée
      – Denis Villeneuve

      Should I keep going???

      • John Jancar April 3, 2014 at 8:33 pm #

        No, by all means, keep going on and on as long as you like, listing these nobodies no one’s ever heard of lol

        Let me make my point clearer. Any region, no matter what it is, has their local “artists”. Their underground artists who manage to make some kind of name for themselves, by appealing to small time folk like yourself who actually think their attempt at music making is good music. It’s not good music, it’s simplistic, barely talented music, that’s why no one’s heard of them outside a small collection of French people.

        Every region in the world, has their “cultural” folk, folk who write books, folk who make movies, folk who make music, and they’re generally very untalented folks who just happen to appeal to a handful of undynamic people. Doesn’t mean they have any real talent in their craft. It doesn’t take all that much talent to write a book. Or make a song. Or even make a movie. Trust me, if these guys had any real talent, they would be much bigger than they are. I never even heard of most of the people you listed on here, and I live in Quebec.

        I shouldn’t even get started listing artists from Quebec, real true artists who actually have massive talent, the names are so few, you can count them on one hand. Because the truth is, Quebec doesn’t produce that much talent. And any real talent that is produced, always ends up emigrating to America, because they can’t make it big here in Quebec, because America, and the English world, is where you go have true success.

      • John Jancar April 3, 2014 at 8:35 pm #

        Furthermore, that wasn’t what I was saying. I wasn’t saying Quebec doesn’t produce any local cultural folk. Again, every region has their local cultural folk. What I was saying was, no style of music, no genre of music, no genre of anything, ever originated in Quebec.

        For example….America has produced Jazz music, Blues music, Rap music, Pop music, Rock and Roll music, Country music, and others. Those are actual music genres, completely original creations that were added to world culture. In fact, almost all popular music genres today, originated in the United States.

        How many genres of music originated in Quebec. None, zero. And the musicians in Quebec who play American genres of music, don’t hold a candle in terms of talent to the Americans who play the same genre, and everyone knows that.

        That’s what I mean by cultural dominance. And you need to smarten up and actually understand what “culture” is. Quebec had little to no “culture” in the past, and what culture we have today, is basically the french version of American culture. The only original creations to ever come out of Quebec, was poutine, and a type of meat pie. That’s it. Not too overwhelming when it comes to culture, not at all.

        So that’s why I said, Quebec has no real culture. Quebec has actually very little culture, even with its Americanized french version. Not much actual talent comes out of Quebec, and there’s even few truly culturally unique creations. On the totem pole of culture, Quebec is right at the bottom.

        So for you guys to say, well we don’t want to lose our culture, well fine. There’s tribes in the Amazon that have their own culture too, doesn’t mean it’s advanced. And if a more advanced culture comes along and ends up being the popular culture, well what can you do. You couldn’t hang. Your time has come and it’s time to go, it’s time to let the dominant culture take the reigns.

        And that’s what you guys try so hard to fight against, and it’s a futile effort. Quebec and French culture will never be as big as English culture, that’s just a fact. In order to hang in this modern world, you have to integrate with English. If you don’t, you do so to your own detriment, and that’s just a fact.

        So you can go on with that list, and say how great Quebec culture is, and what great people its produced, but I know that’s a farce. It’s just you not understanding, and denying the obvious…..Quebec has no real culture…and what little of it there is, is being taken over by English culture. I know that, and you know that, the sooner you accept it, the better off you’ll be.

      • frappy77F April 4, 2014 at 3:03 am #

        John Jancar

        So, if music and movies are in French, they are automatically bad? So I could easily say that since I do not understand German, all German music is bad? You clearly do not have the musical ear. These people that you say are no names, they are to you because you simply don’t know them. I know all of these artists, and I do because they are from my culture. The only reason why music and movies are popular is because they are in English and the majority of the overpowered world is anglophone.

        In Québec, we have tremendous talent that the rest of Canada will not acknowledge. Just look at the last few entries at the oscars for Canadian movies….or look at the winners of the juno awards for best movies in the last decade…. Music-wise? Of course Rush, the Tragically Hip and others great Canadian bands will be more popular in the States… Because people want to know what the lyrics are because, let’s face it, from a musician’s point of view, the average music taste sucks and people just want to sing along. People want to know what they are singing. Even the Beatles understood that are recorded many songs in German for Germans.

        Besides that we got…
        Cirque du soleil
        We invented improvisation
        We had the best running show in all of canada in its entirety with La Petite Vie.
        Leonard Cohen (that’s a noname too I guess)
        Arcade Fire
        Celine Dion
        François Pérusse (probably the greatest music editor in the world) he edited the Beatles’ Love album.
        André-Philippe Gagnon (the best impressionator the world has ever known)
        Jean-Marc Vallée (director of Dallas Buyers Club)
        We got the jazz festival
        The canadian national hymn was written by a quebecois.
        … And many, many more…..

        Anyway, I give all these arguments and it won’t matter to you. I’m proud to say, however, that i’m glad I can say that I am sort of in two cultures, i can appreciate the great talents of Québec and Canada.

    • Maxime Vincent April 3, 2014 at 8:30 pm #

      this is exactly the kind of attitude we hate. You can’t tell us how to speak, you can’t tell us how tyo think, you can’t tell us to shut up and be canadians.

      You just can’t be a bully and expect5 everyone to take it like they deserve it. go west my friend.

      Le Québec, mon pays, ad vitam Eternam.

      • Maxime Vincent April 3, 2014 at 8:39 pm #

        You’d have less lot troubles if you’d let us go. and if you think we are dragging you down economicaslly, then why do you think it’s a bad idea to let us go?

        Altruism? Empathy? I think not.

      • Jérôme Pilette April 3, 2014 at 9:41 pm #

        Dear mr. Junkard,
        your comment is so away from the track of reality that I won’t even try to argue in a logical manner with you.

        It’s surrealisticaly stupid that someone can actually think the things you wrote. Someone would have to be mentally challenged, braindead or intellectually impaired to think that.

        I will just pretend you tried to achieve a masterpiece in sarcasm and let it go with the flow. I mean, it’s so surrealist, if your comment was a painting, Dali wouldn’t have a clue on what it is!

        So carry on comparing a 300+ millions habs country with a 8mils province big guy… since any other province in Canada or the rest of Canada alltogether is no match culturaly for Québec alone, with it’s eyes closed and it’s Labrador tied in the back.

        P.S. Super discount on Queen Mother’s portraits this weekend only at

    • Patrick Martel April 4, 2014 at 4:14 am #

      Dear Mr Jancar,

      I would truly enjoy meeting you over a cup of coffee to teach you how you’re wrong about Quebec culture. We can even have this pleasant discussion in the language of your choice.

      We can talk about Robert Lepage, Cirque du Soleil, Karkwa, Michel Tremblay, Michel Lemieux, Victor Pilon, Dave St-Pierre, Guy A. Lepage, Corno, Marc Séguin, Moment Factory, Pierre Lapointe, Fred Pellerin, Denis Villeneuve, Jean-Marc Vallée, Xavier Dolan and so, so, many others.

      We can talk about the fact that if you don’t personally know these artists, they are still known around the world for their unique talent, their “Québécois touch”.

      Tell us that we should become better entrepreneurs, tell us that we should learn more about English Canadians in general (their great culture, for instance), tell us about how we, like any other people, have to recognize our flaws, but don’t you ever, ever, tell us that we have no actual culture! This only shows how little culture you seem to have, how limited your views of what culture can be are.

      If you keep telling someone they’re no good, they can start believing it.

      That trick doesn’t work on me.

      • stephane April 9, 2014 at 9:55 pm #

        Well said but let the fisherman fish, that’s obviously what he’s trying to do here.

    • Marco de Guate April 5, 2014 at 9:57 pm #

      Mr. Jancar,
      Because you never heard of Luis Sepúlveda or Augusto Monterroso or maybe even of Nobel prize winner Gabriel García Márquez does not mean their culture does not exist. It’s just proof that you are “limited in your knowledge”, not to be offensive. There are no small or big cultures, there is just culture which to me is the sum of your experiences. I know very little of Norwegian culture or Chinese or Iranian (Persia), but I have read Jostein Gaarder and Khalil Gibran for example and feel richer for it.

    • Jay April 9, 2014 at 12:22 am #

      hehe oh John you Troll! Too bad i’m too busy picking my nose, it sounds fun to talk with you! You seem so intelligent and knowledgable! Your’re right, Canadian exported Justin Bieber, and THIS is art, this is real culture, Quebec culture doesn’t get to his toes.. Seriously, stop feeding the troll, it stinks..

      • John Jancar April 9, 2014 at 3:37 am #

        Well he’s one of the biggest stars in the world right now, so he can’t be that bad can he. If he was truly that bad, nobody would listen to him. I’m not a huge fan of his music, or him, but people like him, and he’s a talented kid. It’s not my taste of music, I’m not a pop guy, but millions of kids around the world love his music, and you can’t deny that.

        Moreover, Canada doesn’t have too much of a culture either. We are an offshoot of American culture, American culture is the dominant culture in the world, we can agree on that. Nobody produces more stars and produces more cultural material, than America.

        That’s what I mean by cultural dominance, so if American culture is spreading here, and people love “English” culture more than French culture, what are you to do, you can’t do anything about.that. You can try and list all the great “stars” from Quebec,and say what great work they do, but we all know that they don’t hold a candle to American and “English” cultural achievements, again that’s just a fact. Most true “stars” from Quebec and Canada, go over to the United States, because they know there they will have true success. Canada is small time culture compared to America, it’s really just an offshoot.

        Mexico, and I’ve been there several times, they have their own culture. They have their own music, Latin American music, that is original and wasn’t thought up in the United States. They have their own style of buildings, very colorful buildings, they have their own unique food, they have their traditional dress, they have tourist attractions that attract millions of people around the world, they have their own unique culture that isn’t the same as American culture. They’ve integrated aspects of American culture in many ways, but it’s far easier for them to “keep” their culture, than it is French Quebec.

        Again, French Quebec has no real culture, okay. That’s just a fact, and you need to travel outside of Quebec to understand that. In many ways it’s an inferior culture, every time I’d come back to Quebec from traveling abroad, I’d think what a boring place this is. Quebec simply doesn’t have a very advanced culture, or a very unique culture. Definitely can’t compete with American, or Latin American, or African, or Chinese culture. It’s just not in the same league at all, Quebec is more a local tribal culture than a true dominant world culture. That’s just how it is,

        So if a dominant culture comes in and takes over, you can’t fight that. How would you fight it, the simple truth is, people prefer the better thing. They prefer the better food, the better music, the better clothing, the better TV shows, etc. If people prefer eating at Burger King than La Belle Province, what would you do about that. Ban hamburgers, that’s the only thing you’d do. If people prefer 2pac over Ghislain Poirer, you can’t do anything about that. If people prefer watching American Idol, to La Roue Chanceuse, you won’t do anything about that.

        And trust me, I’ve seen the french TV shows, they don’t hold a candle to their counterparts in America, by far. I’ve listened to the french rap and rock, these guys are amateurs compared to rappers and rockers from America, by far. Even Molson beer, can’t compete with the likes of Coors from America, or Corona from Mexico. It’s just not as good.

      • John Jancar April 9, 2014 at 4:20 am #

        The simple fact of the matter is, in terms of culture, Quebec is amateur compared to more advanced cultures like America, or Mexico, or China. That’s just how it is. It’s a small time culture, in every way. It’s more of a local provincial culture, than a true powerhouse culture of the world, and we know that, everyone knows that.

        The problem is, the more dominant culture will always spread, as lesser evolved cultures end up fading. Mexico has a strong enough culture than it can withstand the onslaught of American culture. It might be the less evolved culture, but it’s strong enough to stay alive.

        Quebec, I’m not so sure it can stay alive, because there’s not much here. And whatever is here, is just a french offshoot of American culture anyways, there are very few unique cultural achievements Quebec has to offer. Quebec, like the rest of Canada, is more Americanized than it’s not. Mexico isn’t like that, China isn’t like that, Japan isn’t like that. Quebec is simply too small to be any kind of powerhouse of culture, it just won’t happen.

        The only thing Quebec has left to cling to, in terms of culture, is the French language. That’s it, most other things are American offshoots. The French language is the only “identity” you have left to preserve. But, the truth is, this is an English world. English is the dominant language of the world, and everyone knows that. They might not like it, but they know it deep down. So you try to fight the English language and English culture from taking over, because you know that’s what’s happening, it’s taking over. And if it’s strong enough to take over, there’s not much you can do about it.

        If that’s how it goes, then that’s how it goes. There were cultures far more powerful than yours, who got swept aside when a more stronger culture came in and took over. Most cultures and languages that have existed in history, aren’t around anymore. Why, because the more dominant culture always will reign supreme, as lesser developed cultures fade away. That’s a law of nature. And if it’s your turn to go, then it’s your turn to go, that’s it.

        There’s not much you can do about it except fight it, but you won’t succeed. I don’t see French culture here in Quebec lasting more than 100 or 200 more years. English will come to take over, because it’s the stronger power. It’s the more advanced culture. The best you can hope for in the long run, is either to go back to France, or follow the ways of the Natives, who have their own reservations where they can live pretty much how they want, without too much interference. But they’ll never hope to compete with English power and dominance, and neither can French Quebec.

        It just won’t happen, and it’s foolish to think it will. That’s a hard truth to swallow, but that’s how it goes. The sooner you realize that the better, and you can then try to integrate, and find a way to keep some semblance of your culture. But to think you can somehow fight English dominance and win, is a foolish idea, and will only result in an absolutely crushing defeat. That’s not a nice thing to say, but that’s how it goes in life. If that’s too much for you to swallow, well it’ll only make things more difficult when it actually happens. It’s a losing battle, and there’s no point even waging it. That’s the truth, and sooner you realize that, the better off you’ll be.

      • Jay April 9, 2014 at 12:37 pm #

        There is no such thing as “more advances culture”… Culture is a culture… the fact some of the american culture is widespread and commercial doesn’t change the distinction of Quebec culture… the only fact here is that there IS a distinction between Quebec and Canadian, and North American culture. Of course there is influence.. geez, the province is surrounded, but what does it have to do with anything? And how is it bad? Every culture got influenced somehow by it’s surrendering. The province is 300 years old, with 10 million people, why in the world would you compare it’s culture with thousands years old Asian culture? 🙂 honnestly, why are you including Asian and Latin culture in a national Quebec debate? You know what Arguments et Phrases creuses Mean?

      • John Jancar April 9, 2014 at 1:01 pm #

        Of course there’s such thing as more advanced culture, are you kidding me. You really think, for instance, that French Quebec rappers hold any candle at all, to rappers from America. The best rappers to come out of Quebec, if they were in America, would be lucky to get a record deal, nevermind sell an album, because the rap isn’t as good quality. The rappers are simply better at their craft in America. In terms of rap music, America is by far the more advanced in that area.

        Same with every other type of music, no musician from Quebec, can hold a candle to musicians from America. Only Celine Dion, and she moved to America to make it big, because she’d never get anywhere near the level of success here in Quebec.

        Same with most other things you’d consider cultural. Even right down to how people act, I’ve been to America several times, I’ve been to Detroit, I’ve been to NYC, I’ve been to New Jersey, and the difference between how people act there, and how people act here, is amazing. There people are friendly, they’re nice, they’re helpful, they treat you like a human being. Same with Mexico, the 2 times I’ve been down there, people were incredibly nice, always quick to help, always friendly and hospitable and welcoming, it was such a strange thing.

        Because I’ve lived in Quebec most of my life, and people here aren’t like that. You go to the store, people are too into themselves and don’t give a damn about you, you’re just another person coming in to add to their workload. You walk down the street, people don’t even acknowledge you when you walk passed them, in Mexico, total strangers say hi to each other on the street. There’s far more sense of togetherness and community over there, and in America, far more than here. Here neighbors don’t even know each other, that’s unheard of in most other parts of the world.

        I find Quebecers, particularly French Quebecers, by and large, to be obnoxious and self centered, all they care about is themselves. That plays out individually and collectively, look at how French people by and large treat the English people here. They don’t give a damn about anything but themselves, and that’s a fact.

        So even in terms of the most basic of culture, how people treat each other in their community, Quebec is far less advanced than even Mexico, which is surprising. I don’t think cultured is a word people would use to describe Quebecers at all, I think vulgar and obnoxious would be far better terms to use. It’s really not a very pleasant experience dealing with most French people here, at least in my experience.

      • John Jancar April 9, 2014 at 1:47 pm #

        There’s so many different facets to culture, and what makes people cultured people, and Quebec just doesn’t match up. In terms of culture, Quebec is right at the bottom of the totem pole.

        Very few original creations, very few classic works of art, very few great musicians, very bland and boring architecture, very boring TV shows and entertainment. The Just For Laughs festival is probably the pinnacle of Quebec cultural achievement, and even that, it’s comedians from America who usually go there and draw the big crowds and money. Quebec comedians are considered amateur compared to their American counterparts, and that’s how it goes for everything else you’d consider cultural.

        Even Hockey, which Montreal kind of adopted and nurtured, was first brought here by British soldiers and immigrants, from England. Quebec has no real culture, Canada itself in terms of culture, can’t compare to other more advanced cultures of the world, like America, or China, or even Mexico. Canada just isn’t big enough, and is basically a satellite state of America.

        And look, as Quebecer, this doesn’t make me happy. I’m not loyal to any country or place, but it’d be nice to say the place where I live is a very cultured place, with great cultural achievements. But it just isn’t, that’s the truth.

        And you can list all the people you think are great artists, all the writers you think are good writers, all the people you think are great architects, etc. etc, but look…every region in the world has their own people who produce their local culture, and produce works and material from their area. Every region. Doesn’t mean they’re any good. If you think like me, you aim for the top. You gauge based on the best. And Quebec is far from the best, in fact, I’d wager to say, compared to other countries, Quebec is near the bottom of the list in terms of culture.

        You may not like that, but guess what, Quebec is no country, and it shouldn’t be. Quebec wouldn’t compare in any way to other more advanced countries of the world, in terms of cultural and scientific achievement. Quebec as a country would be a mediocre country, comparable to places like Belarus, or Georgia. And I happen to think the architecture in Georgia is beautiful, far better than here in Quebec, they have some amazing things going on there, those people are building.

        When’s the last time you seen Montreal build a new highrise, I’ve lived here for 25 years, and I’ve seen Montreal build maybe 1 new major building. The same skyscrapers line the sky, since as long as I can remember. Quebec has a long way to go, the rest of the world seems to be moving forward, while Quebec stagnates. We’re lucky we’re in such close proximity to the States, or else Quebec would be even farther behind.

        We need the winter olympics over here, or something, something to make Quebec start developing itself again. Quebec really is stagnant, because, for the most part, Quebec doesn’t have much to offer. Quebecers again seem focused solely on themselves and their own lives, they probably couldn’t imagine how to make Quebec a better place, the best they can come up with, is ”let’s make everything here French.” It’s ridiculous, it really is.

    • Eric April 10, 2014 at 7:50 pm #

      With China being the next Superpower and our leaders currently looking to strike up business deals with Asian countries, the French culture will become extinct, lol. Forget learning French, start learning Mandarin if you want to stay employed and make a decent living.

  16. danieldcn April 3, 2014 at 9:51 pm #

    I am one of the anglos who stayed. during the many years where this province went through a lot of big shake ups for the sake of protecting the French Language. I attended French school not french immersion French school. Where guess what I was made fun of because I was a Tete-Carre, what was even more confusing for me at the time was that for some reason the kids also thought I was of Chinese descent and would call me tete-carre-chinois. This one always confused me, but because of it not only did I experience discrimination because of my mother tongue, but I got to get a taste of racial discrimination because of the way I looked. Thank god I never informed them my dad was Jewish, I’d have been a trifecta of xenophobia. The point of all this was that even then I was acutely aware that learning French was not only important for me to make my way in Quebec, but that it was my duty as a native Quebecois to integrate and experience what had been built here. Throughout my education what was taught to me by mostly fellow anglophones was not to hate the “Frenchies” but to respect what people like Rene Levesque accomplished. My grandparents lived in Longueuil and while both my were staunch federalists but they always respected Rene Levesque who was their MNA. He was a statesman. The PQ have even implemented some of the most progressive social reform in North America and that is also to be admired. What is not to be admired is Xenophobic behavior. and that is what this charter is about. Even Jacques Parizeau and Lucien Bouchard have spoken out against the Charter. As a life long Quebecois who has lived here all my life what I’m saying is the debate for separation is old and tired and not progressive anymore. It serves nobody. only to create economic uncertainty, and general panic for many in the population. And the charter being driven by fear and divisive politics is meant only to propagate this debate into the next decade. As someone who has traveled extensively around North America and the world I can say that Quebec’s culture and accomplishments are well regarded in most cases. However our continued focus on debating separation is regarded as a pointless, a waste of time and of little real impact to our future at this point. It’s a distraction from what really matters in the world. And the World has gotten a lot smaller since 1976. Now because of policies making it difficult for Francophones to also learn English I have better opportunities for higher paying jobs in this province because guess what I’m far more employable as a fully bilingual resource then one who speaks Just French. The technology world doesn’t really care about french, and all the laws and rules in the world aren’t going to regulate the internet any faster. Things are changing, and the reality is a lot of cultures around the world will blend into others and change or even sadly disappear. Is this the fate of les Quebecois? I hope not, I hope we can continue this experiment and watch a culture of openness and exchange continue to improve this city and this province. Because it’s not just the French that made Quebec what it is it’s all those who have arrived and given us all the additions to our culture. Because if there is anything better than a poutine it’s a poutine with viande Fume, n’est pas?

    • Ronaldo May 9, 2014 at 11:06 pm #


  17. Axel Harvey April 4, 2014 at 1:16 am #

    Since we live next to a country with ten times our population that believes it is the mightiest on the planet, we’ve got to be smarter. Every Canadian should be literate in English and French, and if he/she knows a third language, that should be kept up and passed on to the next generation. I know a Hungarian ex-pat who speaks eleven languages. I have a Polish neighbour who doesn’t list the languages in which he is literate: he names language groups – Slavic, Germanic, Latin, Arabic. Why do we adopt the dumb American attitude to languages? Sure, English dominates globally. If a Chinese seller writes to a Latvian buyer, it’s probably done in English. But language isn’t just about selling shirts. There’s literature, cinema, news, information of all sorts. Réveillez-vous, hostie!

    • Ronaldo May 9, 2014 at 11:07 pm #


  18. noeljipha April 4, 2014 at 12:55 pm #


  19. Mark April 4, 2014 at 2:25 pm #

    I just wanted to add that many of the comments here are also making an assumption that, outside of Quebec, all the other people in the other provinces and territories are fine with the Canadian status quo under the Federal Government. Plenty of people in the other provinces and territories disagree with the Federal Government. It’s a fallacy to lump the Federal Government (at any time) under the First-Past-the-Post system as truly representing the majority of any part of this country.

    • Bernard Fong April 4, 2014 at 11:57 pm #

      Canada is a patchwork of provinces sewn together by an artificial nationalism that the federal government, hardly loved, tries to drum into the people. If there is one overriding consensus I suppose in Canada, it is the implicit loathing of the United States. To be Canadian means not wishing to be American and that is just about it — a negativity. C’est un acquis que l’on ne souhaite pas soumettre le Canada aux griffes américaines mais cela fait naguère une vraie identitié nationale. L’exception se trouve manifeste au Québec et sa région limitrophe en Acadie aujourd’hui connue ailleurs comme “Nouveau Brunswick”.

      • J Christian Gagnon April 9, 2014 at 4:52 pm #

        Bravo Mr. Fong!

  20. Filthy Immigrant April 6, 2014 at 6:32 am #

    In Greek they have a saying: “Two donkeys were fighting in a stranger’s barn”.

    Two colonising people (the way themselves define the term “people”) are bickering over the dead bodies of millions of indigenous people, over the tens of thousands of natives that are kept in poverty, denied their rights, violating every treaty that these people have signed, over a totalitarian establishment of brutal capitalism, within an environmentally and socially destructive economic system.

    It’s entertaining to watch but honestly, with all due respect to all “cultural” minorities and majorities, to all “identity politics” and other subjective definitions of what constitutes a human being, I’ve grown very insensitive to all this.

    My cultural identity is flexible, dynamic, ever-changing. My needs for natural food, clean water, shelter, security, love, health, human touch and living close to nature are NOT!

    When these needs are satisfied for every human being of our society then we can start talking about your deeply touching stories about how you didn’t get served in English in a restaurant or about the website of your favourite cafe not having a French version.

    P.S. Phrases like “I love the bigger things, too. In fact what I love most about Quebec are its socialist ideals and the fact that its people are willing to stand up and fight for what they believe in.” make me laugh (with bitterness)

    I must have been living in a different province for the past 13 years. Bouchard’s and Marois’ PQ and Charest’s PLQ must not have been as neoliberal, totalitarian and corrupt as I have thought…Imagine if Quebec did not have socialist ideals.

    • J Christian Gagnon April 9, 2014 at 4:51 pm #

      Excellent! Merci Filthy immig! People in Québec and the ROC are too preoccupied and immobilized by their fears, and stultified with TV and moronic entertainment, so there is no way of getting out of the old rhetorics without an armed revolution.

  21. Sirovna April 9, 2014 at 4:36 pm #

    First of all buy a history book and then a grammar book. You are so far off the mark that I can’t even begin to point out the inaccuracies and wrong assumptions in your blog. Someone who thinks that the Five Roses sign, the food and “socialized” daycare are what it’s all about is obviously totally unaware of Quebec history and culture. You are either very young or very uneducated.

  22. Mari April 10, 2014 at 6:00 am #

    Thank you. You are really smart and you absolutely can definine yourself Québécois. You know more about our history and our politics than so many other people who living here since forever.

  23. Alex April 10, 2014 at 8:06 am #


    As an anglophone living in Montreal (NYC native, who also lived in Toronto for 3 years) I have to say I love this city. By far the best in Canada! However, given this whole language debate, I have to say…things are not as good as they can be. I understand the need for the Quebecois to preserve their culture & I 100% agree that they should, but instead of arguing for what language should be more predominant, why are we not just making them equal (the way Canada (the whole country, not just Ottawa/Quebec) SHOULD be)?!!? A common phrase I found within a lot of these comments is that: “we should be telling the rest of Canada the catch up with language equality… so that Quebecers can go to Ontario and speak/ get served naturally in their native tongue & for anglos the same”…. Instead of talking about it, why doesn’t Quebec (governement & people) spark some serious change in this country???? Who cares if the rest of Canada doesn’t like Quebec, if they don’t like them they are being ignorant…forgettaaaboutem! Instead of all this negative banter, we should be focusing on the positive and on the future…. Imagine what benefits children/adults all across Canada would have if the government made bilingualism an actual priority! No more lazy French/English classes in elementary schools & high schools…. lets teach the kids right- so that by the time they reach University/College/the workforce they are 100% fluent in 2 languages! No one can say this is a bad thing….

    Even more so, what an achievement for Quebec it would be – to be able to be the first in Canada to actually say – alright bulls**t aside, lets be truly bilingual and get this country on the right/most progressive track. Canada would benefit greatly from a movement like this, and Quebec would be the province responsible for it all 🙂

    Let us not forget, Canada is a mosaic…. Quebec has every right to be a part of Canada and is a culture Canada should be grateful to have, however, English is also a national (even global) language and that needs to be respected….

    Also, anyone know of some cheap/good French classes or tutors, I failed French twice in high school in Toronto and would love to be able to learn some basic French / be able to connect better with my boyfriend’s francophone family and friends.


  24. Mélanie April 23, 2014 at 2:25 pm #

    Merci pour ce texte réconfortant et vrai, je lis très très rarement en anglais et j’ai terminé ton texte, c’est un bon signe.

  25. ronku April 25, 2014 at 1:20 am #

    An advanced society values individual rights and freedoms and the right to choose without being tied to collective or tribal ideals: anything less is primitive. Unfortunately virtually all of the dialogue of both sides here is reflective of the latter. Grow up! Take individual responsibility. Stop relying on governments to create a life for you.

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