Yesterday; April 8, 2003, I had a late lunch at a Harvey’s Hamburger Restaurant not that far from the West Island of Montreal. And while eating, I picked up a courtesy copy of that day’s Montreal Gazette, a news paper I stopped reading a couple of years ago.
Some things seem to be timeless. For example: If you left Quebec 10 years ago, and lost touch with its politics completely, upon your return, you’d be hard pressed to believe that you left at all. It’s always the same crap.
That’s what I saw when I began reading the Montreal Gazette, which not that long ago used to advertise itself as Montreal’s ONLY English Language Daily Newspaper. But not any more.
Now the Montreal Gazette wants to be EVERYONE’S newspaper. Specifically in search of a French speaking readership. And it shows in what they write. And how they write it.
Last night, Anne and I watched the 2 hour CHER extravaganza. It was fabulous. She danced, strutted, wore gorgeous and sometimes outrageous costumes, made off-color remarks and sang her songs none of us will ever forget.
The staging, band and dancers were unbelievable. In all, the only word I can use to describe the 2 hour production is MAGNIFICENT.
I say this, not because I am shilling for the CHER show, but rather to draw a comparison.
Canada just “celebrated” our Juno awards with as much hype as one can apply to anything Canadian. We watched and listened to Shania Twain, who in her own right is a mega star of incredible talent. And we were introduced to bands, composers and performers most of us never heard of.
The performers who we did recognize, are the ones who have made their mark in the USA. That is not to diminish the level of talent or the production value of the awards’ show, it is simply to provide background for my upcoming point.
CHER gave us unbridled entertainment without having to provide any analysis whatsoever. On the other hand however; the Junos were an extension of Canada’s cultural propaganda machine, with performers of all description financed by the federal government, so much so, that Sheila Copps, the Canadian Heritage Minister found her way onto the stage to make herself seen and her voice heard.
Here is where the Montreal Gazette, formerly billed as Montreal’s ONLY English Language Daily Newspaper comes in.
In their editorial, they too mention that Copps’ appearance on-stage was somewhat unwarranted, EXCEPT for the fact that it is her Ministry that pays for most of the talent Canada produces. To them, this seemed to be a normal and acceptable trade-off.
The other issue brought up by the Montreal Gazette was incredible. They lamented the fact that there was no French aspect to the awards. Why should there have been? But more importantly. Why should the Montreal Gazette have even cared enough to make this their final point in their editorial?
Can English Canada simply not enjoy the benefits of their own hard work and determination without feeling guilty that it wasn’t French?
May I remind the Gazette, that not that many years ago, Celine Dion refused to accept an award for the Best English Performer because she wasn’t English. This was at Quebec’s French Music Awards.
The “Anglo” appeasers within Quebec have become so co-opted, that they are even ashamed to enjoy their own culture and success if it doesn’t have some French connection to it. Specifically a French connection from Quebec.
Once again; I come back to the fabulous CHER show. Here I was, thoroughly entertained by one of the greatest entertainers in the world, without having to see or listen to a dried up politician who has long ago overstayed her welcome; and without having to feel any guilt because CHER didn’t say Bonjour or Merci.
I would like to say that I can’t understand for the life of me, why the Montreal Gazette chose to worry about the lack of French at the Juno awards. But I can’t.
I know exactly why the editorial staff at the Montreal Gazette made the French connection remark.
The “brain trust” at the Montreal Gazette are absolutely co-opted, and hostage to the mis-belief that everything in Canada must have a French connection for legitimacy and political correctness.
This is the attitude that will inevitably create the “Anglo/Ethnic” backlash that will once and for all produce a permanent divide between a multi-cultural Canada and a xenophobic Quebec.
When something as benign as an entertainment show becomes a source of concern for an “institution” like the Montreal Gazette, ostensibly because there is no French connection, it is time to start thinking about even greater disconnects between French Quebec and multi-cultural Canada.
Let me quote you a line from the “late” and “less than great” Rene Levesque, Quebec’s first “official” Separatist Premier.
“Quebec should be as French as Ontario is English”.
And with the type of pandering carried on by the likes of the Montreal Gazette, Rene Leveque’s vision for Canada might come sooner rather than later.