I have just Posted two interesting Letters To The Publisher (July 5, 2004), each from French Quebecers.
Former Quebecer, Yan Provencher, who now lives in Calgary, Alberta, sees how wonderful a country he has.
The other letter is from Pierre-Alexandre Levesque Vachon, who lives on the South Shore of Montreal in the community of Chateauguay; he refers to himself as a former Separatist.
I thank both of these men for their letters, and the thought they put into writing them, especially to Pierre-Alexandre whose command of the English language is excellent, but somewhat of a challenge.
Yesterday, Anne and I drove through the back-roads of Quebec (from Lachute to Morin Heights) to visit my family. During the pleasant drive, we passed a Giant Tiger, a mini version of Wallmart, somewhat akin to the old Woolworth stores, which are huge in rural English Canada.
Wherever you see Giant Tiger stores (which are everywhere outside of Quebec), you see their proud statement: CANADA’S STORE, with plenty of Maple Leaf flags flying.
In Quebec however; Giant Tiger is QUEBEC’S STORE (in French) with plenty of Fleur De Lis flags (Quebec’s “national” flag) flying.
This simple little observation clearly defines Canada and Quebec.
Quebec has already separated. Even THE Brick furniture, appliance, and electronic store has capitulated to Quebec as a distinct society from the rest of Canada.
In the West Island of Montreal, which is Quebec’s “Anglo” stronghold, THE Brick opened its first Quebec store; but not to offend French Quebec, they decided to rename themselves as Brick, so as not to appear to be too English. The prefix THE, from their name was dropped.
To me, this is an insult to Quebec’s English speaking population, and a testament to Quebec’s sovereign and culturally racist mind-set.
With all due respect to both Yan and Pierre-Alexandre, and their newfound love for Canada, as far as I’m concerned, Quebec has crossed the line long ago.
I would rather see them out of Confederation.
Loyalty to a country involves far more than what’s in it for me today. Anyone who can vote for Separatists to represent them in Ottawa does not deserve to live in a pluralistic society like Canada.
Even if many of the French Separatist voters claimed not to be Separatists, they should never have voted for people who want to destroy my country.
Canada is a wonderful country for many reasons (most of which are in spite of our politicians), but mostly because it is equitable for all of its citizens; that is with the EXCEPTION of Quebec, where EVERYONE who is not of the French majority must remain invisible.
Why should I care one iota for Quebec to remain in Canada, if Quebec has already separated psychologically and treats its minorities as if they should be hidden?
Why do I want a province in my country that wants to be more distinct than the other provinces, and passes language (cultural) laws that make minorities second class citizens?
Yan has left Quebec for Alberta, and is seeing for himself that Canada, as a multi-cultural society is great. Pierre-Alexandre is a born again Canadian who still thinks that Quebec must protect its majority.
Unfortunately for Canada, as long as Quebec remains a province, this is the mind-set that is keeping back the progress of our country.
I understand how hard it is for French Quebecers to relate to imposed second class status, as the French Quebec government does to its minorities (English), since French Quebecers have been relegated to this status in the past by their very own.
But this is different.
This is all about one culture (French) doing what it can to wipe out the visibility of another culture (English and Ethnic) in an egalitarian country (mostly English) that bends over backwards to accommodate its French minority.
What would Yan and Pierre-Alexandre say if the rest of Canada imposed an English version of Bill 101?
Would they think it was right of the English Canadian majority to protect the English civil service from the encroaching French civil servants who already hold a disproportionate number of federal government jobs, especially in executive and management positions?
Now that I live in Ontario (3.5 years), I couldn’t care in the least what Quebec wants.
I know what I want.
I want Quebec out of Canada. I want Canada to get on with its life, and progress in the direction that will allow it to realize its true potential, without a bunch of complaining ethnocentric Québécois nationalists who want everything, and are willing to give nothing.
To me, it is despicable that children in Quebec are not allowed by LAW to go to the school of their choice, even a bilingual school, unless they happened to have been born right.
To me, it is despicable that merchants can not post signs in the language of their choice. And the only time they can, is if all the other languages combined are at the very most not greater than half the size, or half as many of the French signs.
To me, it is despicable that companies can not advertise in any language other than French on all moving vehicles or off-premises billboards.
To me, it is despicable that less than 3/4 of one percent of ALL Quebec civil service jobs are made up of Bilingual “Anglos”.
To me, it is despicable that Quebec gets to pick and choose who gets to become a Canadian citizen, while Quebec moves ever closer to separating from Canada.
To me, it is despicable that the visible presence of contributing “Anglos” and “Ethnics” in Quebec have all but been erased, as if we were never there or even existed.
Yan was smart, he got out of Quebec, and will make a wonderful life for himself where he is, absolutely free to be whomever he wishes. And whether he realized this or not; as a Canadian living outside of Quebec, he would also be better off if Quebec left.
As for Pierre-Alexandre; he is only half right when he sums up his newfound love for Canada, when he suggests that leaving Canada would be equally bad for Canada and Quebec.
It would only be bad for Quebec.
The sooner Quebec leaves Canada, the happier I will be. And for Pierre-Alexandre to keep that from happening, he will have to do more than just profess a new commitment to Canada. He will have to fight for my right to be equal and visible everywhere in Canada, including Quebec.
Unfortunately for Quebec: That will probably never happen.
Quebec without Canada. Who knows? Canada without Quebec. Absolutely!