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Liberal Majority in Quebec
April 8, 2014 9:33 AM   Subscribe

After a 33-day campaign, the Parti Liberal du Quebec under leader Dr Philippe Couillard has emerged victorious in last night's provincial election. The final seat count is LIB: 70, PQ: 30, CAQ: 22, QS: 3, OTH: 0.

It's a stunning defeat for PQ leader Pauline Marois, who not only chose the timing of the election but ended up losing her own seat.

Holding strong were the third-party CAQ who increased their seat holdings from the last election, and seems to have a political future beyond just an election or two.

But the most optimistic results of all might be Quebec Solidaire, a left-wing nationalist party that added one MNA to the two they had at dissolution but could become the go-to progressive nationalist party if the PQ can't return from its rightward swing or otherwise dissolves.
posted by mikel (59 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
There is already an open Quebec election thread, so maybe it can go here?
posted by Kitteh at 9:35 AM on April 8


That was for the calling of the election this is about the results but I'm OK either way.
posted by mikel at 9:36 AM on April 8


It's a stunning defeat for PQ leader Pauline Marois, who not only chose the timing of the election but ended up losing her own seat.

What's especially awkward is that she's still got her head up it.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:36 AM on April 8 [7 favorites]


(Also, it's a bit tricky WRT Quebec, but sovereigntist is not synonymous with nationalist. A big selling point for Solidaire as an alternative to the PQ is that they are only the former.)
posted by Sys Rq at 9:41 AM on April 8


Meaning, "increased provincial powers" versus "full independence"?
posted by Chrysostom at 9:42 AM on April 8


No, meaning independence as opposed to linguistic or ethnic nationalism. QS is pro-independence IIRC but they're too left wing & ideologically pure to be nationalist.
posted by maledictory at 9:47 AM on April 8


No, mostly as in that QS wants independence, but doesn't implicitly define Quebecers who are white, catholic or ex-catholic and of French descent as the "right" kind of Quebecer.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 9:50 AM on April 8 [3 favorites]


What they said.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:51 AM on April 8


Also, let's hope that was Marois's Swan Song. She FINALLY got to be chief, she even was prime minister, but she completely screwed it up. Time to do something else with your life, Pauline.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 9:52 AM on April 8


Thanks for the clarification.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:57 AM on April 8


Marois has resigned, but will stay on until a new leader is chosen.
posted by bonehead at 10:01 AM on April 8


First public-sector employee to lose job over Charter of Values.
posted by figurant at 10:06 AM on April 8 [23 favorites]


Heh.
posted by bonehead at 10:10 AM on April 8


I'm guessing many MF readers are like me: not experts in Québécois politics, but would appreciate a short orientation from fellow readers who know more. How does the nationalist political dimension interact with the traditional left-right dimension? Would someone like to provide a thumbnail sketch?
posted by Triplanetary at 10:20 AM on April 8 [2 favorites]


Dude's a brain surgeon. He's used to seeing brains all day long in his old job. I suspect he's going to miss that in his new job.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 10:33 AM on April 8 [4 favorites]


At the provincial level in Quebec, there is no viable federalist (ie. pro-Canada) option on the left. We’ll see how the NDP does in the future.
posted by No Robots at 10:36 AM on April 8 [1 favorite]


Three words:

SAD QUEBEC COWBOY.
posted by Theta States at 10:38 AM on April 8 [1 favorite]


I think a provincial NDP party would be aces. I am not sure why there isn't one? Is it because the current political landscape already has a ton of parties?
posted by Kitteh at 10:39 AM on April 8


I was involved with the Quebec provincial NDP when I was going to Laval in '83. It was a lot of fun. There was no real structure, so we did pretty much whatever we wanted. John (Jean-Paul) Harney became provincial leader. I lost track of things there when I came back to Alberta. But I wouldn't care to bet against Tom Mulcair.
posted by No Robots at 10:45 AM on April 8


There are at least three axes in play: socialist-capitalist, separatist/sovereigntist-federalist, and the one I think Marois did not see: nationalist vs what, modernity? plurality? Multi-culturalism (in the Canadian form, at least), is kind of a bad word in QC politics, but perhaps the Quebec version of that?

The PQ are left-centre/sovereigntist, the CAQ, right/soft-sovereigntist, the QS left/sovereigntist in very general terms. The Libs are centrist-right and by default, the federalist option. The PQ has drifted from left, unionist roots to a much more centralist economic position.

I don't think left-right or even sov-federalist axes were what the election was about though: it's the traditional nationalist vs the polycultural perspective that killed the PQ. The Liberals did not win, so much as the PQ vision was rejected. The "charter" they were pushing as a provocation to marshal the sovereigntist side was tone deaf to this new reality emerging in Quebec.

The PQ has lost the mandate of a large, very active cultural community. Quebec has its own TV and movie industry, its own festivals, and so on. Increasingly, Quebeckers are finding that these are hits outside of Quebec, that Quebec culture does not just have to be for Quebeckers. Immigrants and allophones (people who don't speak French or English) are increasingly part of Quebec society. In the 1995 referendum, the cultural community almost uniformly endorsed the sovereignty project. Culture and politics were aligned. In this election, there were almost no endorsements of the PQ by the cultural leadership.

I suspect there is a large set of voters in Quebec this morning who don't feel well represented by any party. I think the Liberals won with many of their voters holding their noses. I do think a party an inclusive party, which stands for a strong Quebec, like the NDP has a real opportunity.
posted by bonehead at 10:49 AM on April 8 [19 favorites]


We should keep in mind that our 'anglo' preconceptions of what left and right means don't really apply in Quebec. People from the Anglo world are used to this bundle of issues, where xenophobia is linked to social conservatism and neo-liberal economics and, to a certain extent, a kind of anti-intellectualism.

Quebec politics are much more like those of continental Europe, where xenophobia is a separate political value, in its own right. In recent months, the PQ government has been pushing its (ironically titled) 'charter of values', which would allow the government to openly discriminate against religious minorities.* But the charter was not sold on an appeal to the 'good old days', as one might expect in the US or UK. Rather, the rhetoric was largely about how we can't let those wicked foreigners have their way, because they don't share our sense of tolerance.

The PQ is, in this respect, rather like the centre-left anti-immigrant parties of Europe. They get away with it because French-speakers were actively discriminated against, in Canada, within the lifetimes and memories of many people still around and voting. Today, anti-Francophone discrimination is vanishingly rare, but that shared memory is potent and genuinely scary. I've known quite a number of French-speaking Quebecers who were convinced that they would face serious hostility outside Quebec. While English-Canadians actually tend to actually look upon Quebecois culture quite fondly, and while around a quarter of French-Canadians live outside Quebec, I can see why they might be wary.

*Officially, of course, this wasn't the case. The charter enshrined a kind of lop-sided secularism in which it forbid, in its magnificent equality, Christian and Muslim alike to wear the Hijab.
posted by Dreadnought at 10:51 AM on April 8 [17 favorites]


Quebec culture really is very fascinating, given its uniqueness in North America. But I also find it very sad that the PQ put so much emphasis on who really is a Quebecker and who is "from away." For example, as an American Anglophone, I explore a lot of Vermont and nearby states during holidays because it's fun, but I rarely see Quebec license plates once you go past St. Johnsbury or lower New York state or even central New Hampshire. I've asked about why that is to Francophones I've met and the general consensus seems to be that they don't feel very comfortable vacationing in places where there isn't an established Francophone community (see: Florida) or where they feel self-conscious about their English. Using bilingualism as a dirty word for so long here, I always felt pretty mad about the fact that most high profile political leaders went to fancy expensive schools in English-speaking countries but actively made it harder for their fellow Quebeckers (read: lower and middle class) to learn English so that maybe they too could do the same.
posted by Kitteh at 11:11 AM on April 8 [3 favorites]


QS might not be xenophobic, but they're quite actively for independence -- not soft, you know one day eventually, CAQ-style. Which was most of why I didn't vote for them. (My riding went about 50% Liberal, so it didn't much matter in the end, but also I didn't like my specific QS candidate.) I'm glad they won a third seat, though.

The PQ's right/centre/left-ness is in flux a bit -- Pierre Karl Peladeau was a huge fuck you to the unions, so some of where it goes will depend on how the new leadership debate goes.

And yes -- for all that the PQ leaders (and other anti-bilingualism ones) say French all the time, they all got excellent English education and are fluent. Marois was a rare counterexample.
posted by jeather at 11:22 AM on April 8 [3 favorites]


"Nationalist" can be used in both senses - political separatists/independentist and the more ethnic sense of nationalism. In fact this is one of the central tensions of the PQ since its founding, always trying to balance a civic nationalism (which includes everyone in the jurisdiction in the common project) and a more ethnic nationalism i.e., the "nous" championed by JF Lisée and Mathieu Bock-Coté among others. On the nationalism issue there is a left and right analog with civic being left-wing and ethnic more right-wing.

So in a way the rightward shift on the national issue by the PQ made a lot of people - their supporters - uncomfortable, but it was at the very least a discussion, a conversation they'd been having, in some form, for 40 years. It was recognizable, and though went further to the right than the PQ ever went in the past (Bouchard having gone the furthest towards the civic nationalist left).

I think what doomed the PQ is that when they brought in Pierre-Karl Peladeau - who is pretty widely known as a sociopathic one percenter - well this is ground the PQ hasn't tread before. Move right on the national/separation issue? That's one thing - at least the party overall is the same old social-democratic party, economically and socially. Except now the corporate raider and biggest union buster in modern QC history is sitting there... and suddenly the supporters don't see much at all that they recognize and support. An ethnic nationalist right-wing party? Huh? What's that?

The PQ seems to have hollowed out its ideological centre so drastically that it's quite frankly about nothing except achieving independence - and the party has become un-creative enough to not imagine any other way of achieving that if it isn't based on the ethnic aspirations of many Quebecois.

If I were the QS I'd be very happy and optimistic today. If I were the CAQ I'd be pretty happy too.

If I were the PLQ, I'd come up with a plan to declare victory on nationalism - on the effective separation of QC from Canada in all but name/details (kind of mirroring Justin Trudeau's comments a year or so ago).
posted by mikel at 11:25 AM on April 8


I think it was in the Gazette this morning that one of Marois' downfalls was this time out wasn't so much that her rock solid belief in the Charter was xenophobic as it made her look massively out of touch. That she didn't know anyone personally that happened to be Muslim or foreign-born to really understand just how boneheaded the whole thing was. I don't find that hard to believe.

I kept making the same joke about all the political posters here that "wow, that's a lot of white people." I hope it was different in Montreal. I hope there were candidates of color.
posted by Kitteh at 11:26 AM on April 8 [2 favorites]


Dreadnought: "While English-Canadians actually tend to actually look upon Quebecois culture quite fondly"

Is this broadly true? I want to qualify that I am an American Anglophone, but I've done a good bit of travel in Canada and work with Canadians, both in Quebec and elesewhere. And the attitude I've seen from the non-Quebecois towards Quebec has ranged from eye rolls to basically, "those guys are assholes."

Now, that might be just a case of anecdote doesn't equal data. Or maybe just business types being semi-xenophobic. But I wonder is there any hard data on general Canadian attitudes toward Quebecois culture at this point?
posted by Chrysostom at 11:31 AM on April 8 [1 favorite]


It is hard to say what kind of hard data one could provide about attitudes. Anecdotally, I worked for some time for a bilingual national organization and despite my role in the Ottawa office, some few years ago had to deal with some correspondence sent to the Alberta office in French. Stats Canada tells me that about two percent of the population of Wild Rose country are native French speakers (and presumably anglophone Albertans had the option to study French in school), but apparently not one of the hundreds of employees in Alberta could read or write French.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:52 AM on April 8


It is hard to say what kind of hard data one could provide about attitudes.

That's fair, just trying to get a feeling as an outsider for what things are like today.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:57 AM on April 8


Dreadnought: "while around a quarter of French-Canadians live outside Quebec, I can see why they might be wary."

This. I'm a white, bilingual French Canadian from Ontario. I grew up speaking French at home, went to French schools, went to church in French, watched Passe-Partout. I've lived all over the world, including Quebec but the only 2 places I've ever experienced racism towards me because I'm French Canadian was once in rural Manitoba which I took as ignorance and in Quebec from Francophones on a pretty consistent basis any time I opened my mouth and spoke French. My regional accent was much stronger when I was a teen, much more obvious that I wasn't one of them. Something that was pointed out often especially if I expressed a shared desire for Francophone rights. It got so bad that I had to simply pretend to be an Anglo.

I love Quebec and respect the rights of Francophones to speak in the language they choose but they need to abandon their pure laine elitism and recognise that there are Francophone communities in other parts of the country who have been living fine in their own language & culture.
posted by Ashwagandha at 11:57 AM on April 8 [14 favorites]


Is this broadly true? I want to qualify that I am an American Anglophone, but I've done a good bit of travel in Canada and work with Canadians, both in Quebec and elesewhere. And the attitude I've seen from the non-Quebecois towards Quebec has ranged from eye rolls to basically, "those guys are assholes."

Well, there's the culture, and then there's the politics. The culture (especially their film industry, which is absolutely world-class) is held in high esteem among people who care about culture, but the politics...

It gets pretty tiresome to hear francophone Quebeckers tell you to your face that you are oppressing them because, despite having never set foot in la belle province, you are "hinglish" and blah blah blah, as if a handful of wealthy Montreal industrialists are representative of all anglo-Canadians.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:01 PM on April 8


One Ekos poll that's been talked about in the post mortems today suggested that at one point in the campaign more Canadians outside Quebec than inside supported sovereignty. I think it's fair to say that there are many people in the ROC (or "Rest of Canada" as some in Quebec call us) that would roll their eyes at the mere mention of la belle province. But we're not monolithic. The stereotype is that the further West you go the more hostile people are (which is related to the old idea that Ontarians are more willing to accommodate Quebec because they view themselves as "Canadians" first and a "region" second). I don't think there is much hostility in Toronto. But then half of us were born outside of Canada.

"Quebecois culture" is tricky though. Many of us outside Quebec spent years being schooled in french, either basic or immersion, but once you graduate it doesn't come up much West of Ottawa so it's usually rusty. Also, we tend to learn "French" French so it's quite difficult to appreciate any pop culture artifact. It's way easier for me to watch TV5 than TVA. "Culture" is also a tricky area for English-speaking Canadians ("anglo" is too strong outside Quebec), since we're the ones in perpetual existential crisis.
posted by maledictory at 12:04 PM on April 8


I think it was in the Gazette this morning that one of Marois' downfalls was this time out wasn't so much that her rock solid belief in the Charter was xenophobic as it made her look massively out of touch. That she didn't know anyone personally that happened to be Muslim or foreign-born to really understand just how boneheaded the whole thing was.

What's interesting, though, is that she's not really that much in the minority there. I'm regularly the first Jew (or second, after my father) that people have met -- this happened a lot at Cegep and university for people my own age, and continues to happen with people who are 10+ years older. In Quebec City, it continues to happen with people of every age.

So, sure, other big name politicians see the problems (some of them like it, some don't care, some dislike it), but it's because they're in the elite, where they went to school in London or Boston or NYC. Marois was from a working class family, she studied social work in Quebec. But it says a lot that in 25 years in politics, she still didn't really meet people who weren't pur laine.
posted by jeather at 12:06 PM on April 8 [4 favorites]


The destiny of Quebec is to serve as the spiritual/cultural centre of Canada. Separation would not change that fact.
posted by No Robots at 12:11 PM on April 8


Well, yeah. Montreal is a bastion of multiculturalism here. Everywhere else? Not so much. It's easy and logical to vote PQ if you live in remote areas or predominantly white French Catholic towns. You rarely encounter anyone who is not white and who doesn't speak French. It quickly becomes okay to think of foreigners as potential threats.

It's sort of what I hate about the Townships. There is no different culture. The Townshippers spend a lot of time defending their own culture, the Francophones do likewise, and anyone I've seen who is neither mostly work in restaurants. It's weirdly and wildy uneven in terms of how people interact. It makes for a very uncomfortable culture for me.
posted by Kitteh at 12:13 PM on April 8


It seems that the PQ, in fact, were prescient when they said that the values charter would eventually unite quebeckers. Just not in the way they assumed.

Seriously you guys... I wish I could give the entire electorate a big hug. I'm no fan of the liberals, but I could not abide another PQ win.
posted by Pazzovizza at 12:17 PM on April 8


Admittedly, I don't have any hard data either. Nevertheless, here are my unscientific impressions:

1. Age is important. Older Canadians are far more likely to resent Quebecois culture in its own right, due to old prejudices, which do die hard.

2. Language education is at an appalling standard in much of English-speaking Canada. Many (most?) Anglophone Canadians have little facility in French, even after taking several years' mandatory education in the subject. I have absolutely no idea why this is the case. Every time I sound off on it, people tell me 'oh language education is hard, you know', and I say 'explain Scandinavia, Switzerland, Benelux, Singapore, South Africa...' and the conversation just kind of straggles off.

3. You do, indeed, get a lot of eye rolling about the attitude that Quebecois people have to the rest of us. (on preview), as people are saying in this thread, Quebecois people can be horrendously xenophobic and offensive, and this gives them a bad image in the eyes of people from other parts of the country. I know quite a number of Anglo-Canadians who stopped holidaying in Quebec, because they just got sick of all the hostility. The 'values charter' was a horrendous black eye, in this respect, because it played right into the stereotype that Quebecers are racist.

Having said that, I'm fully aware that these attitudes are, in large part, a reaction to old prejudices levelled against the Quebecois. This 'defensive' xenophobia is an ugly, self-defeating, self-fulfilling prophesy.

4. Notwithstanding all of the above, the general attitude of Anglo-Canadians that I meet is overwhelmingly positive when it comes to Quebecois culture. Quebecois food is enjoyed as a central part of the national cuisine, Montreal is revered as a city of culture and lively fun, Quebecois music, especially traditional music, is popular with hip Canadian young people. 'French-Canadians', as a concept, are a big part of Canada's national self-image. Anglo-Canadians are proud of their blended heritage, and tend to see Quebec history as an integral part of a larger national story, often romanticised as the heroic Voyagers treking through the wilderness, tying the continent together with threads of peaceful trade. Indeed, the Quebecois are often seen with a kind of gentle envy in English-Canada: cultured, vibrant, sure of themselves, they are imagined to be free of the crushing pressures of Americanisation which bother Anglo-Canadians so much.

So negative attitudes do occur in English-speaking areas (especially right against the Quebec border, counter-intuitively enough), but these negative associations seem to be overwhelmed by a benign sense of affection, fellow-feeling and respect.
posted by Dreadnought at 12:26 PM on April 8 [5 favorites]


4. Notwithstanding all of the above, the general attitude of Anglo-Canadians that I meet is overwhelmingly positive when it comes to Quebecois culture. Quebecois food is enjoyed as a central part of the national cuisine, Montreal is revered as a city of culture and lively fun, Quebecois music, especially traditional music, is popular with hip Canadian young people. 'French-Canadians', as a concept, are a big part of Canada's national self-image...

Doesn't this depend a lot on where you live, though? None of what I quoted sounds very familiar here on the west coast... it feels to me like a reflexive anti-Quebec prejudice is pretty common here in general. Lots of griping about "language police" and cries of "why don't they just leave already, we pay for all their welfare" (informed mostly by the terrible popular news/media, I think). I know plenty of people who do feel about Quebec in the way that you describe, but these tend to be well-educated people, often with significant ties back east, and not really representative of the majority discourse.
posted by junco at 12:41 PM on April 8


Language education is at an appalling standard in much of English-speaking Canada. Many (most?) Anglophone Canadians have little facility in French, even after taking several years' mandatory education in the subject. I have absolutely no idea why this is the case.

Mostly because it's pointless. 99.999% of Anglo Canadians will never, ever have any need to speak or understand French at any point in their lives. (The ones who do tend to come from Francophone families and go to French immersion schools.) Who needs standards when the whole class is just a big waste of time?

That said, there is also an appallingly low standard for English language education in English-speaking Canada (aside from Alberta IME; all that oil money has its benefits).
posted by Sys Rq at 12:55 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]


Vive d'un Canada uni!
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:24 PM on April 8


Indeed, French language education in English Canada, with some exceptions, is mostly a way to help keep the country together. Quebec is a small French-speaking-majority island (in terms of population) in a continent of English-speaking-majority land (except for Mexico and the Spanish-speaking-majority areas of the US, of course).

By contrast, in Europe, multilingual countries are surrounded by a number of other languages, and while English is the dominant global languages, there's still a good bit of stuff going on in each language, and areas that are dominated by one national language or another.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 1:45 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]


Dr Philippe Couillard
Since we're talking language, it should be pointed out that couillard, in old French, means "a man with large testicles" (couilles in slang, from the Latin coleus). So it's not an great name to grow up with in France, and forget about becoming a politician: many French people originally named Couillard have it changed decades ago into neutered names like Bouillard or Douillard. Of course in Québecois French the slang word for testicles is not couilles but gosses so Dr Largeballs probably never suffered in school (this is a common source of cross-cultural confusion for French visitors in Québec since gosses in metropolitan French is a colloquial term for children, and everyone loves the gosses, right?).
posted by elgilito at 1:46 PM on April 8 [6 favorites]


It helps that Couillard is a relatively common last name, at around 250 ppm, ranked 728th. Compare with Marois, 484th at 400 ppm, Legault, 101st at 1440 ppm, and the all-time champions, Tremblay at 10760 ppm (over 1%!).
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 2:07 PM on April 8


When I was going through school in the '70s and '80s, our French language instruction was (a) explicitly "France French" instead of Quebecois French or even the French that people in my own province, 20 miles down the road, spoke (I'm Nova Scotian), and (b) taught by people with names like Murphy and MacDonald. They weren't Acadians. They weren't, for the most part, even people who themselves were fluent in French. This education was almost worse than useless. And I wanted to learn. I took 9 years and did French immersion summer camp and I can only just about manage to buy food and read at a grade three level.

I love Montreal (it's in my top three favourite Canadian cities, up there with Halifax, where I'm from, and Vancouver, because shut up it's gorgeous) but I do notice the hostility. As I'm always there with my American husband, I just pretend to be an American tourist, and I am always treated better than if I let on that I'm an anglophone Canadian. To be fair, I try to speak my atrocious French and I think people find it cute from an American but appalling from a Canadian (and they're right, it is appalling, but, see above).
posted by joannemerriam at 2:12 PM on April 8 [2 favorites]


The last election that brought the PQ into power coincided with the wedding weekend of one of my husband's cousins in the Laurentians. The wedding guests themselves were one of those great mixes of Anglophones and Francophones, the former having grown up in the province and having generational ties like their Franco counterparts. Everyone was quite glum about the PQ's minority government because of the fears that the language/pur laine blood hostilities would raise their heads (this was well before the PQ constructed the Charter). As one guest said to me, "You're American. You're not expected to have learned French, so you'll be okay. But if you're from here and your French is terrible or you don't speak it at all, then you're seen as an outsider, no matter if your family has always been here."
posted by Kitteh at 2:19 PM on April 8


I went through an immersion program in Ottawa in the 80's and it wasn't until HS that we got Quebec-language instruction. We were taught by anglophones, franco-Ontarians with careful accents and Haitians, but no Quebeckers until grade 9.
posted by bonehead at 2:25 PM on April 8


Former French Immersion teacher here. My French was never that good. I went into it for the money (teaching for the money—heh). I got out after five years. I’m glad I learned French. I love to vacation in Quebec. I feel like maybe I did something to help my country. I hope I didn't cause too much harm to the poor little kiddies.
posted by No Robots at 2:30 PM on April 8


I'll say that on my trips outside Quebec I've never met open hostility, I've met mostly warm and lovely people, who might make jokes about Quebec in front of me like they we do with the Newfies. I've enjoyed french culture in many parts of Canada, especially the Festival du Voyageur in Winnipeg. I am 100% a federalist and love this whole country, so it does kind of bug me to hear people say "They should just leave already", I want to wave my arms and say "Hello, please don't forget me, I'm here, I want to stay!"... more than half of us do too. I love Montreal, I love multiculturalism, and I HATE that some people here view bilingualism as a threat.

My kids are eligible for education with the english school boards but it's so hard to be eligible for that. My daughter has FOUR HOURS of english per WEEK, and that's in an english school board! Those 4 hours are NOT a threat at all. The school is an International Bacchalaureate school and is a dual school board school (half french, half english). The french side has to do entrance exams because they just get hundreds more applicants per year than they have room for, all because of those few extra hours per week they get in english. The people *want* this.
posted by Hazelsmrf at 2:44 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]


A lot of the English schools are French immersion, so you only ramp up English classes as of grade 3 or so. Not a big deal, if you speak English at home. There's a maximum amount of English you can teach, in a French school, and a minimum amount of French that you need to teach, in an English school -- but there's no minimum English in English schools, and the minimum in French schools is negligible.

I really think the vast majority of school boards should be bilingual -- especially in the Montreal region -- with about a 2:1 ratio French:English. Well, maybe with Couillard who actually said something about bilingualism being good.
posted by jeather at 4:13 PM on April 8


I hope the election will be seen as a rejection of charter and referendum, but somehow I fear it will be seen as a sweeping endorsement of Plan Nord, tuition increases and etc.
posted by chapps at 4:49 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]


Well, certainly, that's what the Liberals will claim. I wonder how they'll deal with Madam Judge Charbonneau, though.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 4:52 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]


♫ Ma chère Pauline, c'est à ton tour
De donner mon cul un gros bisou! ♫

Good riddance.
posted by CKmtl at 5:45 PM on April 8


I'll say that on my trips outside Quebec I've never met open hostility,

Also, as a visitor, most everyone I've met in Quebec are pretty cool. Like anywhere, there might be a higher ratio of dickheads in politics.
posted by ovvl at 6:20 PM on April 8


2. Language education is at an appalling standard in much of English-speaking Canada. Many (most?) Anglophone Canadians have little facility in French, even after taking several years' mandatory education in the subject. I have absolutely no idea why this is the case. Every time I sound off on it, people tell me 'oh language education is hard, you know', and I say 'explain Scandinavia, Switzerland, Benelux, Singapore, South Africa...' and the conversation just kind of straggles off.

I'm one of these people. Born and raised in Saskatchewan, I took french from grade six through my second year of university, and can't speak it. I even moved to Montreal in university and spent four years failing to develop conversational ability. There's a basic reason for it, and it's not that language education is hard, it's that you can't learn a language without some degree of conversational immersion. Learning a language means using it; without that, you've just got a bunch of free floating vocabulary and syntaxr rules. I never got to use it in Saskatchewan outside of classroom exercises, and when I got to Montreal, the french speakers wouldn't engage me in french.

My friends who attended immersion schools, however, quickly became fluent in Quebecois french and lived happily in french in Quebec. That's the real success story. it's not that Anglos don't speak enough french--it's silly to think that english Canada would learn and use french outside of a reasonable need to, and most who don't visit Quebec or do international business ever need to. But for those educated in immersion programs, which are widespread, they slip easily into and out of Quebec and give currency to real cross-Canada feelings of belonging, and for the younger generation, that's not illusory.
posted by fatbird at 6:54 PM on April 8 [2 favorites]


I had hassle getting on the rolls, but I was going to vote QS because of how carefully they thought about what Soverignity meant, esp re:cities and aborgionals.
posted by PinkMoose at 8:02 PM on April 8


Les Cowboys Fringants - Lettre a Levesque
posted by phoque at 8:38 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]


I admit, I am a Canadian ex-pat, I've zero desire to see Quebec secede and there are a lot of things I find appealing about Quebec... but yes... I too roll my eyes when trying to explain about Quebec politics, and I'm not even around that many Canadians for the habit to have been transferred from them to me.
posted by edgeways at 9:14 PM on April 8


SAD QUEBEC COWBOY.

So, then....bye bye...mon cowboy?

no, YOU used to crush on Mitzou as a pre-pubescent when they showed her videos on MuchMusic!
posted by dry white toast at 11:59 PM on April 8 [4 favorites]


Mitzou

*twitch*

*reaches for the clonazepam*
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:03 AM on April 9 [1 favorite]


>"While English-Canadians actually tend to actually look upon Quebecois culture quite fondly"

Is this broadly true? I want to qualify that I am an American Anglophone, but I've done a good bit of travel in Canada and work with Canadians, both in Quebec and elesewhere. And the attitude I've seen from the non-Quebecois towards Quebec has ranged from eye rolls to basically, "those guys are assholes."


"Two Solitudes," indeed. Virtually anyone you talk to in English Canada will curse (as in use foul language about) Quebec. "We have to pay them all sorts of money" etc etc, "bilingualism etc etc," "if they separate they should pay for their share of the national debt etc etc."

Personally, I am really happy this Marois joker is gone and finished, and, from the perspective of someone whose kids attend French Immersion (ie, our sons' schooling is conducted in 100% French) here in BC, Coulliard's comments about the place of Quebec in Canada is more than refreshing, it is inspiring. Although it seems like he has a life-and-death struggle with the mafia ahead of him.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:34 PM on April 9


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