Québecers take on America.
December 29, 2002 4:10 PM   Subscribe

Plein Sud - 'A unique vision of the Americas on the Web.' If you enjoy travel documentaries, this is for you. Two French Canadians take on the Americas in this epic site cram packed with videos (for 56k and broadband), interviews, and travelogues. Originally produced for TV, you can now watch the full episodes from the site.
posted by wackybrit (22 comments total)
Re-reading my post, I realize it sounds quite 'advertorial.' Flashbacks of my copywriting days! It's not advertorial though, I came across the site looking for info on Québec, as I plan on vacationing there in 2003 :-) (PS. If anyone is in or near Montreal and wants to hang out next year, do let me know! *g*)
posted by wackybrit at 4:42 PM on December 29, 2002

Interesting. They're not really checking it out for another place to stay, are they, considering that 49% of French Canadians wish they weren't (Canadian, that is).

Yeah, I do have a little chip on my shoulder about that. Actually, everyone I know does, whenever Quebec gets mentioned. :-/

[Sorry to all the Quebecer's that like their home country. I'm sure this'll end up in MetaTalk. So be it. I don't hate Quebec, for all those who think I do.]
posted by shepd at 6:49 PM on December 29, 2002

Shepd, this anglo Ontarian says that was a little uncalled for... not to mention the derailment.

Back to the topic at hand... my thesis supervisor produced a series (airing this year on TVO) in which he took a group of undergrads Into America to test and explore first-hand their assumptions about what Americans and America are like. Check out the website.
posted by stonerose at 6:57 PM on December 29, 2002

Hey, stonerose, I didn't expect people to like it, and I know it was offtopic. Just something I felt it necessary to mention to the world, lest they think that Quebec's opinions on other places completely correct. It pains me to think that there's an entire province that really does want to leave because they think we hate them. Oh well.

Everyone, back on topic!
posted by shepd at 7:01 PM on December 29, 2002

Since when do these two people (or TV5) represent Quebec, and since when does 49% (your number) represent "an entire province" (your words)? And while I think separatism is a pretty bad idea for all concerned, "they think we hate them" probably doesn't capture the reasoning of very many separatists at all.

Sorry, wackybrit... it's a good post. That's my last off topic word, I promise.
posted by stonerose at 7:07 PM on December 29, 2002

They're not really checking it out for another place to stay, are they, considering that 49% of French Canadians wish they weren't (Canadian, that is).

Incidentally, I'm not French or Canadian, but I'm pro-seperatist none-the-less. But if you spoke a different langauge and grew up in a different culture to the majority of your people in your country, mightn't you also be calling for independence? That said, I don't think most people who go on vacation (or even travel documentaries) are looking for new places to live, are they?

Regarding being on-topic, I don't think there's much most of us can say about this, since it's just a link to check out. Although links like StoneRose's are appreciated!
posted by wackybrit at 8:07 PM on December 29, 2002

Ah, hang on.. has my term 'take on' been misinterpreted? By 'take on' I didn't mean 'to challenge', more.. 'to be challenged by and to learn about'.
posted by wackybrit at 8:56 PM on December 29, 2002

> and since when does 49% (your number)

No, they had a vote on secession, you see. That's the result of the provincewide government created and supervised vote, plain and simple. There was never an accusation of vote-tampering or anything like that. Here's more sites with the number (most all very credible). The accurate amount is actually 49.42%. If I hadn't taken calculaus, I would say half of Quebec wants out.

>And while I think separatism is a pretty bad idea for all concerned, "they think we hate them" probably doesn't capture the reasoning of very many separatists at all.

You'd be very surprised. In Quebec, it's illegal to run a store with an english sign of any type (including price, and name of the store), unless the english sign is in very small print. It's a very anti-english culture, IMHO. If that isn't a sign of their hate of the rest of Canada, then I don't know what is.

Since I doubt anyone outside Quebec will believe me about this limitation on freedom of speech in a country that is supposed to guarantee it in the charter, here is the department of non-english the law helped create (notice the lack of english, even though Canadian law requires EVERYTIHNG in the government to be bilingual), and here's an opinion on it.. Read it and weep. Someone voted these guys in, multiple times after that law has been passed. Quebec clearly hates Canadians, and, strangely enough, Canada doesn't reciprocate. Perhaps that's why they hate us. Beats the hell out of me.

Just FYI, Quebec also elects nothing but sepratists into government, federal and provincial. Basically, they want out. And I take that personal. And, so do many Canadians (where they heck are they all, anyways?).

Sometimes I wish they'd just get it over with and leave. But if they do, I'll be damned if I see my Canada ever take them back. It itsn't a revolving turnstile.

(Just to note, 87% of French Quebecers voted for separation, making up the majority of the 49% overall [surprise, despite the trouble their own province causes them, there are english-speaking Quebecers]. This really puts the odds against these people doing the research of America being unbiased. But hey, anything is possible).
posted by shepd at 10:22 PM on December 29, 2002

[Oh damn, I missed the 6 pt. english button on the department of non-english's site. Here's where it links too. I'd swear that's a totally different site, but hey, I can't read French (I forgot it on purpose, thank God).]
posted by shepd at 10:24 PM on December 29, 2002

shepd - shoudn't that be "Quebecois"?
posted by GriffX at 11:06 PM on December 29, 2002

>shepd - shoudn't that be "Quebecois"?

That's a good question... I've never really thought about wether it is Quebecer or Quebecois. Man, maybe this whole secession thing is all my fault! Argh! I'M SO SORRY! ;-)
posted by shepd at 11:15 PM on December 29, 2002

I've heard only the Separatists refer to themselves as Quebecois... The rest are Quebecers. At least that was the vibe I got growing up in VT.

Thank goodness we haven't gotten off-topic though.
posted by KnitWit at 7:41 AM on December 30, 2002

shepd -- I'm a Canadian who takes the separatists insults personally as well. Don't think for a second that you're the only one.

Unfortunately the only voices that ever get heard in this debate are those of the separatists, and the flag-waving-we-love-you-quebec-so-please-don't-leave crowd in the Rest of Canada.

On the other hand, maybe its for the best if hardliners like myself keep quiet. After all, if we just ignore the people that are trying to break up the country this whole separatist movement will just go away, right?

Sorry for putting my two cents in, but this thread was off the rails already . . .
posted by pooligan at 10:30 AM on December 30, 2002

I'm Canadian, and I'd be happy for Quebec to separate (as long as I can still visit, Montreal is a second home to me), but they'd have to pay off their portion of the deficit first...oh, and work out some kind of deal with the Aboriginal peoples who live in Quebec and don't want to separate. wackybrit, you should maybe consider doing a bit more research, your take on this isn't necessarily reflective of reality (no English on signs in Quebec, everyone must attend school in French, Anglophone or not, etc. etc., they are hardly being repressed because of their language and culture, their culture and language are doing just fine).
posted by biscotti at 11:36 AM on December 30, 2002

biscotti: I think I might have put myself badly. I know le québecois are not repressed, but my point is that they are unique compared to the rest of Canadians. Their language, culture and laws are different. If you live in a region that is so different from the rest of your country, isn't independence a compelling option?

Financially, they earn their own keep with per-capita GDP the same as that in the rest of Canada. Am I missing an important point as to why they should remain part of Canada?
posted by wackybrit at 1:22 PM on December 30, 2002

I'm a U.S. citizen who's lived in Quebec. I loved the place, and thought the people were great, the amazing thing is just how different Anglo- and Franchophone culture really is.

Anyway, on a couple of points, my understanding is that Québecois is a term used by French-speakers to refer to themselves (whether they're referring to themselves in English or French) and Quebecker is a term used by the English-speakers to refer to themselves (whether they're referring to themselves in English, or um... English).

Also, among my Francophone friends, secession wasn't that big of a deal... and I've heard on at least one occassion the conspiracy theory that secessionist fervor was really being fanned by immigrants (not by immigration... but by the immigrants themselves), especially those from Africa.

My feeling on separation? It won't happen, but it will continue to be a thorn in the side of any coalition government. Historic Québec was only recently enlarged to the size it is currently by the addition of a territory whose name escapes me (Rupertland? Ah, I can't remember), so secession would probably not include that region; the southeast corner (the Eastern Townships) is largely Anglo, and probably wouldn't go along for the ride; Québec's extensive social welfare network—which is propped up by Anglo taxes and income generated by the extraction industries based in areas that wouldn't be part of a future Québec—wouldn't survive the break; finally, the Francophone birthrate is so low that they're experiencing a negative growth curve, and I don't know how long they can sustain a movement (unless my friends were right, and it really is a movement built on the aspirations of immigrants).
posted by silusGROK at 2:04 PM on December 30, 2002

wackybrit: if you come to Canada, insist that the people you talk to steer away from any topic related to Canadian/language politics.

You'll be thankful.
posted by titboy at 2:50 PM on December 30, 2002

Oh hey, wackybrit, when are you planning on going? I have some season specific suggestions on things to do and the like.

Also, be sure to check out the official site.
posted by silusGROK at 3:24 PM on December 30, 2002

Gee, I'm such a Francophone that I wrote 'le quebecois' instead of 'les quebecois'... haha, zut!

vis10n: I've been looking at lots of different times. I've been trying to find out what the weather is like around the year, and the general theory seems to be that it's a frozen wasteland till April.. although the Snow Festival and the underground city certainly sound appealing in the cold. I'm now thinking perhaps April or May, before the tourist rush?

I'm scoping out places where I might want to live one day (I don't like the UK).

One of the reasons for going to Montreal is so I can get some real French immersion, but with the safety net of almost everyone being able to speak English. (In France, falling back to speaking English is almost considered a sign of defeat.) I find the Québec accent easier to understand too, so it might be a better way for me to get into it.. (I've been learning French for 9 years and still suck on listening comprehension!) If any of your suggestions can tie in with this, all the better!

Ramble over :-)
posted by wackybrit at 4:02 PM on December 30, 2002

they are unique compared to the rest of Canadians

No they aren't. There are no homogeneous "rest of Canadians" to compare them to. This is my point. They may have their own unique and wonderful culture, but so do Canada's various Asian populations, Eastern European populations, Western European populations etc.
posted by biscotti at 4:07 PM on December 30, 2002

Wackybrit, if you want to really learn Quebecois French, Montreal isn't the place to do it. Immersion means putting yourself someplace where you don't have the fallback option. Also, be aware that you'll be roundly mocked in France if you speak Quebecois. :-) Quebec City is the real deal (as well as being a lovely place to spend time).

Biscotti: I'm sympathetic to your point. But the Quebecois are unique (in terms of 'minorities') in their numbers, the length of their history in Canada, and their concentration in a defined geographical region. Again - I'm just pointing out a few differences, and not defending separatism, which I think is largely (but not exclusively) the narcissistic project of a small, power-seeking elite who seek to advance their agenda at the expense of the majority in Quebec and in Canada as a whole.
posted by stonerose at 5:38 PM on December 30, 2002

stonerose: I personally prefer spending time in Montreal than in Quebec city, but it only takes 3 hours to drive from one city to the other (barring any traffic problems).

And if wackybrit settles in Montreal, then he'd also be a 1.5 hour drive away from Ottawa. And from Montreal, it's easier to drive to the USA too.
posted by titboy at 1:31 PM on December 31, 2002

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