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Canada: the English & the French ...

 
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Dec, 2009 07:47 am
@Francis,
That's quite beautiful Francis, such an expression of loss & grief. (Sighing here) Thank you.


ehBeth, I really appreciate your contribution to this discussion. I really didn't understand what a can of worms it was!
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Dec, 2009 07:47 am
I acknowledge that i used pretty heavy-handed sarcasm. Nevertheless, it remains true that there is deep and long-standing antipathy between French Canadians and English-speaking Canadians. The English-speaking Canadians resent what they see as the special status of French Canada. The French continue to play the separatist card. To claim that everything is hunky-dory between French Canada and English Canada would be glaringly false.
0 Replies
 
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Dec, 2009 07:50 am
a plan to stage a reenactment on the 250th anniversary of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, a defining moment in the development of Canada as a nation was scuttled by protests from Quebec sovereigntists

Plains of Abraham re-enactment cancelled

Following a firestorm of protest, a planned re-enactment of the 1759 defeat of French forces on Quebec City's Plains of Abraham has been cancelled.

The National Battlefields Commission, the federal agency that helps to preserve the Plains, made the announcement Tuesday while explaining revisions to the programming surrounding the 250th anniversary.

The decision comes after Quebec sovereigntists denounced the planned celebrations as an insulting reminder of their ancestors' defeat 250 years ago. Many threatened to protest the events.

Commission chairman Andre Juneau says battle reenactment plans have been scrapped "because of the impossibility of ensuring the safety of the public and the participants."

"Given the excessive language and threats we have heard in recent days, we can't as responsible managers risk compromising the safety of families and children who might attend the event," he told a news conference in Quebec City.

Other events related to the anniversary such as architectural digs, guided cruises, and art exhibits will go ahead, he added.

NDP Deputy Leader Thomas Mulcair told CTV's Power Play the re-enactment was "an incredibly bad idea" that was destined to fail in a province that still views its history as pre- and post-conquest by English forces.

"I think that it was a mistake from the beginning and it's a good thing that it was cancelled," Mulcair said Tuesday.

"But the problem is it's being cancelled now for the wrong reasons, because of threats of violence," he added. "And it's never a good reason to cancel something just because you're afraid."

Those who had opposed the re-enactment said they were pleased by its cancellation.

"The re-enactment is off, that's great," said Patrick Bourgeois, of Le Réseau de résistance du Québécois. "This thing unleashed passions. But ultimately, the responsibility for all of this is the people who concocted this dim-witted plan."

The president of the Societe Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Montreal, Mario Beaulieu, called the cancellation a "victory for citizen mobilization."

"It's the federal government, which is controlled by the English-Canadian majority, that wants to commemorate one of the biggest defeats of the Quebecois people on its territory."

Michel De Waele, a historian at Laval University, told CTV's Power Play he thought the biggest casualty in the cancellation was history itself.

When celebrations took place for Quebec City's 400th anniversary last year, nationalists felt that the government "stole" the commemorations, De Waele said.

He said that it appeared the nationalists "felt that they had a chance to take their revenge," by making the proposed re-enactment into a controversial issue.

"Both sides were using history for their own political purposes and I think the victim of all this is history itself," he said.

2,000 participants

The Commission had planned to allow 2,000 re-enactors dress in period clothing and uniforms to recreate events leading to the Plains of Abraham battle, which was pivotal in the Seven Years' War.

The clash between the British and the French, just outside the walls of Quebec City involved fewer than 10,000 men, but proved to be a deciding moment in the conflict over the fate of New France and helped lead to British dominance in North America.

Sovereigntist groups found the plans to relive those moments offensive, with one group, Le Réseau de résistance du Québécois, calling the celebrations "federalist propaganda."

They threatened to rally hundreds of demonstrators to disrupt the events.

Horst Dresler, president of the Quebec Historical Corps, a group of historical buffs who planned to lead the simulated battle, has said his group will push forward with the re-enactment at another venue. But Dresler adds it will not be held anywhere in Quebec.

"These threats of violence that have been issued towards us would make it totally unsafe for anyone to participate in an event like this," he said.

He says his group and others have been staging re-enactments in Canada and the United States over the last four years to mark the French and Indian War -- the name some give to the North American portion of the Seven Years War. He said that after 11 years of planning, it wouldn't make sense to stop now.

Dresler told CTV Newsnet that the re-enactment was never meant to foment anger among Quebec nationalists.

"In re-enacting history, there are no winners and losers. All we're trying to do is show history. Period. It's non-political. It's just us trying to bring the facts to the forefront," he said.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Fri 11 Dec, 2009 07:50 am
@ehBeth,
ehBeth wrote:
My particular view of it is that as a result of significant non-European immigration to Canada, the "Quebec issue" is a lot less meaningful than it was 40 or 50 years ago.


This is important. It is likely that, given the increasingly non-French and non-English cultural mix which is modern Canada, that the antipathy will become increasingly unimportant. One can only hope so.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  2  
Reply Fri 11 Dec, 2009 07:57 am
@Izzie,
Izzie wrote:

I think they're still sleeping MzOlga - 'tis kinda early over there Very Happy

I'll be interested in this too. When I visited (backpacked) Quebec - everyone spoke French, but, dare I say it, it was a different French to how I was taught French. Had the best Halloween party ever there Razz Didn't understand a word but a fab time!


When we were in Quebec City and Montreal, we found that the Francophones generally spoke English perfectly happily, once they realised we were neither Anglophone Canadians, nor US North Americans. Especially after a moment or two of my pathetic French, poor darlings!

I understand the history in a minimal way, so I find it hard to "get" the intensity of it all.

Frankly, I found it a little sad...the homage to France, which, as far as I know, couldn't give a fabulous flying ferk about THEM.

When we were there, a number of terrorists who had bombed the place in the seventies, in the heyday of Quebec separatism, were being released from prison, which was kind of eerie.


Fantastic and vibrant province to be in, though. Loved it.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Dec, 2009 08:02 am
@dlowan,
dlowan wrote:
Frankly, I found it a little sad...the homage to France, which, as far as I know, couldn't give a fabulous flying ferk about THEM.


This is probably true, although De Gaulle was not above making his remark.
0 Replies
 
George
 
  3  
Reply Fri 11 Dec, 2009 08:43 am
My son Nigel attends McGill University in Montreal. Though it's smack-dab
in the middle of Montreal, it is an English-speaking university. He has taken
several French courses. As a foreigner, he gets to take them for free. Really.

I haven't encountered any hostility as an Anglophone. maybe that's because
I usually attempt some French at the outset. We once ordered a meal in
Lac Beauport using a combination of badly pronounced high-school French,
English, and pantomime. Everyone was good-humored about it.

My friend Spencer, who a perfectly bilingual Montrealer, jokes about the
"Tongue Troopers" who enforce the language laws. At one point, all of the
store signs like "EATON"S" had to change to "EATON" since the
apostrophe-s is obviously English. Spencer claims there is a huge warehouse
somewhere filled with apostrophes.

Now, if you want hostility, there was the time I wore my Bruins jersey . . .
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Dec, 2009 08:50 am
You wore a Bruins jersey into Habs territory ? ! ? ! ?

You're a brave man, George.
George
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Dec, 2009 09:58 am
@Setanta,
Coulda been worse. At least it wasn't that blue leaf.
mysteryman
 
  2  
Reply Fri 11 Dec, 2009 10:06 am
@msolga,
I'm not Canadian, but I do know that there have been attempts to make Quebec (French Canada) into a seperate sovereign country.

These links might help you some.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quebec_separatists
http://www.linksnorth.com/canada-history/quebecsep.html
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/quebec.htm
http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/44/index-iba.html
http://www.uni.ca/history.html


Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Dec, 2009 10:15 am
@mysteryman,
mysteryman wrote:

I'm not Canadian, but I do know that there have been attempts to make Quebec (French Canada) into a seperate sovereign country.


Well, no-one doubts these attempts.

There have been attempts to make the UK a republic, Scotland a separate sovereign country, Germany a monarchy ...
djjd62
 
  2  
Reply Fri 11 Dec, 2009 10:19 am
@Walter Hinteler,
the one main attempt, a referendum on sovereignty, failed by 2%, 49% voted for sovereignty, 51% to stay

George
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Dec, 2009 10:20 am
It's interesting to note that the legislature of the province of Quebec is called
Assemblée nationale du Québec (National Assembly of Quebec).
0 Replies
 
hamburgboy
 
  3  
Reply Fri 11 Dec, 2009 11:07 am
@msolga,
quebec and the quebecers
---------------------------------
i'll forget about their politics , instead enjoy their hospitality and food :
IT'S SECOND TO NONE imo .

le chauteau frontenac hotel - overlooking the st. lawrence river

 http://www.travel-travel-travel.com/heaven/archives/8/QUEBEC_CITY_%20LE_CHATEAU_FRONTENAC4.jpg
-------------------------------------------------------------------
restaurant "anciennne canadienne" in quebec city

 http://www.auxancienscanadiens.qc.ca/IMG0001.JPG

enjoy the quebec food - forget politics !

Quote:
Quebec Specialties and Games

Caribou cooked with a creamy blueberry wine sauce 28.75$

Trapper's treat: Lac St-Jean meat pie served with pheasant and bison casserole 35.50$


Grilled stag, bison and wapiti tenderloin, cognac and pink pepper sauce 52.50

Country platter: Quebec meat pie, meatball ragout, salt pork grillades, baked beans 28.75$


Wild caribou filet and its homemade french fries, three mustard sauce 67.50$


Duck cutlet braised in maple syrup sauce 28.75$

Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Dec, 2009 11:18 am
@djjd62,
Correct - but it was a referendum about "sovereignty-association" with Canadia.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Dec, 2009 12:33 pm
@George,
George wrote:
Coulda been worse. At least it wasn't that blue leaf.


These days, they probably just would have laughed at that. The Leafs couldn't scare a junior league squad of bench warmers.
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Dec, 2009 12:57 pm
@Setanta,
Quote:
I spoke French to him, because i can, and i figured it's his province, it's his language, and that was simple courtesy. He seemed delighted.


Yes, I've noticed this any number of times in Quebec: the Francophones are absolutely charmed and delighted when an obvious Anglophone -- especially one with USA license plates on his car -- speaks French. Most understand English quite well and don't mind speaking it if they realize that you've come up from the USA. But if they think you're a Canadian English-speaker they'll pretend not to understand a word.
hamburgboy
 
  2  
Reply Fri 11 Dec, 2009 02:02 pm
@Merry Andrew,
merry andrew wrote :

Quote:
Yes, I've noticed this any number of times in Quebec: the Francophones are absolutely charmed and delighted when an obvious Anglophone -- especially one with USA license plates on his car -- speaks French. Most understand English quite well and don't mind speaking it if they realize that you've come up from the USA. But if they think you're a Canadian English-speaker they'll pretend not to understand a word.


that has not been my experience .

i've always found that a simple "bonjour ! " goes a long way in quebec .
i only know a few words ( in french Laughing ) and do not pretend that i can speak french ( enough trouble with english and german ) .
imo the french-canadians ( not all live in quebec ) are always very hospitable .
i also try to smile - it helps .

for a better understanding of the french/english differences have a look at this article :

" BONJOUR/HI"

http://communities.canada.com/montrealgazette/blogs/metropolitannews/archive/2009/06/25/oui-je-parle-franglais-a-new-montreal-dictionary-entry-bonjour-hi.aspx
0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
 
  2  
Reply Fri 11 Dec, 2009 04:13 pm
@msolga,
Quote:
Anyway, one think led to another think ... and it struck me: this is a very unusual situation in any "western" country ... two very distinct cultural groups coexisting under the same national "umbrella", so to speak. I couldn't think of another equivalent example.


Check out this discussion from a few years ago about another western country with multiple nationalities, the two dominant ones being Flemmish and Walloon.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Dec, 2009 04:16 pm
@hamburgboy,
I once worked as a SALAD chef at Frontenac. I was attending Laval U for a special course on the geology of the Levis (Lehh' visss) not LEE vye'
 

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