Thursday, March 7, 2013

Les Xenophobes

Sure, I have written about the upside of xenophobia (that hate of others might serve as a brake on war if the consequence of that war might be the inclusions of many "others" into one's political system).  But I am not a fan of it, especially when it is so very unnecessary.

Are the Anglophones of Quebec a threat to French in Quebec?  No.  The threat to French would be things like the internet, the U.S., and the 21st century economy.  So, see if the following changes to Bill 101 make any sense at all for protecting French from these forces:

Courtesy of the CBC
How does any of this protect French?  Oh, making it harder for Francophones to learn English in CEGEPs (the free colleges in between high school and university) will make it harder to compete in the world economy, but will it do anything else?  Will giving yet more powers to the language police prevent Quebeckers from being stuff at (the Canadian version of  The reality is that French does dominate the marketing of goods in Quebec, although folks can still buy stuff in English.  And, yes, microwave machines may have on and off switches. 

This is just stupid on a stick.  But it probably plays well to the PQ's non-Montreal base. 

Have I said lately how glad I am to have left Quebec?  Probably.  And, yes, Quebec was a significant part of why I left McGill.  Not the entire reason as Carleton/NPSIA is a great place for me to do my work, that Ottawa has many attractions, but, yes, I did not enjoy this particular dimension of Quebec.  Moreover, this nationalist politics not only had implications for the marketplace, but for the entire political system.  The PQ has long competed not on providing good public service but on nationalist issues, which provided a very nice environment for corruption to grow and for the infrastructure of Montreal to fall apart.  There are so many ways that this language politics stuff sucks even if it kind of makes sense from a cynical "how to we best breed ignorance and thus support for our party" kind of way.

I do believe there is a French phrase for all of this: plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

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