Archive for November, 2017

A Mumpsimus Befalls Quebec’s Liberals

November 25, 2017

by Jack Locke

The Quebec Liberals decision to deny a motion to allow English-speaking citizens to be served in their language of choice is uncharacteristically not decent, especially as its opposition falls upon the sacred myth that Quebec is a French province.

The story was reported by CBC’s Angelica Montgomery on Nov 25 in an online story “Quebec Liberals back motion to do more for province’s Anglos – But motion faced backlash after amendment proposed forcing civil servants to serve public in both languages.”

Of course, Quebec has legislated that French is the official language, but there are many, many Quebeckers who speak other languages, and who supposedly are granted equal rights under various bills and charters of rights. But let us ignore for a moment the Cree, the Mohawk/Iroquois/Haudonoshanee, Greeks, Italians, Jews, Germans, English, Irish, Scots, and others who have worked to build Quebec. Though we do a great disservice to deny their valuable contribution, let’s close our eyes for the sake of argument.

All people in Quebec want to be treated decently and with respect. Government is the body that is supposed to serve all its tax-payers fairly and equally – it is a no-brainer. Astonishingly, providing the public with service in the language spoken by the public in Quebec is a radical concept, seemingly.

Most recently, when Quebec Liberals opposed an amendment to a motion by Ryan Brownstein who brought forward a proposition “calling for civil servants to offer services to citizens in the language of their choice” there was queer, and vehement, objections.

It is not in the progressive liberal tradition that I know to be exclusionary, yet this is precisely what the Quebec capital “L” Liberals have chosen. They have chosen to deny equal rights to good honest citizens seeking basic services from their government.

It is a preposterous position for any governing party to say, “We are going to make life Hell for all who do not speak French.”

Yet, time and time again this is the tenet that guides Quebec’s language laws.

It has nothing to do with protecting French, or ensuring that French-speaking citizens are treated with respect. Instead it is petty revenge for perceived historic mistreatment. Incroyable!

It is incredible that a centrist party is catering to those who seek revenge. It is incredible that right-minded Quebecers would not see this. It is incredible that indecent fallacies would rule the day.

But this is a French province, said the federal Prime Minister at a Sherbrooke town-hall meeting. Even the Prime Minister of Canada fell briefly for the fallacy.

It is a nasty mumpsimus whose time has come to be corrected.