Category Archives: Quebec

Parlez-Vous Contempt?


PC diversity

Conservative contempt for democracy, representation, culture, and people not like themselves [really really white!] does not end with Harper or #TheNewHarper.

This new francophone minister, the anglophone Squires, not only clings to her talking points as if her political life depends on it [which it does], but she also waxes unironically about herself, showing how giddy she is to get into the cabinet room and get an office.

Watch her spinning and weaving here:

The biggest punch in the throat to non-anglos, though–beyond her being responsible for sports, culture, heritage, women and the franco universe, all lumped together–is that this anglo represents the riding of Riel!

Do they have no one elected who could speak French?

Is there no Quebecois Harperite senator they could fly in and appoint to cabinet?

Or are they just content with cultivating disdain from people who would generally never vote for them anyway.

Right, the latter.

So Squires, with a distinctly English last name [but French-ish first name], is basically minister of people the government doesn’t care about.

Residents in St. Boniface are raising questions about Premier Brian Pallister’s choice to oversee francophone affairs in Manitoba — because the minister he chose does not speak French.

Rochelle Squires is a unilingual anglophone who represents the Winnipeg electoral district of Riel. She has a background in communications, journalism and fine arts and along with francophone affairs, she will oversee sport, culture and heritage as well as status of women in Pallister’s new cabinet.

Source: St. Boniface not impressed with English-speaking francophone affairs minister

11 Weeks of Daily Harper Protests

The Harper Re-election Disaster Bus Totalitarianism: daily, for 11 weeks!

Get used to this.

People hate Harper and his Conservatives. We will see through his weak attempt to wedge oppositions parties by running a long election campaign because he has more money to spend.

Saturation will come fast.

We will remember how much contempt he holds for people and democracy.

We will listen to his 5 non-answers to 5 media questions each day and we will be constantly reminded of how much we can’t stand what he has done to Canada.

And we will see this. Every day:

My Canada Includes…The Future!

Inspired by Nora Loreto [again], I am starting to frame my vision for what Canada should be after C-51, the TRC report and the October 19, 2015 federal election.

Here are my initial thoughts:

I’d love it for the very foundation upon which Canada [sic] is built, to crumble! We can start a national dialogue to re-imagine it, but way better than for 1982. This time, let’s go with:

– a distinct Quebec society
– First Nations at the table as equ
– repeal C-51 and get our Charter back
– repeal the Indian Act
– no Senate
– proportional representation
– dump the monarchy
– pay equity
– a national minimum wage as the living wage
– fair trade, not free trade [so dump NAFTA and all the rest…]
– move to the post-carbon energy and transportation infrastructure
– real and complete Medicare
– national strategies for housing, childcare, mental health, environment, seniors…
– repealing corporate personhood

Is that too much to ask? [Hint: no!]

MY CANADA includes all that!

And probably more!

Fried Squirrels

It’s a crisp, foggy November Saturday morning in the south side of the city. Seventeen people sit in the large open area at the back end of an organic fair trade coffee shop run by a workers’ co-op inspired by the Mondragon movement in Spain. Meet-ups like this are quite common in this shop.

The male and female co-facilitators move briskly through the agenda with the help of the nodding volunteer maintaining the speakers list. There are sporadic jazz-hand gestures, common from the Occupy Movement, as well as a strict yet comfortable group norm of only one person speaking at a time, and succinctly, because of the elaborately carved talking stick that moves around the room.

Continue reading Fried Squirrels

What Does Adbusters Ask of You in 2013?

From the people who suggested the modest idea of occupying Wall Street, Adbusters has sent out a new half dozen suggestions to fix the economic cancers of capitalism. Here’s my favourite, and it’s a little policy wonky: Continue reading What Does Adbusters Ask of You in 2013?

Let’s Watch Where Quebec Leads Us All

Less than 12 hours after being elected to a minority government in Quebec, the PQ has announced it will cancel the socially and economically regressive tuition fee hikes and repeal the flagrantly unconstitutional Bill 78, which trampled on expression and assembly rights.

Quebec, long one of the most progressive socially and economically progressive cultures in our federation, is showing the rest of us once again what a stern devotion to progressive policies looks like.

Every NDP government or government in waiting needs to watch what assertiveness looks like.

And while we will likely see much discussion about language policies from Quebec [do, though, consider the history of oppression of the French in Canada when you assess things now; context matters], we see that a PQ minority will likely spend more time shoring up social pillars than pushing for a referendum. After all, a minority in the National Assembly and 32% of the vote is no mandate for separation. So that’s conveniently off the table.

And while Canada seems to be taking the lead in regressive social, economic and environmental policy, we need to illuminate good policy when it comes around.

And if you doubt how high tensions are in this country and what’s at stake, the shooting at the PQ party last night should let you know that we have a great deal of healing to do before we can steer our nation of nations in the direction of global moral and progressive leadership.

Guns at political rallies and the demonization of environmental activists as enemies of the state are the wrong way to go.

We must build the right way together!

Casseroles Night in Canada

It’s the evening. It’s 8pm. Dinner has been cleared away, the children have finished their homework. What is a family to do?

Take to the streets, of course.

Pots and wooden spoons in hand, the family all gathers in the street. They exchange pleasant conversation with their neighbours, who are carrying a colander and a tiny pan designed for frying a single egg.

They walk down the street, encouraging the children to make as much noise as possible. They meet up with other neighbours, with people from the surrounding streets, taking over the roads and joyfully raising their voices to protest the actions their government is taking. “On s’en calisse de loi speciale!” they chant, giggling self-consciously as their tongues stumble over a language they haven’t spoken since high school.

They’ve been doing this every night for a few days now, and every night they notice there are more and more people in the street, making more and more noise. They’ve spent their days reading about Loi 78, about the manifencours, about the erosion of civil liberties in Quebec. They’ve met people on the street who are as angered by the Gateway Pipeline as they are, or Bill C-38, or the gutting of the CBC. They’ve made connections to people who are fighting for issues they care about, and they’ve started to think about what actions they could take to affect change.

They’ve heard they’re not the only ones doing this. They’ve heard that people from Kelowna to London are in the streets come 8pm, and that more cities are joining in every night. They’ve even heard that Stephen Harper is worried about the demonstrations.

They’re part of a national movement to take back their country, and they feel proud.

While the above might sound like a piece of fiction, I prefer to think of it as prognostication. The manifencours in Quebec have proven that protest works. Public support for tuition increases has dropped 41%, and support for Loi 78 has dropped 36%.

Enter Casseroles Night in Canada and #MapleSpread, movements that aim to take the protests from the streets of Montreal and help them take root all across the country. Far from just wanting to show solidarity to striking students, they are movements aimed at mobilizing Canadians to stand up against a government working against Canada’s best interests.

Getting involved is easy. All it requires is communication, determination and some household goods. There are more arduous ways to change the world.

“Please be kind enough to let us know the number of plainclothes officers who will infiltrate our event so we can order the appropriate catering.” – Gatineau Chamber of Commerce on Bill 78

Hot off the Twitter presses, courtesy of @NieDesrochers of Radio Canada, comes this letter from the Gatineau Chamber of Commerce:


The letter is a notice to the Gatineau police force, pursuant to the Special Law that the Quebec Government has quickly passed to block student protests.

The law, in part, requires that all gatherings of ten or more people that will take place in a public venue must provide written notice at least eight hours in advance to the police of the location, route, date, time, number of attendees, and must comply with any changes ordered by the police.  This law is likely unconstitutional in its broad application.

The letter from the chamber of commerce reads:

Please take note that, pursuant to section 16 of Bill 78, the Chamber of Commerce of Gatineau will have a group of “more than 10 persons” on the 29th of May 2012 between 5:00pm and 7:00pm.

The participants will leave from the parking lot of the Gatineau airport a bit before 5:00 and will go about 300 metres west along Rue Arthur-Fecteau to arrive at the Wings of History Hanger which is at 1669 Rue Arthur-Fecteau.

Here, the participants will engage in discussion and will listen to brief speeches.  This is to highlight the ‘team of the month’: the Laiterie de l’Outaouais.

Between 6:30pm and 7:15pm, the participants will go back along Rue Arthur-Fecteau to the parking lot where they will leave.  

We anticipate that there will be about 200 people attending.  Please be kind enough to let us know the number of plainclothes officers who will infiltrate our event so that we may be able to order the appropriate catering and other orders.

Antoine Normand, President

This is pretty awesome, and shows the flaws in the Special Law that aims to stop student protest.  There’s now a rumour that the government will consider an amendment to change the number of people at a gathering that would require notice from 10 to 25, which does nothing to fix the flaws in the law.