Posts Tagged ‘canada’

If you’re English and you know it, clap your hands – then vote!

November 21, 2008

Matthew Ross is the founder of ContentServicing.com, a content and communications provider. You can view/join its Facebook group. He is also the host of Game Points on THE TEAM 990AM in Montreal, Canada.

As an anglophone residing in Montreal, Canada, I am afforded many great luxuries in life. I have free access to healthcare, crime is fairly irrelevant and my education was more than affordable. But there’s one element that has always been a battle for me and for all 13% of us English-speaking Quebeckers: our right to speak our own language in public.

For many years now, it has become increasingly harder to function in our own tongue. You can’t call any government service, provincial or federal, without getting a unilingual francophone on the other end of the line. The last time I checked, no referendum on sovereignty was passed as of yet and a new country was not declared. As long as Quebec is a part of Canada, they too must be a fully bilingual province just like every other province. Imagine, living in a country, no matter where, and not being served in one of the official two languages.

Now comes word with the Quebec provincial election approaching, that the separatist Parti Quebecois wants to make things even tougher for English people in the province (read this article ASAP) – and English businesses too for that matter. Citing the erosion of the French language as carte blanche to continue to violate the rights of English people in the province, the PQ are acting as though if they get into power they are saving the French language from the big, bad English people.

These are the same people that brought us a funded language police, allowed to go around to stores and shops and fine businesses for having any English signs or lettering that is the same size as French lettering. They have also managed to ensure that any non-Quebec born English person living in the province has to send his/her children to French schools. Riiiiight, and the French language is the one eroding. Makes sense.

The upcoming December 8th election in Quebec could actually determine the fate of English people in the province for the next decade. If somehow the underdog PQ overtake the incumbent Liberals for control of Quebec, they will continue their systematic dismantling of everything and anything English.

With Montreal hosting this year’s CFL Championship termed the Grey Cup, thousands of Canadians have flocked to the city. You’d think Quebec would be welcoming of the tourist bump, roll out the red carpet for visitors and make them feel at home. Wrong. The city couldn’t even mandate bilingual menus at public festivity food stops – no doubt the work of the meaningful language police.

Bottom line, let’s hope the Liberals win the election so us English folk are allowed to continue practicing our crazy way of speaking. If not, I may be forced to translate this blog into French and perform several hundred hours of community service. In fact, I’m beginning to wonder if indeed Quebec did separate and I simply missed the memo. “Sigh,” I miss Canada already.

Matthew Ross is the founder of ContentServicing.com, a content and communications provider. You can view/join its Facebook group. He is also the host of Game Points on THE TEAM 990AM in Montreal, Canada.

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Voters Don’t Get A Passing Grade

October 15, 2008

Matthew Ross is the founder of ContentServicing.com, a content and communications provider. You can view/join its Facebook group. He is also the host of Game Points on THE TEAM 990AM in Montreal, Canada.

When I was in school, 60 percent was a passing grade. When my dad was in school, 50 percent was a passing grade. Some schools peg 65 percent as their passing or failing point. Whatever your definition of sink or swim, democracy in Canada lost big time with the recent federal election. Unbelievably, only 59 percent of eligible voters turned out to support their candidates at the polls. It’s an apalling number when you consider that the United States and Brittain were safely over the 60 percent mark in their last elections.

So what does this say about the campaign that politicians ran in Canada? Well, it says they didn’t inspire, they didn’t identify with voters and they didn’t stir up any kind of passion one way or another during the entire campaign.

Personally, I think it was a disgusting turnout. We should be embarassed as a nation to turn out less than 60 percent at the polls.  What’s next, 55 percent? How about 50%? Maybe it will be 45 percent? At that point, we may as well be overthrown by a military madman and become a dictatorship (Gilles Duceppe would make an awesome hated dictator).

Why bother having a democracy if we don’t re-affirm it each election time? The old adage of people dying for the right to vote in various parts of the world should never grow old. We all lost face with these results and we should be ashamed of ourselves. What was the problem, was it too much time for us to spend at the polling station? It took me only 25 minutes round-trip, how much more could it have taken at the worst-run polling station.

If you didn’t vote, then you should take a good long look in the mirror and wonder what you are doing living in Canada. You did your country a grave disservice by not voting and you disrespected all of the freedoms and liberties that our troops fight to protect and promote all around the world. By abstaining during this past election, you may think you were proving a point or harmlessly displaying indifference, but you did more than that. You tarnished the image of Canada as a free state populated by people with intelligence, a sense of right and above all else; pride in their country. Our pride swagger is a little less evident today.

What does it say about a country when the province (Quebec) that wants out the most turns out the best voter percentage? Judging by the amount of Bloc MPs going to Ottawa, it says all is not right with the process.

Exactly what does Canada need to get back on track? Well, seeing as we will probably have another election in two year’s time, it says we need some new leadership and it says we need politicians to listen to what the people want. But just because our leaders failed us, doesn’t mean we are all off the hook. It also means we need to show up in droves and put this pathetic turnout behind us if we want to restore the image of Canada as a democratic nation that believes in what it stands for.

You may think I am being a little over-dramatic, but I don’t. We are on the brink of economic destruction and we get a record-low turnout? You have got to be kidding me. I understand we need our leaders to be more charismatic and unifying. But, we also have to rely on ourselves as well. The election down south may be intriguing for most of us, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore what is going on in our own backyard. Let’s accept our reprimand for a low turnout like good men and women and right the wrong next time around.  For the sake of Canadian democracy, we must!

Matthew Ross is the founder of ContentServicing.com, a content and communications provider. You can view/join its Facebook group. He is also the host of Game Points on THE TEAM 990AM in Montreal, Canada.

Going Negative

October 7, 2008

Matthew Ross is the founder of www.ContentServicing.com, a content and communications-providing company. You can also view/join the company’s Facebook group.

In marketing and communications, you try and always spin things in a positive way. You try and ensure that your company or entity is always looked upon in a positive light. Makes sense, right?

Well, in politics, the notion of positivity is second to the notion of going negative. Each side, no matter how many times they initially say they are above attacking the other, eventually goes negative. It’s not enough to merely dispute an opponent’s claim or to refute a claim by the other side. Instead, the flavour of every election is to go for the throat as many times as possible – no matter what side you’re on.

It happens in Canadian politics and it certainly happens in American politics. No matter how many polls reveal that the general public doesn’t enjoy seeing negative ads, everyone invariably goes negative. Why? Well a different survey comes to mind. A couple of years ago, CNN conducted an experiment. They tested the subconscious activity in the brain when subjected to various types of political messages. The results were quite interesting. Even though we all believe that negative ads are simply cheap and hit below the belt, we apparently are affected by them – and in some cases, influenced by them as well.

But the Republicans in the U.S. and the Conservatives in Canada already knew this. Their usage of various scare tactics have become legendary over the years.

Recently, the Conservative Party of Canada has been running ads portraying their chief rival, Stephane Dion, the head of the Liberal Party of Canada, as a risky choice that would raise taxes and be too unpredictable for the country. Down south, GOP Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin recently accused Barrack Obama of “pal-ing around” with dangerous world leaders. In both cases, the insinuations are mostly off-base, but it doesn’t matter.

These scare tactics are effective, regardless of the messages’ merit. It’s incredible to think that simplistic mud-slinging can yield such great results. But unfortunately, many voters in North America think simplistically when it comes to how they view their leaders.

The problem with the left wing negative ads, is that for the most part, their attacks usually focus on the narrow-minded thinking and potential dangerous decision-making of their right wing opponents. Everyone knows the usual risks with right wing candidates. Tell us something we don’t know.

The bottom line is that right wing parties on this continent are good at what they do. They use voters’ fears as fuel to lasso as many votes as possible. Usually, the key for them is to identify the biggest fears of the time and craft their attacks around these issues.

In 2004, 9/11 was still on the minds of voters and so the Republicans focused their efforts on their seemingly tougher stance on terrorism. It worked. In 2008, the chief issue WAS the war in Iraq. Now, it’s all about the economy. And with more and more Americans identifying the GOP’s de-regulation ideals in finance as the root cause for America’s economic meltdown, it appears as though Democrats finally have enough fuel for their most effective negative ad campaign in years.

Time will tell if another issue trumps the economy prior to the U.S. election in November. For John McCain’s sake, he certainly hopes so.

Matthew Ross is the founder of www.ContentServicing.com, a content and communications-providing company. You can also view/join the company’s Facebook group.