Posts Tagged ‘quebec’

My response for Option Nationale, Sol Zanetti, Quebec and Scotland

September 12, 2014

solRecently, I came across a video message by Option Nationale Leader Sol Zanetti, directed at the citizens of Scotland. With Scots voting on independence, Zanetti decided to take the position of Savant on the subject, and tell the Scottish how Quebec has screwed things up by staying a part of Canada. Personally, I found the video repugnant, self-serving and full of inaccuracies. While I have no illusions of how my sparsely updated blog is irrelevant on the Canadian political landscape, I have to say something. In fact, I feel my angst over the video subsiding with every keystroke.

To start, as a communications professional, I should know better. When a political party is a non-factor, you shouldn’t give it the light of day. Option Nationale is a party that is trailing even other niche provincial parties. But when the message pretends to represent all of Quebec, it strikes me at my core.

To begin with, Zanetti and his propaganda pals title the video An important message from Quebec for the Scottish, which, unless he is producing a satire video, he can’t get away with. There are literally 250 other public figures in Quebec that are more qualified to represent Quebec in such a message than Sol Zanetti.

Although, I will give him credit, his English is good. His work with a razor? Not so much.

So let’s tackle some of the elements in his message to Scotland.

– Zanetti references the 1980 and 1995 Quebec referendums, and says “Based on our experience, you will be worse off if you vote No.” How, exactly? Prior to 1980, Quebec was an English bastion for big business. While I am against anything that breaks up Canada, I will admit that the two referendums did serve a very valid purpose – they brought the majority French-speaking population of Quebec more respect and more laws. I refer you to how minority languages today are deemed a threat to French Quebec if their menus aren’t French.

-He talks about how Quebeckers were promised so much prior to the referendums, and that they were lied to. He references how healthcare funding hasn’t kept pace with the Quebec population. There’s only one problem with that latter point – an independent Quebec wouldn’t be able to pay for healthcare anyway!

-Conveniently, this video omits the incredible and disproportionate power that Quebec has held within Canada, essentially electing the country’s opposition party in the early 1990’s and then again in the last federal election.

-Sol Zanetti threatens the Scots by saying that they were will the laughing stock of the world, like Quebec has become. The issue with that? Quebec has made embarrassing headlines SOLELY for enforcing language and other laws that target non mother tongue Francophones. In what universe was this because Quebec is a part of Canada? He takes it a step further, saying that they will be the laughing stock according to him as well. Another problem – who is Sol Zanetti? Until CJAD gave him the greatest gift he could have ever asked for by mentioning this video, the man was as anonymous as the good ideas in his party’s platform.

-Finally, by uttering the phrase Mind your own business towards the end of the video, Zanetti implies that the majority of Quebeckers want to separate, and anyone who disagrees should go away. Here’s the reality – when your party polls at less than one percent (down a percentage point from the previous election), it means that whatever you say isn’t the business of 99 percent of the population, literally.

As a proud Montrealer, Quebecker and Canadian, and one of the MAJORITY in the province that has ZERO interest in leaving Canada, if Mr. Zanetti is so insistent on speaking for everyone, I have an idea. I’d like to recommend that he find an uninhabited island and start his own new sovereign nation. Who knows, maybe some of his one percent will join him.

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Unfriending Parti Quebecois supporters

August 20, 2012

I recently posted a status message on my Facebook profile, explaining the fact that I ‘unfriended’ a couple of individuals who went ahead and ‘liked’ the Pauline Marois Facebook page. Now, to some this would seem like an act of intolerance and exclusionary behaviour. But the truth is, it’s actually a gesture of pure Federalism, pure and simple, nothing more.

We all use the term ‘friend’ loosely on Facebook. Many of us have throngs of acquaintances we don’t really know. Due to my radio program in Montreal, I have a lot of listeners and fans of the show that have found and added me on Facebook. I accept most of the friend requests because I want to be grateful that they are faithful to my show, and also to let them feel like they have access to me.

It’s also worth noting that I generally don’t post any pictures of my kids or family on there, and don’t give out too many details of my private life. To me, Facebook is a social networking tool, designed to better seek out and reach people with whom you are interested in communicating and monitoring.

So when a couple of people decide to celebrate a politician whose only goal in public life is to break up the country that I live in, well, I took great exception. As a result, I HAD to delete those that encouraged the dissolution of the only nation that I have ever lived in.

If I don’t stick up for what I believe in, how could I look my kids in the eye. Sure, it would be the politically correct decision to ignore the Parti Quebecois support of a couple of Facebook friends for the broader appeal of me and my public dealings. But I am not wired like that.

Any party that encourages the limiting of religious freedoms, the separation of Quebec from Canada and the crackdown on the English language in every facet, cannot be something that I act indifferent towards.

Don’t get me wrong, I know my actions don’t amount to a major ripple in the political waters of this country. But it’s a way to vent and to have a non-destructive outlet. I had a satisfactory exhale upon my ‘unfriending’ exercise and was able to move on with my day. Non-Quebecers don’t understand how emotional and anxiety-causing the Quebec separation issue really is to some La Belle Province natives.

It’s definitely a cathartic activity for frustrated English-speaking Quebec citizens. Simply visit the Marois Facebook page and see what common friends of yours have liked it. You will then know who to delete right away from your friends list.

I am sure these guys will never notice that I am no longer friends with them. I have no illusions about my at-best “E level” celebrity status in this town. But, if they were thinking of sharing the Pauline Marois Facebook fan page with me at some point, they have another thing coming.

Matthew Ross is a communications professional and freelance journalist. His sports radio show has been on TSN 990 since 2004. 

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.