Thursday, March 10, 2011

Is Quebec Province Insane???? - OUI!!!!!


City in Uproar

MONTREAL - Montreal police have launched an official investigation into Tuesday night's violent hit on Habs forward Max Pacioretty.

In a release issued early Thursday, Quebec's Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DCPP) confirmed it had advised the ministry of Public Security that it was recommending an investigation.

It didn't take long for officials to respond. Montreal police issued a brief statement a few hours later confiming they had been asked by the ministry to begin looking into the hit and its aftermath.

The investigation will begin immediately, said Montreal police Constable Olivier Lapointe. Police made no further comment.

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Anybody who knows hockey is saddened by the injury to Montreal player Max Pacioretty but it was simply the result of being in the hockey version of  the perfect storm. Zdeno Chara is not a dirty player like Matt Cooke of the Pittsburgh Penguins who a year ago may have ended the career of Bruins player Marc Savard.

I was shocked myself that Chara escaped punishment but that just shows how badly the National Hockey league is run these days. Of course Gary Bettman had to anger Montreal fans even more with his statement on Thrusday in Washington before the US Congress.

However the reaction in Quebec once ago shows how out of touch with reality many citizens of that province are - especially the francophones. Many of their citizens believe that they are a Distinct Society (in French la société distincte). 

The injury to Max was horrific - but it wasn't the hit that did the damage - it was the exposed stanchion that did the damage. Last season one of your players Hal Gill made the EXACT same hit but the stanchion didn't enter into it - and the fans cheered.

As an American who has visited Quebec going back to my first trip with my parents in 1962, I have watched as Montreal proudly showed itself off to the world with Expo 67 which in turn brought major league baseball to Canada with the creation of the Montreal Expos. For Expo the city built a wonderful subway (Metro) and developed a vast underground city where in the harshness of winter you could travel all over downtown without once stepping outside. It was magical.

The city in those years was run by a powerful mayor, Jean Drapeau, who was very much like Richard J Daley in Chicago. In 1970 Frank Deford wrote a long article on the mayor.
Run It Up The Flagpole, Johnny

When Jean Drapeau, the mayor of Montreal, first unfurled some of his grandiose schemes the world snickered. But now with Expo, big-league baseball and the Olympics safely in hand His Honor is accepting salutes

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The 1976 Olympics was a financial disaster that makes our Big Dig look like a well managed project. The games were budgeted at a modest $120 million (CDN) but just the stadium alone wound up costing $1.6 BILLION. The taxpayers of Montreal and Quebec were on the hook and they were angry and they started to listen to a reporter turned politican named René Lévesque and the Parti Québécois.

The Parti Québécois had two major goals, one to make Quebec a sovereign nation and to eliminate the use of the English language as much as possible. In 1977 the new government passed the Charter of the French Language (La charte de la langue française). That law set in motion the wholesale flight of anglophones to Ontario and Toronto led by Sun Life Financial. Large companies simply did not want to be burdened with a legal requirement that everything must be done in French. The population of Metro Toronto exploded and Montreal became nothing more than a branch office town for Quebec.

New Englanders have suffered for over 40 years as Quebec never had the money to finish Autoroute 35 from the Vermont border to Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu forcing drivers to use Quebec Route 133 which is something out of the 1920's. Only now are they starting to finish it.

How goofly did the Quebec government become over the use of English? I can remember back in 1999 that a famous anglophone bar The Winston Churchill was fined for having a sandwich board on the street that said WELCOME BOSTON RED SOX FANS - Somehow I think a sign that said Bienvenue Fanatiques Chaussettes Rouge de Boston would be lost on someone from Quincy. In 1998 Morley Safer and 60 Minutes visited Montreal to see if the language police actually existed.

Francophones until the 1960's were indeed considered second class citizens by the anglophone ruling class and I can remember seeing cold water flats as late as the 70's in the eastern end of the city while Westmount, Quebec had wealth that rivaled Greenwich, CT or Beverly Hills. Besides the language you also had a carryover from the UK in Catholic vs Protestant. The francohone nationalists even created an urban legend that salespeople at Montreal's largest department store Eaton's could not speak French but that simply wasn't true.

However a famous Canadian short story that was made into an animated feature pokes fun at the Eaton's relationship with French speaking customers.

The Quebec Separatism movement is something I have watched over the years and I try to see the issues as best I can being an American and anglophone. One of the first things the Parti Québécois did in 1978 was playing the phrase Je me souviens replaced La Belle Province on Quebec's licence plates. It translates to 'I Remember'. Many believe that the phrase is supposed to remind people of the Bataille des Plaines d'Abraham or Première bataille de Québec in 1759 where the British took control over New France and the end of francophone independence.

File:Quebec 1992 license plate.jpg

But what I find hysterical is when you remind these hardcore separatists of how history evolved they can't come up with a response and just shrug. Very simply ask them what do you think would have happened if the French had WON the Battle of Quebec. Is it not safe to assume that when Napoleon Bonaparte in 1803 sold Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, parts of Minnesota that were west of the Mississippi River, most of North Dakota, nearly all of South Dakota, northeastern New Mexico, the portions of Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado east of the Continental Divide, and Louisiana west of the Mississippi River, including the city of New Orleans to the United States he also would have included Quebec is they still owned it. How do you think Quebec would have evolved under Washington, DC? Having England win the battle was the best thing that ever happened to you and most likely all of Canada. If the United States had gotten control of the St. Lawrence River it is likely that they would have wound up with Ontario as well.

Don't get me wrong, I love Quebec and Montreal but the arrogance that many ( but not all ) francophones have towards all things anglo has just gotten old. Quebec's refusal to have bilingual road signs is an insult to your neighboring provinces and states. They put up buffer zone signs in both languages - why can't you?

Sign for US drivers SHOULD be in ENGLISH

Even some places in FRANCE use STOP instead of arrêt!!

A few years ago when Molson had their famous I AM CANADIAN ad campaign there was a parody done by an Toronto radio station CFNY-FM.

Finally - while I have the greatest respect for Club de Hockey Canadien and their history I am disgusted by a small but sadly very loud group of fans at the Centre Bell who feel they must boo the National Anthem of the United States. How do you think the SIX US born players of the Canadiens feel when you idiots do that.

Back in 2004 Boston Bruins fans sent a message to those idiot fans.

You want respect??? SHOW SOME not only at the hockey rink but in everyday life.

Oh Canada! Oh Quebec! Requiem For A Divided Country
               Oh Canada! Oh Quebec!

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