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Office quebecois de la langue anglaise

OQLA is a not for profit organization made up of volunteers who are concerned about the
slow and methodical disappearance of the English language in Quebec.

Sun,14Sep2014

Response to Mr. Boisclair - RE: QC at 'War' with English (Time Magazine, U.S.A.)

Mr. Boisclair,

Your response to the article 'Quebec's War on English: Language Politics Intensify in Canadian Province' deserves a counter response since it contains itself, several misleading and biased statements concerning Quebec's language policies.

First, the policies that have been adopted by successive governments since the seventies do nothing to 'preserve' the rights of Anglophones in Quebec. A quick example would be the requirement of having French on signs, with a limitation on the comparative size of any other language. This is, and is not arguable, an infringement on Anglophone's (and Francophone's for that matter) right to freedom of expression.

Second, the standard of living in Quebec is pretty good. I will not argue that, but you negate the colossal negative interdependence with the rest of Canada ($7-8 BN of equalization payments per year) to maintain this standard of living. The language policies legislated through Bill 101, and those proposed by Bill 14, however, to maintain this so called 'delicate equilibrium between individual and collective rights,' do nothing to ameliorate, respect or maintain the standards of living of Anglophones in Quebec. Statistically, you could consider the significant decline in attendance to English elementary and high schools (once 250k, now just under 100k) and consequently the reduction in the requirement of English speaking teachers - these are our jobs! (jobs = standard of living!) Do I need to enumerate the businesses whose headquarters have left Montreal for other cities? Montreal's loss, as the financial centre of Canada to Toronto, has been a huge part of the tranquil decline of Quebec. If anything, these kinds of laws overtime have already, and will continue to reduce the standard of living for Quebeckers in comparison to all of their neighbors. La richesse suit la liberte, et non pas le contraire.

Also, I would like to discuss this 'delicate equilibrium between individual and collective rights.' Bill 101 and the proposed Bill 14 do not balance any equilibrium. They infringe on civil rights in the name of 'protecting' the French language. I ask the following; At what cost are we willing to 'save' the French culture in Quebec, thriving here 400 years already? Are we to sacrifice our civil rights and liberties to maintain a certain ratio of Francophone/Anglophone/Allophone? What is that ratio? Who determines this ratio? Are we to expect additional discriminatory legislation every time the ratio of Francophones declines? What is the limit to all this? Frankly, I no longer trust the government of Quebec to make these decisions, and certainly not the xenophobic Office quebecois de la langue francaise.

Whether the words used are 'at war' or not, the truth is, that in the objective of removing English as an official language and making French the only official language of Quebec (in a country that strives to be bilingual), is an attack on the Anglophone community and most importantly, on the opportunity and potential of all Quebeckers, regardless of their mother tongue, to thrive as a collective and individuals in this global world. You cannot disassociate economic growth from the mastery and exploitation of the English language!

Having had the choice and opportunity, to pursue post-secondary education in English yourself, why would you support a political agenda that is preventing your peers from the accessing the same opportunities?

Lastly, when writing in English, Quebec is written without the e accent aigu, and simply with an e acute accent (aigu), just as we write Montreal without an accent too in English, since it is a bilingual city according to 80% of inhabitants polled, despite the propaganda of the narrow-minded QC Political elite, and even Mayor Applebaum, who pander to Quebec Nationalists at the expense of acknowledging their own acceptance of discrimination based on language (linguicism).

Thank you for our understanding,

Stewart John Leonard

Member of Equality Party 2.0 ? equalityparty.ca

Member of QC Office of the English Language  oqla.org

Member of Unity Group? www.unitygroup.ca

 

 

Appendix, original letter from our 'placed' by the PQ Govt representative in NYC


Starting with its inflammatory title, your article 'Quebec's War on English: Language Politics Intensify in Canadian Province' contains several misleading and biased statements concerning Quebec's language policies. Adopted by successive governments since the seventies, those policies aim to ensure that the French language flourishes on a continent where some 8 million Francophones cohabit with more than 300 million Anglophones while, at the same time, preserving the rights of Anglophones whose contribution to the development of Quebec's economic, political and cultural development is vital.

Anglo-Quebecers enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the country and have access to a network of English-language medical, educational and social institutions. Thirty-five years after the adoption of Bill 101, the proposed Bill 14 continues to respect the rights of the Anglophone minority while ensuring the vitality of the French language and maintaining the delicate equilibrium between individual and collective rights.

It is absurd to claim that Quebec is 'at war' against English. The Quebec [sociological] nation promotes inclusiveness and is renowned worldwide for its creativity and economic vitality. Quebecers of all origins are proud of their unique identity. We cordially invite you to visit and see for yourself.

Andre Boisclair, Quebec Delegate General to New York
Read more: http://ideas.time.com/letters/quebec-is-not-at-war-with-english/#ixzz2QXTpQGHF

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My Experience Fighting Bill 14

On the 9th of April, I had the honour to accompany Hugo Shebbeare, of the QC Office of the English Language, Antoinette Mercurio, of Unity and about 25 other brave dedicated individuals to Quebec City. Our goal and purpose was to provide support, as Hugo presented his brief against the infamous Bill 14. Upon entering the Assemble Nationale, we were greeted by a less than friendly security guard. I heard him utter: "Oh c'est les anglophones." He then proceeded to asked if any of us spoke French I assured him that we all did, he looked shocked. I am asked him "etes-vous surpris?" He said "mais oui." We proceeded through the metal detectors, and we had to remove all our buttons that said Bill 14 with a black line through it.

We proceeded upstairs into the Salle de conseil legislative (the Red Room), which, by the way, still had a huge Canadian Flag at the back. As we took our places and all sat down, I glanced around. We were told to turn off our cell [mobile] phones, which we did, but what to my wondering eyes appeared, were members of Mme de Courcy Le Ministre's entourage texting and talking on their phones. I was not prepared for the total lack of respect some of the members of the PQ showed, especially one Member, Mr Sylvain Roy, who, when Hugo was presenting his brief, continuously appeared to be suppressing a laugh. Hugo made a passionate statement carefully outlining how the Bill would decimate our community. Mme de Courcy was not moved and told us 'bon retour' after thanking us for participating. To make matters worse, the Liberal Member, from the West Island riding of Jacques-Cartier, Geoff Kelley, commented that the brief was 'full of adjectives and a lot of anger.' Mr Kelley used the old PQ [songbook] defense, that they are in a 'SEA OF ENGLISH,' and talked about the influences of how we had to differentiate ourselves from the United States, how we had to avoid Hollywood and Bollywood. As I sat there I was in a state of shock. Only by the grace of God and the ability to bite my tongue did I not jump up, and resort to my outside voice.

Suffice it to say, the experience of sitting in the National Assembly being a part of something, trying to invoke change at the legislative level, was an empowering experience. Whilst I stared at Mme de Courcy, she appeared completely disinterested, and unmoved. It made my resolve even stronger. I had a right and a duty to be in the NATIONAL ASSEMBLY! Any law that gives sweeping powers that overshadow our language, to language police, should be suspect. Any law that gives the Office de la langue francaise, powers to swoop down from their perch and target businesses, on the basis of secret complaints, and confiscate records, computers and 'offending' materials, without a warrant, and press criminal charges, is fascist!

The other aspects of this odious law, sections 175, 175.3, 166 in particular, are that the OLF can appoint, arbitrarily, anyone to perform the task, if there are no inspectors available. So in essence your arch business rival could do the search and seizure. Any law that makes the changes, from 'ethnic' to 'cultural community' is suspect, because 'cultural communities' would have no protection under the Quebec Charter of Rights, or in the International Court of Justice. Any law that asks Quebeckers to act as language watch dogs, to spy against their co-workers, for not respecting the French Charter of Quebec, is a vile piece of legislation, and is a consequence of the extreme ethno-linguistic nationalism in our province. In essence, you could be ordered to speak French in your place of work, by a co-worker, and if you do not comply, you would be obliged to appear before a language tribunal, as if you were stuck in a passage of Orwell's novel 1984!

If anyone thinks that I am hysterical and making this up, simply go on theÃ? National Assembly website and do some homework. Please read Bill 14 yourself! Thus, why are we not out in the streets banging our pots and pans? Most people are not aware of the odious ramifications of the law. Ignorance is no excuse. If we, as a community, do not fight this tooth and nail, if we as a community, do not participate in any demonstrations, if we as a community do not defend the interests of ALL Quebeckers, we will continue to lose our rights. Language Policy Activist, and Quebec Statesman, Peter Blaike wrote a very truthful article about Bill 14. In sum, this odious bill, is to get the Anglos who have stayed to move out, thus to create the winning conditions, for another 'neverendum...'

This is a battle that has to be fought in the courts, in the National Assembly and on the streets. I am not invoking violence, because when I say 'the streets', I mean for the all communities to get off their collective butts and walk the walk. I would strongly advise that sitting in the National Assembly defending my rights, your rights, everyone's rights, was an incredible and uplifting experience that I would strongly recommend to any concerned citizen.

*A foot note to Mr Kelley: we are no longer angry phones, we are furious-phones!

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I am a Champion for Canada, and Quebec is Included in My Country: Part II

On April 9th, I spoke at Culture and Education Committee hearings into the Parti Quebecois`proposed Bill 14, representing the QC Office of the English Language, and suported by the Unity Group, who joined me with a bus-load of people (special thanks to the great help of Antoinette Mercurio). Normally, I would publish the entire text on this site, but it does not do it justice, since the text itself, although updated, does not do the presentation justice. To take in its full effect, I ask you enjoy the full 30 minutes of video they provide on the Provincial Legislature Website, if time permits, before reading an eye-witness account of what happened, here below from Francine Weston. A special thanks to Marc Chetrit for some final edits on the bus, for what seems to have become a historic speech.
http://www.assnat.qc.ca/en/video-audio/AudioVideo-45137.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ft0_ZoQPeLc&feature=player_embedded
This is a copy of Francine's wonderful letter to editor of the Montreal Gazette, who may never publish it. All citizens should be aware of what is going on in our government. This was her experience on April 9th, the day of the Bill 14 public hearings in Quebec City, word for word.

Re: Philip Authier's article, Acrimony marks return of Bill 14 hearings. The Gazette April 9, 2013
Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Acrimony+marks+return+Bill+hearings/8219009/story.html#ixzz2Q8sfbMxQ

He said language is always a question of balance, and asked the group if it had any concrete suggestions about that.?

As a citizen who attended the public hearings, on April 9th, it was extremely disappointing to witness what actually goes on in our government. At the Bill 14 public hearings, it was very deceiving to witness the level of disrespect displayed by our government officials exhibited during Hugo Shebbeare's presentation. While the camera is clearly on Hugo during his presentation, there should also be a corresponding camera on our MPs throughout the citizen's presentation instead of the occasional head shot, when the MP is speaking; because it will horrify the citizens to witness the level of arrogant disrespect and disregard of the citizen speaking at a public hearing. Hugo had 20 minutes to present his arguments against Bill 14. While he presented his arguments with expressive sentiment that we English speaking citizens may sometimes feel, he did so with professionalism and a demeanor of seriousness to the plight of the English community due to these oppressive language laws.

To witness the non-verbal body language of our MP's during Mr. Shebbeare's presentation, it was quite shocking to imagine that our MP's are making decisions that affect the citizen's lives with such blatant disregard for the speaker, which was quite evident by their lack of attention during his presentation. There were MP's reading piles of papers during his presentation. There were more than a few MP's looking at their cell phones, a few chatting amongst themselves during his speech, as well as the arrogant displays of smirks, rolling eyes and sighs of disregard (especially by Sylvain Roy). This was witnessed not only by myself, but the 20 citizens who also attended the public hearing on April 9th via the Unity bus.

To add insult to injury, we have Geoffrey Kelley spewing the usual protect French rhetoric, while negating Hugo's presentation as an 'angry presentation,' while in the same breath, he admits it is the responsibility of the MP's to listen to their constituents. What I witnessed that day of the public hearings was a smoke screen of justice behind a biased slant appearance of decisive intent of pushing Bill 14 through due to the perceived threat of the French language.

When fighting for our basic human rights for decades, to have our MP's negate our concerns by minimizing the arguments as 'angry' does not justify such disregard for the perception and feelings of the citizen. For it is not the job of the MP to negate a citizen's concern due to his impassioned feelings of his presentation. It is the MP's duty to listen to the citizen to address their concerns and to take these concerns into consideration while voting on behalf of the constituents he represents.

As Geoffrey Kelley states: 'Language is a question of balance, part of his job as a parliamentarian is to listen.'?What is appropriate to promote the French fact??

Balance of what is appropriate is weighed on the balance of justice based on our basic laws of a civilized society built on the foundation of the United Declaration of Human Rights. When our basic rights are run roughshod and rationalized as a duty to preserve French, the balance of what is appropriate has been lost. To have balance, there has to be the basic laws of fairness, equality, freedom and liberty for all citizens. In order to have fair laws, we need MP's to be able to listen to the needs of the citizen. When we have a government, who is just going through the motions of the semblance of a democracy, the facade is quite apparent to all. They are fooling no one. When the reality of undemocratic laws invade our daily lives against our will, without our input and only through loopholes of justice, notwithstanding their duty to the taxpaying public, the expectation for a citizen to have no affect when presenting arguments for the fight for their children's future is to expect citizens to behave as schizophrenics detached from the reality that surrounds them. Anger denotes the lucidity of the absurdity of the disengaged government from the public, while expecting citizens to follow unjust laws, which its own government is unwilling to follow itself in the context as a province within Canada.
___

I wish to give a heartfelt thank you to Mrs. Francine Weston for this.

However, she was not the only one who reacted angrily to Kelley's contempt for the rights of his constituents, here is the Press Release from Mark S. Bergeron, Leader of the Equality Party.

And yet another from Ben van Gak, as a letter posted to the Gazette:

Re: Emotions run high at Bill 14 hearing? (Gazette, April 10)

Regarding the Bill 14 hearings, any Quebec anglophone who has lived here the last many years can attest to the frustrations of living in this province with its language laws. ...I am thankful that an English-language rights group under Hugo Shebbeare expressed views at these hearings that I am sure a large number of us anglos share.

From what I've seen in the past, those who summon the courage to criticize Quebec's 'sacred' language laws are typically patronized or dismissed by its politicians. I was sad to read in the Gazette that MNA Geoffrey Kelley fit into this pattern by stating Shebbeare's presentation was 'angry.'?

How do you put on a happy face with constructive comments to yet another negative and destructive language bill?

Ben van Gak

Kirkland

�© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette


Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Letter+Hugo+Shebbeare+spoke+many+anglos+Bill+hearings/8227208/story.html#ixzz2QAeSREiM

Finally, on April 13th, Mohammed H. Amin, a distinguished videographer, compiled this amazing video: Quebec is not a Country!

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STM Language Protest

A peaceful protest by the Quebec Office of the English Language inside the Villa Maria metro station. This protest was done because a STM employee put up a sign saying in French "Au Quebec c'est en Francais que ca se passe"! Meaning " In Quebec, we do things in French".

 

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Opt-Ed "Attention Minors" - Adolescent Assaulted for Speaking English in Public

It is with great sadness that we have recently witnessed an escalation in language-based discrimination that has steadily resurfaced into the social fabric of Quebec, prior to and after the election of the Parti Qu�©b�©cois (PQ) earlier this month, directed towards the English speaking minority community (dans cette communiqu�©, veuillez noter que nous faisons r�©f�©rence � la communaut�© dâ??expression anglaise au Qu�©bec). Now, the Quebecâ??s English speaking children are being physically assaulted for speaking English in public, whereas before we have videography of several incidents of verbal harassment, even in front of McGill University.

On the evening of Sept 22nd, around 9pm, Mr. G., aged 17, was simply walking around the block with his cousins in the predominantly English-Italian Borough of St-Leonard, Montreal. When he and his four cousins turned the corner, they came face to face with a young adult male holding a mobile phone who stated to them â??what are you looking at, you not allowed to speak English hereâ?? (quâ??est que tu regardes, tâ??as pas le droit de parler en anglais icite) forcing himself onto them. Mr. G. ignored the statement, pushed the man away so they could continue walking, then the man proceeded to assault G. with two punches to his face â?? all this for simply speaking with his cousins in English. Although they were in a group, the male proceeded to reach into his pocket for something; therefore they fled the scene to avoid intensification in violence.

Mr. G. was brought home and his mother immediately called the ambulance and filed a report with the police (Reference number: 42-120923-017, Constable on Patrol: Flores). The perpetrator has neither been caught nor arrested, but a full description was given to the officer from Post 42 of the Montreal Police.
Photos below are of the victimâ??s eye after the incident.

Incidentally, five days prior, Mr. G.'s mother, who is a member of the Quebec Office of the English Language, met with prominent political figures on behalf of the English language lobby group, also received a threat. The mysterious caller said, "Stop what you are doing or else.�

When will our Prime Minister Stephen Harper denounce the repetitive cruelty towards the English speaking minority in Quebec? When will the political parties in Quebec, including the PQ, Liberals and CAQ, all denounce the violent language discrimination and assaults towards Quebec's official language minority? As documented by the Senate Standing Committee Report on Official Languages, we are, in sum, stuck in a Rights Void, and furthermore, Shebbeare states â??we are in full agreement with Michel Kelly-Gagnon, Director of the Montreal Economic Institute, that La chasse aux Anglos has to stop.â??

The Criminal Code of Canada says a hate crime is committed to intimidate, harm or terrify not only a person, but an entire group of people to which the victim belongs. The victims are targeted for who they are, not because of anything they have done. In the same way, why does Julie Snyder have no consequences for promoting hatred against our community (CRTC complaints ignored by several active members of our Facebook Group) in prime time? Why do illegal militias continue to exist? Why does Soci�©t�© Saint Jean Baptiste (SSJB) leader Mario Beaulieu belong to a group that wishes to intimidate those who speak out regarding language discrimination? Shebbeare stated: â??Thatâ??s right, because as â??maudit anglosâ?? in Quebec know very well who is the best treated minority in Canada: the separatists of Quebec.â??

These abuses towards the English-speaking community are also in violation of the U.N. Human Rights Article 19 concerning freedom of expression and article 27, the denial of minority rights to enjoy their culture, yet our own Quebec Human Rights Commission denies Civil Evidence and proof of discrimination in E-mails, whilst Provincial Human Rights Tribunal dismisses cases systematically.

We implore our political leadership to come forward to find an Entente Cordiale, in the name of tolerance and reconciliation with our minority in Quebec, while reflecting on how discriminatory legislation plays a key role in promoting hatred and prejudice within our beloved province.
Ã?


Hugo Shebbeare

Ã?

Spokesperson - Porte parole

Quebec Office of the English Language
Office qu�©b�©cois de la langue anglaise
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The OQLA is a non-profit organization made up of volunteers who are concerned about methodical undoing of minority language rights in Quebec. Our primary objectives are to preserve and promote the English language within the province, to ensure that the English language does not become extinct in Quebec, and to make sure that companies provide bilingual signage in accordance with the language laws of Quebec. As mentioned in a previous Press Release, our organization strongly opposes violence.

For questions and interviews regarding the assault please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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Office quebecois de la langue anglaise
PO Box 32513
2445 Lucerne Rd
TMR H3R 2K0
info@oqla.org

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OQLA is a not for profit organization made up of volunteers who are concerned about the slow and methodical disappearance of the English language in Quebec. Our primary objectives are to preserve and promote the English language within the province, to ensure that the English language does not become extinct in Quebec, and to make sure that companies provide bilingual signage in accordance with the language laws of Quebec.