Postscript: The Minister for Anglophones
Published Friday, October 13, 2017 12:00PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, October 13, 2017 12:43PM EDT
Is it a ploy to shore up votes with a traditional client base? Or is this about walking the walk?
Quebec has a new minister dedicated to the concerns of les Anglos.
What took so long? The Liberals could have done this on day one of their mandate instead of Day 1000 and something.
I guess it’s better late than never, but the proof will be in not words or platitudes, but in deeds.
“And my friends, English-speaking Quebecers, let me tell you, you are not only an integral part of Quebec, this Is your home. Your talents and presence are needed and desired. I want you to know and feel that you are all first class citizens,” said Couillard this week.
Somehow I think it’s a little insulting to be reminded that this is our home.
Our home? You’re damn right it is.
Sometimes in the fog of revisionist history the contributions of English speaking Quebecers are lost, downplayed, or ignored.
I know the premier probably meant well, but those words were just a little patronizing.
For Kathleen Weil, the new Anglo minister, it’s a demotion from the hot Immigration/racism file, but she is obviously a competent politician and she says she wants to mend the disconnect between the Liberals and the English-speaking community.
There just are a couple of yeah, buts.
The Gazette’s Don Macpherson has pointed out that Weil’s CV fails to mention her time as counsel for the English rights organization Alliance Quebec.
She did not want to be identified with the organization that in some francophone political circles was thought of as a bunch of crazy Anglo radicals.
It clearly was not. At the time it was a voice of reason and moderation.
Nor does she really like being identified as an Anglophone. She once told La Presse that she is seen as a Montreal Anglo but she always wanted to play on the other side of the fence.
And that’s fine.
There is nothing wrong with embracing another culture.
But at least these are things we should know about the member for NDG and now the Minister responsible for Anglos.
We wish her well.
There is much work to be done and if I had been asked to write the premier’s speech, it would have gone something like this.
“We know there are real needs in so many important areas such as health and social services. We know that it’s not always easy for English-speaking Quebecers to speak to their government in English. We know that many unilingual English-speaking seniors are struggling just to get someone to listen and help. We know that English-speaking Quebecers in the regions where population numbers are dwindling need special attention and resources. We know that the English public school system is in trouble and needs real help and we will figure out how to keep it alive and relevant. We know that English-speaking Quebecers are vastly underrepresented in all levels of the public service. We know that successive Quebec governments have failed the community. We plan on doing things differently.”
That’s what I would have said.
I guess I will never be a speechwriter for Mr. Coulliard.
Our hopes are high but our expectations are low.
Maybe some things can change.