Postscript: Turning back the language police in rural Quebec and Ottawa
MONTREAL - Sometimes you find strength and resolve in small and unexpected places.
This week, something quite remarkable happened in Huntingdon, population about 2,500. The local council voted unanimously to tell the Quebec government and its language office to just butt out.
You see, Huntingdon was founded by the English and today the population is 40 per cent English. Everyone gets along, like most of us do, and the town offers services in English to its English citizens. But someone under the cover anonymity, some malcontent, decided to complain to the language watchdog because Huntingdon doesn't quite qualify for official bilingual municipal status.
The town has been ordered to cease and desist.
The council says it will not stop offering services in English. In fact, it says the language policy is both racist and discriminatory.
The town says it will go to court and even pay fines if it has to. Now, most clear thinking country folk will tell you in the words of Charles Dickens: Indeed the law sometimes is an ass.
Also on the language front this week we had the official opposition in Ottawa lamenting the fact that its restrictive language bill was defeated in the Commons
The NDP seems to have replaced the Bloc in more ways than one. It is no friend of English speaking Quebecers. You see, the NDP wants to make Bill 101 apply to federally regulated businesses in Quebec. That would include banks, transport companies and a host of others.
Perhaps we can be thankful for small mercies, because the NDP says it would make an exception for English broadcasters like CTV. Merci mes amies, vous etes tres gentiles.
Another day, another student protest.
I wonder who they think they are playing to? Clearly the government is not going to change its policy and I believe most Quebecers support the government's position.
Standing up to what is essentially an interest group might even do Charest and the Liberals some good. If the students were truly committed to their best interests they would be protesting against the massive Quebec debt they will be saddled with one day.
According to one estimate its increasing by $359 a second. That's slightly more than one yearly tuition increase. Do the math. Do you think Quebec's financial situation is so different from that in Greece or other countries on the brink?
And consider this, even after all the increases take effect, Quebec students will still be paying for only 17 per cent of the real cost of their studies you and I will be picking up the most of the tab. Perhaps the protests about how unfair all of this is should be replaced by a simple "Thank you."