Here's the full version of today's podcast episode
Paul, a very welcome deep dive into a complex issue that is important not only for Quebec, but for the rest of the country, in that the government's new discriminatory tuition policy could, as senior academics have said, provoke tit-for-tat responses from other provinces for students from Quebec. But in your post-interview conversation with Kevin, I think you overstated the degree to which "angryphones" represent the English-speaking community of Quebec these days. While you acknowledge that successive governments have continued to move the goalposts for anglo Quebecers (it is no longer enough to speak French in public; one must speak it at home – which takes us down a brand new rabbit hole), your tendency to characterize the ESCQ as feeling entitled to speak English here is, in my experience of nearly 40 years living here, exaggerated. Anglos and their organizations support the goal of preserving and protecting French in Quebec, just as the universities demonstrated in their counterproposal to the tuition policy, a counterproposal that has been met with a mostly negative reaction so far. Yes, there are angryphone voices, but they are a minority of the minority. Recent stats from the Commissioner of Official Languages show 94% of the Quebec population can speak French; only 5% of anglos can't and 90% of anglos use French in one or more areas of their daily lives. But having a government paying attention to which language I'm speaking at home bothers the hell out of me.
More and more I think of Legault’s university gambits as indicative of what I call “Schrödinger’s Province”, where competing ideas can be true at once-- we want more students to come paying higher tuition, but the influx of out of province students threatens our culture; we want them to pay more and still come, but we’re angry when they get educated and leave; but we don’t want them to stay either, since that warps the fabric of our ‘pur laine’. So, come, despite the price, but don’t stay. Unless you do, which we want. Sorta. Meanwhile, kudos to the leaders of both Concordia and the UdeM for trying to make sense of this.
Paul, re. your opinion of Legault as premier:
“I don’t think he’s been a bad premier for Quebec. Increasingly, though, he’s been hard to figure.”
Legault and the CAQ inherited a huge pile of crap the Liberals left, like the aftermath of Carbonneau’s collusion probe and a decade of chronic ER overcrowding. Everything that hit the CAQ on their watch, from CHSLD deaths to questionable decisions by any ministry and Crown corporation one can name, exposed Quebec’s technocratic shortcomings that go all the way back to Lesage.
One tends to forget the CAQ is a coalition, without the tribal history of a legacy party or a Bouchard or Bourassa to manage voter expectations. Legault’s second term is proving to be a shitshow of broken promises and coercive legislation pandering to an imaginary base. (Among other surprises the works, an eminent-domain law now in committee that could allow municipalities to expropriate private property, then alter zoning to reduce the price.)
All this to say i don’t think Legault will stand a third term. After that, a CAQ implosion and a string of minority governments. I’m hopeful.
On a lighter note, re Concordia’s “complex history”, a friend told his grandfather, who was born and lived in Verdun, that he was planning to study there and his grandfather asked him if he had his towel yet. Back before the 1969 computer riot, and the amalgamation with Loyola College, and today’s woke crowds, Concordia began as Sir George Williams University in rooms offered up by the YMCA.
It's not that complex, the enlightenment that abhorred dogma and supposedly sought rational truth split in Europe: the English/Scottish enlightenment depended on empiric evidence achieved through observation via the senses. The European enlightenment rested on Descartes' subjective."I think for I am" which has degenerated into "I'm a victim, therefore I am". That dichtomy is at the centre of the cultural wars aflame in western culture, most especially in the Anglosphere, the source of modernity., and what is central to the dichotomy between the ROC and Quebec. It's alright for Laurentian Canadians to be subservient to the demands of the Quebecois to keep their domination of the Liberal party, but for too long the ROC west of Hamilton is showing a dislike of the subjective intersectionality