Archive for November, 2018

Why the #franco fuss? Nothing to do with Quebec.
November 21, 2018

It might surprise you to know that the fuss about Franco rights has absolutely nothing to do with Quebec. We are a bilingual country. Not because of Quebec, but despite it. Harsh but true. And while you might not be a current Trudeau fan, know that the previous Trudeau understood this.

It might surprise you to know that most of the communities up in arms about franco rights and privileges have no connection whatsoever to Quebec.

I know, I’m a Quebecer who grew up in Northern Ontario. We want to believe that every francophone in the country is a displaced Quebecer demanding language rights. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Think Acadie, Northern Ontario, Southern Manitoba, much of Saskatchewan, northern Alberta and BC’s lower mainland. Those ancestors are not repatriated Quebecers. They came here from France centuries ago and established communities.

Some of us have rights, like Franco-Ontarians, some of us don’t, like British Columbians.

So forgive us our outrage and know that the absolute best outcome for which you can seek is kids who grew up as minorities in communities not close to here who feel the outrage of being dismissed, discounted and unimportant.

Something happens to you when you live in a community in which you are a minority. You learn respect, appreciation, power and influence. And you take that power and move your community forward. This isn’t about language. It’s about so much more.

I know what it takes to raise money for a french school in a town miles away from mine. I know the honour of winning a scholarship for my commitment to an education in French. I know what it takes to defend the interest of minorities never mind the  language I speak. I know what it takes to sleep rough to get my kids into French Immersion. And being a #franco taught me that. You’re welcome. I know that sounds obnoxious but life demands, from time to time, that we be brave, bold and slightly obnoxious.

So, if you don’t mind my saying – “vous n’avez aucune idee”, you have no idea. It’s time you got one.

This doesn’t end well. And there are plenty of examples of history that show as much. So while you might consider the budgetary reasons for which Ford deep sixed francophone rights in Ontario, know that he also unleashed a beast of pride, of history and of determination that he will not soon not forget.

Je me souviens. I remember. And I’m not the only one.  In fact, I lived my whole life remembering it. It defined me. And I’ll do more that remember it, I will never forget it. Je n’oublierai jamais.