Canada Macpherson: What Legault says when he thinks non-francophones aren't listening
Governor general, ex-Quebec premiers to attend Jacques Chirac memorial service
A Canadian delegation led by Gov. Gen. Julie Payette will attend a memorial service for former French president Jacques Chirac on Monday. Chirac, who served as president of France between 1995 and 2007, died last Thursday at 86. The former Paris mayor, a lawmaker and prime minister will have a memorial service Monday in Paris. French President Emmanuel Macron and about 30 former or current heads of states and government, including Russian President Vladimir Putin are expected to attend, with a private funeral taking place later that day.
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Justin Trudeau isn’t the only current political leader who has had a “brownface” incident in his past come to light two decades later. Quebec Premier François Legault has had one of his own. Only his didn’t involve makeup, it apparently wasn’t a joke, and it occurred after he had entered politics.
For Trudeau and Scheer, tonight's French debate offers opportunity - and risks
Justin Trudeau steps on stage tonight for his first leaders' debate of the 2019 election — and a date with voters who may end up playing an outsized role in deciding whether he stays in power. The debate sponsor, the French-language television network TVA, reaches a large audience of francophones outside Montreal. These are the voters Trudeau must recruit if the Liberals are to increase the number of seats they hold in Quebec to offset potential losses in other parts of the country.
In accepting his nomination as a Parti Québécois candidate in 1998, Legault told his PQ riding association that he had been raised in Montreal’s West Island among the English, “and I hate them as much as you do.”
When that story was published two months before last year’s general election in Policy Magazine, Legault, by then leader of the Coalition Avenir Québec party,.
But the source of the story is unimpeachable: Graham Fraser, a widely respected former journalistthat he heard Legault make his “ugly revelation.”
Like Trudeau and the rest of us, Legault has evolved over the years, and is not the person he was two decades ago.
Even in 2019, after two decades in and out of politics, however, Quebec’s premier apparently still believes he can get away with saying things that won’t get back to non-francophones if he says them in French.
In debate, Bloc leader says only his party represents the Quebec nation
MONTREAL — Whether it was on abortion, religion, or health care, Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet hammered home a single message Wednesday night: the only party in which Quebecers can fully recognize themselves is the one he heads. During the first French-language election debate, where leaders fought for the hearts of Quebecers — and their coveted 78 seats in the House of Commons— Blanchet repeatedly tried to position his opponents as out of step with the majority of Quebecers, whom he sees as forming a nation apart.
In the past week, Legault gave interviews to the Quebec media (well, some of them, anyway) on the occasion of the first anniversary of the general election that brought him to power.
The election of his CAQ government allowed the historic French-speaking majority to “take back the place it should have always had,” the nationalist Québecor dailies quoted Legault as telling them.
“The historic French-speaking majority” is a phrase popularized by Legault’s new cultural-nationalism intellectual inspiration, Québecor commentator, meaning ethnic French-Canadians, and others they have assimilated.
Legault said his government has restored Quebecers’ “pride.” Referring to its immigration policies, including a temporary, one-year, 20-per-cent reduction in the number of immigrants accepted by Quebec,, “I think people are telling themselves, ‘there’s somebody protecting our nation.’”
Premier formally apologizes to Indigenous Peoples in Quebec
QUEBEC — Premier François Legault has formally apologized to the Indigenous Peoples in Quebec for systemic discrimination at the hands of public service providers. Rising in the National Assembly to make a rare solemn declaration, Legault said the Quebec state did not do enough to help the community — “a situation that is unworthy of Quebec society.” “As a result, I offer members of the First Nations and the Inuit in Quebec the most sincere apology from the whole Quebec state,” Legault told a silent National Assembly. “The Quebec state failed in its duty to you. Today it asks for pardon.
If immigrants are perceived as a threat to Legault’s nation, however, they’re not the only one.
In an extended interview with Québecor’s TVA network, Legault said “French will always be in danger in Montreal,” where the province’s non-francophones are concentrated.
So, he said, there is a need for new measures to “francize” immigrants and protect French in the workplace, including small businesses.
And, he was against the public use of English in the form of the “bonjour-hi” greeting.
“We have to be careful in our commercial establishments, you know, bonjour-hi. In Quebec, it’s bonjour, period. And we always have to be vigilant, because we’re surrounded by a sea (of anglophones).”
He said the government had to set the example. When he learned from the Québecor media that bonjour-hi was being used in some of the government’s SAQ liquor stores, “we had to make a little phone call to them to tell them, from now on, spread the word, it’s bonjour at the SAQ, and set an example.”
And on the subject of his nationalism,that his assertive tag line in a French-language video released last spring after his government introduced its anti-hijab Bill 21 has caught on with Quebecers.
Hallelujah! French soprano steps up to save Handel concert
The show must go on, and in Paris this week that meant convincing a mezzo-soprano who came to enjoy Handel's "Messiah" to hastily take the stage after a soloist bowed out halfway through the concert. Adele Charvet, who had never before sung the famed choral work, was in the audience at the Radio France Auditorium on Tuesday night for the concert being led by her friend, the conductor Valentin Tournet.All was going well until the intermission, when the South Korean countertenor David DQ Lee informed Tournet that he was done for the night.
“What people liked in Bill 21 is that I said, ‘we’re going to forbid religious symbols for persons in positions of authority because (raising his voice) that’s how we live in Quebec!’ It’s as simple as that.”
Recently, the English-language Quebec Community Groups Network releasedsuggesting that nearly 70 per cent of anglophones don’t trust his government.
Legault, inthis week with Global News Montreal, said that’s primarily because some anglos suspect he’s still a sovereignist, “which is not the case.”
But, as the poll suggests, it’s not only because of what Legault used to be. It’s also because of what he and his government are now.
Leaders try to head off surging Bloc Québécois in final French-language debate .
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau appealed to francophones concerned about climate change to elect a Liberal government “full of Quebecers” and defeat the Conservatives during the final debate of the election campaign, in an attempt to beat back a surging Bloc Québécois that could threaten a Liberal majority. The debate, which took place in Gatineau, Que., on Thursday evening, was the second French-language debate of the campaign. The only English-language debate featuring Trudeau took place on Monday. Thursday’s debate was a far cry from Monday’s, which was dominated by personal attacks and crosstalk.