2016-01-29

Quebec's Fabricated Risk: Ignore At Your Own Risk

This thing with L'Office de Langue Francaise may seem like a good idea to a few Quebecers but in this day and age of social media, it only gets exposed for what it is: Attack on a language.

It's mind-boggling how Quebec condones an entity that has the power to inflict punitive measures (in the form of a fine and perhaps more) on businesses who dare put up stickers in one language.

It's obscene really.

Excuses and justifications, of course, abound but none satisfy this liberty minded individual. A buddy of mine keeps telling me many countries have all sorts of language laws. Yes they do.

But NONE take it a step further like Quebec given they hand out fines. How is this remotely fair?

It's not.

I keep asking him to produce me one jurisdiction in the West; never mind North America where one language group is made to be suppressed like it is here. Name me one.

More importantly and esoterically, the irony here is Quebec linguistic nationalists point to being mistreated by Anglos in the past ergo this somehow makes good on the present situation. Kind of a tit-for-tat if you will. It remains a mystery to me how two wrongs can make a right for when you reverse back the argument and ask if they'd like to be visited by a language police in this manner knowing they can be fined you immediately know in their eyes the answer.

Civility of any kind is a two-way street. That the OLF's letters are polite is bull shit; it's a veiled threat. It's a form of 'don't forget where you are and keep your place maudit anglais.

Hey, I'm just writing what people feel and observe on this side of the coin. 

In any event, I don't give a shit about the rest of the West. Europe at this point is a gigantic mess I wouldn't take any advice from and this sort of nonsense would not pass in the United States or even in the rest of Canada. Apparently feeling insecure is good enough reason to harass free, taxpaying citizens.

This is one way to create ill-feeling between people. Quebec, unfortunately, is just not being wise on this matter.

All I see is the aggression of the state empowering one portion of the population to make second-class another.

***

About the brain drain.

We hear about Quebec being a place where outflow of talent is more than the intake.

Studies have been made but none really dismiss or debunk the perception we lose more than we take in. Simply observation and assessment of the city landscape, the news and grass roots dialog seem to point that way.

One method I use is measuring how many people I know are still here. Between my wife and me, half (that's 50%) of friends are gone. The number is anywhere between 25% and 50% with other people we meet. And it's growing. I've lost count at how many I talk to who want to leave. Some would already be gone if not for hard assets here. We fall in this category but there is a family discussion about this. Do we sell and start new elsewhere? The impulse is there that's for sure.

There is a diaspora and it's real. French media doesn't report it but we do. Ignore at your own risk Quebec.

While fester and obsess over stupidities like the word pasta and Trip Advisor stickers, smart people are leaving - including French-Canadians. There are consequences to all actions that impact people however small.

Why fabricate more problems? 

Attracting talent is a peculiar thing. Among jurisdictions, it's highly competitive and various businesses and whole industries carefully weight and choose their options of where they want to do business. Individual talent with skills also have the luxury of selecting where they want to work. Added to this invisible process not easily quantified is the ease people can pack, pick up and go in a heartbeat. All it takes is one irritant and off they go. Stuff like this doesn't help the cause.

People talk. Shoot, just in my circle of American friends who are employed in mobile industries do not reckon Quebec as a place to go. They all say the same thing and to the effect, 'nice to visit but I could not accept if I was put in that position. It's already tough as it is to run businesses undo added costs are not welcomed.'

With that, there's no doubt in my mind Quebec has a double-whammy against it - and we know this to be fact in hockey when it comes to attracting top free-agents (when was the last true super star to come here again?) - one are the taxes and two is the language issue. Not to mention the threat of separation.

On both counts, Quebec loses. It's not choosing a creative path to attracting talent; though I this point unless there's a massive mentality shift away from nationalist tendencies, I don't think it's going to get better. Which is why my wife and I have taken the concerted decision to slowly prepare for our daughter's move. I simply don't see a future here.

I could be wrong but I'm pretty good at gauging things.  Quebec doesn't do business well in my view. In fairness, I do see positive changes here and there (particularly what I read from the CFIB who represent small-business in Canada) but it's not enough.

But T.C. plenty of places experiences brain-drains! This is true but most of those places don't have the immense advantages we have. There's no excuse for Montreal to have become second-fiddle here in Canada to the point it will and can never challenge Toronto again.

Look, I know nationalists claim this sort of argument is 'Quebec-bashing' but to me, it's anything but. In fact, I choose to view it as pro-Quebec. As a taxpaying member outside 'Quebec Inc.' I see things the flock doesn't necessarily want to see. And what I see is Quebec approaching things like language all wrong.

We want to continue on this track, fine. Alas, it doesn't take a mass exodus to negatively impact an economy; it just takes a small bit (minorities have more power than one may think) of a skilled class to leave a mark.

Welcome to Quebec.


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