Friday, December 2, 2016

French versus English Volume 109

English school commissions humiliate Anglo community....again.

If there's one lesson to be learned from the ongoing fiasco at the two largest English language school boards, it is that Quebec anglophones have nothing on their Francophone counterparts when it comes to mismanagement and abuse of the public trust.

For those outside of Quebec, school commissions operate the schools in designated territories and are divided by language. In areas with anglo population, there is one commission that runs the English schools and another running the French schools. These boards are chosen in elections by the general public where voting turnout for the various commissioners runs somewhere between 5% and 19%, not exactly a ringing endorsement of democracy.

Both the Lester B. Pearson and the English Montreal School Boards are in hot water over years of mismanagement, but things came to a boil this week when the  chairperson of the Lester B. Pearson
was revealed to have been found in breach of ethics, three times.

"Suanne Stein Day, chair of the Lester B. Pearson School Board, denies any wrongdoing despite being found guilty of three ethic breaches after an investigation.
"The board's ethics commissioner determined in August that Stein Day had violated three separate articles of the board's code of ethics on multiple occasions. The board, however, is powerless to take any action against Stein Day."
"I certainly recognize that I am not perfect and I made some mistakes but what I did I always did because I believed it was in the best interests of the board," said Stein Day.
But in speaking to reporters immediately afterward, Stein Day denied doing anything wrong. Link
She is accused of rudeness, a potty mouth and interference with employees in the performance of their duties.
The 27 year employee who initiated the complaint that led to the findings of wrongdoing was unceremoniously fired. Link

Of course the school board is refusing to table the ethics breach report citing "confidentiality. "

The utter ridiculousness of being found guilty of a breach of ethics and then not being subject to any sanction, testifies to the utter dysfunction and arrogance of school boards. 

By the way, if any insider has a copy of the said report, I would love to publish it in the public interest.

The education minister, always leery of interfering in the affairs of the English school boards, was so incensed, he appointed an auditor to oversee the shenanigans at both boards,  including involving UPAC, the anti-corruption police to sniff around after some serious allegations of fraud at the EMSB.

At any rate, Quebec school boards are about as useful as the American Electoral College, an utterly unnecessary layer of bureaucracy that burns up money better spent on the children's education.

There are those who argue that to turn over control of English schools to a French government is a frightening scenario, but with leadership like this protecting our interests, I'd rather go with the proverbial 'Door Number Two.'

Quebec Premier supports Saudi bid to join La Francophonie

As unbelievable as is Saudi Arabia's wish to join the Francophonie, (the fraternity of French speaking countries. similar to the Commonwealth) is support for that idea from Quebec's Premier Philippe Couillard who stated that he isn't shutting the door to the idea.
"The Heads of State and Government gathered in Madagascar for the XVI Francophonie Summit will have to decide if they will accept the candidacy of the kingdom  of Saudi Arabia - an absolute monarchy where almost nobody speaks French and which is on the list of the worst countries in regards to human rights. " Link{fr}
Anybody care to explain???

Journal du Quebec loves this ad.

The newspaper gives the team and the players a resounding A+ for effort for this monstrously bad advertisement.
Actually the French is so bad that perhaps it makes the whole thing memorable... Dunno..





Trial delays could free over 220 indicted


The Quebec justice system is so slow that judges are beginning to free defendants over delays in getting trial underway, with trial dates of up to five years after indictment not unheard of.
The delays have led to the abandonment of procedures against a Mafiosi, and several bikers and threatens the trials of those ex Laval city officials charged with corruption.
Tom Harding, the conductor of the train that killed 47 people in Lac Megantic is petitioning the court to abandon his prosecution for unreasonable delay because his trial still hasn't taken place 38 months after charges were laid.   Link{Fr}

The Quebec justice minister Stéphanie Vallée, in a not too comforting exchange, seemed to indicate that she did not really know what the problem is, but at any rate claimed that it wasn't her fault...duh!

Corrupt ex-Laval mayor pleads out and takes a gift sentence

The dizzying cast of characters involved in the various and numerous corruptions schemes that have surfaced in Quebec over the last few years makes it a bit difficult to remember who is accused of what.
Not so in the case of Gilles Vaillancourt, the ex-mayor of Laval who is easily recalled as the biggest crook of them all.
For over thirty years the corrupt mayor bilked the city he ran for untold millions, generating so much money that the excess was shipped off to secret Swiss and Caribbean bank accounts. Link

Laval citizens were eager to see the grand thief have his day in court, hopefully humiliated and then shipped of to jail for a good long sentence.

Alas this is Quebec and it was not to be.
After four years waiting for a trial a "deal" was announced where the good mayor would be sentenced to a paltry 6 years in prison,  a sentence which means that he'll be out of jail sometime next week, according to our generous parole system.

He was ordered to repay some 9 million dollars to the city he robbed, supposedly all that remains, but raise your hand if you don't believe he's got plenty more millions stashed.

All in all, a totally unsatisfactory conclusion to this sordid tale of greed and betrayal.

French descriptor on English business' now mandatory.

Rules came into effect this week which will force businesses with outdoor signage to add a descriptor to the sign if the name of the business is not French.
The rules don't apply to proper names or place names.

The new rule has been adopted after the humiliating loss that the Quebec government suffered over  trademarks in the case of Quebec vs. Best Buy when it tried to force companies to translate their trademarked names into French.
The superior court victory for Best Buy was upheld by Quebec court of appeals, after which the government threw in the towel.

The new "descriptor" rule is actually as mild as can be, applying to outdoor signage alone, a compromise that satisfies few.  Link

So it comes as no surprise that the Société Saint-Jean Baptiste is upset that the rules don't go far enough, demanding more stringent regulations in an Op/Ed piece Le Devoir. Link{fr}

Montreal protest calls for crackdown on English-only websites.

A bunch of French-language militants staged a photo-op march entreating Quebec’s language police to take action against businesses lacking French websites."
"A contingent of French-language advocates staged a march through Montreal Tuesday, demanding that Quebec’s language watchdog crack down on businesses without French websites.
According to provincial law, any business operating in Quebec must offer a French-language version of its online property.
Protesters carried a Quebec flag and a cardboard box filled with 423 files through the streets of Montreal and delivered the complaints to L’Office Quebecois de la Langue Francaise."
Link

Quebec Human Rights Commission issues another humiliating decision.

"A West Island man says he has been ‘humiliated’ by the Quebec Human Rights Commission’s settlement in an incident of racial profiling.
The commission recommended the City of Montreal pay him a settlement of $2,000 after he was stopped for jaywalking.
On Tuesday, the Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations argued that a decade ago that settlement would have been $10,000.
The complainant, Marcus Gordon is upset about the settlement and said it sends a bad message to Quebecers that it’s not worth filing a complaint.
The incident occurred in May 2011, when Gordon and his fiancée were leaving the Metropolis theatre following a benefit concert for murdered local hip-hop artist Bad News Brown.
"Only me and my girlfriend got pulled over by three officers. Not one, not two, but three with gloves," said Gordon." Link
 $2,000 settlement? Whaaa?????
I bet the hearing and the police and commission lawyers cost  at least $100,000.

Maybe they should have saved a buck and just paid off the complainant $10,000 without prejudice!

But no, a message had to be delivered, that is, that those who choose to complain will be run through the ringer.
Clearly if you are Black or any visible minority for that matter, you aren't going to get justice from the Quebec Human Rights Commission.

In fact, the pitiful awards that the board does sanction sometimes serve only to remind citizens of colour, that resistance is futile.

I wish there was some lawyer out there who would take cases on a contingency bases and litigate in real courts, where judges aren't keen to do the police's dirty work and where large awards would send a message.


By the way Montreal leads the way in prosecuting the following crimes;

Jaywalking while Black
Driving a nice car while Black
Loitering while Black.

Just two words..."Steak and Eggs"

Yes I get the mistake in the title, but that is how a Radio-Canada reporter described the sad state of affairs wherein French businesses (not only in Montreal) are applying English names to their stores and restaurants, a 'problem' shared also in France.
I can't explain the trend to use English names, other than to say that it appears that the use of English name adds a certain caché, much like a hoity-toity Anglo might use a French term, in describing the practice as adding a certain "je ne sais quoi!"

In a piece I can only characterize as a bit sad, A radio Canada story recounted the sad state of affairs.
The piece goes on to decry the naming of a 'Barbier' in Sherbrooke as "Barber Shop" (At least the reporter got the 'two words' part right!)

Here is a bit of what was written;
"When we consider that Quebecers are brainwashed with the American dream, virtual and illusory, we say that the game is fixed and that we should resist and fight. But I hear several saying: "What does it matter?"
 It seems that, for a long time, English television  and other English-language media have played a role of acculturation and, possibly, the assimilation of Francophones in Quebec, as has happened elsewhere in North America. 
It seems that the Radio-Canada is thinking the same. In this report, it seems to suggest that perhaps we should not harass honest people over so little: after all, it's just two words. 
(my translation) Original story in French....Link{fr}

Did you know...

With the death of her hubby René Angélil, Celine Dion is now close to becoming a billionaire with a net worth of about $940 million...yikes!
The Conservatives plan on holding a leadership debate in Quebec in French, a difficult task considering that only five can speak the language.

Anglophone musicians' careers take off, thanks to French TV show

Montreal's Guido Nincheri Park to keep its name following public outcry

Quebec government goes to court to intervene against a francophone minority...Huh??

Muslim Scholar: French Language “Useless and a Waste of Time”

Brad Pitt's tries out a French Canadian accent in movie "Allied"

Monday, November 28, 2016

Donald Trump's Magical Wall

 Dear Friends,
I don’t know how many of you are left to read this, but it doesn’t matter as I’ve decided to make a return to blogging, principally for my own benefit as a therapy for the blues.

I learned in writing over a thousand blog post that you can’t really convince people to change their minds, so I shall not endeavour to do so.
I hope to amuse myself as well as those who come back for the ride and promise to do my best to keep us all just a little entertained.

I shall not limit myself to the narrow subject of the Anglo/Ethnic experience in Quebec and shall dabble in subjects that affect us all nationally or internationally..That being said when the time is right I shall return to the grimy subject of Quebec politics.

I hope to provide a different view of common subjects, something you won’t get in the main press mainly because of commercial considerations or in fact collective laziness by those we trust to bring us the news.

And so let begin with the subject of the infamous Trump Wall, a campaign promise that so shocked liberals and professional commentators to the point where so-called experts, one by one were trotted out on television to debunk that such a wall could even be built.


For a country that put a man on the moon some 50 odd years ago, the task to build such a security wall isn’t as difficult or expensive as those opponents would have us believe.
Over sixty-five countries have such walls and all seem able to pay for them just fine, including India’s massive 2,500 mile fence along the Bangladesh border, which is about as long as the proposed US/Mexico wall would be.

Read: How 65 countries have erected fences on their borders

As to the effectiveness of walls or fences, they do keep people out, but certainly not all. In most cases, refugee walls are meant to stem the flow of illegal migrants, not eliminate transfers completely.
Now there are walls that are built for security reasons (like Israel’s fence around Gaza) which are far more effective because they employ deadly force, something not envisioned in walls meant to keep out economic refugees.
But the effectiveness of a southern wall along the Mexican border is moot, because the United States can easily reclaim the border with much less drama and with minimum expense…really.

And this is something nobody in the media is talking about, so here goes…..

The famous criminal Slick Willie Sutton was once asked why he robbed banks, and his response was simple, eloquent, and humorous:
“Because that’s where the money is.”
Suffice to say, take away the jobs and other opportunities and illegal immigration would cease.

An expensive and not altogether foolproof remedy?
Well it’s a lot cheaper than building and policing a security wall.

Make the employment of illegal immigrants a federal crime punishable by imprisonment or large fines and the jobs would disappear.
Send a few housewives to jail for employing an illegal nanny and the market would dry up completely.
Making bosses criminally liable for huge fines or imprisonment for employing illegal workers or employing sub-contractors who use illegals, would dry up the market within months.

Now some of you might respond that America cannot function without the illegals, but that is another matter.

As to America hating the illegals and wanting them out, it just isn’t true.
The rich, powerful and entrenched love to employ illegals retaining and nurturing a slaver mentality that was the America in the hundred or so years before the civil war.

In short, illegals make money for those who employ them, mostly the rich.
America’s lower class pays the price of illegals who steal jobs and more importantly depress wages.

So America  needs no wall to keep out immigrants, it needs backbone and commitment, full well in the knowledge that the underclass of illegals make America more prosperous by working for less.
The reality is that America has built its model around illegals and that model is the issue, not a wall.
If you don’t want illegals, change the model.

It begs the question. Does America really want to get rid of illegal immigration and the model that supports it?
Well the poor and out of work certainly do want a model change, not so much the successful middle class and rich who benefit the most

The question is whether Donald Trump understands what he is tinkering with, wall or no wall....

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Thanks for the Memories....

For over four years I've written this blog in an effort to fulfill an inner desire to share some of my thoughts and experiences with you.

From a tiny following, the blog has blossomed, giving a small voice to a not so insignificant segment of Quebec Anglo society that the mainstream media doesn't seem to address. It has been, to say the least, entirely rewarding and I've kept going far beyond where I first thought I'd go solely because of the readership.

But all things come to an end.

With the election of the Liberals and the prospect of the PQ dim for the short and immediate term, there is less of an impetus for me to continue.

Can we as Anglos and Ethnics claim victory over sovereigntist forces?

Perhaps yes, but the real problem was never sovereignty, but rather the treatment of Anglos and Ethnics by all  Quebec governments.
It is sad to see that we continue to be viewed as interlopers, a people to be controlled not appreciated, an alien nation within the legitimate body politic of French Quebec.

Too harsh?
Nope, I don't think so. I continue to believe that if Quebec chooses to remain in Canada, it is simply an economic decision, the alternative of an independent and truly French Quebec a dream too costly and unrealistic for a generation whose real values include Facebook and Nintendo.

I remain convinced that if Quebec had the wealth of Alberta's oil sands, this province would have overwhelmingly voted for independence years ago.
It's really just about the money and when Quebecers finally realized how much money Canada lavishes upon them, the independence movement withered.

Such is the reality of our Quebec society, locked into a loveless marriage of convenience, forever unhappy and unfulfilled but financially comfortable, a difficult trade off to make.

As for myself, I look forward to the summer, sipping margaritas by the backyard pool, leaving the bitching and moaning to others, God knows, I've done my share.

To those who have been faithful readers and contributors I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your interest, friendship and lively conversation.

I would never have come this far without you.

and so I fade to black....

I'll leave the comments section open for a while and the blog itself open for research purposes.

Thank you all once again.....
PHILIP BERLACH

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Brent Tyler the Right Person for EMSB Chair

(Fair Disclosure: Brent Tyler is a good friend, whose campaign I am happy to support )
For too many years Brent Tyler has been the last Anglo manning the barricades, defending our community against the relentless English language oppression of successive Quebec governments, (both separatist and federalist) which all believed and continue to believe that the French language in Quebec can only be advanced and protected by the humiliation and repression of all things English.

That repression has taken its toll on the English Montreal School Board which along with other English school boards have seen a disastrous drop in enrollment, due not only to demographics, but the constraints over eligibility since the introduction of Bill 101.

Most of us know of Brent Tyler for his relentless defense of all things English in the courts, many of his cases going all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada and many of those cases resulting in victories, although unfortunately, some Phyrric in nature.

For some in the English community Brent's long battle to defend English rights is a losing strategy and many among us would rather see our community grovel, content in  throwing ourselves on the mercy of an unsympathetic government, begging for crumbs, like Moses impelling Pharaoh to let his people go.
But like Moses, at a certain point discussion becomes moot and action required.

Tyler's court battles have borne fruit and more importantly his tireless battles over Bill 101 reminds me of the sports metaphor which paraphrased translates as, 'keeping the government honest' or wary and hesitant of over-reaching in the face of the inevitable Tyler lawsuit.

Permit me a hockey metaphor where coaches teach and expect their players to 'finish their check', that is, to follow through with a crunching bodycheck even after the opposing players has released the puck. The message sent is that there is no 'free pass' and that the opposing player would be best to keep his head up and refrain from taking liberties, perhaps considering acting less aggressively in consideration of the coming hit.

Brent has been doing just that for decades, and I can only imagine the scene around several cabinet tables where oppressive language measures are considered and where the specter of Tyler hauling them into court, a real consideration.

As for the current Chairperson, Angela Mansini, she has been on the job too long, a tenure that has seen the board threatened with trusteeship by the government because of the utter dysfunction.
I have spent dozens of hours watching past EMSB board meetings which are available online and it is evident to this observer that things need to change.

Ms. Mancini runs the board autocratically, unwilling or unable to suffer perceived fools, she railroads her decisions through a combination of arrogance and bulldozing.

Ms. Mancini works in concert with the vice-chair, Sylvia Lo Bianco,  the chairman's lap dog, a chihuahua who yips and barks at her master's beck and call, when not licking her boots.
It isn't pretty and plainly an embarrassment to the entire Anglo community.

Not all the problems can be laid at the chairperson and the vice-chair, the 23 elected members are too many, with many wasting time grandstanding and posturing. The cliques and alliances have hampered progress, but ultimately responsibility for the quagmire belongs to Ms. Mancini, who has been unable or unwilling to build bridges or create a consensus.
It was another demonstration of the political infighting that has dogged the school board since its inception in 1998.
This particular meeting ended abruptly, with many commissioners walking out.
The tension that night presumably didn't go unnoticed by the lawyer named by the Quebec government in February to help break the political logjam at the EMSB.
Tommaso Nanci's original mandate was from February to the end of April, but has since been extended more than once, most recently beyond a Dec. 8 end date.
These latest clashes raise questions about how much progress has been made at the EMSB's Council of Commissioners since he was appointed....
.... The council consists of 23 elected commissioners and two parent commissioners.......
.....The political infighting has come at a cost to taxpayers. As of July, the government had spent $100,200 for Nanci's services.
The board has also paid about $35,000 to its external ethics commissioner, a position school boards are required to have, since she was named in May 2007.....
.....Bernie Praw, a former teacher and principal who has been a commissioner since 1998, said he is disheartened by the board's dysfunction. Link
In the board’s early days, secrecy helped avoid unflattering media attention by cloaking unseemly “screaming matches and backstabbing” (Gazette, Nov. 16, 2003), but when secrecy returned after the 2007 elections (violating the council’s own internal rules), it backfired, producing a steady drumbeat of embarrassing headlines such as: “School board just doesn’t get it” (Gazette, Mar. 28, 2009), “School board’s secrecy cuts it off from the public” (Gazette: Feb. 16, 2008), “Culture of EMSB has to change; Bloc voting, secrecy and partisanship abound” (Feb 23, 2008) and “EMSB split on transparency issue” (Mar 24, 2008).
A mature group of candidates, once elected and duly sworn in, should simply operate without controversy. Commissioners should willingly step into the glare of public scrutiny and conduct business in a transparent fashion, as do other elected officials.
Commissioners unable to do so should follow The Gazette’s prescription of resigning en masse to let more reasonable and able citizens stand for election. Link
Tomorrow, Tuesday, June 17, 2014 at 11:00 am, Bent Tyler will be holding an event on the steps  of the EMSB school board office at 6000 Fielding (angle Cote St. Luc Road) to announce his candidacy.  

I hope our community shows support and if you can turn out it would lend a certain gravitas to the event.
If anyone would like to help with the campaign, I'm sure Brent can use all the help he can get and so you can contact him through the FACEBOOK PAGE set up for the campaign.

Returning the EMSB back to its past days of glory is well nigh impossible, but it is important to preserve and protect our proud Anglo heritage and part of that obligation is supporting and nurturing our English school system.

I can't think of a better person to fight for that goal than Brent Tyler.

Friday, June 13, 2014

World Cup is a Colossal Bore

Soccer is the fine art of diving.....
As the hockey season winds down, I am reminded why soccer is such a colossal bore and while billions and billions of people all over the world are fans, over here in Canada and the USA, most native born cannot stomach the sport, with good reason.

Yes we mere mortals are told that we do not properly understand the sport, that it is a game of anticipation and it is that anticipation that is to be celebrated.
Really?
The Chinese Water Torture is also about anticipation.
 
What's not to understand about a sport where the object is to put the ball in the opponents net, something that happens barely often enough.

So here is my top ten reasons to hate soccer and skip the World Cup in Brazil altogether.

10. Low scoring.  Just too few exciting plays around the goal and way too few  goals.

09. Lack of complexity. How come all those fancy backward/forward, inside/outside soccer moves that we see players strut in practice are NEVER seen in a real game.

08. Diving players. It's just pathetic to see these so-called 'talented' athletes pretend they've been fouled by an exaggerated dive. It's even more pathetic that referees who are standing too far away fall for these antics more often than not. Cheating defines soccer.
07. Refereeing. The field is gigantic and the two referees have no chance to accurately call the game. Considering the rampant diving, it's ridiculous that every big game is contested by the losing team complaining about poor refereeing. And how about no video review for goals. What century is soccer in?
06. The field is too big. It takes forever to get from one end to the other and so most of the action is in the utterly boring mid-field.

 05. Penalties. They play too large a role in the game. It's hard enough to score in soccer but ridiculously easy to score on a penalty kick awarded near the goal. The free kick  is just too large an advantage when the success rate is 87%. Considering that most penalties in soccer occur after a dive, it somehow doesn't seem fair.

04. Game-fixing. The Sport is rife with cheating on and off the field and any sport you can't bet on with confidence is no fun at all.

03. The time clock. First problem is that the clock counts up not down, a senseless state of affairs, when the only thing that counts is how much time is left to play. Then there is the fact that soccer hasn't learned how to stop the game clock at an appropriate time as in the case of a player being carted off the field. Instead the game is extended by the referee after time runs out, but nobody knows for how long until the end of regulation time. Confused? Yup......

02. FIFA. The organizing body makes the International Olympic Committee look like choir boys. The governing body of soccer known by the acronym of FIFA the shadiest international sports body in the world. Bribes are alleged to be in the millions otherwise how on Earth can you explain awarding the 2022 World Cup to QATAR,  a tiny middle eastern oil with no soccer stadiums or even soccer teams, a country that regularly hits 50 degrees Celsius in the summer when the tournament is scheduled to be held.

01. Hooliganism. The sport attracts the very worst elements of society and this across the continents. From skinheads to Nazis, antisemites and various other racists. A large proportion of soccer fans are a drunken band of brawling misfits who tear up cities and towns across the world.
And here's a bonus reason ... The annual soccer stadium disaster that invariably happens somewhere in the world, caused by a deadly grandstand collapse, fire, or just general overcrowding and poor safety measures, resulting in dozens, if not hundreds of deaths.

Yay, soccer!!