Culture, Life and Politics in Quebec...

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The province of Quebec:
Culture, Life and Politics


By Christopher Walsh

May 13, 2004 (CC) - Canadians are everso immersed in Quebec politics every week. They quite often form opinions based on current events and even more on past conflicts and disagreements. The language barrier makes this division even moreso prominent. But has anyone ever thought about Canada's Francophone province as a unique society within Canada which deserves just as equal treatment as the rest of Canada?

Several years ago, I, myself had my own opinion on Quebec which wasn't unlike those of many Canadians in Ontario and the rest of Canada. The referendum of 1996 made my ideas even more violent as to the separation of Canada, the country of which I hold so close to my heart.

In 2003, my job moved me to Montreal, Quebec for an indefinite amount of time. I was excited to see what it was like to live in another province. I was even more excited to see what Quebec culture was all about.

I learned very quickly how much they cherish their language. Not exactly French as most Canadians know it. No, it wasn't Parisian or Acadien. Quebecois is the language of choice in Quebec, which made it even more difficult to immerse myself into the daily life of Quebecois.

My first experience with Quebecois was in a diner on Saint-Catherine street in the heart of Montreal. Very homey-style establishment at which I requested "Est-ce que vous servez encore petit dejeuner?" The response was abrupt, I didn't expect it to be. As I was trying to use my knowledge of French to get me around in Montreal, it just wasn't acceptable.

Throughout the rest of my stay in Montreal, another 6 months, I was quite often reluctant to use French at all. But after my first experience, it seemingly never happened again.

Let me get started on the separation topic. Montrealers are not scared to voice their opinion on the issue. Many of my friends had thought it was the worst idea ever to come up. The people who told me Quebec should separate ranged anywhere from "You know it's in your heart" to "We are not Canadian". But when I asked about the economic difficulties Quebec would face should it separate, I usually never got any straight answers. Uneducated opinions? Probably. Undetermined? No way.

Everybody is allowed to have an opinion on everything in Canada, and separatist should not be exempt from this right. "C'est une democratie"

Culture. It's what makes every habitat unique to humans. Let me tell you one thing, Quebec defiantly doesn't have a lack of culture. They are a relentless people willing to try everything and anything under the sun. If they like it, it becomes a landmark in daily life. If they don't like it, it's dismissed as "too American."

Quebec is one tried and tested barrier between Canadians emerging into Americanization [or Americanisation].

Living in Quebec and having an opinion on it is a different situation than living in Ontario or Alberta and criticizing it.

I respect everything about daily life of Montreal and other parts of Quebec. Previous to relocating to Montreal, I found it hard not to criticize how the province is run and how they view Canada. Thankfully, I finally realize how important it is to Canada's status as a multicultural nation. Every part of Canada has a different way of life, and different traditions. Quebec should not be viewed any different in that respect. Afterall, they are the only French-Speaking region in continental North America.

Quebec is viewed by some as all trouble and no gain, which makes sense as so much goes into the province and so little comes out other than separatism ideas and criticizing. What people don't know [or don't admit] is that Quebec produces a lot of talent and contributes to much of Canadian culture. We can thank Quebec for Joseph-Armand Bombardier, who founded the company which provides Canada with it's Jet industry. Or Celine Dion who has become one of Canada's most famous performers.

Troublemakers appear everywhere in the world, in every section of culture and are out there to create controversy based solely on their own [sometimes uneducated] opinions. Don't pass judgment unless you are prepared to back up your opinions with solid proof.

Now that I'm back in Ontario, I know what Quebec is really about. Separatists are a minority and it's not all about that. It's about retaining a unique culture that our Canadian government is allowing the rest of the country to immerse it's self into Americanization and large corporate takeovers. One must respect that.

Canadians need more education on each other, something which is often forgotten about when studying Canadian history. Daily traditions in Quebec or Saskatchewan, or why separatist actually exist and what they really want.

Information about Province of Quebec

Population: 7,600,000 (approx.)
Official Language: French
Provincial Motto: Je me souviens
(I remember)
Premier Jean Charest
Capital City: Quebec City, Quebec
He is wrong! He was only in Montreal... That is the only place where the No Votes come out. He should visit the rest of Quebec, he see what everyone thinks of seperation. Doubt he is right, it is our fight to preserve ourselves...

Economicly doubt, we would do great. Would need some time to adapt, but it wouldnt be too long. Thats only a treat used by the federalist. We are a knowledge based province. Think all the Ubisoft games (signed Tom Clancy) all made here in Montreal. Or Bombardier, as he said... Based in Quebec as well...