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Shallow: “L’Année de la dissidence”

December 24, 2011

As this year finally winds off, I look back to the past year as one of revolt. Egypt, Libya, and even our own town squares became centers for political upheaval of every sort. Time Magazine honored ‘The Protestor” as its choice for ‘Person of the year’, reporting “’Massive and effective street protest’ was a global oxymoron until — suddenly, shockingly — starting exactly a year ago, it became the defining trope of our times”.
2011 began uneasily in the belly of the world economic slump, with unemployment and income disparity at all-time highs. Coverage of corruption and cronyism drew more attention than ever in recent memory. As the Arab Spring sprang into full force, even our representatives cheered for the rebels’ success. Including those that propped up the currently disposed tyrants, it was truly that magical a year!

For Westerners, seeing the likes of Hosni Mubarak, Ben Ali, Abdullah Saleh and Muammar Gaddhafi ousted (and sometimes killed) was inspiring. Inspiration sufficient to ignite the Occupy Wall Street movement, uniting people of all walks of politics worldwide. Whatever the issue or policy at the heart of each OWS chapter, whole communities appear to have been released from hibernation and still engaged in a level of local discourse not seen since 56K(bps).
Here we had our own ‘Occupons Montréal,’ and protests against ‘Le Berger Blanc’ following a CBC report condemning the city-contracted pound for being an unprofessional and inhumane death machine. Much like the Arabian revolution and OWS, the protest against Le Berger Blanc was coordinated with ample use of social media. And wouldn’t you know it, just in time for Christmas…there’s a new issue in town.

Following the complete eradication of the Bloc Quebecois, the endangered species status of La Parti Quebecois (PQ), and the many ridings that have become the NDP’s new stomping ground; a sizable power vacuum in Quebec was born. Lately our most fervent separatist and major opposition parties simply struggled to survive. As luck would have it, the seam on our corrupt construction industry has begun to unmake. An internal inquiry has finally begun in regards to corruption in union contracting between municipalities and the provincial government. Impatient with government scandal and waste of our money during these stingy times, our separatist press and pundits have of course reached out to our needs and have managed to frame the issue that burns deep within the hearts of the Quebecois people. It is the very subject of our deep-seated rage. That which concerns us most during this dire recession…
January 7th, 2012, come one and all, hand-in-hand, to protest…

…an Anglophone as captain of the Habs.

Mario Beaulieu, president of ‘Mouvement Québec Français (English translation: F*ck you!)’ has come out as saying “[Because Law 101 applies to all business,] The Montréal Canadians don’t deserve their franchise license. The Québec Office of the French Language should revoke it.” Mr Beaulieu invites fellow francophiles and nationalists to protest against the selection of temporary coach Randy Cunningworth—The unfortunate victim of culture war with a refreshingly suggestive handle.

Now, one does not have to be a seasoned Hockey critic to point out that if we chose our players for their linguistic preferences instead of their ability to perform we wouldn’t have much of a Habs to speak of. But one does have to be convoluted in a terrible way not see how that extends to all walks of work in Québec.
As we begin to witness the fiscal implications of the Baby-Boomer generation on our systems in context with our crushing provincial and federal debts, their dependence on a healthy labour market becomes tremendously dearer. Whispers about eliminating the affordable 7$/day daycare provided by government subsidy are becoming louder, and omens of other crucial cuts are flaunted almost daily. Today there is not a single economic forecast that doesn’t include a significant gutting of Quebec’s once generous social services.
Yet with a comparatively healthy economy, good access to cheap education and jobs,
today CTV released a sobering report.

“Young Anglophones leaving Quebec, say analysts
“In the 20 to 40 age range for young Anglophones, we’ve seen a few thousand leave in 2006 to 2007, which is quite substantial,” demographer Jack Jedwab told CTV Montreal. In 2003, more people migrated to Quebec than left, but in recent years Quebec has lost more and more residents. In 2006, the province lost 12,619 people. That was more than double the amount of the previous year, which was 4,874. From April to June of this year alone, 5,756 have left.
Analysts believe young bilingual Anglophones are finding themselves increasingly employable across the country — and beyond Canada’s borders.
There also seems to be less employment opportunities for them within Quebec. The unemployment rate among English-speaking Quebecers aged 20-35 currently stands at 11.6 per cent. For French-speaking residents it’s 6.8 per cent.”
And now, thanks to the new beefed-up 101 law (rendering it compulsory for all workers in the province to work and communicate amongst themselves in French and only in French), we are going to see those odds rattle and roll. In light of the year of the protestor, the next year coming seems poised to be even riper in its misery for Quebec thanks to some of our future protestors. Perhaps this is the revolutionary style given to us from our French roots, ready to behead any over-successful allophone.
Or maybe we’re giving political rabble too much of our attention.

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