As ugly and inflammatory as the current sociopolitical situation is in Quebec, as much as it tears at the heart of the non-French minority and makes them think about pulling up stakes and moving out of the province, it sure is a great time to be a satirist.
The material simply writes itself. Witness this caricature of Quebec’s premier, Pauline Marois, by one of Canada’s finest editorial cartoonists, Terry Mosher, AKA Aislin. This, ladies and gentlemen, is beautiful (although, to enjoy the full impact of the satire, it did have the unfortunate side-effect of finally forcing me to watch that video by that girl doing that thing with the hammer, and the swinging and the Bbbb-bbb-bbb-WHA?!?)
As for me, of course I can’t resist. I’ve got two pieces this week, one over at Life in Quebec about how life for anglophones these days is part paranoid, part denial. Here’s an excerpt:
It’s Fine. Everything’s Fine!
When you’ve moved to Quebec like I have – willingly, not on a dare – all the turbulence and frustrations you live day to day become worthwhile when your parents come to visit and you dazzle them with your French.
You may have the comprehension of a springer Spaniel from Dubuque, but your parents, if they have no French of their own (and if they’re from eight out of ten provinces, that’s highly probable), they will be astounded.
“You’re French is so good!” they will gush. And you won’t say anything, just smile and shrug. “C’est rien,” you might say. You could even say, “Je crois la moufette,” and they will still be impressed.
Because, if you come to Quebec from away – of your own free will, not court-ordered – your loved ones tend to worry about you. They worry about your mental state, yes, but they also worry that you and your anglo kind are on the verge of being goose-stepped off to some kind of gulag or, worse, Beaconsfield.
You can read the rest over at www.lifeinquebec.com.
On my CBC Radio segment this week, I explain that modern Quebec and the nationalist movement grew out of the Quiet Revolution in the early 1960s, which means that Quebec isn’t going through a political crisis; it’s going through a mid-life crisis.
And, well, Quebec is a little worried that it can no longer perform… you know, politically. It used to be the nationalist movement could have secessionist talks two, three times a decade. But now, looking at that flabby support, there’s no sure bet of even getting an election.
You can listen over at CBC or click the handy Grooveshark widget below. (Update: I’ve posted a text version here.)
Incidentally, the Bernard Drainville mentioned in the piece is the Minister of Democratic Institutions and Active Citizenship — as Orwellian a name as there could possibly be. He’s also this guy:
See? I told you this stuff just writes itself.
Back to non-Quebec content soon. God, I hope so!