Sunday, March 10, 2013

Detective Murdoch and the case of the missing Canadian history


Louis Riel? Never heard of him.
Canadians have two national pastimes, hockey (at least if we are to believe Tim Horton ads) and Quebec bashing. By "bashing" I don’t mean criticism. Good criticism is fair-minded and self-consistent, whereas bashing is unfair, demagogic and sensationalistic and rests on double-standards and generalizes from a few anecdotes. In fact, the Quebec bashing article has become a kind of literary genre in itself. First we have the “incident”, supposedly illustrating the inherently intolerant nature of Quebecers. The incident can be true, partially true and exaggerated, or entirely fabricated. It doesn’t really matter. Next, we have the analysis of Quebec’s culture and everything that’s wrong with it. This is the most insidious part, as it’s just good old-fashioned bigotry masquerading as a sociological thesis. Also, by accusing something as intangible as our culture, there is no possible way we can defend ourselves which is the whole point of bashing.
Anyway, I’m proposing something similar. The “incident” is the repeated broadcast of episodes of The Murdoch mysteries. I will use this incident to analyse Canadian culture, but hopefully I will be more fair-minded. I should point out that I haven’t seen every episode, so I can’t be absolutely sure about my analysis. However, I hope that the synopsis of every episode found on Wikipedia and IMDb will be sufficient to fill in the blanks. I will start by what we see on the show, and then by what we don’t see.
Set in Toronto in the 1890s, The Murdoch Mysteries follow the investigations of detective William Murdoch of the Toronto constabulary. The main character is handsome, clean-cut and without any apparent flaws or vices. He is not an addict, like Sherlock Holmes (with whom we most readily compare Murdoch). He does not have obsessive-compulsive disorder like Adrian Monk, nor is he a slob like Columbo. He has no inner demons. In fact, he doesn’t seem to have much of an inner life at all, if you don’t count his infatuation with Dr. Julia Ogden. Murdoch is very forward-thinking, using the very latest scientific advances in his investigations. He is also a devout Roman Catholic, setting him apart from the largely Protestant (and Orange, the Order not the color) society in which he lives. In short, Murdoch is the poster boy for mental health, moral rectitude and men’s hair care products. A nineteenth century Ken doll with about as much depth and personality.
I believe it is precisely the main character’s bland goodness that provides much of the show’s appeal for Canadians. He validates the pathological need Canadians have of being the good guys of the universe, a need that stems from a deep seated insecurity. Canada is basically an empire, which means it has no inherent legitimacy. It must maintain itself through the constant suppression of its francophone minority. The good guy fantasy provides a means of dealing with that unpleasant reality. It also provides a means of feeling superior both to the French and the Americans, another source of insecurity. Indeed, after the Conquest, the American Revolution is the second event that had a profound effect in shaping the Canadian character. It was because of this that Canada became populated by Loyalists, people who believed it was better to suck up to wealth (in the form of the British monarchy) and power (the mighty British Empire) than to take a chance with those crazy revolutionaries who spoke of liberty and a republican form of government. Ever since history has shown that they backed the wrong horse, Canadians have felt a need to prove something to Americans. This need is even more acute since Canada became a cultural colony of the United States (and since Harper came to power, a political one as well).
The Murdoch Mysteries is even more interesting in what it doesn’t show, specifically its troubled relationship with history. Its Wikipedia page states that “real history is an important element in most episodes”. This is true, in a way. The show seems to take a People magazine approach to history, in that the great names of the period (Henry Ford, Harry Houdini, Nikola Tesla, Arthur Conan Doyle, H. G. Wells and so on) all make an appearance for one contrived reason or another. It’s as if they’re all strangely attracted to Toronto, which must have been a pretty unremarkable city at the time. Often, the historical celebs serve as an excuse to talk about the century that is to come, not to reflect on the one just past. It’s as if the Canada of the 1890s depicted on the show has no past, only a future.
But a past Canada most certainly has, even in the 1890s. At that time, the British Empire was at the height of its power and arrogance. The Orange Order was a powerful force in Canada, with its hatred of all things Catholic and a general hostility towards anyone who wasn’t White Anglo-Saxon and Protestant. We do see some of this on the show. Inspector Brackenreid and Constable Crabtree are Orangemen, we see instances of prejudice against the Chinese and Jewish communities, and Murdoch’s Catholicism (very) occasionally causes problems for him. But it all feels very watered down, very mild. This is the same Orange Order, after all, that was involved in the burning of the parliament building in Montreal in 1849, fought the right to French instruction wherever it could, and would later develop ties with the Ku Klux Klan1.
It is here, I think, that we hit the nail on the head. While there is nothing specifically Canadian about prejudice against Catholics, Jews and other visible minorities, francophobia is quintessentially Canadian. It is also conspicuously absent from the show. The only episode I am aware of with anything French in it is Monsieur Murdoch, season 4, where Murdoch investigates the disappearance of a young woman from France and collaborates with a French police officer. Apart from the fact that the French policeman plays into all the stereotypes Anglos have about Frenchmen, I should point out that French people from France is not the same as francophones from Canada. At the very least, the show’s creators could insert some casual francophobia here and there, so as to create some realism. They could put in a throwaway scene where, during an Orangemen parade, two francophones unwisely speak French to each other in the street. They are then accosted by a group of hostile Orangemen and told to “speak white”. Murdoch witnesses the scene and is vaguely embarrassed by it, but walks on. This sort of thing, after all, is a natural part of life in British North America.
Alternatively, the show’s creators can use some major historical events as part of the story. Events like the Red River Rebellion (1869), the North-West Rebellion (1885) and the ongoing discrimination against francophones are all within living memory in the 1890s and are filled with conflict, injustice and resentment. Going back a little further we have the brutal repression of the Patriotes in Quebec (1837-38), also filled with violence and Anglo militias looting and burning the homes of Quebecers2,3. This is all great material for a murder mystery writer with an affinity for history. Let’s see if we can’t help the show’s writers by proposing a story idea. When Manitoba joined the Canadian Empire... I mean, Confederation in 1870, it was officially bilingual. But by 1890 it became officially unilingual English, thanks in no small part to the efforts of a rabid francophobe called D’Alton McCarthy4 who died in 1898 in a carriage accident … or was it? Murdoch is on the case. And he suspects foul play. Evidence points to the possibility that the murderer may be a former guerrilla for Louis Riel. Murdoch questions Riel’s former lieutenant Gabriel Dumont, who happens to be in Toronto for some implausible reason. During the course of the interrogation we learn all the sad and sordid details about the dispossession of the Métis. History comes alive!
The lesson here is that Canadian history is not boring. Canadians make it boring by systematically ignoring those parts where they don’t look good, which also happen to be the most interesting parts. It could be argued that the creators of The Murdoch Mysteries are free to make any kind of show they want, including one where a Victorian-era detective goes around solving crimes in a Bourgeois and genteel society. After all, most detective shows aren’t at all interested in history. All this is true, but then why bother doing a period piece in the first place? Why couldn’t Murdoch solve crimes in contemporary Toronto? It just seems like a wasted opportunity to bring history to life in all its conflict, pain and tragedy. That is what the show lacks the most, a sense of the tragic. Even the murders don’t seem particularly tragic. Instead, we have an hour long heritage minute with commercial breaks, approved by the Harper government and designed to appeal to Canadian vanity. We get Canadian history as clean as the tables at Tim Horton’s after the busboy swabbed it down and as sweet as the jelly donuts with maple frosting on special that day.
Of course, there is an alternate explanation. Maybe Canadians don’t feel a need to talk about history involving Quebec and francophones outside of Quebec because they don’t consider it to be part of Canadian history. That is, in spite of all their talk of a “Canadian family”, they don’t consider us to be real Canadians. Just as the Indians were never really British and the Algerians were never really French, deep down Canadians will always consider us internal foreigners.


1 – Normand Lester, Le livre noir du Canada Anglais 2, Les Intouchables, 2002.
2 – Normand Lester, Le livre noir du Canada Anglais, Les Intouchable, 2001.
3 – John F. Conway, Des comptes à rendre, VLB éditeur, 1995.
4 – Jean-Paul Marchand, Conspiration? Les anglophones veulent-ils éliminer le français du Canada?, Stanké, 1997.

17 comments:

  1. I was in France when I saw this for the first time. of course, it was dubbed in French. I discovered a Canadian series that I never heared about in France, and I'm from Quebec (theorically a part of Canada, very theorically). I was quite horrified with this depiction of history... I perfectly agree with you : Canadian history is not boring at all, but Canadian blindness makes it so.

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  2. Bravo. You eloquently state several hard truths about English Canada here.

    "While there is nothing specifically Canadian about prejudice against Catholics, Jews and other visible minorities, Francophobia is quintessentially Canadian. "

    "Ever since history has shown that [the Loyalists] backed the wrong horse, Canadians have felt a need to prove something to Americans. This need is even more acute since Canada became a cultural colony of the United States..."

    I could not have said it better myself. Quebec-bashing, and Yank-hating (yet secretly loving) are the most terrible of Canadian vices. Beer and hockey couldn't hope to compete.

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  3. I don't know about Columbo being a slob, but I love this article. It's witty and to the point.

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  4. As we say in Newfoundland...."That's the proper ting"....What a great read and also because it is straight to the point. Murdoch is Canadian and is soooooooooooooo Torontonian he's scary at times. For a Canadian show to portray the real truth about the rivalry and discrimination between the French and English in 1890's Canada would be like asking the Catholics and Protestants of the same era in Newfoundland to try and get along better. The Murdoch show is waaaaaaaaaaaay to upper english aristocratic for my tastes. Even the slums have the Toronto polish according to this show. They do say however the show is popular in England. Wonder why? Could it be oh never mind. Touchy Torontonians may be reading this. Another great read. Keep up the great immaculate writing.

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  5. I'm gonna post by response in several chunks if you don't mind.

    Well...stumbling upon this site has certainly made my day more interesting! As a long time fan of Murdoch Mysteries, and a student of history, I found this article quite fascinating; there is much here that's spot on, and much I can't agree with. Firstly, in terms of being bland, you are partly right on that, Murdoch's personality is of being meticulous and methodical, as order and reason (or the belief in them) seem to be what get Murdoch through life, and indeed his unwillingness to take into consideration anything not completely logical is often contrasted with the more imaginative personalities of his colleagues. Murdoch's inner life is dealt with frequently throughout the series, although it is often unconvincing, since he is essentially a Protestant character portrayed as a Catholic for minority cred. But I think the fact that you consider him boring and without depth may stem more from cultural differences that separate you from Anglo culture, and it is a culture, even if it is seen as just being the norm. William Murdoch is pure Anglo-Protestant (even if he is depicted as a Catholic).

    Now on to your 'fair-minded' critique of Anglo-Canada (or must I say the 'Canadian Empire'?). You start by saying that Canadians are obsessed with being 'good guys' in order not to deal with bad things they've done, specifically against French Canadians. While you're spot on about (White, Anglo) Canadians being obsessed with the 'good guy' image, your explanation doesn't make sense for a lot of reasons. First of all, the Canadian 'nice guy' does NOT involve pretending that Canadians haven't done bad things in the past, quite the contrary. Canadians constantly bring up colonial wrongdoing in order to flagellate themselves, an unfortunate cultural tick among White Protestants. An example would be the treatment of Canadian Aboriginals in the infamous residential schools, for which we're still hearing public apologies, and which is showcased in an episode of the series, strangely, since Toronto was nowhere near any major reservation where this sort of thing happened. And while Murdoch Mysteries does not happen to mention it, I can assure you that a rather damning account of the Acadian deportations by the British is standard curriculum for public schools in Anglophone Ontario. Moreover, plenty of peoples, including Arabs, Asians, Africans, and even French-Canadians, have done terrible things to others in the past, yet they don't seem terribly concerned with proving themselves the 'nice guys'. I suspect it's more of an Anglo-Protestant thing, and would eventually surface no matter what happened.

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  6. I also think that you of all people dismissing the Empire Loyalists as "people who believed it was better to suck up to wealth and power than to take a chance with those crazy revolutionaries who spoke of liberty" is wrong and -to be frank- singularly stupid. Whatever these 'revolutionaries' that you so laud may have had to offer them, they considered themselves above all as Britons, and this identity was important to them, just as you identify as French or Quebecois, despite being born a Canadian national. Now I can quite admire a man who is proud of his heritage and culture, and seeks to protect it from the forces of homogenization, but there are two kinds of nationalists. Healthy nationalists are proud of their heritage, and may strive for the benefit of their community above all other things, but can still respect the culture and heritage of other groups, even ones with which he has not always seen eye to eye. But there are also other 'nationalists' who would be more accurately described as professional whiners, who value victimhood and self-righteousness above all else, and who will obsess over every wrongdoing, as they see it, ever done to 'their' community stretching back into the history of time. The constant 'Anglo-bashing' I unfortunately detect on this website appears to be a symptom of this kind of nationalism. Indeed it's only for the professional victim that the absence of wrongdoing against his people in a given show becomes a sign of horrid discrimination.

    Which brings to my next point. Murdoch Mysteries is a show set in Toronto (in southern Ontario), and is about Toronto. Not being a Torontonian (I'm from Ottawa on the border with Quebec), this was immediately apparent to me, yet somehow I managed not to be offended by it. Unlike my hometown, Toronto is deep Anglo country; Toronto, by the way, had been a British colony since the Toronto Purchase in 1787, long before the show is set, so just why would French-Canadian affairs figure prominently in its history? The events you speak were a long way away, in Quebec and on the frontier, so they would not have influenced people's lives to the extent that it would be necessarily brought up twenty, thirty years later in an investigation of the Toronto Constabulary. It could have, but realistically that would not have been all that likely. Now about the Orange Order, which I'm no huge fan of (my family background in Catholic), I'm afraid they weren't the bogeymen you seem to imagine them to have been. They certainly weren't hostile to anyone who wasn't 'Anglo-Saxon', given that a large number (the majority?) were Irish. And since Canada had almost no KKK activity historically, Orangemen here didn't develop many ties. Keep in mind that in the U.S., the Klan at one time boasted some 3 million members, and even FDR was said to have considered joining them, so if the Orange Lodge in the U.S. had ties with Klan, it would make them no more guilty than say, the Democratic Party.

    ...

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  7. 'Speak White' by the way, is a disgusting myth concocted by an opportunistic, Anglophone Jewish journalist looking to make a name for himself, and gain some anti-Western cred in the process. There is absolutely no instance of this on record, or that Anglo-Canadians had ever considered French Canadians as 'un-White'. Canadian history isn't boring, and neither is Torontonian. And there's no need to constantly fall back on tired anti-Anglo, anti-majority and anti-White tropes and moralities plays to make it more exciting. Here's what I think really rubs you the wrong way. Since the introduction of multicultarism (originally 'biculturalism') in the 1960s, French Canadians (who form less than a quarter of the population) and their culture have been force-fully shoved into every exhibition of Canadian society, while Anglo-Canadians seem to barely exist in the public eye. Based on what you hear and read in school, or at the museums, you'd almost think the British never came here (except to abuse Aboriginals and Frenchmen). Now here's a truly Anglo-Canadian show, dealing with Anglo-Canadian subjects, in an Anglo-Canadian way, and you can't stand that they have their own way of being Canadian that doesn't involve you! Which probably goes together with your view that being French-Canadian (Quebecois) and being part of Canada are incompatible.

    Alright, maybe I'm exaggerating a little. I really didn't mean to be so polemical when I started writing, but the angry spirits came to me I guess. I actually have mixed feelings about French-Canadian nationalism, and I think I'm nowhere near as Francophobic as I used to be. I've developed a large appreciation for French-Canadian culture, as one of the oldest European-colonial cultures in the Americas, and I greatly admire French-Canadians' historical commitment to their community, traditions and identity. I'm not on principle opposed to Quebecois independence, and not because I want to get away from them either, but because I support the principle of self-determination. But I think French-Canadians have been coddled and pampered by the 'Canadian Empire' as by no other empire in history, and this has produced people who are self-centered, greedy and unpleasant (not that all French-Canadians are like that, only when it concerns Anglos), and these people have smelled the weakness and inconsistency that modern White Anglos have about their identity; the legitimacy, not just of their empire, but of their very existence.

    I think French-Canadians, like a lot of other Western minority groups, do themselves a great disservice when they adopt the rhetoric of anti-White internationalism and minority grievance for the purpose of gaining autonomy. Do you really believe that you have more in common with some Black African or Asian immigrant who speaks French, and whose family came here a generation or two ago, than with the Germano-Celtic Anglo-Canadian from across the provincial border? Even if you did think so you would be wrong, factually. After all, if a Chinese immigrant can learn French, so can an Anglo, and many have in the past. You and neighbours may very well possess British or Irish heritage and not know it. If French-Canadians really want to have their own country then so be it. I'm all for it. But there's no reason for two peoples so closely related to each other not to be civil with one another, and appreciate each other as well.

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    1. John, I think you completely missed the point of this article even though I went to the trouble of explaining it in my first paragraph. This is meant as an English-Canadian equivalent of the "what's wrong with Quebec" article that you routinely come across in the Canadian media. It's the kind of article that is meant to psychoanalyze and entire people based on an event or in this case a TV show. I think the tone of this article is clearly a humorous one. So your accusation that I am somehow "offended" by the show tells me that you are probably a humorless person.

      If I do mention injustices perpetrated against francophones in Canada in my blog, whether it is the banning of French schools to the refusal to recognize Quebec as a distinct nation, it is because of the premise that you routinely encounter when talking to Canadians which portrays Canadian nationalism as universal, inclusive, multicultural, tolerant, yada, yada and Quebec nationalism as ethnocentric, intolerant, racist, etc. One is a good nationalism and the other is the bad kind. This idea is propped up by the conceit of a caring, sharing Canada whose beloved Mounties settled the west without America's violence and lawlessness, a nation that joins international peacekeeping missions to bring peace to a benighted world. It's a Canada sanitized of its real history.

      This is what compels me to tear down this fantasy. People should see Canada for what it really is, an empire or a relic of empire. English-Canadians just reinvented themselves in the 1960s as this kind, forward-looking, progressive country without ever really coming to term with the past (despite your rather ridiculous claim about the Anglo-Protestant habit of auto-flagellation). So the same patterns of dominance remain with a new and more acceptable window dressing. The same assimilationist attitudes persist but they're coated with a veneer of "multiculturalism". I'm not saying that Canadians are evil or that Quebecers are saints. I'm just trying to tear down the bullshit that is used against us.

      Once Quebec becomes independent, I'll dwell on Canada's dark past about as much as I dwell on Mexico's dark past.

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    2. You say a lot of nonsense in your long and meandering comment. For example "French-Canadians have been coddled and pampered by the 'Canadian Empire'" or your theory about how the poor downtrodden Anglo-Canadian whose British heritage has been almost completely wiped clean from the modern Canadian identity by these whining minorities. I could say a lot in response but I won't bother. Let's just look at one of your rather bizarre claims. I think it tells us all we need to know about your grasp of history and reality...

      'Speak White' by the way, is a disgusting myth concocted by an opportunistic, Anglophone Jewish journalist looking to make a name for himself, and gain some anti-Western cred in the process. There is absolutely no instance of this on record, or that Anglo-Canadians had ever considered French Canadians as 'un-White'.

      First of all who is this devious Jew responsible for concocting this "disgusting myth"? You don't say, which is quite odd. This is such an outlandish claim that the least you could do is to provide us with a name. Because, you see, in reality there are numerous examples on record of this term being used e.g.

      In 1899 during a heated debate about the Boer War in the House of Commons, Henri Bourassa was booed by English MPs. When he tried to explain himself in French, they shouted "Speak White! "

      Mr. Speaker, have the honorable member from Lac La Biche speak white” was reportedly said in the Alberta legislature in the 1950s when Member Michael Maccagno dared to address the chamber in French.

      The use of the tern was also noted in the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism in the early 1960s. It has, in fact, been noted by many others, for example Donald C. MacDonald, long time Canadian politician, mentions the following in his memoirs, The Happy Warrior:

      "Despite the integral role of Quebec in Canada's history, I lamented that anti-French Canadian sentiment throughout much of Canada is like a virus running through the blood stream of the nation... I have often felt my blood run cold as I heard fellow Canadians say to somebody who was speaking French: "Why don't you speak white?"".

      And this is why I won't waste my time arguing with a guy who makes up his own facts...

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    3. Well I was beginning to wonder if you had even noticed my comment, although if I was to hazard a guess, you only read a part of it.

      "I think the tone of this article is clearly a humorous one. So your accusation that I am somehow "offended" by the show tells me that you are probably a humorless person."

      Well perhaps your humor doesn't translate well. In any case, you're the one complaining that the show's lack of attention on French-Canadian affairs is tantamount to Francophobia. Frankly, I find this sort of obsession far duller than Murdoch's Ken doll personality, but then that's just me. Honestly, it's not a show worth fighting over.

      But what does bug me is your total disconnect from the realities of Anglo-Canada, which you've proclaimed yourself to be an expert on.

      "This idea is propped up by the conceit of a caring, sharing Canada whose beloved Mounties settled the west without America's violence and lawlessness, a nation that joins international peacekeeping missions to bring peace to a benighted world. It's a Canada sanitized of its real history."

      Once again you're confusing Canada's image of itself in the present, with a benevolent image of its past that exists nowhere in the Canada that I've lived in my entire life. That you seem to believe that Anglos in Canada do not, on a regular basis, obsess over supposed 'wrongs' they've committed, but are indeed brimming with barely-contained supremacism, suggests that you're far too isolated from them to be editorializing on this matter. Honestly, have you been living under some rock for the past thirty years? Maybe you would benefit from some actual inter-personal experience. Visit a museum, or attend just about any high school or university course on history or social studies on this side of the border and you'd quickly see what I mean.

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    4. And as if that wasn't enough, there are the various public apologies and reparations, too numerous to count, for the residential schools, for the Chinese head tax, etc., and somehow no matter how many times Canada apologizes to a given group, more apologies (and monetary compensations) are still being demanded (and given). It's only in a completely obsessive and self-centered perspective could you imagine that Anglo-Canadians are in the habit of presenting themselves as blameless. And yes, Louis Riel, the Acadian deportations and many other events concerning French-Canadians are a regular part of the school curriculum down in Anglo-Canada, and presented in a way that puts the British entirely to blame.


      Yes Quebec has been pampered. It receives more in federal taxes than any province in Canada, and is subsidized to such an extent that a massive scandal erupts when Quebec students are faced with the prospect of paying the same tuition fees as students in other parts of the country. It also regularly abuses the powers of a Charter which it refused to sign. I mean, what other country has a police which penalizes people for naming their businesses in another language? As for these French schools that are being closed, just where is that happening? Certainly the French school board here in Ottawa isn't going anywhere (people here are learning French just to get a job working there), and I doubt they're going to vanish anytime soon in Quebec. As for not recognizing Quebec's independence, well what do you expect? That a country would simply let a part of its territory secede? Besides, as I recall, last time Quebec had a referendum, the majority voted against independence, so it could not have been so intolerable living in Canada after all. If the people of Quebec want to secede in spite of the economic risks, then I can respect that, but to pretend that Canada hasn't been giving you special treatment is ridiculously egotistical.

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    5. "First of all who is this devious Jew responsible for concocting this "disgusting myth"?"

      Now you may well ask me why I thought 'Speak White' was invented by a Jew. When I first encountered this meme, I traced it to an article written on CBC by a Russian-Canadian Jew named Larry Zolf. (Link here, you can use webarchive to retrieve the original version: https://web.archive.org/web/20101021124848/http://www.cbc.ca/news/viewpoint/vp_zolf/20070302.html ). Since at the time, it was the oldest instance of the claim that I could find, I assumed that he had been the one to start it. Now I see that there have been such claims made earlier, but not much earlier, and always on the part of French-Canadian nationalists, or politicians of some kind.

      " And this is why I won't waste my time arguing with a guy who makes up his own facts..."

      Speaking of which, I took the time to look up these two quotations you used to support your claim, particularly the one purported to be from 1899. To my lack of astonishment, I found no source for this quote, except for French-Canadian nationalist websites. But more importantly, I wasn't the only one having trouble verifying this citation. Scott Archer at MacEwan University wrote this:

      " In a scathing critique of the Albertan government, Stéphane Erickson (2013) quotes an unnamed Alberta MLA from fifty years ago who allegedly said in reference to a French MLA: “Mr. Speaker, have the honorable member from Lac La Biche speak white.” Personally, I was not able to find a reliable source for this quote; however, it does represent an underlying opinion among many westerners about French culture. Even if the quote is entirely made up, it still represents a view from the perspective of the French minority that they feel marginalized even under a country which officially recognizes both English and French."

      (Link here at page 7: https://scottjarcher.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/invisibleminority1.pdf )

      This would suggest that the quote was fabricated, probably by an overzealous French-Canadian nationalist such as yourself. But perhaps the author is in possession of an actual source for this quotation? If so, then please don't hesitate to share it with us.

      ,,,

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    6. On the other hand, your quotation from MacDonald's memoirs seems to be real, but in this case, I'll trust my own observations, and common sense, over the diatribes of a politician. Common sense dictates that a European-descended population such as the French-Canadians, with whom Anglos co-existed for hundreds of years, interacted, intermarried, appointed as their leaders as far back as 1807, with Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine, and whose continental French kinsmen were welcomed into the country as "White" immigrants, would not be considered as non-White by them, simply because they spoke another language. Personally, I've encountered (rarely) English-speakers complaining about gratuitous use of the French language (in Ontario), but nothing to the effect of French-speakers not being White. Of course MacDonald may not be even being literal when he said that, perhaps he was familiar with the meme and used it as a substitute for a more detailed description of discrimination against French-speakers.

      It sounds instead as if some people are deliberately confusing two different instances of discrimination in order to bolster their victimhood. I ask you in all honesty, have you personally ever encountered it? Given your apparent lack of understanding of Anglo-Canada though, I wonder if you've ever met an Anglo in your life. Once again I say that I'm all in favour of Quebec seceding, if that's what Quebecers want, but if you think your problems will be over once you separate from Anglo-Canadians, you're in for a lot of trouble.

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    7. "Well perhaps your humor doesn't translate well"

      No, I think it's just you who are humorless. It's really pointless arguing with someone like you as all you produce is a barrage of nonsense, regurgitated propaganda and strawmen, e.g. "you're the one complaining that the show's lack of attention on French-Canadian affairs is tantamount to Francophobia". Perhaps this one is due to weak reading skills on your part, I'm not sure. In the text I say the following:

      1) Francophobia is a quintessentially Canadian form of hate which was particularly rampant during the time this show is set.
      2) It's completely absent from this show.
      3) I make some topic suggestions for the show in order to make it more realistic and interesting (since I have to spell these things out for you: THIS PART IS TONGUE IN CHEEK)
      4) I do as is always done in this type of article (when it's about Quebec) and come to some kind of conclusion from my psychoanalysis of English-Canadians based on this show and this conclusion is basically that we are simply two distinct nations and not a single (bilingual) nation as Trudeau and his constitution claim.

      Judging from the stuff you posted on your Google+ account and the following creepy comments that you left on my blog: "Do you really believe that you have more in common with some Black African or Asian immigrant who speaks French, and whose family came here a generation or two ago, than with the Germano-Celtic Anglo-Canadian from across the provincial border? Even if you did think so you would be wrong, factually. After all, if a Chinese immigrant can learn French, so can an Anglo, and many have in the past. You and neighbours may very well possess British or Irish heritage and not know it.", you seem to have some strange ideas about race and are probably some type of white supremacist. So perhaps to you, a few apologies and a bit of cash thrown around over past crimes like cultural genocide must seem like a huge concession made by the "white race" towards other (lesser) races. But to others, it looks more like a nation begrudgingly having to come to terms with its real past because others are forcing them to do so.

      Besides, the apologies didn't change anything in Canada's relationship with its Native people. Canada didn't decide to scrap the extinguishment clause in all of its treaties and renegotiate fairer ones, did it? As for the suppression of French in English Canada, a history you seem completely ignorant of (a summary here... if you can't read French I describe Ontario's history here), I don't remember ever hearing any apologies. Sure, Canada began cleaning up its act in the late 60s, once faced with a growing independence movement in Quebec. But even hear, language was cynically used as a tool to extend Ottawa's powers not to find the best possible solution. I wrote about it in this blog post.

      So, basically, I just haven't been living under the same rock that you inhabit...

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    8. Next, you go on, babbling about utter bullshit that you heard about in the Canadian media. No, Quebecers are not "pampered", dumbass! Quebecers are about at the Canadian average for what they send and get from Ottawa. Of course, Quebec gets more than P.E.I., because Quebec is much bigger and Quebec sends far more to Ottawa than P.E.I. Per capita, a Quebecer gets much less from Ottawa than a P.E.Islanders. But this doesn't stop you from blathering on about something you known nothing about e.g. the student strikes. Quebecers get more social services (like cheap daycare and low tuition), not because we are "pampered" by English Canada but because we pay more taxes than most Canadians.

      Ontarians pay lower tuition than most Americans. Does that mean that the government of Ontario could hike up tuition and Ontario students should just roll over and take it? Maybe they would in Ontario but that's not how we do it in Quebec.

      Your gibberish then moves on to the fictional "Quebec language police" and then you say something jaw-dropping in its ignorance. Since at least the 1960s Quebec's constitutional position has been to demand recognition of the fact that we are a distinct nation within Canada and not just a unit in a territorial federation. So when I mentioned Canada's "refusal to recognize Quebec as a distinct nation", you understood this as a refusal to recognize Quebec independence!?! You clearly don't have a fucking clue what you are talking about which is why this will be my last response to you and all further comments by you will be deleted.

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    9. You stated unequivocally that "Speak White" was the invention of some Jew and that "there is absolutely no instance of this on record". Now, you admit that this was just an assumption that you made because you had never heard the term before reading an article from 2007, written by a Jew... Are you fucking kidding me? And now, instead of admitting what a jackass you are, you type out this feeble attempt to double down on what you just admitted was your own made up bullshit!!!

      "I took the time to look up these two quotations you used to support your claim, particularly the one purported to be from 1899. To my lack of astonishment, I found no source for this quote, except for French-Canadian nationalist websites"... That's funny because on the first page of my Google search, I found a website from the University of Ottawa mentioning the incident with Henri Bourassa. The University of Ottawa is not exact a "French-Canadian nationalist websites", is it? So your wrong again, aren't you John? Now imagine if I actually put some effort into finding the source of this quote...

      Scott Archer may not have found the source of the quote "Mr. Speaker, have the honorable member from Lac La Biche speak white" but he does concede that "it does represent an underlying opinion among many westerners about French culture" so how does this support your claim that "Speak White" is a made up term? It doesn't because you admitted yourself that your claim is bullshit and your so-called "common sense" is just white supremacist malarkey...

      Delete
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