Politeness is…..

Par Beryl Wajsman le 9 juillet 2015

So, Premier Couillard defends his decision to table legislation requiring French descriptors on trademarked English store names by characterizing it as “protecting basic politeness” to francophones. Some media commentators have actually bought into this transparent disingenuity. We thought it might be worthwhile to provide him with a list of what civil politesse – politeness – really should be about.

Politeness is….respecting the rule of law and abiding by the decision of Quebec courts that descriptors are not required.

Politeness is….not expanding Bill 101 which itself protects trademarked names from the application of the language laws.

Politeness is….following Canadian constitutional and legal frameworks that make trademarks a federal jurisdiction and has been so judged by Quebec courts.

Politeness is….not pandering to cultural nationalism merely to win more votes.

Politeness is….respecting the mandate you were voted in on – by francophones and anglophones – to create economic opportunity and stability and not stirring up more culture war.

Politeness is….having respect for francophones and understanding that they are as sophisticated and cosmopolitan as they come and don’t need nanny-state guidance.

Politeness is….bringing an end to rule and regulation that hammers 1.5 million non-francophone Canadian citizens living in Quebec into second class citizenship.

Politeness is….giving those non-francophones value for their tax monies which are considerably higher than their proportion of population.

Politeness is….staying true to the rhetoric of your campaign when you stated that bilingualism is a vital asset.

Politeness is….understanding that being a federalist is more than just saying the word “federalist.” It is about treating all Canadian citizens in Quebec with equity and equality.

Politeness is….maintaining some intellectual rigour and being careful not to send negative signals which are always overblown on the streets when coming from a Premier.

Politeness is….reigning in the OQLF when it forces major retailers to block their websites to Quebec sales because the sites are not bilingual.

Politeness is….speaking out against OQLF demands that English and French content be segregated in the pages of the Pontiac Journal.

Politeness is….not passing legislation in the Assembly without an English text as required by law.

Politeness is….opening your mouth and sending a legacy message to all Quebecers that suppression of expression is a thing of the past.

Politeness is….not indulging in historical revisionism and perpetuating the “big lie” theory of politics by making Francophones think they are a native people in their native land with injustices heaped upon them by “les autres.”

Politeness is….finally admitting In “truth and reconciliation” that the threat to the French language and culture is over.

Politeness is…civilizing the public discourse by stating clearly and candidly that even if Quebec was to become independent , it would still have to abide by international covenants – including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Covenant against Discrimination of minorities based on Race, Religion, Culture and LANGUAGE, and the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s Quebec City declaration of 2012 on the protection of minority rights on race, religion, culture and LANGUAGE – that guarantee linguistic protection of substantial minorities and those with acquired rights or face ostracism from the table of civilized nations.

Politeness is…being a leader and telling your people that it is time to “get over it!”


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Beryl P. Wajsman

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