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For more useful English-language sources on the conflict, see:
David Desjardins 13 Sept, 2012
Original French Text: http://www.ledevoir.com/politique/quebec/359051/la-culture-du-mepris
Jean Charest was stepping down live on TV when I flipped to that channel, pausing for a moment to listen to his trembling, tearful goodbye.
Did I smile?
A little, yes. But it wasn’t the toothy smile of someone who delights in another’s misery. Nor was it a smile of empathy. A person can’t be sad to see the end of a drawn-out spectacle where the actors and the director both seem to have been mocking the audience all along.
Really, I smiled to myself, hoping that we were witnessing the departure of a grand master of the genre, a rare breed of politician, in as much as politics is a game of manipulation — one who could ride the desires of the moment and the changes in mood of the people.
And Jean Charest rode like a king.
As the translators and administrators of Translating the printemps érable, we would like to express our profound distress about the election night shooting, and to send our deepest sympathies to the victims, their families, and all of those affected by this extreme act of violence.
The goal and ethos of this blog have always been to facilitate communication across different communities in Québec and Canada, in the hopes of contributing to a more inclusive and holistic political discourse. We come to this blog from diverse linguistic, ethnic, political backgrounds, among others. What unites us is this desire to speak across the various divides that paralyze our ability to move forward in resolving the conflicts that Québec is facing. We all value the democratic process deeply.
There is no place, in a fair and democratic election such as the one we participated in yesterday, for violence. We are outraged at this attack on our democratic process. And above all, we are grieving for the man who lost his life last night, and sending our warmest wishes to the two victims who were hurt. These events are nothing short of horrific. Our thoughts and love are with the families and friends of all those affected by the violence. We are sorry that you experienced such an unjust, senseless and brutal act.
Let us resist polarizing discourse. Let us set aside our differences to stand together in the name of peace, democracy, and a respect for the humanity of all people.
There will be a vigil tonight at 8pm in front of the Métropolis in Montréal.
*Translating the printemps érable is a volunteer collective attempting to balance the English media’s extremely poor coverage of the student conflict in Québec by translating media that has been published in French into English. These are amateur translations; we have done our best to translate these pieces fairly and coherently, but the final texts may still leave something to be desired. If you find any important errors in any of these texts, we would be very grateful if you would share them with us at email@example.com. Please read and distribute these texts in the spirit in which they were intended; that of solidarity and the sharing of information.
Lisa-Marie Gervais August 23, 2012
In the midst of the electoral campaign, the demonstration this “22nd” was about more than education.
Feeling like they hadn’t been a key subject of the electoral campaign, they took to the streets to be heard. Thousands of protesters marched in Montreal’s downtown yesterday, as students and anti-capitalists alike collectively uttered an unequivocal message: “Cha-rest! Get-Out!”
The calm and joyful tone of the demonstration offered a striking contrast to the vehemence of the protesters’ message. Most were sympathetic to the “red square” movement. Alicia, who is not a student but who was quickly won over by the movement, said point-blank “the theme of this demonstration is to get Charest out. I had to be here.” “Quebecers are in the streets, as we speak, and it’s very clear whose side they are on!” she added.
Jean-Herman Guay August 20, 2012
Caption: Whether or not you agree with her ideas and proposals, it has to be said that Francoise David broke free from the other three politicians’ waffling language more than once during yesterday’s debate. Photo Credit: Robert Skinner, La Presse.
Francoise David had everything to gain by just being present. But she did more than that: she succeeded in embodying a modern, open left, which had never before been done so clearly in a leaders’ debate. Whether or not you agree with her ideas and proposals, it has to be said that Francoise David broke free from the other three politicians’ waffling language more than once during yesterday’s debate. Smiling, relaxed but confident, she successfully conveyed her message on multiple points. Although this is highly subjective, it is probable that a wave of sympathy has set in between her and certain segments of the electorate.
On matters of the environment, social policy, education and health, Francoise David clearly explained her party’s positions: free education at every level, against the privatization of healthcare. She tried to enlarge the debate more than once, beyond the strict question of the number of family doctors, for example. And she succeeded.
Lise Ravary August 9, 2012
My column in this morning’s Journal de Montréal and Journal de Québec
Pauline Marois’ refusal to take part in a leaders’ debate in English has elicited strong reactions. It’s a reminder to our beloved Anglos that French is the only official language here and if they want to understand what’s going on all they have to do is to learn the language. And if they don’t like it, we’ll close McGill and English hospitals. Stop your whining, pampered minority.
The problem with “nous”
In refusing this debate, in continuing to insist on the fictitious anglicization of Quebec, the absolute necessity of Bill 101 in CEGEP, and the imposition of French on Aboriginals, Marois has made the “nous” [we/us] in her party’s slogan problematic: “C’est à nous choisir” (it’s up to us to choose).
Which nous are we talking about? Is it the nous of the Quebec nation, heirs to the glorious French Canadians and valorous settlers from France? Is it nous as citizens, including all those who know their postal codes by heart? Or is it the emotional nous that dwells in the hearts of sovereigntists? There are as many answers as political options.
Manon Cornellier August 13, 2012
Original French Text: http://www2.lactualite.com/cornellier/2012-08-13/la-democratie-selon-jean-charest/
Since the beginning of his electoral campaign, Premier Jean Charest has declared that, after having taken to the streets, it’s now time for the Québécois to express themselves. As if the people protesting and banging on pots weren’t Québécois, but nevertheless. What was the most troublesome was the narrow view that his speech took: vote once every four years and then leave everything in the hands of those elected.
After his stop in Victoriaville on Saturday, we now understand that protesting to express dissidence does not reflect his vision of a vibrant and healthy democracy. So much so, that he constantly mixes protesting with violence and wants to do away with both. See for yourself: “We don’t want protests, do you hear? We don’t want violence. We created a law specifically to put an end to these things”, he said before a group of young Liberals.
Josée Boileau August 15, 2012
Original French Text: http://www.ledevoir.com/politique/elections-2012/356810/elections-jeunesse-doree
François Legault confuses everything: youth and productivity, the good life and the dropout rate, education and self-realization, the practices of a society and its values … And from this mixture comes out a Quebec without future, but mostly without a baring in reality.
What exactly was denouncing the leader of the Coalition avenir Québec, François Legault, on Monday when a citizen from Lambton lamented that young people cared only about the good life? This remains unclear.
He claims to denounce consumer society. But then, he evokes the Asian model? In Japan, Singapore, Korea, the latest useless gadget sells very well, thank you … The immediate satisfaction of wants is common across all developed societies, and an aspiration for all others. And how do we push back against such a society? In leading… the good life! Practicing voluntary simplicity, resisting the commodification of the world, something that requires effort and real self-realization, as the CAQ leader wants… Why then is he so afraid?
Blandine Parchemal, Ph.D. student, Université de Montréal August 9, 2012
“If the student strike continues, that will play into the Liberals’ game”. “By prolonging the strike, students are participating in the re-election of the Liberal Party”. These words can be heard everywhere these days: as much from right wing pundits opposed to the movement as from those wearing the red square, be they citizens, journalists, professors or students.
But what exactly does that mean, playing the Liberals’ game?
The Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec (FPJQ)
August 9, 2012
Québec’s federation of journalists is astonished by Premier Jean Charest’s recent remarks following the publication of a critical report by the Inquiry team on the—as yet unexplained—halt on the surveillance of Eddy Brandone.
The Premier questioned the ethics of two Radio-Canada reporters, Marie-Maude Denis and Alain Gravel, who have done remarkable work exposing corruption and collusion problems in the construction industry. Their reports, along with those of other media, have often damaged the Liberal government’s reputation in recent years, which might help explain the Premier’s inappropriate outburst.
Paul Journet August 2, 2012
(Laval) CLASSE has rejected the appeal for a truce, put forward by Léo Bureau-Blouin, the PQ candidate for Laval-des-Rapides. FEUQ and FECQ remain “neutral.” The three student associations say they are nevertheless interested by the PQ’s idea of a summit about higher education, though they have some reservations.
Léo Bureau-Blouin says he doesn’t want to wade into student politics, but nevertheless, he does have one wish: that students “imagine an electoral truce.”
CLASSE believes Bureau-Blouin should have kept quiet. CLASSE co-spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois was brusque: “There’s always a sense of malaise when people from outside the movement weigh in on the student debate to give advice.”