Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - June 27, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta
17, 1V72 THE UTHtRIDGE HWAID 5 Quebec following the Duplessis era By Dominique Clill, in the McCIll News Dominique CHIt, BA'53 Is a respected observer of (lie Quebec scene. Presently with The Montreal Star's Quebec City bureau, he has also cov- ered Quebec for La Presse and The Toronto Star. TT USED to be that Quebec was considered Canada's most conservative province. Its government and the bulk ot the population appeared to be dig- ging in their heels against any change which might endanger their tradition-oriented society. The prevailing view across Canada during the 1050s, while Premier Maurice Duplessis held power in Quebec, was that the province's entrenched con- servatism contributed to the slowing down of progress in the rest of the country. It was easy to point out var- ious shortcomings in Quebec which confirmed that view. Public administrators were backward and penny-pinching; they had an almost patholo- gical fear of going into debt through spending money on ec- onomic and social progress. The labor force was poorly edu- cated and relatively unproduc- tive. Also, institutions of high- er learning did not produce graduates who could take com- manding positions in industry and commerce. Responsibility for that situa- tion was believed to belong to the French-speaking population and its leaders. Quebec politi- cians, through their cautious and overprotective attitudes, reinforced that view, ana it came to be shared by both B'rench- and English-speaking Canadians. Progressive people everywhere urged Quebec t o wake up and stop living in a nineteenth century dream world. When Premier Jean Lesage took power in 1960 he launched an energetic reform movement which came to be known as the Quiet Revolution. Public spend- ing increased at a dizzy rate and crash programs were in- stituted to bring education, communications, and health services up to date. Heightened government activity was ac- companied by an unprecedent- ed intellectual 'ferment. The province's new restless atmosphere turned out to be more threatening to the rest of the country than the formerly conservative mood had been. A population once thought pas- sive and submissive began to tug at its moorings and to ques- tion the values which had pre- vailed until then. In a society which had been described as priest-ridden, religious obser- vance dropped dramatically while social institutions sev- ered most of their links with the church. The trade unions started to expand, achieving the first major breakthrough among white-collar workers in Canada, and becoming the most aggressive and militant movement in the country. Poli- tical parties readily adopted ideas which live years earlier had been denounced as com- munist. And as a by-product of the growth of nationalist sen- timents in the province, move- ments emerged committed to achieving the political indepen- dence of Quebec. The most painful aspect of Quebec's development in the last twelve years has been liie rising tension between the pro- vince's two language commun- ities, particularly in the Mont- real area. Nationalist and sep- aratist elements have pointed to the greater economic power of the English-language com- munity, to the prevailing po- sition its language has so far held in commerce, and to its alleged refusal to adjust to the new aspirations of the prov- ince's French-language majori- ty. Mutual suspicions and re- sentment have given a new bitterness to Quebec politics. The French-Canadian view of the English-language commun- ity is naturally colored by the experiences of the fifties. At that time the Duplessis regime had the active backing ot prac- tically every institution in which English prevailed. Busi- ness, universities, and news- papers all unequivocally sup- ported the Union Nationals gov- ernment. The people who staffed and directed those institutions, how- ever, privately had nothing but contempt for the Duplessis ma- chine, its public servants, and its political supporters. The vast majority of Montreal's English-language population, in fact, voted regularly for the op- position Liberal party. The tre- mendous gap between public be- havior and private- attitudes aroused grave doubts among nationalist groups in the prov- ince. Ethnic tensions in Quebec have also been aggravated be- cause French-Canadian society has assumed many of the at- tidues originally displayed by the English-speaking majority in Canada. That is particularly true in relation to language. English speaking Canadians have traditionally had little in- clination to acquire a second language. There was never any pressing need to. Bilingualism was required only from those whose original tongue was other than English, Politically that led to the assumption held more or less consciously that a linguistically homogen- eous society was ideal. The rise of nationalism in Quebec during the 1960s there- fore brought forth the de- sire for a linguistically homo- geneous society within provin- cial borders. (Such a goal is, of course, a carbon copy of the policy that prevails in other parts ot the country.) Persis- tent efforts have been made to give Quebec a French flavour. Campaigns have waged in the west end of Montreal to ob- tain service in French at de- partment stores and other pub- lic places of business. Trade unions have been fighting to get contract negotiations and grievance hearings conducted in French. And there has been steady pressure from the gov- ernment and public to make French the working language in factories and offices where the bulk of the people are French-speaking. Tension reached its high point when the government be- gan r e f o r m ing education. French nationalists were out- raged when parents were given a legal guarantee of their free- dom to choose the language of instruction for their children. English speaking people felt tlireatened when the authorities moved to merge the two school systems on the island ot Mont- real, thus ending the tradition- al financial, administrative, and pedagogical independence of the Protestant system. Eng- lish speaking Quebecers have felt all the more insecure be- cause public institutions, such as hospitals and universities, have been forced to rely in- creasingly on public grants and have thus been brought under almost complete control of the provincial authorities. The current stale of affairs is a sharp contrast from the 1950s when English-speaking people could be in Quebec but not of it. The anglophones of the sev- enties must play an active role in the Quebec community or run the risk of becoming vic- tims rather than beneficiar- ies of the sweeping changes taking place. The need for ad- justment to thu new situation has been met in various ways and with varying degrees of success. However, the conflicts which have arisen over langu- age is much calmer than dur- ing the terrorist episodes of 1970. Demonstrations and riots have subsided, and the accent seems to be on the need for accommodation rather than unilateral solutions. With the new self-image which Quebec developed in the sixties came the realization that the provincial government was the only one in Canada that was entirely French and could be used to promote the cultural interests o! French speak- ing people. The Lesage govern- ment had started out in 1960 by implementing social, econo- mic, and administrative re- forms, concentrating heavily on education, roads, health, and hydro-electric power. It was the most active government the province had seen in a long time and was forced not only to borrow heavily, but also to raise taxes to unprecedented levels. At the end of the govern- ment's six-year rule, however, its preoccupations had shifted almost imperceptibly from the economic to the cultural field. The exercise of provincial pow- er and initiative, together with an acute shortage of funds, had generated interminable wran- gling with the federal govern- ment over taxation and con- stitutional powers. The dis- putes, which Premier Lesage promoted in a spectacular fas- hion, were at first eminently practical in nature. But by 1966 they were largely tinged with nationalist sentiment and re- volved mostly around the de- sire of French-speaking Que- becers to control as much of their economic and social af- fairs as possible. Provincial government policy in that vein was initially di- rected towards stressing cultur- al differences rather than mini- mizing them. Accordingly, there was strenuous opposition to federal spending programs such ss hospital insurance and unemployment assistance which were financed on a WeVecutthe red tape between us and your The problem with taking oul a loa: some places is what it takes out of you. frustration, and red tape. It consists of scetni endless questions about everything but family tree. 'Well at the Commerce, we don't pm you through all that. We put you first Tor the very logical reason that loans are one of the waj-s we make our money. We admit it. So just tell us how much, how much you can afford each month, then if s up to us to wotk it out for you, without Editing you in over your head. And without asking too many persona] questions. It's that simple. NofrustraUon, No red tape. So whether you want place, ot a new cat to get you there, it's simple process of going to a Commerce branch and asking. Mind, you, this simple process doesn't mean we don't take an interest in you. Because when it comes to you and your loan, we don't cut corners. Just red tape. O CANADIAN IMPERIAL BANK OF COMMERCE You and the Commerce. Together we're both stronger. shared-cost basis. The criticism was that federally inspired standards came Into conflict with the mentality and the ad- ministrative practices which prevailed in Quebec. Federal intrusion was therefore deem- ed unacceptable in areas of provincial responsibility. The leading figure in the- political struggle to destroy the Quebec separatist movement has been federal Prime Minis- ter Pierre Elliot Trudeau. While political figures active at the provincial level were care- ful not to antagonize national- ist sentiment, Trudeau chose to meet the threat head-on. The prime minister's uncom- promising attitudes have led to a polarization of opinion in Que- bec around the issues of fed- eralism and separatism; most observers, therefore, see Que- bec politics today as a fight to the finish between Pierre Tru- deau and Rene Levesque. How- ever, the confrontation has so far remained inconclusive and will likely remain so because many of Levesque's supporters .at the provincial level will vote for Trudeau, the anli-na- tionalisl, at the federal level. This apparent contradiction has contributed to the impres- sion that Quebec politics defy rational analysis. However, to many Quebecers Trudeau, in fact, represents a traditional form of nationalism which as- pires for a more effective French-Canadian presence in institutions which have been predominantly English. This type of nationalism emphasizes co-operation rather than isola- tion and separation. Under Prime Minister Tru- deau the French presence in Ottawa has become a reality. Cabinet ministers from Quebec have been given more im- portant departments to admin- ister than in the past, and their politcal influence within the governing Liberal party has grown. Federal spending is more closely attuned to the needs of Quebec than it used to be. Vigorous efforts have also been made to promote bilingualism in the public ser- vice. Those changes have satis- fied, in some measure, the na- tionalist aspirations of Quebec voters. Prime Minister Trade au's ec- onomic policies have also be- come identified with a new problem concerning Quebec. The federal government's anti- inflationary policies, imple- mented partly to compensate for glaring regional disparities, have inhibited the growth Quebec and the Maritime prov- inces ajid have indirectly caused a rapid rise in unem- ployment. Furthermore, Tru- deau's application of fiscal and economic policies uniformly across the country has streng- thened the trend towards the concentration of Canada's fi- nancial and industrial decision- making processes in Toronto and southern Ontario. In Quebec, Premier Robert Bourassa's government is be- ginning to have deep misgiv- ings over current federal eco- nomic policy. Those feelings have been voiced by Social Af- fairs Minister Claude Caston- guay and Finance Minister Raymond Garneau, who are no longer as sure that greater in- dustrial production can do away with unemployment and income disparities. The tone of the speeches they have been making in recent months indi- cates that Quebec may lake the lead once more in questioning the functions and policies of the federal government. For the time being, however, Premier Bourassa is seeking co-operation and compromise with federal authorities on ad- ministrative problems. He can appreciate the extent to which federal funds help support eco- nomic activity and personal in- comes in the province. But once this support begins to cause re- sistance in the rest of Canada and the funds to help Quebec's expansion slow down, he may adopt a much more aggressive attitude. Tne strains a renewed anti-federal attitude in Quebec would bring to the Canadian political system could prove to be far more dangerous than those which resulted from the language problem and its con- stitutional repercussions. The nationalism of Quebec has so far been the expression of psy- chological and cultural atti- tudes which are not easily mea- sured and which have primarily a symbolic quality. But econo- mic problems are easier to de- fine and to express in concrete terms. The voters of Quebec are no longer passive as they were fifteen years ago, and they now have the Parti Que- becois offering them an alter- native to the federal system. They just might put their trust in Rene Levesque. For Canada, and for Quebec, troubled times may not be over. What's a little oil between friends SOME of you will have read of the oil spill off Cherry Point that fouled beaches on B.C.'s lower mainland with to tons" of crude oil. Even for a Canadian Press story, the imprecision Is noteworthy. It would be like me giving my age as between 25 and 75; true, perhaps, but scarcely informative. Speaking of imprecision even "ton" is a bit vague. For most of us, a ton is pounds. But in. the shipping game they have a "Ions ton" which is a matter of pounds. And the oil people seem to favour what is called a metric ton; this contains a million grams, which works out to about pounds. Interesting though that may be, it didn't further my original quest, which was to get some idea of the magnitude of the oil spills we have been hearing about lately. It didn't help, because I think of oil in quarts and gallons, not in pounds or tons. In searching (quite unsuccessfully) for a table to convert tons into the quarts and gallons I can visualize, I discovered an- other unit used in the oil business is the barrel, and even found a formula for fig- uring the number of barrels in a ton. But then I found that a barrel can be anything from 30 to 50 gallons (At that point, I had to resist a strong temptation to say "to hell with Let's try It this way. You know the size of a quart, and should be able to imagine what that much oil would do to one of your flower beds or a piece of your lawn. There are four quarts in a gallon, which would mess up four times as much. A barrel then, whether of 30 or 50 gallons, would make a hell of a mess of your whole yard, I should think. That's one barrel, and there aro from 25 to 40 barrels in a ton; so any kind of a ton, long short, or metric, would lia quite enough to absolutely ruin all the prop- erty in your block, and then sorae. Try multiplying that by and then by That will get you up to the Cherry Point scale. Now think back a couple ol years, to the break-up ol a tanker called the Torrey Canyon, which dumped not twelve but a hundred thousand tons of oil along the south coast o[ England. At tons, the Torrey Canyon was considered a large tanker, at the time. There are now in existence or being built over 3CO tankers of that size or larger, the largest being just under a half million tons. American oil companies seem to favour the larger sizes. So we are fast approaching the day when colossal tankers will be cruising up and 'down our West coast, lugging crude oil from Alaska to refineries in Washington. Sooner or later one will crack up, and dump God knows how many thousands ot tons of oil along the shoreline. But why worry, you ask. A good question. They aren't our ships, it isn't our oil, and the way we're selling off our land, particularly shoreline and resort property, the B.C. coast line soon will be all American, too. I suppose I'm just a little cranky, because I'm pretty sure that American ownership of the ships, the oil, and the shoreline won't exempt Canadian lax payers from paying to clean up the mess. On the use of words Theodore Bernstein Heard you the first time. Some folks and they're usually folksy folks will oc- casionally say, "I have a friend of mine who plays a good game of tiddlywinks.' They shouldn't say it. That locution "I have a friend of mine" is rather low-grade Eng- lish. The reason is that it says the same thing twice. When you say, "I have a you have at once established pos- session with the word have. Then if you go on to say, "a friend of you are re- peating the idea of possession, and tautol- ogy is considered a fault by users of good English. So just say, "I have a or "A friend of and go ahead with the tiddlywinks. Any. The pronoun any may be either singular or plural. As a singular it means one, no matter which; as a plural it means some, no matter which. Thus, it is proper to say, "Any of the pupils is able to solve the and just as proper to say "Any of the pupils are able to solve the problem." What is not good stylistically, at least is to swap those horses in mid- stream as the writer Henry Miller did in a recent article on Picasso. After listing several disparate names he wrote, "Not that any of these is truly understood, not that any of them Influence our way of liv- ing Make up your mind, Henry. Word oddities. Considering how closely bound the United Stales has been to the word Yankee, it seems odd that origin of the word is veiled in uncertainty, but that's etymology for you. There is agree- ment that it may be of Dutch origin and that the colonial Dutch In New York ap- plied it to the settlers in Connecticut. But some guessers think the Dutch origin was Janke, a diminutive form of Jan while others think it was Jan plus Kees, a colloquial form of kaas and was at first applied disparagingly to Hollanders. Still another guess starts with Jan and adds to it Kees, a diminutive version ol Cornel- jus, surmising that the two together wero a Dutch way of saying John Smith' or Joe Doaks. There is also a small school that drags the American Indians into the art, alleging that Yankee is simply an Indian corruption of the word English or the French word Anglais. In view of all these conjectures it's almost easy to see how damyankee originaied. should be said and this Is as good a placa to say it as any. The subject is ethnic jokes. Not, to be sure, the gravest question, facing western civilization or even the United States or even Canada. Still, ethnic jokes are considered by many to be a divisiva element in our society, and divisions .or differentiations, whether they be national- istic, ethnic, religious or xenophobic, are believed to be a principal cause of hatred, conflict, even war. Every little thing we can do to prevent divisions, say these ob- servers, advances the cause of harmony and perhaps of peace. One little thing we can do, they believe, is try to abolish the ethnic joke the joke that may be as funny as all get-out but that holds up a segment of society to ridi- cule and contempt. Most ethnic jokes, it so happens can be just as funny If tha ethnic element is removed. And that's where Booby Simpleton comes in. He doesn't mind being ridiculed and he makes a serviceable substitute for tho Pole, tha Italian, the Mexican, the Jew, the Irishman or the Arab who figures in the gags of this category. Take the case of a joke that has been going the rounds recently and see it it isn't just as funny without whoever it was that appeared In the original: Did you hear the latest about Booby Simpleton? He hijacked a submarine and demanded ransom and a para- chute. Or the one that is somewhat older: They asked Booby Simpleton to screw In a new electric light bulb and he said it would take five men: one to stand on the table and four to turn it around. Granted, Booby Simpleton can't take over in every circumstance, but he is available for service whenever he can help the cause of human -harmony. He's willing. Are you? Introducing Sir. Booby Simpleton. What follows has only the remotest connection with language, but it's something that Word oddities. That word gag, which ap- pears in the foregoing Item, means any kind of joke or amusing story or even hoax. Nothing odd about that. What is odd, how- ever, is thst whereas most of us tend to think of it as a fairly modern bit of slang, the word dates back to the 19th century. One book on slang traces it to 1823 and an- other thinks it was current as long ago a 1805. No one seems to know where the col- loquial word comes from. Maybe, just as an ordinary gag thrust into the mouth pre- vents speaking, the funny gag so convulses the hearer that it has the same effect. P.S. That's just a guess, (New York Times) Bad Dream By Dong Waller CHOPPING is something I avoid like the plague. About the only time Elspeth bothers to even try to get me into a store is when I have worn a hole in the seat ot my trousers or my toes are showing fa my shoes. In the intervals between store appear- ances the prices rise shockingly and I go around numbed for several days after ac- quiring new ehoes and trousers. It has been some weeks since I last went through trfc ordeal so I was surprised when recently I had a bad dream about shopping. There I was in a shoe store trying on ft pair of black shoes with a horrid white rope joining the soles to the lops. They were comfortable so I agreed to buy them even though I disliked their appearance. When I went to pay for them and dis- covered the cost was it was such a chock I leapt right out of bed.