For weeks, while most of Canada has been ignoring it, the Quebec government has been brewing a massive list of amendments to its language legislation - amendments which virtually make it a crime to speak English in Quebec. They guarantee the destruction of an English community that has lived in Quebec for some 250 years.
Any employer who requires an employee to speak English will have to provide evidence it was absolutely necessary - and the employee will have the right to sue. French chidren will not be permitted to go to English schools. Indeed, everything will be done to ensure they never will be required or able to speak English. Virtually all English public institution, such as school boards, social work agencies will be required to work in French. (The latter has been going on for some time. I belong to a museum group, a museum founded by English Montrealers, supported by them, and with a largely English membership. For over a year, I have been receiving communications from it in French only.)
This is not legislation designed to protect the French language. It is designed to destroy the English language, and to keep most French Quebeckers unilingual. Tell me again how the English minority of Quebec is the best-treated minority in Canada.
Oh, yes, the French private schools will be permitted to continue to offer excellent English training. So the rich French will continue to dominate the province as they have for two centuries. Screw the poor.
New Brunswick is not perfect on the language issue. But it is probably by far the leading province in Canada on the issue of language. Quebec is barbaric. And that barbarism poses a severe threat to this country.
This is a fundamental change in the nature of Canada - and perhaps in Canada's chances of survival as a nation. More likely is that most of Canada will be further divided, then absorbed into the US. At that point, the survival of the French language in Quebec will be cancelled by the overwhelming Englishness of North America.
This is especially important for New Brunswick because, as I have noticed, Quebec nationalists are very active in spreading their message among Acadians. And that would be disastrous for Acadians.
The Moncton Times and Transcript has yet to say a word about what is happening. That might suggest the barons of New Brunswick would have no objection to being absorbed into the US. Indeed, the political corruption of the US, and its descent into a police state, is a billionaire's dream come true.
But, as I say, that's not the big news in the TandT. The big news is "Events centre funds in budget?" The budget referred to is the federal one. And the answer is that the TandT has no idea what the answer is. As I read the story, the money set aside in the budget would come nowhere close to paying for the centre; most of it is allocated in categories that almost certainly would not even include the centre; and, in any case, the sum is intended to be spread all over Canada, not just Moncton. So why run this silly story?
Because it keeps the propaganda pot boiling, that's why. Try this guess. The origin of the events centre was not the hockey rink. The origin was was the desire of the owners of Highgate square to sell their land without first having to pay millions to get rid of the pollution in it. That might explain why the provincial government has never put pressure on them to clean it up as they are supposed to.
The hockey rink was piggy-backed onto that to please the owner of the hockey team. And, when that idea didn't catch on with the rate-payers, some genius came up the the "events centre" label.
So, with the world in the midst of the worst economic crisis it has ever seen, with our major customer sinking ever deeper into, and with unemployment and povery reaching for record levels around most of the world, we are getting conned into a scheme that will do nothing but cost us money. It may have a use, though - as the world's most expensive shelter for the homeless.
There are only two stories worth reading in the rest of section A.
On A6, there is a picture of a toilet-in-a-box that you can buy for only 89.99. In the long run, that's cheaper than kitty litter.
On A9, there's a story that the YMCA will no longer get a $30,000 grant for an award-winning literacy programme it has been running. Well, that just shows they aren't asking the right way. Jamie Irving just got 2 1/2 million for exactly such a programme - even though Jamie Irving has no credentials to show he knows anything about it.
By the way, so far the total story on this two and half mill has been just half a sentence. Exactly what is this programme? What budget is the money coming from? Exactly where is it going to? How can you spend two and a half mill on volunteers?
More important, does young Jamie's deal allow him to interfere (be a P/P/P) in our education system? Why are we going to a private contractor when we already have thousands of people who know something about teaching reading? Exactly who approved this extraordinary deal? And when will we taxpayers be allowed to know what's going on with our money?
You know, it's things like this that make the public wonder whether the TandT is an honest newspaper, or just a propaganda agent for the Irvings.
NewsToday has no news today. However, it does, on p. D4, have a headline that suggests some unfamiliarity with the meanings of words. "Protests flare up in Egypt". Ever heard of anything that flared down?
Bill Belliveau can do a good column if it's criticism of the Conservative party, especially in Ottawa. This one is a good column. He's quite right. The budget is probably the most useless and unealistic one ever produced by a Canadian government.
Norbert is back to writing a column with four, quite different and unrelated topics, and none of them of any significance. Well, at least he can be sure that Mr. Irving won't be upset at it.
I gave up on Brent Mazerolle half-way through. I have no idea what his point is; nor can I see any reason why I should care. This is just mindless babble.
Gwynne Dyer is very worth reading. This one is about banking in Cyprus, it's a an excellent example of the mishandling of most banks around the world. Many of them, even the big and trusted names, are corrupt and out of control - and they have enormous influence on governments - and are looking for even more political clout. Canada is not exempt.
The Faith page. Lord, tap-dancing Jesus. Another squishy-squashy sermonette with no connecton whatever to the world we live in. And this one repeats the old bromide that Jesus died to save us.
Please. We are no longer, I hope, a primitive people who believe in sacrificing oxen or throwing virgins into volcanoes to pay for our sins.
Do the Christian churches have nothing whatever to say about this very unChristian world we live in, and how we should deal with it?
And if they don't, could we please have the occasional sermonette from a Jew or a Moslem?
In other missing news, American business leaders have screwed up royally in pushing the US into their wars. Africa is now knee-deep in weapons, what we call extreme Islam has attained a degree of power and unity in Africa it never had before, the US is close to intervening in Syria, which will make all the above worse. (Actually, it was US intervention that was a major factor in starting the civil war -though most North American newspapers have failed to mention it.) This is very likely to blossom into a crisis that will involve both China and Russia, who both have strong interest in the region.
Business people have surely by now proven that they are as incompetent in shaping foreign policy as they are in shaping domestic policy. So why do we let them do it?
To start close to home, exactly what is this gift of two and a half million to Jamie Irving all about?
Got a column on that, Norbert?