YES WE CANADA The Progressives Guide to Getting the Fuck Out - Season Three

How to French in Canada

February 02, 2021 Season 1 Episode 13
YES WE CANADA The Progressives Guide to Getting the Fuck Out - Season Three
How to French in Canada
Show Notes Transcript

A province is like a state but with more power and fewer rednecks. But in our country,  the province of Quebec is actually “the founding French nation” of Canada, which is why it gets its own very podcast.

As the only French speaking province in Canada, the government of Quebec has greater control over what are considered federal jurisdictions in other provinces like immigration, taxation and employment. Francophone Quebecers are  tiny island of eight million French speakers surrounded by a sea of 360 million people in North America who speak English as their principal language.

So, keeping Quebec French is very important and a  huge challenge.  Therefore, Quebec’s immigration policy gives priority to French speaking immigrants and yes, we know that as an American exceptionalist, you are comfortable with having “priority” in every  thing you do, but even though you know how to say“bonjour”,  "oui" and “voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?” I think it’s gonna take a little more than that to get you into Quebec as a French speaking immigrant. Désolé.

But because Yes We Canada is a public service, we give you a free hack on how to move to Quebec with only the french noted above!  Bienvenue! Uh, that means welcome. 







LISA: Canada Curious? This is the Yes We Canada podcast…the Progressives Guide to Getting the Fuck Out.   This episode…How to French in Canada.




MZ:  Hi, I’m Matt Zimbel


Mio:  Hello, bonjour, je suis Mio Adilman


MZ:  Tres biens, Mio. Bienvenue. Right out of the gate y’all it’s pronounced K-ebec not Queebeck. Technically Quebec is one of the ten provinces in Canada. 


Mio: Technically? 


MZ:  A province is like a state but with more power and less rednecks. But in our country Quebec is actually is actually “the founding French nation” of Canada, which is why it gets its own very podcast.


Mio:  In Quebec, French is the official language.  English is spoken widely but it is not an “official language”, meaning that the government may provide English services to its citizens, but they do so as a “courtesy” not as an “obligation”.  


MZ:  Now, I really hate to nag, but just a quick reminder, we’re doing this podcast so that when you immigrate to Canada and take your citizenship, you will actually pass.  This next segment may be a real question on the test, so let’s focus up here and make some notes.  Mio, there is only one province in Canada that is officially bi-lingual…for ten points and free Medicare for life, what, is the name of that province:


Mio: And I know that this is trick question because everyone is going to think that it’s Quebec, but it is New Brunswick. 


MZ: Oh man you nailed it. 


Mio: Yes! got it! Give me my free Medicare.


MZ:  And you know what, there’s a bonus gift, you may remain in the country and you’ve won a free Ab implant. 


MIO:  I actually could use one of those now, it’s been a long  winter.


MZ: As the only French speaking province in Canada, the government of Quebec has greater control over what are considered federal jurisdictions in other provinces like immigration, taxation and employment. Francophone Quebecers are a are a tiny island of eight million French speakers surrounded by a sea of 360 million people in North America who speak English as their principal language


So, keeping Quebec French is a huge challenge.  Therefore, Quebec’s immigration policy gives priority to French speaking immigrants and yes, we know that as an American exceptionalist, you are comfortable with having “priority” in every fucking thing you do, but even though you know how to say “bonjour”, “oui”, and “voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?”, I think it’s gonna take a little more than that to get you into Quebec as a French speaking immigrant. Désolé.


MIO:  But fear not, if you do want to live in Quebec and you only speak the French phrases Mathieu just told you about, here’s a free immigration hack…you can officially immigrate to another Canadian province where French is not required - you have your choice of nine others, plus three bonus “territories” and the waiter will be over with the “menu provincial” in a second and then once you land in Canada 


MIO: you can sneak across the un-protected Ontario / Quebec border and set up shop in Quebec. 


For example, if you land in Toronto, just grab the 401 Expressway east, 5 hours and hang a left at the sign that says “Bienvenue au Quebec “English Pig Dogs Welcome”. Easy peasy and legal!  


MZ:  If you get stopped by the provincial police just say this: “C’est correct, je suis avec the band.”  


Mio: what are you driving a bus?


MZ: Now, once you get here, and I say “here”, because this podcast is written and produced Montreal, Quebec’s largest city with a population of almost 2 million - once you get here, you will need to learn how to speak French because to live in Quebec without speaking French is like living in Manhattan without being filthy rich, it’s just not done.


Quand tu arrive, you will frequently hear people call Quebec “a distinct society” “une société distinct”.  And then, you will hear people in the rest of the country call this concept “utter fucking bullshit”, it is not.  Many in Canada think of Quebec as Confederation’s spoiled brat. And if you see Canada as 10 equal provinces, then that is true.  Quebec is spoiled. But, if you see Quebec as the “Founding French Nation” of Canada…then it is not true. Depends completely on your POV. The fact, and facts matter here people, is that Quebec is indeed the French founding nation of Canada and as such it is not like every other province, unique privileges, special powers are part of its’ cover charge to enter the confederation deal… And the eight Albertans who faithfully listen to this podcast just unplugged. (See yaaaaa!)



Mio:  Because you get garbage pickup twice a week which is unheard of in any other jurisdiction. As we havesaid earlier episodes, Canada is a multicultural society, not a melting pot like you guys in the states and therefore, there are hundreds of unique cultures and communities all over the country… but I know, that as an American, you don’t have a lot of time, so I‘ll break our “societies” down for you into four principal “founding” – did you hear the quotation marks around “founding”. My fingers were up.  Chris, can you turn up the volume on the quotation marks in the control room please?   I did not know we had a control room. Good.  Four “founding”groups; in order of appearance: The Indigenous peoples, first nations, Inuit, Metis, Les French, the Englishspeakers and the Newfoundlanders. I didn’t even know how to say that. 


MZ:  They’ve only been in confederation for a little while, you need to practice.


Mio: Know that I just pissed off 80% of our Canadian listeners but keep listening… just for fun. We will review all of these groups in podcasts future, but today, let’s start with the French in Quebec.  



MZ:  The first permanent settlement in “New France” was founded in June of 1604 when a French guy named Pete and his mapmaker Sam bumped into a small six-acre Island (Mio interrupts) in the middle of the St. Croix River…


Mio: Whoa whoa …hold up here for a sec…you are degrading our history,  are you talking about Samuel de Champlain and Pierre Dugua de Mons? 


MZ: yeah, baby you’re the mons!


Mio: I can see them fist bumping each other in their canoe. I love your historical informality.


MZ:  Thank you.  So, Pete and Sam find this chill little island between what is now Maine and New Brunswick.



They thought it was paradise; beautiful, warm, lots of fish, lots of deer, as they said in their journals, no,“Indians”, and so on this island paradise they built the first French outpost - “France 2.0”. 


What could possibly go wrong?  


MZ: Um, Winter. You see there was a reason that the Passamaquoddy people who had been living by the banks of this river for centuries didn’t live on that island. And that reason was called “winter”. In their first winter of 1604 / 1605 thirty-five of the seventy-nine men from France died of scurvy. And Mio, scurvy sounds scuzzy.


Mio: Listen scurvy is not just a French explore phenomenon. Lots of people get it.


MZ: You got to eat your vitamins,or you will get scurvy, that’s what we told our kids all the time. 


Mio: Samuel mange tes vitamines!


MZ: The Indigenous people of the Passamaquoddy welcomed the French newcomers, but they were likely happy when the French decided to live on the Island because I think we can say, without prejudice, that French people in the 1600’s, as with most people in the 1600’s, had some funky assed personal hygiene rituals. 


Mio: oh, you are going to be in so much trouble.


MZ: Remember, this was the era when the smelliest of French cheeses Époisses was considered a breath freshener.   Put the brothers on a boat for three months, no fresh vegetables, no mani-pedi’s and baby you got the Euro-funk! 



MZ: And as they say … “the rest is history”.


Mio: Who says that Matt?  You know who says, ‘the rest is history”?  Lazy ass historians who don’t want to put in the work…that’s who. If there’s more history you should just say it. 


MZ. You are correct.


Mio: So, you’re just going to leave us on an Island on the St. Croix river, with 44 French men without mani-pedi’s, dying of scurvy in the winter of 1605 and say, “the rest is history”? Really? Is that how you’re going to do things?


MZ: Worse than that. Check this out…


MZ:  That is one of the most beloved Canadian comics. Her name is Martha Chaves. Martha Chaves, wow, that doesn’t sound like a Canadian name. And that’s because one of the most popular Canadian comics is from the Managua, Nicaragua part of Canada.  


Mio: The Managua territories?


MZ As a teenager Martha kept two diaries. One she now calls the “Fake News Diary” and the other was the “truth, nothing but the truth, so help me God, diary.” 


She knew her mother would read her diary, so the fake news diary was left out willy nilly and the “nothing but the truth” diary was well concealed. Well, you know how absent-minded teenagers can be, and one day, the wrong diary was left out and was read by the governing parental administration.


The highly classified intel contained in the “nothing but the truth” diary revealed that Martha had been, as she put it, “dabbling in lesbianism”. So, to stop her from becoming a full-fledged, gold star lesbian, her mother decided to ship her off to Montreal, Canada.  Montreal, the city, with the most beautiful women in the world.


MIO:  I love Martha too, but Matt, honestly? I’m not sure how we got from Samuel Champlain to Martha Chaves, on an island on the East Coast in the winter of 1605 to Martha Chaves dabbling in lesbianism in Managua. 


MZ: Well Mio, there’s a reason that Montreal has the reputation of being a city of such beautiful women.  And it is an immigration story.


Back in 1663 French King …. Louis the 14th, 


Mio:  oh, good… back on track.


MZ: Louis the 14th was trying to colonize the New France which later became Quebec.  At the time, the place was full of soldiers, fur trappers and priests.  Which would make for a pretty dull Saturday night at the disco. So, the King’s counsellor had an idea…why don’t we find a bunch of strong, healthy, orphan gals in France, offer them a few francs and a hope chest and ship ‘em over to the New France, (eventually to become known as Canada).  Now this was centuries before a French woman by the name of Regina Zylberberg revolutionized night life New York City by opening the first discotheque in the big apple called Regine’s, but you can see where I’m going with this right? 


Mio:  No.  Not in the least. I find the women being brought over very interesting but are we getting to the first disco in Montreal? 


MZ: Ok – we’re going to flip back to the 1600’s date night in the colony is super dull.  Everyone’s at their local…


MZ:  Father’s telling yet another one of his yet endlessly dull stories about the menu at the last supper, the trappers are all sitting together because they stink like beaver gonads and no one will sit with them and the soldiers are all trying to avoid the priest,

“father, could I get ya another beer”,  of course, they were French, and they didn’t sound like that at all…


“Un autre vers du champagne mon Père?”


Bottom line is…who the fuck wants to move to New France? Winters are long and hard spring is buggy as all get up and there’s no girly action. 



MIO:  I’m trying to find my friends well I just follow the smell of the beaver nuts. Don’t worry I’ll let myself in.  Moving to the colonies must have been a tough decision for these young women to make. If they actually got to make the decision. Most of them were poor urban girls between 12 and 25 who were from Paris, Normandy or western France. Most of them were illiterate and not schooled in the ways of rural life, which was very rigorous anywhere at that time, but with no equipment, but even more so in the buggy colonies. These young women may have been called the “daughters of the king”, but make no mistake about it, they were not princesses.  They gave birth to 4459 young “New Francian’s”.  They have since been upgraded from the lowly moniker “The Kings Daughters” to the much more dignified: “Mothers of a Nation”. 


MZ: Yes, I know, I am once again force feeding you more dull Canadian history. Forgive me for pointing out your American xenophobic tendencies, but this story has a direct effect on why you have been in such a miserable mood since the Jan 6 White Trash Rebellion of your Capitol. You’re worried about the state of your union, and I get that, but you’re listening to this podcast, right?  Why?  Because it’s the first step on your path towards Canadian citizenship, you dreamer you! 


And here’s why I’m so excited to tell you about the Filles du Roi …a descendant of the filles du Roi is actually responsible for the presidency of Donald J. Trump, which in turn led to the White Trash Rebellion at the Capitol. Ok, now you’re listening!  Hillary Rodham Clinton descends from a Filles du Roi.  An FDR Now Hillary gets blamed for a lot of shit, especially by those Qanon wack jobs, but I think, if Hillary had just gone to fucking Michigan one more time in 2016, we would never have gotten into this mess.  So, Hillary is not only the mother of a nation, she is also the mother of Individual One,  Donald J. Trump…oh, man that must hurt. 


MIO:  Famous Filles du Roi ?  We got ‘em by the bushelful…Not just Hillary Rodham Clinton, Madonna, Celine, Alanis and Angelina Jolie are all descendants of the Filles du Roi.  Your famous and distinguished Canadian cousins whose foremothers arrived in North America with bad breath and a meager hope chest, then went on to win a pile of Grammy’s, Oscars and almost a presidency! 


One of the reasons Quebec is considered “distinct”, is because when the French founded New France, on the Indigenous people’s land, which later became known as Lower Canada and then as Quebec, they used the French legal system called “Civil Law”.  The Rest of Canada, also known as R-O-C, pronounced: “Let’s Rock!”

Was settled on the Indigenous people’s land by the British who use the Common Law legal system. 


MZ: At the Yes We Canada editorial meeting we thought about maybe bringing in a French and English lawyer to explain the intricate differences in these two legal systems, but you guys know lawyers, they get paid a lot by the hour and they talk, talk, talk, about nothing just to get those billings up. So, fuck ‘em. We trust you to figure it out on your own. No, scratch that, we are going to help. 


This is the answer from Washington University Law School in St. Louis, and it will do two things: it will explain why the whole world hates lawyers and it will not help you understand the difference between Civil and Common law unless, you already have a law degree and are articling at the Supreme Court.


The main difference between the two systems is that in common law 

countries, case law — in the form of published judicial opinions — is of 

primary importance, whereas in civil law systems, codified statutes 



MZ:  Got that?  Me neither and I got my grade nine. All you have to know is since you Yankee’s, originate from the British, your legal system in the US is based on Common Law. If move to Quebec, you will be divorcing your third husband in a more civil manner. Right, now, you really want to move here. 


I chose to live in Quebec, because basically, in Canada, this is where the party is.  I learned how to speak French.  Now as a native New Yorker, speaking French makes me an intellectual, an internationalist, and a really good lover.  Truth be known, my French grammar is very troubled, so I always make sure that Quebecers know I am originally from New York because to their ears, my French is horrific for an English Canadian, but superb for a New Yorker.  Merci, bonsoir!


I love speaking French. When you get here and try to learn, it will seem like an insurmountable task, it is not.  Let me break it down for you.  A sentence is like a canal.  Fill it up with words.  Hopefully when you finish, there will be some meaning. Use a lot of “shit words”, what would in English be “you knows” or “likes” or “tickety boo”. That way, you are speaking more, and it sounds like you know a lot more French than you actually do.Minimum work, maximum results, I call this the American Method.  Here’s a few great phrases;


tu sais…you know 


“mais, oui” …but of course.


and “bouuuuuf”.



 Try it, “boooouuufff”, it’s not actually a word, it’s more like a guttural sound.  Place it in the back of your throat, shrug your shoulders at the same time, it should sound like you just threw up in your mouth. Have fun with it. This “expression”, or perhaps it’s more of a “regurgitation”, means “Really? I don’t give a shit”. It’s actually French slang from France. Yes, “The France”. So, if you use it in Quebec, French speaking Quebecers will think you are from France and which will explain a lot about your arrogance.


When you study French, you will realize that lots of French words, are the same as they are in English, I call these “free words”.  Do you remember the famous quote that was used to illustrate how dumb George W. Bush was; “The French don’t even have a word for entrepreneur.”  Well, first of all, I’m no advocate for George W. Bush, but he never said that.  Just BS left wing commie BS. My man George never said that. And for another thing he never said, we take you to a scene from my next very short film:


MZ: The action opens on the sun-bleached interior of the master bedroom at a ranch in Crawford, Texas, it’s early on the morning of Jan. 7, 2021, a man and woman clad in the pajamas of the ruling class, spoon in bed, the man gently shakes the woman awake:

Laura, Laura, wake up, wake up, CNN says I’m no longer the worst president ever! 


Oh, George, go brush your teeth. 


MZ:  Mio?  you ok?  it’s been a while since you said anything. 


Mio: …yeah you write these scripts and it always says Matt, Matt, Matt and that’s not my name.  You could have given me Laura or you could have given me George, but you took both of them for yourself.  


MZ:  That’s a very good point – actually Laura will be replaced by a woman. 


MIO:  Oh, George, go brush your teeth. 


MZ: Oh, hang on!  That’s a good audition…maybe you nailed another gig on this show. Could you do that again?


MIO:  Oh, George, go brush your teeth. 


MZ: Wow that’s in I’m letting the other person go. 


MZ:  Opps, je pense qui lui est fâché contre moi – I’ll just finish up this next thought and turn it over to you…French grammar is very complicated, I wouldn’t really recommend it.  Just speak in the present tense.  And also, this feminine masculine bullshit?   Out of control …  Beer is feminine, wine is masculine, an erection is feminine, a clitoris is masculine. Do I need to say more? Oui?  Non? 


Mio:  Um, no, you definitely do not need to say more. 


MZ:  ah, bon.


MIO: The French language is the heritage and culture of Quebec and that culture is indeed under threat as the internet and streaming media evaporate borders.

Ensuring that Quebec stays French has led to some rather remarkable yet occasionally understandable legislation from Quebec lawmakers.   In Quebec there are what we call “language laws”.  No, not like “I” before “E” except after “C”, more like: “signs that advertise a business must do so in French and the French must be the predominant language on the sign”.  Which led to the famous “Montreal Smoked Meat battles of 1987”.  


MZ:  You’re going to have to explain smoked meat, Mio. 


MIO:  That is the job I was born to do.  I’m a bit of a smoked meat historian, seriously. Smoked Meat is like pastrami or corned beef, more like pastrami  but way better. It is a specialty in Montreal and was created by the Jews, who pickled beef briskets, studded them with massive amounts of coriander seed and then smoked them. In 1987 the government tried to ban the phrase “Smoked Meat” which is English, in favour of the French term “boeuf mariné” but no one knew what the fuck that was and so when challenged in court the Quebec government lost. 


MZ: Mio how do you say case dismissed in French?


Mio:  I don’t know, I thought you were the French person. But let me just try it. Va ton, does that sound good That means get the fuck out of here.  I think the judge says that in court when you lose.   


MZ: ok I’m just going to say that because my French accent is so much better than yours. Va ton! Lunch!


MIO: Then everyone goes to Schwartzs.


MZ: and orders Smoked meat not Boeuf Marine 


MIO:The most famous Smoked Meat joint in Montreal is Schwartz’s on St. Laurent Street.  It’s a culinary landmark. There are lineups a block long outside every day of the year and a very funny musical was written about the place.  If you are a vegetarian, now is the time to go get a tofu snack and skip the next little bit of the podcast, because it will not only be of little interest it may cause nausea. We’ll holler at you when this segment is over.  Vegans va ton!.


A sandwich at Schwartz’s is a pile of hot smoked meat sliced thick by hand with yellow mustard on rye bread. That’s’ it. You may order it lean, medium, medium fat or fat. If you do order it lean, you are a tourist and I have no respect for you because you are fooling yourself, if you think by removing the fat which is the flavour, your dry smoked meat is going to advance any kind of healthy eating regime – fuhgeddaboudit...the smoked meat sandwich has a half-life of 150 years. You will be long dead and gone, your bones will be dust, but your stomach will be still trying to digest your smoked meat sandwich. Here’s how you order; get the medium fat, pick the hunks of fat off. They have a defibrillator next to the coffee machine, and with this hack you have a juicy, tender, sandwich without much fat and lots of flavour and just so you know, flavour up here is spelled f-l-a-v-o-u-r, which taste way better…  you’re welcome.


MZ:  We should have status as a public service… we teach them how to spell, we teach them how to eat properly, I’m not sure this is eating properly…but…I used to live in Toronto and whenever I would visit Montreal one of the first stops would be Schwartz’s. Eventually I moved to Montreal and my studio was just a few blocks from the deli. Twice a week I would go there for lunch. It was heaven. One day I looked up from my huge pile of meat and rye, mustard, French fries, pickle, sours, coleslaw and a Cherry Coke and realized that I was surrounded by a lot of older Jewish gentlemen in the schemata business who were all 150 lbs. overweight, had very bad skin and little hair. My visits became sparser.  Then in 2012, the Shiksha matron saint of the Jewish deli in Quebec, Celine Dion bought Schwartz’s and my visits became even sparser.  


Now, you are likely thinking that I have digressed, completely off topic.  We were deep into Quebec language laws and suddenly the vegetarians have been dismissed and we’re picking pieces of fat out of smoked meat sandwiches while listening to My Heart Will Go On.  You’re trying to figure out where to live in Canada …and I’m telling you where to get a delicious sandwich. Mio, I can just hear our Americans screaming – “dude I’m a busy American what’s your point? Where is dis goin’ fuck.” 


Ok, send the vegetarians back in.


MIO: Now I like you almost never know what Mathieu is talking about but here’s the reason we’re talkin’ meat and French.  In 1977 the Quebec government proclaimed the Charter of the French language, aka Bill 101. It designated French as the official language of Quebec and implemented laws to ensure that French would be the principal language of the workplace. Now before you think Bill 101 is a fascist rule that flies in the face of your democratic American values, imagine for a minute that your francophone mother was an exceptional manager, but she was continually passed over for promotions because she did not speak English as well as she did French, or perhaps just because her name was French. Imagine her frustration and disbelief as she watched a bunch of Anglophone males who spoke very poor French or none at all, get the promotions in a predominately French workplace, often serving a French clientele. Can you see where one might start to recognize that one’s language must be protected?  


MZ:  Back in the day, many of the companies in manufacturing and resources in Quebec were in fact owned by your Yankee people and though the girls in Quebec were pretty, the French language was “just a god damn nuisance, speak white fer fuck sakes!”  The English-speaking bosses in Quebec both Canadian and American,actually told the Francophone’s, to quote: “Speak White”.  


As you can imagine, this led to, well, centuries of animosity. And then in the 1960’s it led to what is called “The Quiet Revolution”, when Francophone Quebec said to the English bosses – “y’all can go fuck yourselves”, except it sounded more like this “va te faire foutre, tête carrèe”. Then in the 1970’s the Quite Revolution got a bit louder, when the paramilitary separatist group Front de Liberation du Quebec kidnapped the British Trade Commissioner James Cross and assassinated a Cabinet Minister, Pierre LaPorte which we will cover in a future episode that currently has the working title – “A very short History of Canadians behaving Badly”. 


Fast forwarding to 1977 Bill 101, becomes law under the independantiste government of the Parti Quebecois,led by former Radio Canada journalist Rene Levesque.   Many businesses move their head offices out ofMontreal. And many Anglophones, estimated at 250,000, especially the monied elite leave Quebec, which established Toronto as the new business capitol of Canada. The signing of Bill 101 wiped out the real estate market, which is when all the French artists bought lovely, palatial homes in the leafy rich English section of the city for nada.


And now let’s get back to the smoked meat of the matter. 


MIO:  I just woke up – I set my alarm to “smoked meat” 


MZ  The French Language Charter created in 1977 also created the Office Québécois de la langue Français (OQLF) whose job it is to ensure and enforce the predominance of French in Quebec. Suddenly your local Jewish deli was obliged to become a "charcuterie Hébraïque". Businesses had to change their signage and because the “possessive tense” is treated differently in French, there were a lot of orphaned apostrophe’s running around in the streets causing trouble.   The Office Québécois of the Language Française enforcers became known as the “tongue troopers” or the “language police”.  Now, as an American progressive you’ve no doubt heard all the powerful arguments about collective rights verses individual rights, so I won’t review them here, but you need to know that there have been numerous skirmishes in the language wars and before you get here you should have some opinion about this because believe me it will come up. 


MIO: The “Stop” signs were the first front of this tongue  war and were all changed to “Arrêt”, a word not even used in that context in France. This caused Anglophones tremendous difficulty, because though the signs were still octagonal and red, with white letters, they were perplexed.


MZ:  Ouch, nasty.  Then, a few years ago, we had what became known locally “pasta-gate” when the Office Québécois of the French Language told an Italian restaurant that the use of the word’s “pasta”, “anti-pasta”, “calamari” were all illegal in Quebec. The story got huge traction around the world, leading to much local embarrassment and the resignation of the head of the OQLF. You may now legally call ethnic food by its original name on Quebec menus but frankly a Chien Chaud sounds so much more appetizing to me than a “Hot Dog”. 


MIO:  The executive summary of the language issue in Quebec vintage 2021 is: there are many Francophones who are hyper vigilant about the most miniscule decline in the use of the French language and for very good reason – without their vigilance the language would disappear…  There are also many Anglophones who will never get over the fact that they are indeed the minority culture in Quebec, even if they are a generally well-treated one.  And then, there is a third group who of people who live in Quebec whose mother tongue is neither French nor English.  They are called Allophones… and for them the big question is: “why the fuck do they call us Allophones?”


Language issues are also a generational and immigration challenge within the Francophone community,because young people in Quebec who were raised digitally, particularly in Montreal the largest city, see the world as their playground and are at ease in English, even though their mother tongue is French. On top of that, there has recently been a massive spike in immigration from France to Quebec, some call it “colonization 2.0” and those French people from France are famous for their love of inserting English words into their French sentences because think it makes them sound cool. 


LYNE :  “aller chercher le car au parking et nous irons faire du shopping”.


MIO:  Oui, tres cool.


MZ:   In November of 2017 Pascal Bérubé a member the Quebec legislature and in Quebec they’re called “deputies”), went into a store in Montreal and was greeted by the clerk with the oft heard expression


LISA:  Bonjour, hi.” 


MZ Deputy Berube found this “irritating” and drafted a resolution affirming that only “Bonjour” should be employed as a commercial greeting. Oh yeah, a commercial greeting in the States?  


”…the fuck you want?”  


This solo “Bonjour” was adopted in a vote by the entire legislature 111 to 0. 


MIO:  Now since this was passed as a “motion” and not a “law”, it’s not in any way 

enforceable. It’s like the government calling you up and saying:


“um, could you please just say bonjour and not hi?... Ok, Awesome. Really appreciate it.” 



MZ: Should you decide to immigrate to Quebec you need to know that just like in the rest of Canada, if you fuck up, you can be tried in Quebec courts in the language of your choice.  Your honour, um, I’ll have English with a side of Civil law please. And unlike the rest of Canada, you may also receive medical attention in most parts of Quebec in the language of your choice. There are also English schools in Quebec for your children,  but be forewarned:  the next time white supremist nationalists decide to convene another White Trash rebellion attack on your capitol and you decide to apply for asylum in Quebec as a political refugee, your children will have no choice but to go into French school. “Immigrants” have a choice, “refugee’s” do not. 


Oh, and one last thing, when you heartily throw open the door for your immigration interview in Quebec, you might not want to greet the Immigration Officer by saying; “Bonjour, Hi.”



SFX: Theme


We’d like to thank Laugh at Loud at CBC for the Martha Chaves concert footage. Don’t forget to subscribe to the independent Yes We Canada Podcast on whatever platform you listen to and if you’re inspired, a kind review is always welcomed.    There’s a new episode – every Tuesday. From all of us, thanks for listening!