Billets

Depuis janvier 2018, vous retrouvez chaque semaine, à la fin de votre lettre InfoFPJQ, sous la plume de journalistes et chroniqueurs bien connus, un point de vue ou une analyse sur l’actualité médiatique.

Les propos reproduits ici n’engagent que l’auteur. La FPJQ ne cautionne ni ne condamne ce qui est écrit dans ces textes d’opinion.

I am a Quebecer first

Par Christopher Curtis
Avant-propos de la FPJQ

À la suite de la parution du billet de Josée Legault, publié il y a deux semaines dans l’infolettre de la FPJQ, nous avons reçu plusieurs commentaires et appels de la part de journalistes issus de la communauté anglophone du Québec. Nous avons donc décidé d’accorder, de façon exceptionnelle, un droit de réplique au journaliste du quotidien The Gazette, Christopher Curtis.

La FPJQ se dissocie toutefois de ce qui aurait pu être écrit par M. Curtis sur ce même sujet sur d’autres tribunes et rappelle que les billettistes publiés ici ont toute liberté d’exprimer leurs opinions, sans qu’elles soient nécessairement le reflet de celles de la FPJQ ou de ses membres.

La Fédération rappelle également que le droit de réplique accordé à M. Curtis ne remet nullement en cause le billet de Mme Legault, ni sa pertinence, que l’on soit d’accord ou non avec son propos. 

Billet du 14 novembre 2019

 

I am a Quebecer first, a Montrealer second and when there’s any risk that people will confuse me with an American, I grit my teeth and tell them I’m Canadian. I try to make it subtle and charming but when I say “actually I’m from Canada” it always sounds like I’m gasping for air.

 

That is what I wish people could understand. I am a Quebecer.

 

In the piece ‘Réflexions sur le journalisme militant’ — published two weeks ago — I was under the impression I was accused, as an “anglo Quebecer” reporter, of that most damning offence: Quebec bashing. The piece said anglophones in Quebec and the rest of Canada speak with a singular, forceful voice against the right of Quebec to govern itself.

 

This is insulting.

 

It’s much easier to play the “Quebec bashing” card than it is to defend the substance of these criticisms. And accusing “anglo Quebecers” of Quebec bashing is, in itself, part of the problem. When someone tells us we’re Quebec bashing, they're telling us that we’re not Quebecers, which narrows the definition of what it is to be a Quebecer to a set of parameters that borders on ethnic nationalism.

 

On the topic of sovereignty and Bill 101, I cannot speak for those who came before me but I would invite anyone to sit down with the English-speaking Quebecers in our newsroom. They might be surprised at the diversity and openness they find there.

 

I am 34. I remember the tensions of the 1990s, I stayed up late on that night in 1995 when the province nearly seceded from Canada and it filled me with fear. My English friends spoke of moving to Ontario as though it were some promised land of Tim Horton’s icing and children called Jarred. Some of my older colleagues took advantage of the referendum scare and bought cheap houses in anglo neighbourhoods. I hate them for that.

 

Whatever fear I felt back then died a long time ago. I’m a Quebecer, I speak French — poorly — I swear in French, I sometimes dream in French, I’m obsessed with « Vulgaires Machins », I love so much what’s unique to the province: the arguments, the protests, the passion, the socialism, the riots and the Catholic guilt. Should this planet ever be cursed with more Curtis children, they’ll be educated in French and they’ll be Quebecers too. Should this province ever become a country, I’ll be a citizen of Quebec. I can say the same for most of my English speaking colleagues and friends.

 

The way people, sometimes, confuse “anglo Quebecers” with “anglo Canadians” is also frustrating. I speak to people from Ontario all the time. They are strange to me. We’re not the same. We do not have a secret handshake. I have more in common with a francophone mechanic in St-Eustache than I do with a guy who sells aluminum siding in Oshawa.

 

In any case, we’re arguing over stolen land and that’s a point we rarely acknowledge.

 

Where we may diverge significantly is on the question of Bill 21. Here too, I think many anglophones see it as a continuation of the “Quebec values” charter and an attempt to define who and what is a Quebecer and who and what isn’t. And there is no sidestepping the fact that the bill seems to disproportionately target Muslim women who are trying to integrate into mainstream Quebec society. If we — who are mostly white and incredibly priviledged — feel less Quebecois than some, imagine how these women feel.

 

And so we criticize the Quebec government. Not because we hate it but because we love it. Because we love the promise of Quebec, it is our duty to participate in shaping its future. That’s not Quebec bashing, that’s democrac

 

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Christopher vient de la rive nord de Montréal, où il travaillait en construction avant d’étudier en journalisme. Depuis 2011, il travaille au Montreal Gazette, et ses articles sont parus dans The Independant, The National Post, The Ottawa Citizen, entre autres. Il est aussi collaborateur à l’émission Pénélope sur ICI Radio Canada. Il aime le Québec. Beaucoup.

Les propos reproduits ici n’engagent que l’auteure. La FPJQ ne cautionne, ni ne condamne ce qui est écrit dans ces textes d’opinion.

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