Can we get over Jacques Parizeau’s ‘money and ethnic vote’ comment already?


I have a bad habit of waking up very early, but going to bed very late. It’s how I found myself up last night past midnight as news started breaking that former Quebec Premier Jacques Parizeau had passed away after a lengthy illness. His wife, Lisette Lapointe announced it on her Facebook page and let social media do the rest.

I stayed up until 2 a.m. reading the shocked (and quite mixed, depending on your Twitter feed) reactions of Quebecers, only to wake up very early to another round of surprise and sadness as the crowd that went to bed before his death was announced, woke up to the news.

Jacques Parizeau was a passionate and principled man who believed in Quebec’s independence, but he was at times a divisive politician. Judging by the many hateful comments I saw last night, his “money and the ethnic vote” speech after the razor-thin Quebec independence referendum loss in 1995 will continue to haunt his legacy. It was an ungracious thing to say, and most importantly, inaccurate. To blame the Yes side’s loss to ethnics and money, was to conveniently ignore or minimize the reality of so many francophones who had also voted in favour of staying in Canada. It’s a bitter truth that a passionate man hoping for independence would have had a hard time swallowing that night of defeat. It was also insulting and hurtful to ethnic Quebecers who felt targeted by that hateful comment and to those who had voted Yes who did not feel such a divisive statement represented them.

But, people… Move on! The over-the-top indignation I’m seeing from some is getting on my nerves. Is that one sentence from 20 years ago the only thing some of you can remember from his entire political legacy? While I can completely understand why those comments have left a bad taste on so many people’s mouths over the years, some of the ugly reactions and comments at the news of his death I saw last night on social media were unbecoming and classless. One should be able to see the legacy of a Quebecer whose political convictions many did not share, and not limit it to one stupid incident.

Parizeau was so much more than just a rant, more than just one ugly moment in time. A formidable politician with a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics, and a self-described Anglophile, he was instrumental in the creation of Quebec’s pension plan and the nationalization of Hydro Quebec. He set in motion some of the social programs we benefit from today.

He was also, and many seem to forget that, the man who came out and passionately criticized Pauline Marois’ discriminatory and xenophobic Charter of Values when it was introduced by the PQ government. In a strongly worded column in le Journal de Montréal he criticized the PQ party for  going way too far and allowing federalism to come out as the staunch supporter of minority rights. Whether politically motivated or not, his point of view most definitely contributed to the destruction and utter defeat of that Charter and the PQ government itself.

Whatever his legacy will be and whichever side of the sympathy spectrum you stand on today, he will certainly be remembered as someone who tirelessly worked towards Quebec’s independence and a man whose political influence far surpassed his years in office. He was well loved and respected by many who referred to him simply as “Monsieur” and he was admittedly reviled and distrusted by many allophones and Anglophones I know who are still hurt by his 1995 comments.

I’ve long forgiven Parizeau his “money and ethnic vote” remark because I don’t expect perfection from people and I don’t think it fair that someone’s entire political legacy and life should be judged by and reduced to one instance, one irrational outburst, one misguided comment. This is, after all, the same guy who also dismissively spoke of all Quebec voters as “lobsters in a pot”. He’s not the first or last brilliant man to underestimate the people who put him in power or be upset at the fact that they didn’t end up doing what he thought would be best.

The Tyranny of the Majority means that politicians don’t get the last ‘say’ and sovereignty movements don’t move along until enough people are behind the idea. As a numbers guy Parizeau probably wouldn’t have been happy with that, but he would have ultimately respected it.

Outspoken, passionate, highly educated and cultured, love him or hate him, he was a formidable man.

The one and only time I met Jacques Parizeau was about five years ago on Nuns’ Island, where he lived with his wife. I was at the local florist buying some flowers and Parizeau slowly walked up to stand in line for the cash right next to me. I did a subtle double take as I realized who was patiently also waiting to pay for his bouquet and just nodded in silent recognition. He was much frailer and older looking than I remembered from images years before. He was just an old man with an unsteady step waiting to pay for some flowers. He smiled and told me that my bouquet looked much better than his. I laughed. I wondered if he was buying flowers for his wife. I paid and went on my way.

An angry man blaming money and the ethnic vote for the loss of a dream. A soft-spoken man buying flowers. A numbers man who playfully replied “poets!” when asked by a journalist what Quebec needed most, a passionate man whose political views you shared or denounced. How you see someone and their legacy is – of course – coloured by how you see your world and whether you share their views.

Regardless of where your sympathies lie today, Jacques Parizeau will be remembered as a Quebecer who had a hand in shaping this province and almost made it a country.  For some of you that’s a dream, for others it’s a nightmare. Parizeau was front and centre in both those realities. It’s no small legacy.

  • Pat

    Guy was a well educated bigot. Nothing more.
    Not to mention a failed leader.

    • Main_droite

      If this is still your judgement of the man after this text, then I take it you simply didn’t read the text.

      • Blackwell

        this guy can’t read probably…or he’s just a moron who don’t know shit about Quebec. way to go champ.

    • Louis

      You really ought to question your presumption and prejudices. Reality is very far from what you imagine it to be, and goes far beyond what you project onto it.

    • Yves Chaput

      If that’s what you think of the man, I don’t want to know what you think of the “non educated” Francophones. You’re part of the reasons there are still Quebec separatists.

    • Superscribe

      Yes… like PKP… who is horribly dangerous because he has loads of cash and an insanely big mouth… which may ultimately benefit the federalist side.

    • Jean Naimard

      > Guy was a well educated bigot.

      Guy Carleton? The governor who banned cider making because John Molson could not sell his horsepiss to the french who prefered to make their own cider???

  • Patrick Loisel

    He once bought first class train tickets to TO, and halfway in the trip, someone overheard him speak French and called security to have him expelled. Sad historical fact, he left a federalist and came back separatist. French were treated a bit like Rodhesian blacks then and were forbidden in parks and else. Some people simply won’t get over the fact that Quebeckers are still 23% of Canada and about 80% of them are primarily French speakers while most English colonies succeeded at erasing the previous culture. I asked a dude in Alberta what was wrong with Quebeckers, his answer : ”They failed to disappear!!” along aboriginal and other non-wasp people that Macdonald sought to eliminate. Or that other one who ranted about the Oh Canada being defaced by its French version. Fact is : That anthem was written in French and the English version came like 30 years later. Worse : It was commissioned by Societé St-Jean Baptiste (separatist organisation) and refers to the Canada founded by the French in 1534 (present day Quebec). So if you dislike this situation, better change our anthem, but believe me, all the hateful falsities I read on the web only succeed at creating born again separatists.

    • Main_droite

      I became an independentist myself after a very unfortunate conversation with a montreal anglophone…

    • Luc Durivage

      “O Canada” is the national anthem of Canada. Calixa Lavallée wrote the music in 1880 as a setting of a French Canadian patriotic poem composed by poet and judge Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier.

    • RonnieBob

      “He left for TO a federalist and came back an independentist.”
      Très intéressante observation.
      Parizeau le confirme dans le documentaire “Monsieur Parizeau”.

  • Laurent Desbois
  • Yves Chaput

    Very well written text. Thanks for bringing some hope that there are still decent and respectful people in the Anglophone community.

  • Josée La Bossière


  • 57Michelheroux

    Superb texte. Many thanks !

  • Yves Ménard

    Very interesting point of view. One that is to seldom
    expressed in English speaking medias.
    However, I take exeption with one of your assertions, namely
    that « To blame the Yes side’s loss to ethnics and money, was to
    conveniently ignore or minimize the reality of so many francophones who had
    also voted in favour of staying in Canada. »
    Put that way, it sounds reasonnable. And, up to a point, it
    is true.
    However, to leave it at that amounts to skirting an
    important issue.
    The Francophone vote for the « Yes » side, was 63%
    in the Montréal region and 58% in the rest of Québec (excluding the Outaouais
    region), while the non-Francophone (i.e Anglophone and Allophone) vote was a
    massive 95% in favour of the « No ».
    You can find a complete analysis of this by Pierre Drouilly
    of the Université de Montréal, at
    In other words, the Francophone vote was split, as is normal
    in a democratic society.
    However, the non-francophone vote reached stalinian
    proportions, where entire communities voted as one, in a rejection of a
    democratic proposal.

    • YMenard

      If by knowing you ethnic background I stand a 95% chance of knowing your vote, then that’s called an “ethnic vote” by all means.

      • Disparishun

        Kind of like how gay marriage is a “sex vote”? Please.

    • Vancouverois

      M. Ménard, when you say that ” the Francophone vote was split, as is normal in a democratic society” it seems you mean to imply that there’s something aberrant about the non-Francophone vote being so completely on one side.

      Instead, you should be asking yourself what’s so repulsive about the separatist project that it cannot get any support outside of a single ethnic group. THAT is where the aberration lies.

      • Jean Naimard

        What is “repulsive” about it is that it completely tosses aside anglo-saxon rule, and immigrants are just a part of the assimilation machine whose aim is the elimination of indians and french from Canada.

        Immigrants are just used as tools against us.

        • Vancouverois

          No, what’s repulsive is the way that the separatist movement classified anybody who doesn’t have a pur laine ethnic background as an enemy, exactly as you just have. (And you are delusional if you think you’re fooling anybody by saying “*indians* and french”, as though you care about the survival of aboriginal communities in Quebec.)

  • George Samuel

    Very nicely written piece, sincerely. Unfortunately, you miss the point entirely on the significance of the “money and the ethnic vote” comment. While I would certainly agree that Mr. Parizeau should not be defined by that one comment (and btw I am the Montreal-born son of South Indian immigrants who came to Quebec in the late 60s), it is sadly a testament to the attitude of a small but powerful group within the Sovereignist movement who are keen to define the “Quebec Nation” not only by the supremacy of the French language, but its culture and its “pure laine” (as opposed to “other”) people. 40 + years of social engineering by successive governments (both Liberal and PQ) have essentially sent the message to anglophones and allophones that they are “second class” citizens. Sociologists have shown in quite a few studies that career advancement in Quebec is more likely to occur (for equally qualified and linguistically fluent individuals with similarly recognized credentials) if your name is “Boisvert” as opposed to “Abdul Karim” (for example). I myself am a physician fluent in French and practiced medicine in French hospitals in Montreal for two years, during which time I had the “pleasure” of being told (by a university-educated person in their twenties no less), that despite referring to myself as “Quebecois”, I was not “pure laine” Quebecois. This is in addition to the scores of patients who would “compliment me” on my mastery of the French language, a clear indication of their sense of my “otherness”. So in spite of being born and raised in Montreal throughout the 70s, despite attending French primary school, working as a physician in French hospitals, I was (likely because of my brown skin) never seen truly being a member of Quebec society by those who are “in”. All this to say that the “money and the ethnic vote” comment is consistent with the subsequent xenophobic Quebec “Charter of Values”. If you have the audacity to state in your piece, “But..people, move on…”, how much more should people be saying this about the last 40+ years of “promoting the Quebec nation” which has had as its end result the xenophobic (not to mention embarrassing) Quebec Charter? Hey, you want to promote the French language and culture? I’m all for it, and am happy to divert tax dollars for the cause….BUT…don’t call my language and culture “second class”, send the “Office de la Langue Francaise” police to fine me for posting “pasta” on my Italian restaurant menu, pretend that wearing a turban when playing soccer is against the rules per FIFA , come up with a Charter that states that “no member of a public or para-public institution should wear a religious symbol”, (but hey it’s ok to wear a small cross or have one in the National Assembly), all because you are paranoid about the fact that the “evil US empire to the south” will somehow destroy your language and culture. The irony in the latter of course is that it is Francophone parents who are fighting the government to have better English language schooling options/access for their kids. So, “money and the ethnic vote”? I’m South Indian, and my earliest friends/playmates growing up were Jews. I was therefore insulted on two counts, but am willing to see Mr. Parizeau for more than just this comment. The overall agenda of sovereignists like Marois and PKP? I am not so sure. I don’t live in Quebec anymore, but follow the issues with interest. It is and always will be my home after all, even if some do not wish to make me feel like I belong…Carry the torch forward, Sugar Sammy my friend!

    • YMenard

      You live in a country where the French were historically relegated to being an ethnic minority; even in Québec, where we have always been the demographic and political majority. For this and other obvious reasons, a massive percentage of immigrants in Québec have integrated into the English minority. This means that it is only recently, in historical terms, that the French have started integrating, and brushing with, people from cultures such as Indian. It is therefore not surprising that you get such reactions. Even I, when I meet an Indian or Chinese person, for example, tend to expect that they won’t speak to me in French, and I’m not that often wrong. (Again, for all sorts of obvious reasons including the one I just described, but others having to do with who was colonized by whom.)
      But of course, such facts won’t matter if your ideological bias is informed by the English paradigm which commands you to analyse every and any social facts pertaining to the French under the angle of “What a bunch of uneducated nationalist racists!”.
      (Plus I’d add that you should maybe take some time to read on the value of anecdotal evidence a bit.)

      • George Samuel

        Having read your replies to others’ comments, I am not sure it is worth my time responding to your post, but here goes:
        “…it is only recently, in historical terms that the French have started integrating, and brushing with other cultures…”: I guess you have proven the point that (some but thankfully not all ) French Quebecois have isolated themselves for so long with social policies designed to “protect themselves from the English menace” that they have a harder time “getting used to other cultures”. This despite the fact that North America as a whole has been receiving immigrants from all over the world including India and China for well over a hundred years. You do remember that it was the Chinese who built the railroads, right? You do know that it is not just Francophones who had to suffer under the English “lord and master”, right? Would you like me to expand on the legacy of British colonialism in India and elsewhere? So it seems you are admitting that the culture is “slow to adapt” to “others”. Sorry to break the news to you, but it is a global village, and Quebec governmental policy has not been designed to “promote” the French language as much as it has been designed to “regulate others”.
        “…cultures such as Indian”. Really? Which culture is that exactly? If you had even a minor amount of global awareness, you would know that India is a subcontinent, the world’s largest democracy with over 16 official languages not to mention hundreds of others, which makes the Sovereignists’ whinings over past injustices committed by the English and their obsesssive fears over losing their culture because of the presence of English in North America seem like a total joke.
        “you can expect different reactions from the newer generations”: I guess you didn’t actually read my post: The person who stated I was not a true Quebecois because I was not “pure laine” was in her twenties…a graduate student at McGill. I shudder to think what the students at UQAM think. But I apologize: if by “newer generations” you mean the current cohort of 5 year olds, then I guess I’ll wait another 20 years to have an intelligent conversation with them.
        “value of anecdotal evidence”: forget my “anaecdotes”. The documented practices of the Office de la Langue Francaise have caused enough embarrassment. Those are not anecdotes. These are things that happened.
        “What a bunch of uneducated nationalist racists”: sure, my mistake, I apologize. Theatre du Rideau Vert’s portrayal of PK Subbhan by an actor in blackface is perfectly acceptable. We’ll just patiently wait while you “get used to other cultures”.

        • Jean Naimard

          > I guess you have proven the point that (some but thankfully not all ) French Quebecois have isolated themselves for so long with social policies designed to “protect themselves from the English menace” that they have a harder time “getting used to other cultures”.

          When “other cultures” are being used as a tool to minorize and assimilate you, it’s perfecly normal that you view them with suspicion.

          This is entirely by design, and it conveniently makes we look bigoted, while, we are actually extremely tolerant.

          Here is the proof: if the french were half as bigoted and intolerant as the english are, you limeys would have been routed back into the see more than 200 years ago!

          Only extremely tolerant people can endure what you have done to us for more than a quarter millenium, now!

    • Jean Naimard

      > (and btw I am the Montreal-born son of South Indian immigrants who came to Quebec in the late 60s)

      When your parents arrived here, they saw that the french were the dalits of Canada, and they did not wish you to become one, so they sent you to english school, where you have acquired all the racism, bigotry, misunderstanding and racism the english have towards us.

      You are a proud product of the british empire assimilation machine!

      And you totally fail to see the irony of your indian origins…

      • George Samuel

        Jean, your wonderful assumptions about my parents and their views of Quebec society “when they arrived as guests of your glorious ‘pure laine’ society” are a testament to your depth of understanding of history in general and colonialism more specifically. You did get one thing right, though only partially, however: I did acquire (an understanding of) racism, bigotry and misunderstanding in school. The only problem with your statement is that it was not in English school. As much as you would like to make assumptions about my parents and their view of the French as “dalits”, my primary school education was at Petit College Stanislas, which has been the educational institution of a number of your own sovereignist heroes. I did learn a lot about racism there though, as there was a clear double standard between how French and Québécois children and those of us who were the “colored savages” we’re treated… My wonderful teacher from France regularly pulled my ear if I “didn’t quite get it”…. Come hell or high water, it would be her mission to “bring culture to this foreigner”. Still like to be the victim Jean? Still want to be “maitre chez nous”? Well then separate, but tell your own leadership to at least half a brain to come up with a clear question for people to vote on, unlike the “verbal diarrhea” question that was put forward to them in 1995. The problem is Jean, most hard- working people in Quebec, be they Francophone, anglophone or allophone don’ t have time to deal with your pathetic whining about history, as if you belong to a uniquely oppressed group. They have “separation fatigue” and don’t want their hard earned dollars going to tax coffers to support your “whining political activity”. Anyways, I wish you well. You and your group have been succesful at driving me out of the province, as I just got too tired listening to the whining and being told I didn’t belong. Enjoy your utopia

  • lucky loo

    All I can say is. What the English did to the french 40++ years ago is now being done by he french to the English. Seems like quebecers don’t learn from the past. What about he plains of Abraham. .didn’t the English win. What’s this the french r the true Canadians? ?

    • YMenard

      Not even close. We haven’t banned your schools, called you a sub culture deprived of history nor refused to hire you when you are fully bilingual (We even do when you aren’t at all). Stop fantasizing about being persecuted. It’s an insult to intelligence.

      • lucky loo

        Relax buddy. I can say is what I know and what I see. I stead of engraving bilingualism they encourage people to speak only french. The OLF is a bunch of bullies. AND deny it all u want as long as the quebec government keeps these stupid rules and regulations, as long as the “separation “cloud lingers over this province. This province will never go back to being an economic force like it use to be. No matter what anybody says

        • YMenard

          Listening to you people whine, we’d believe you are like the Jews under the Nazis. Again, an insult to intelligence. When your situation even remotely resembles that of the Francophones in the other provinces, we’ll start taking you seriously.

          • Jean Naimard

            One of the reason Canada fears so much the sovereignty of Québec is that once we get out, we’ll negociate treaties where the english in Québec will be treated as well as the french in Canada, and Canada does not want to treat the french as well as the english are treated…

        • Jean Naimard

          > I can say is what I know and what I see.

          You only see what you want to see. You have been brought up in a culture that view others as inferior, particularly the french.

          > I stead of engraving bilingualism they encourage people to speak only french

          Bilingualism only means that the french learn english, and not the opposite, because we all know that the english are too stupid to learn french.

        • DevinA

          They encourage people to speak french, not “only” french. The nuance is important.

    • Jean Naimard

      > What about he plains of Abraham. .didn’t the English win.

      The plains of Abraham was a tie.

      We only lost when the King of France did not want Canada back in 1783, continuing the french monarchy’s proud millenial tradition of screwing the Nation of France in the ass, by abandoning us to the hereditary ennemy.

      But worry not, 30 years later, the Nation had rebelled and had cut the king’s head off.

  • Warren Shapiro

    Isn’t it always an eloquent journalist who tries to rewrite/spin history. I can fondly remember when my fathers bakery in quebec was asked to rename a bagel – une beigne juif! Ahh the memories – racism was alive and well with the office de la langue francaise. I remember another great man you can eulogize who blamed the foreigners for the troubles of the land – what was his name again? Oh ya Hitler.

    you are an insult to the profession.

    If you want to know why Montreal fell apart, its because all of the anglophones left when they felt threatened as a people. The whole of downtown is owned by US corporations. Parizeau’s legacy is a pretty pathetic thing. Then again, everything since the militant PQ took power has led to a significant downturn in the economy. Most of the people I know where did not own businesses left with their professional skills elsewhere.

    • Superscribe

      Good points and post Warren.Let us see how fast some anti-Semite takes to advise you to move to Israel. Ahhhh…. Quebec… such a tolerant “country”

      • Warren Shapiro

        Wait. I bet no one here knows how the foreigners weren’t allowed into French schools because they weren’t catholic.The treatment of different immigrant groups in Quebec certainly has an interesting legacy Montreal is not Quebec. It is a part of Quebec and pretty distinct. Its more of an international city. It is also a key economic centre. When you factor that in, a lot of the statistics used in the vote are kind of off.
        I love Quebec and have travelled a lot of the province. No where have I ever felt not welcome or that the French language and heritage was at risk. The problem was more there was not enough english spoken to do business as the world got smaller and trade and business became international. Politicians became flashpoints of controversy that made the people believe they were getting a raw deal.
        They weren’t. There was just this cultural identity crisis in places where business happened. Being part of Canada with French as an official language should have been enough. I also would like to add that I don`t equate Parizeau with Hitler.As a leader, his words are important because they can cause harm and do good. If you look at the effect of the comment, the one thing it didn`t do was cause a whole bunch of dialogue. It split lines even more. When a leader makes you resent someone, who knows what can happen

        • Jean Naimard

          > I bet no one here knows how the foreigners weren’t allowed into French schools because they weren’t catholic.

          That’s because, as a reward for not backing the Patriotes in 1837, the scatholic church was granted, 30 years later, the monopoly of education in Québec, so they could brainwash to prevent us from becoming entrepreneurs, thus leaving the champ libre of economic control to the bunch of english immigrants who were too incompetent to make it in Britain.

          And when your parents arrived here, they saw that the french were definitely not in charge, and no better than blacks in the US, so they wanted their children to be on the “better” side, so they sent you to an english school, because if you went to a french school, you would be condemned to a life of poverty (cue the usual stereotypes about jews).

          • RonnieBob

            Excellentes observations.

          • Disparishun

            Uh, no, they weren’t *allowed* to go to French Catholic schools. Even when they wanted to. Even when they already spoke French. Do you not actually know any of this?

          • Sylvain Lafrenière

            Lionel Groulx and some others Catholic intelligentsia, demanded and made sure nobody would purity the race of french canadian. So Italian, portuguese and spanish immigrants were sent to the beginning of catholic english school. This part is one of my problem with the french people. It was demanded and gain when immigration at end of 1800’s was growing fast. And i’m a french montrealer from birth

      • Jean Naimard

        > Let us see how fast some anti-Semite takes to advise you to move to Israel.

        Bollocks. We all knows that jews never come from there; in fact, we would rather have them stay here so they would not add fuel to the fire that is engulfing the middle-east thanks to the racist zionist apartheïd…

    • Jean Naimard

      > racism was alive and well with the office de la langue francaise.

      Is that the same kind of “racism” that makes view yourself, as a jew, one of the “chosen people” who are better than goys???

      Oh, sorry, I forgot, it’s “not the same thing”, and, as a goy, “I cannot understand”…

  • Superscribe

    Sorry Toula but some of us do not want to forget this bigot and his infamous comment, which was SO bad that he knew when he said it that he would resign the next day. To all the ethnic Jews, Italians and Greeks who helped this province grow, Parizeau’s “money and the ethnic vote” denunciation will define his legacy as much as his comment about his own Quebecois being like lobsters in a pot. Or have you conveniently forgotten this in your new guise as Pequiste apologist?

    At least Lucien Bouchard took a stand against the racists in his party when he resigned as Premier and leader of the PQ when THEY were the ones doing the bashing and not him. See the difference between an ethical leader of all the people and one who favours only nationalist voters?

    • Toula Drimonis

      Forgotten about it? It’s right there in the article. Did you read it?
      Parizeau took a stand as well when he vehemently came out against the discriminatory Charter of Values, but of course people choose to remember what supports their POV. It’s unfortunate because sometimes it’s important to go beyond the twenty-second sound-bites in order to see things from a more objective perspective.

    • Jean Naimard

      > To all the ethnic Jews, Italians and Greeks who helped this province grow,

      Yes, “helped it grow” at the expense of the french majority…

      • Disparishun

        Really? How so?

  • brousselaine

    About this quote, it’s been repeatedly mentioned, by Parizeau and others :

    The money bit was mostly targeted to the « love-in » in Place du Canada, which cost alone added up to the same amount that would normally admissible by each party.

    The « ethnic vote » bit was in regard to Canada’s change to its immigration law, reducing substantially the period of time admissible to have the right to vote, inducing 500 000 or so new voters who didn’t have much time to get what Quebec is really about, and had been under a constant « Welcome to Canada »-based type of message. It had nothing to do with « established ethnicity », may they have been franco, anglo or allophones in origin, because, at that point, they weren’t considered ethnicity, but Quebecers.

    I can understand the confusion about the ethnic bit for people who were not aware of this (by both francophones and anglophones, independentists and federalists), but by now, it’s surprising to see how may people still seem to be unaware of this. There’s a mix of lack of coverage about it, and a wilful blindness by individuals, IMO.

    And if, even with this knowledge, it’s still perceived as a racist statement, we should not lose sight that the federal government, also, saw this ethnicity as a mean to their end by drowning the vote.

  • Clement Doyer

    When the referendum was lost, or won, depending on your side, by less than 1%, every vote counts, right? So, when some voting booth were NO at 95%-99%, it looked pretty unanimous, to him, not to you? And when the federal government and Chretien were “at war” visibly spending money well over the legal limits established by law, paying for instance for busload of people come to tell us “we love you”, not counting for the invasive NO publicity “commandites”. These are facts, don’t you agree? So, I understand that some could hate him because this whole exercise was so close to put the institution Canada at risk, but to say that his angry reaction was racist is disingenious. Facts are facts. I am not racist, I don’t blame people for what they are, I am married to a Birman woman, I have adopted 6 Thai children, but I disagree with somebody who moves to my country and is very proud that his native country has independance (close to 200 counties), but who will not join us when we aspire to our independance, this is the contradiction I condemn, what they do and say, not what they are. Finally, having lived 7 years, studied and worked in Alberta, Ontario and New Brunswick, I fail to see why Anglophones in Quebec complain about the way they are teated, with schools, universities, hospitals of their own, when I compare the way Francophones are treated outside Quebec. Their national anthem should be “Stangers in Paradise”.;-)) When I meet in Montreal an old lady who spent her whole life there but she cannot hear a word of french, I smile… some people are hardheaded, that’s it! But when I meet a young man who learned chinese, studies italian and german, lives also in Montreal, but tell me that “French is very hard!” then, I lack indulgence. Capish?

    • Disparishun

      His racist reaction was, in fact, racist. He blamed everybody else for not joining in on his ethnic vote. Instead, he refused to consider why he had failed to build a non-ethnic movement.

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  • Peter Machado

    But hold on a second here, what do you mean “move on” – his comment was bang on, it’s “money and ethnic vote” that did the referendum in!
    I know, because my vote would be considered ethnic, and I don’t want to be separated from Canada;
    At the same time, I want this province to have economic stability, with opportunities and jobs – that won’t happen with an independent Quebec.
    So Yes, he’s right, and that comment will never be forgotten.

    And if anybody (Toula Drimonis, and some others that I know) wants to take this out of context, then they can wake up and see how blessed they are to live in a great country, no need to break it up.

    • Jean Naimard

      > At the same time, I want this province to have economic stability, with opportunities and jobs – that won’t happen with an independent Quebec.


      Don’t you realize that until we effectively become independant, the uncertainty will be always there?

      And thinking that the french are incompetent at running a country is totally ignoring the actual fact that we are the actual FOUNDERS of Canada in the european sense of “country”.

      Now, tell me why your comment is not bigoted and racist…

      • Peter Machado

        – here’s a list of companies that have moved to Toronto because of you
        – Royal Bank
        – Bank of Montreal
        – Ayerst
        – Sun Life
        – Huffman Laroche
        – CAE head office (also moved to Toronto)
        – many others
        – there is a Montrealers club in Toronto because of you
        – there is actually night-life there because of you

        Another point, you are not the only ones here, we are here to, the ethnic

        – Now, tell my why your response is not bigoted and racist

        I will not respond to any more of your diatribe!

        • Jean Naimard

          Oh, this is cute; you removed your original comment:

          > Why? – here’s a list of companies that have moved to Toronto because of you
          > – Royal Bank
          > – Bank of Montreal
          > – Ayerst
          > – Sun Life
          > – Huffman Laroche
          > – CAE head office (also moved to Toronto)
          > – many others
          > – there is a Montrealers club in Toronto because of you
          > – there is actually night-life there because of you
          > –
          > Another point, you are not the only ones here, we are here to, the ethnic
          > –

          Well, let me answer to your original comment:

          Good riddance. What good those companies did to us? They certainly did not make us richer. They certainly did not give good jobs to french people (yeah, I know, I know, the french are “not competent” enough to have those good jobs). What else but suck the wealth out of Québec did they do?

          And, actually, Sun Life came back to Québec when, once in Toronto, it realized that 80% of it’s business is actually in Québec. OOOPSIE!!!! Now that’s competent management!!! Real competent management!!!

  • Jean Naimard

    You are yourself, Toula, such an “ethnic vote”.

    You are the pure product of the british empire’s attempt to establish it’s hegemony over the world.

    You are the offspring of the immigrants the federal government counted for minorizing the french and indians of Canada.
    Because Canada, from 1763 on, was all about minorizing the indians and the french.
    You are precisely one of those immigrants whom judge Jonathan Sewell counted on to “minorize those french and indians out of existence”, somme two centuries ago.

    When your parents (or grandparents?) arrived from (I assume from your name) Greece, they saw that in Canada (well, Montréal, right? Montréal was where immigrants mostly arrived back then), there were english and french people. And that english people led a much better life and pretty much ran the show, while the french were basically no better than blacks in the US (the “white niggers of America”)…
    The only difference being that white immigrants could choose to become french or english, but they could not become black…
    So, naturally, wanting the best for their offspring, they insured that you would become an english so you could have a better life, so you were sent to english school, which, until 1977 and the Charte de la langue lrançaise, was the tool of choice to minorize the french and the indians in Canada.
    So you were told all what little english kids are told about us, that we are inferior people, we were conquered and that we cannot run a country.
    And they specifically never said that we were the actual FOUNDERS of Canada, in the european sense of “country”. That, for 200 years prior, we had laid down the machinery to run a country and made the alliances with indian nations that enabled a handful (about 60,000) of french people to control a full third of North America, while keeping a few million english colonists in check east of the Appalachians…

    Ever since the conquest, we have been set back, encroached, dminished and minorized, and our indians allies stripped of their land and relegated to reserves to wither and die of a cultural death, accelerated by the federal government’s programme of residential school, all this to spread englishness like a cancer spreads and chokes a body, stripping North America of it’s original character and essence.

    You are but a little tool of that collosal steamroller that seeks to establish cultural and economic hegemony over North America, which is precisely what we aim to escape from.

    The “ethnic vote” is a component of this vast assimilation machine of which you are but a little cog, dutifully toiling to spred the canadian political correctness (en français: «le rectum politique») that, in order to push it’s cultural anglo-saxon hegemony, depitcs any people who seek to escape from it as “intolerants, bigots and xenophobes”, and does it insidiously via multiculturalism whose aims are twofold: to divide immigrants in little cultural ghettoes so they can be better dominated, and also make them believe that the french are just another bunch of immigrants that should “speak white” instead of the actual founders of Canada.

    You are at the forefront of the deliberate ignorance of History immigrants are made to wallow in, hence the “ethnic vote”, those people who vote en bloc as their community leaders tell them to, without pausing for a second to look at what is offered in “the other camp”.

    The much reviled “ethnic vote”, like Waste-Island english voters who vote 95% for the liberals! Is that normal, in a Democracy, for some segment of the population to vote in a such lopsided way?

    This is obviously the work of those famous “divide and rule” policies at which the british empire is very good at. And you are just a little pawn in their big game of hegemony.

    Because that’s all you are; you just make your moves, without thinking, all the while parroting the same canadian politically-correct mantra that the french are inferior, corrupt people (oh! the irony! — when corruption is solely the fact of businessmen inside and outside government who are overwhelmingly federalists), incapable of ruling themselves, and comforting yourself in the warm, fuzzy feeling that by having chosen to be english, you are a member of the superior race…

    Who’s the racist, now? The one who seeks to eradicate the french from Canada, of the one who wants to protect french in Québec?

    You are grossly unqualified to speak about Québec History. Period.

    Now go back to the National Post, where you can spew froth your right-wing, racist, bigoted, retrograde drivel and receive your thirty pieces of silver for it!

  • RonnieBob


    • Kathryn Jordan

      497 people were arrested

      • RonnieBob

        497 innocent people. Arrested and jailed. For national intimidation. Failed.

  • Mathieu Vaudrin

    “I take exeption with one of your assertions, namely
    that « To blame the Yes side’s loss to ethnics and money, was to
    conveniently ignore or minimize the reality of so many francophones who had
    also voted in favour of staying in Canada. »
    Put that way, it sounds reasonnable. And, up to a point, it
    is true.
    However, to leave it at that amounts to skirting an
    important issue.
    The Francophone vote for the « Yes » side, was 63%
    in the Montréal region and 58% in the rest of Québec (excluding the Outaouais
    region), while the non-Francophone (i.e Anglophone and Allophone) vote was a
    massive 95% in favour of the « No ».
    You can find a complete analysis of this by Pierre Drouilly
    of the Université de Montréal, at
    In other words, the Francophone vote was split, as is normal
    in a democratic society.
    However, the non-francophone vote reached stalinian
    proportions, where entire communities voted as one, in a rejection of a
    democratic proposal.” – Yves Ménard

  • Mathieu Vaudrin

    “But, people… Move on! The over-the-top indignation I’m seeing from some is getting on my nerves.”

    I’m not a sligth bit surprise reading this and somehow joyful thinking how possibly the english people of Canada could put such importance to the death of this great man instead ignoring him completely. That would surely flattered Jacques Parizeau’s ego if he was revived for a moment to witness all the hatred and insults spread all over the web and media about him. It only shows something : Jacques Parizeau has marked his time forever, and I’m sure that’s gonna go beyond his death.

    “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win.” – Mahatma Gandhi

    thank you very much for all you’ve done for the people of Quebec Monsieur Jacques Parizeau, soyez en paix

    • Disparishun

      Um. You know that these posts are the english people of Quebec, right?

  • Richard Fidler

    Parizeau’s comment that you cite above was in fact correct. The Yes campaign was defeated by a combination of factors, but the failure of the independentists to win over the non-native Francophones to their project, and the massive and illegal spending by the federal government and corporations on the No side, had neither occurred, would almost certainly have produced a victory for the Yes. Unfortunately, the péquistes have never managed to find ways to win the non-Francophones; their divisive Charter of Values is a contemporary expression of their problem. And the independentist movement needs to find a way to counter and successfully resist the inevitable barrage of dirty tricks that will be directed against any serious attempt to create a new and progressive, sovereign Quebec. That requires linking the sovereigntist project to an attractive and mobilizing social project (projet social) that offers the prospect of “un autre Québec” that is inclusive and progressive. That is the combined project that Québec solidaire is attempting to develop. As a resident of Ontario, I wish QS well.

    • Disparishun

      Huh? Almost no native francophones supported the sovereignty movement. Why would they?

  • Robert Barberis-Gervais

    À Toula D. de la part de Robert Barberis-Gervais. Lire sur la Tribune libre de Vigile.Quebec: “Jacques Parizeau et les non-francophones du Québec”. Le texte vous est adressé.

  • Robert Barberis-Gervais

    Lire: “Jacques Parizeau et les non-francophones du Québec”. Tribune libre de Vigile.Quebec. Le texte s’adresse à Toula Drimonis.

  • Jurg Bangerter

    In 1985 in St.John, New Brunswick I was astonished to learn that in Canada French was a dirty blue collar language and saw that even Acadians stopped speaking French with heir children, there were still “speak white” comments very common. Switzerland in its 800 year old history had declared itself bilingual when occupying the French parts and French had been the language of our goverment and the diplomatie, we had our parents pushing French as our second language and Italian as third one, and seeing that in Canada in the 80s the Anglos still used an Apartheid policy based on language was strange to me, for me French was class and French culture more advanced then English. The English in Canada still felt so much to be the Master Race that the Francisation of Businesses and that Francophones in Québec had suddenly the right to be served in French was seen as an affront, no English-Canadian politicians had opposed Bill 61 in Ontario forbidding French education but now when Québec passed legislation protecting French ROC was in uproar speaking about Fascism, pauvre pays.

  • .com

    Les commentaires divergents (et dans certains cas le ton et vocabulaire) qui apparaissent ici reconfirment ce que nous savons depuis trop longtemps, à savoir , que ce ”mariage” ne peut plus durer…la séparation ”is long overdue”. Cela nous ferait grand bien(à tous…peu importe notre allégeance) et permettrait au Québec de progresser au lieu de vivoter dans cette atmosphère malsaine.

    Pour ceux qui croient que Monsieur Parizeau était raciste…les administrateurs de l’Hôpital général Juïf de Montréal pourraient secouer votre conviction en vous racontant certains détails de son hospitalisation à cette institution en 2010.

    Le simple fait d’avoir choisit l’HGJ pour recevoir des traitements détruit cette ”perception” que certains peuvent avoir de Monsieur Parizeau.

    • Warren Shapiro

      not really. He just wanted good care and it was the best place for him to go based on the condition

    • Disparishun

      La séparation entre ce qui pensent comme vous et ceux qui sont en désaccord? Désolé si vous en avez tellement contre ces Québécois qui ont d’autres opinions, mais je vois mal comment la “séparation” pourrait défaire le Québec de ceux qui osent énoncer des commentaires “divergentes”.

  • Pierre Samson

    Au Québec les nouveaux arrivants ont toujours été accueillis généreusement par le peuple fondateur, et lors du vote référendaire de 1995 on a vu qu’ils se rangeaient du côté du peuple voisin oppresseur et profiteur; et ils se sont dit offusqués et insultés lorsque notre premier ministre au soir de notre défaite référendaire a annoncé que si on avait perdu c’était à cause de l’argent et du vote ethnique: le vote des allophones. Bien sûr que notre défaite n’a pas été causé par le seul vote ethnique, il y a eu aussi le vote de nos compatriotes anglophone et un certains groupe parmi nos confrères francophones qui préfèrent se ranger du côté du peuple anglophone (pourtant nos envahisseurs et exploiteurs) histoire sans doute de se gagner quelques avantages et quelques privilèges.

    Mais au Québec une grande majorité du peuple fondateur francophone appui la souveraineté; un désir d’affirmation nationale existe, et selon le principe démocratique respecté depuis des millénaires, chez les francophones du moins c’est la voix souverainiste qui devrait l’emporter (60% de francophones du Québec et 68 % des francophones sur l’île de Montréal). Si les étrangers (étrangers à la langue française) ne venaient pas appuyer notre groupe de vendus (ou de dissidents), ce peuple francophone fondateur pourrait accéder à sa souveraineté. Mais la réalité est là, et on doit vivre avec. Mais je ne comprends pas que les nouveaux arrivants aient pu se dire insulté par ce qu’a dit M. Parizeau. En tant que ‘’nouveaux arrivants’’ et non francophones, je pense que si ils avaient le moindre Respect pour le peuple fondateur qui les accueille, ils devraient, à défaut de les appuyer, au moins s’abstenir de se prononcer sur ce litige, ou traverser la frontière .

    Au Québec les nouveaux arrivants ont toujours été accueillis les bras ouverts, on les a toujours invités à entrer dans notre grande famille (je me rappelle de René Lévesque et de son équipe), mais on ne peut que le constater( sans doute parce que la langue anglaise est majoritaire en Amérique du nord), en majorité les nouveaux arrivants refusent de se ranger de notre bord et de nous appuyer dans notre désir de survivance et d’affirmation nationale.

    Et après ça ils oseraient s’offusquer et se dire insulter qu’on dénonce le fait qu’ils nous tournent le dos, pour se ranger du côté du peuple usurpateur…? _____ps: Il aurait dit une phrase blessante…ahahah, trop drôle ! Il faudrait qu’ils apprennent à assumer les conséquences de leur prise de position. Après la gifle qu’ils nous ont servi (Vous pensez, chez nous, se retourner contre nous et se joindre à notre Ennemi.! ) il aurait fallu s’abstenir de tout commentaire..? .Non, mais…c’est trop fort !….Trop drôle… ! ahahah… Vraiment !

    • Sylvain Lafrenière

      Au Québec quand l’immigration était lourde à la fin de XIXième siècle, le clergé s’est assuré que la race pure des canadiens français ne serait terni, alors elle a fait ouvrir des école anglophone pour les italiens, les portugais et les espagnols, tous les cathos pas francophone. Les autres étaient de facto dans des écoles anglaises protestants ou pas.

      Ça ce n’est pas de l’accueil mais du suicide démographique à long terme. Le virage pour intégrer les gens c’est la loi 22 et la loi 101 soit 80 années trop tard.
      Mais ce mauvais coups on l’enseigne peu ou pas.

  • Marc Vincent

    Everywhere else in the world, someone who stands for his people is called a hero: here, half-asses (who will never do anything worth mentioning) call them bigots….. Welcome to the land of the “righteous”……

  • Jacques Debeaulne

    Un sujet tres interressant – comme l’homme lui meme. On a du bon et du mal dans tous le monde. Le context est important. Bravo Toula.

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