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Yearly Archives: 2014
Antoine Bertrand (#121)
This is the latest post in the blog series “Qui êtes-vous?” .
You may recall that I did a post a few weeks ago titled “Québec’s Rough’n Toughs”. In that post, I spoke about the story of Louis Cyr, Québec’s strong man from the beginning of the last century (at that time, labelled the strongest man in the world).
Antoine Bertrand is an actor in his late 30’s who has held various well-known roles over the years. One such role was as the main actor in the 2013 movie L’Homme le plus fort au monde (The Strongest Man in the World). It was a movie about Louis Cyr, played by Bertrand.
However, Bertrand’s other well-known roles date well before the movie. Bertrand became known to the public at large in his acting role in Virginie, one of the higher rated evening sitcoms which aired in the early and mid-2000s. He also acted in another well known TV series of the same period, Les Bourgons, c’est aussi ça la vie!, as well as Caméra Café, a co-host of the very popular variety show Les enfants de la télé, and he has held other comedic roles – regularly seen on some of our more common television events.
In the television program “Qui êtes-vous?”, Bertrand traces his English Stebbin family roots to New England, the challenges his family had, and how they arrived in Québec. He travelled to England to discover his roots, back 12 generations.
Mariloup Wolfe – and Québec’s own scandal of sexual harassment against women (#119)o
This is my last night in Québec City. Tomorrow I have to go back to Montréal for more meetings, and then back to Toronto. A bit of advice… if you’re going to visit Québec City – do it in the two or three weeks running up to Christmas. It’s the low season for tourists, prices are cheaper – and you’ll have the whole place to yourself. Places which are normally overran with tourists in the summer are completely deserted right now. You just need a tuque and life is great. The whole city is decked out for Christmas, carolers are walking around, there are Euro-style Christmas markets in the squares, and there’s no better way to get into the season. Out of curiosity, I took a quick look at hotel rates, and most places are half (or even less than half) the rates which are charged during the summer season.
It’s starting to feel like Christmas
Enough of the Christmas stuff… let’s now get into this post.
The next episode of “Qui êtes-vous?” will air across Canada on Radio-Canada on Monday, December 22 at 9:00pm. See if you can catch it. It will feature Marilou Wolfe.
Marilou Wolfe… boy… I’m not sure how far to go with this post — simply for the fact that I’m sure Marilou Wolfe simply wants to get on with life after experiencing a more-than-traumatic year (she probably needs breathing space, and I’m sure she’s not looking for more public attention than what she has already received). Therefore I’m going to be very tactful and respectful considering everything that has happened to her. Thus, I’ll offer a summary of what happened only in the most general of terms.
For the last couple of months, Canada has been gripped with women across the country coming out and telling their stories of past sexual harassment. I don’t really need to go into that aspect of things, since everyone is aware of what is happening (it was triggered by the Ghomeshi affair, amplified by the parliamentary affair, and then women across the country have been coming out ever since with their own personal experiences).
However, many people in English Canada may not be aware that Québec started to go through these events a little sooner than the rest of Canada. Québec had its own public celebrity scandal – and it gripped not only Montréwood, but the entire province.
Approximately 14 months ago, a very famous Québec comedian, Gab Roy, published a post on his personal blog describing very explicit sexual acts he wanted to perform on the celebrity actress, Mariloup Wolfe. (In Anglophone Canada, imagine if one of the best known comedians randomly described to the world how he wanted to perform obscene sexual acts with one of our best known actresses… it would be a huge scandal and the outrage would be enormous).
And what resulted in Québec was huge – and what happened was awful. I, like most other people, read Roy’s blog in complete and utter disbelief. The public was taken aghast. Actually, now that I think of it, the public outcry and anger in Québec was somewhat comparable to what we’re now seeing with the Ghomeshi affair. In this respect, Anglophone Canada and Francophone Canada very much think in the same vein, and our values in these kinds of issues definately point in the same direction. I’m not sure that many any other countries would have reacted in the same way that Canada as a whole has reacted – these things really struck a chord across the country and across our linguistic lines. (As an aside, the Ghomeshi affair and suspension of Parliamentary MPs is also garnering just as much attention in Québec as they are in Anglophone Canada).
The Gab Roy / Mariloup Wolfe scandal came to a head about 9 months ago when Wolfe sued Roy for $300,000 for public defamation — money which Roy didn’t have. He quit is career as a comedian, and basically dropped from the face of the earth (his last public appearance was on Tout le monde en parle, during which people were less than impressed with his public apology). For readers in the US, personal lawsuits are not nearly as common in Canada as they are in the US, and thus they have a lot more punch here and they can be life-breakers, not just financially, but for careers, relationships, everything really.
The final chapter in the affair occurred just a couple of weeks ago, when Mariloup Wolfe abandoned her $300,000 lawsuit. Gab Roy simply didn’t have the money, and the two settled out of court. In the end, the point was made that society simply will not tolerate this kind of behaviour. Over the past year Wolfe has played a major role in bringing attention to the issue of sexual harassment in Canada, and for this she can be credited with single handedly helping to change Canada’s views and awareness towards this issue. That’s a huge weight for anyone to carry on their shoulders – and she did it with conviction and principled action.
Anyway, enough said about that (like I said, I’m sure she wants to get on with life, and would now like to be associated with what she used to be known for; an impressive and respectable acting career).
Wolfe is a very successful and respected award-winning actress. She has been in the public eye for about 15 years (she was born in 78, so she has been an actress for her entire adult life). The shows and movies she has appeared in may not mean much to Anglophone audiences, but they are certainly well known to Francophone audiences – some of which are, or were the highest rated shows on television (La vie la vie, Caserne 24, Unité 9 and 30 vies). She also appeared in movies of varying degrees of success (one of the most successful was C.R.A.Z.Y., but she has appeared in over 10 films in the past 15 years).
On the family-roots television program “Qui êtes-vous?”, Wolfe discovers her Acadian ancestry (she makes the trip to Acadia to discover her family’s links to the expulsion of Acadians), and she also travels to Germany to discover her German roots. I likely won’t have a chance to catch the episode myself next Monday, but if you watch it, leave some comments and share your impressions of it.
Mariloup Wolfe’s official website can be viewed here: http://www.mariloupwolfe.com/
Patrice L’Écuyer (#118)
This is the 5th post in the series “Qui êtes-vous?”. I continue to write this series while on the road (I left Montréal this morning after meetings and catching up with a few friends for a couple of days, and I just arrived in Québec City where I’ll be for a few days for work stuff).
I lucked out with an Amazing 26th floor hotel room view of Québec City; great views of the old city, the St. Lawerence and another view looking West.
… and a perfect perch in Place Royal Square from where to write this post (this is the spot where Québec City was founded in 1608, and where Canada’s first government was established, as well as for all of New France – from here down to Louisiana).
Back to the post at hand…
Patrice L’Écuyer is a famous television game show host, variety show host and actor. He used to even have his own late night talk show, named “L’Écuyer”, in a David Letterman-like style (from 1995 to 2002 on Radio-Canada).
For Anglophones, his last name might be a little more difficult to pronounce. “L’Écuyer” is pronounced Lay-Cwee-Yay.
As part of his acting career, he was a co-actor with a couple of other people mentioned in this same series of posts; with Marina Orsini in “Lance et compte”, & “Filles de caleb”, and with Dominique Michel in “Le Bye-Bye 1988” (the annual televised New Year’s send-off comedy show). He also appeared in other Bye-Bye celebrations (one of the most-watched television programs of the entire calendar year). He is one of the main actors in the very popular TV drama series Unité 9 (it was this past year’s most watched TV drama series… click here for the former post on this subject).
Being a game-show host has added to his notoriety (think of him as being the Drew Carey, or Alex Trabec of Montréwood). He hosted the game shows “Détecteurs de mensonges”, “l’Union fait la force”, “Qui l’eût cru” (this last one is a good grammar sentence if your French is at an intermediate level 😉 )… and he’s currently hosting the after-school game show “Des squelettes dans le placard” (Squeletons in the Closet) on Radio-Canada.
If you want to work on improving your listening skills of informal street-level French, perhaps check out “Des squellettes dans le placard” on weekday late afternoons (currently in its 9th season). The idea of the game show is to have several celebrity guests each tell an absurd, and sometimes difficult-to-believe story. But out of all the stories, only one is actually true – you have to guess who is telling the true story (those who have the most correct guesses then win). See if you can follow the stories – sometimes they can be quite funny (I would assume this could be a great way for you to practice your French if you’re at an intermediate level – and the show airs across Canada). The show’s website can be viewed by clicking HERE.
Another game show he currently hosts is “Le moment de vérité” (The Moment of Truth), again on Radio-Canada (currently in its 5th season). This game show has more of a reality-TV element to it. Participants are grouped into teams, and they are given a week to accomplish difficult tasks. At the end of the week, they are brought into the studio and have to finish the tasks during the final taping. The show’s official website can be viewed by clicking HERE.
Patrice l’Écuyer’s latest variety show is “Prière de ne pas envoyer de fleurs” (Please Do Not Send Flowers). Celebrities are invited to the program so they can “die”… well… not really die, but fictitiously die. Their friends, colleagues, and loved ones are then invited to the show to eulogize the newly-dead celebrity. In their last testimony to the deceased, people say the craziest things about the celebrities, and it can become quite funny. The show’s official website can be viewed by clicking HERE.
All these roles make L’Écuyer one of Radio-Canada’s flagship stars.
Back to the family roots program “Qui êtes-vous?”, Patrice L’Écuyer found out that he has a forefather born in France in 1634, but who immigrated to Montréal as a young adult. This began his family line in the New World – 10 generations. He even had a family member who was involved in the Patriot Rebellions of the 1830s. L’Écuyer travelled to France to investigate his roots. Interestingly, his family came from the La Rochelle area of France, which, out of all the areas of France which sent colonialists to New France, the La Rochelle region had one of the greatest influences on Québec, Ontario and Western Canadian French accents (hmmmm, perhaps his direct ancestors spoke much in the way we speak today). Just a quick anecdote on this subjet… I knew a person who was from La Rochelle, France, and some of the unique ways they speak today in La Rochelle (different from the rest of France) still very much resemble ways we speak here in Canada (but are not spoken elsewhere in France, only in the La Rochelle region of France and Canada)– they are shared remnants of dialects which existed in the 1500s and 1600s. Examples: “Que c’est que t’as (fait hier)?”, “Où ce qu’y est allé?”, etc.).