This is my 300th post.
With a solid foundation for more posts, future posts may be every 2nd or 3rd day rather than every day – but I’ll try to keep it up as much as possible (life is pretty hectic) 🙂
I’ve received a chunk of emails from Francophones in Québec asking things about Alberta and the West, sharing their own experiences – and sometimes before taking a visit out West. I’ve also been asked for more examples of rural Alberta Prairie French (which few people in Québec ever hear). In addition, there have been a number of people following this blog from the beginning, but we have never met face-to-face.
Thus, I thought it might be a good idea to do a video blog post to even things out considering most material in this blog has been in English for Anglophone Canadians.
Ceci, c’est mon 300e billet.
Avec 300 billets, je crois bien avoir écrit une base assez solide sur laquelle peuvent reposer d’autres billets à l’avenir. Pourtant, les billets à venir pourraient voir le jour à tous les deux ou trois jours plutôt qu’à chaque jour (je mène quand même une vie assez occupée). Cependant, je vais faire de mon mieux pour écrire le plus souvent possible. 🙂
Au cours de l’année, j’ai reçu un nombre de couriels assez surprenant des francophones du Québec qui me posent des questions au sujet de l’Alberta (ma province d’origine) et de l’ouest du Canada en général. Parfois ils partagent leurs propres expériences avec moi, et parfois c’est juste pour dire qu’ils s’apprêtent faire leur propre voyage de découverte dans l’ouest (c’est touchant, et ça me fait chaud au coeur).
Les Québécois sont vraiment du bon monde, et ce blogue m’a confirmé ce fait à mainte et maintes reprises!
D’ailleurs, il y des gens qui suivent ce blogue depuis presque le début. Ils entreprennent avec moi cette aventure d’échange, de partage et d’intégration de valeurs et de cultures à travers les lignes linguistiques et de nos frontières provinciales respectives.
Malheureusement, vu les distances, il est impossible pour moi de rencontrer en personne les lecteurs (lorsqu’on écrit pour un territoire aussi vaste qui est le notre — de Victoria à Toronto, et de Québec à St-Jean TN — les opportunités de se recontrer en personne sont rares).
Récemment, j’ai eu un couple de couriels demandant si j’avais encore plus d’exemples des accents français des autres provinces du Canada hors Québec (qui vont de pair avec la série sur les accents que j’ai écrit il y a quelques mois).
Donc, j’ai eu l’idée de faire de ce billet un “billet vidéo”. La plupart des lecteurs Anglophones de ce blogue portent un intérêt à découvrir le fait français du Canada et du Québec, et beaucoup prennent les démarches pour apprendre le français.
D’ailleurs, j’apprend qu’il y a de plus en plus de Francophones du Québec qui portent un intérêt à ce blogue.
Alors, dans cet esprit, je voulais faire de mon premier “billet vidéo” un qui est en français.
Et je crois qu’il est tout à fait approprié, surtout lorsqu’on constate qu’aujourd’hui c’est la Fête du Canada (le 1e juillet).
C’est sur ce ton que je vous souhaite une bonne fête du Canada, et merci d’avoir été là! 😀
One of the few journalists to have truly bridged Canada’s linguist divide is Chantal Hébert.
Owing to the media platforms in which she currently or has regularly appeared, she is well known to both Anglophones and Francophone.
Although Hébert is known to most Anglophones and Francophones in Canada (if you watch the news, you know her), I am nonetheless writing a post on her for one reason alone: I strongly recommend you follow her in both languages.
After having followed her for many years, one thing I can tell you is that she regularly provides points of views to Francophones of what is happening and being “felt” in various regions and nuances of English Canada (she highlights to Francophones in Québec that English Canada is very diverse, with many regional ways of life and cultures). Likewise, she regularly provides the same sort of insight to Anglophones of what is happening in Québec.
It is fascinating to watch and listen to Hébert in both French and English. Only through following her in both languages do you get a full appreciation of her understanding of national & local issues. It’s quite intriguing, really. We don’t hear other people capture an audience’s attention in quite the same way as Hébert is able to.
Her own background of growing up and living between two provinces (Ontario and Québec) gives her this duality which is so rare in Canada’s journalistic spheres.
- was born in Ottawa (Ontario)
- did her schooling until Junior High in Gatineau (Québec)
- did her Junior & Senior high in Ontario (Toronto)
- did her university (in French) in Toronto, Ontario.
- started as a journalist at the Ottawa Citizen
- was a journalist covering Ontario’s parliament at age 20
- became a journalist for the Toronto Star in Toronto
- became a journalist for various media outlets in Montréal
And the rest is history.
We have either regularly seen or read her in the past, or in the present on
- Radio-Canada (Les Coulisses du pouvoir)
- CBC (The National)
- The Toronto Star
- Le Devoir (past)
- The Ottawa Citizen (past)
- CBC – various platforms
- Radio-Canada – radio & various platforms
With this year being the 20th anniversary of the 1995 Referendum, and with the recent passing of Jacques Parizeau, Chantal Hébert (and Jean Lapierre) interview key players of the referendum. They sought to find out the backroom story of what was really happening before those players passed away.
The book is named“The Morning After: The 1995 Quebec Referendum and the Day that Almost Was (in French, Confessions post-référendaires: Les acteurs politiques de 1995 et le scénario d’un oui).
It has become a treasure chest of information the country never knew about, or never thought of what could happen (a trajectory which could have been extremely different from anything which could happen in Scotland’s or Barcelona’s case — a factoid PKP / Snyder would be very reluctant to discuss. After all, if Canada were to disintegrate, dislodging its entire economy, infrastructure, cultural foundations, legacy, position in the world, the world’s confidence in Canada, Canada’s confidence in itself, and not to mention every last bolt of the federation — Québec and every part of Canada could be thrown into a developing nation status (the Argentina of the North). There wouldn’t be much left to negotiate with, now would there? (not only for Québec to negotiate with, but for other provinces to negotiate with either).
And once you throw into the equation that there are millions of people within Québec as well as across Canada who have a daily interest (from an emotional point of view) in the well-being of the country, the situation would become even more dire.
I bought the French version of the book days after it came out late last year. Fascinating reading. I’m sure it has made many people think very hard about the consequences of any referendum exercise. We learned there was much more at stake than simply Québec’s future – as the entire country could have disintegrated into various new countries (with certain parts of the country even running the risk of becoming absorbed into a union with the United States). The book squarely placed all the stakes right under our noses — at a height many did may not have believed could have been possible.
I’ll provide you with several pertinent YouTube videos in French and English (with a brief description above each one).
But before I do, I am going to let you in on a little secret. I’m not sure if I should mention this or not, but without going into the details, I’m going to tell you something about the type of journalist Hébert is. I wrote to her a while back about on a certain topic — without any intention of hearing back from her. But within five minutes, she sent a response with a thank-you note. In today’s busy world, one in which journalists are torn in all directions, I think that says a lot about her character and integrity. She genuinely cares about her readers and the welfare of those for whom she writes her stories.
Bravo Chantal! Keep on telling it like it is! 🙂
FRENCH – An excellent interview with Chantal Hébert with “Carte de visite” on Ontario’s French-language public broadcaster TFO. She goes into details of her life, offers her insights, and basically gives a biographical synopsis of herself – from the beginning until now.
(Note: the interviewer, Gisèle Quinville, is one of Ontario’s best known television Francophone television personalities – but she is not very well known in Québec. If you’re wondering, her accent is what I would consider to be Ontario’s “standardised” French accents).
FRENCH – Hébert explaining to Francophones her and Lapierre’s astonishing discoveries when they investigated what was happening behind the scenes during the run-up to the 1995 referendum.
(Note: The program she is appearing on is Tout le monde on parle. This program is Québec’s and Canada’s #1 or #2 rated television program – regularly vying for the top spot with La Voix on TVA. Both programs have often been known to amass view audiences of over 2 million per episode – the largest view audiences in Canada).
ENGLISH – Hébert talking to Paul Wells (of Maclean’s) about their discoveries of the 1995 referendum.
ENGLISH – A magazine report on the CBC’s The National using Hébert’s and Lapierre’s research on the ’95 referendum as the report’s foundation.
FRENCH – An appearance on Tout le monde en parle. In the video, we see how Hébert shocked voters in Qubéec (mostly on the left of the political spectrum) by drawing fascinating parallels between Pauline Marois and Stephen Harper.
This interview made waves in Québec. Armed with Hébert’s sober insight into politics, and considering the size of the audience, I believe (based on knowing just how big of waves this interview did make in Québec) that this may have been a contributing moment in the last Québec electoral campaign which perhaps contributed to the defeat of the last PQ government.
ENGLISH – An academic view of Hébert’s history with the spotlight on her own education and her accomplishments
ENGLISH – A parody of Hébert on This Hour has 22 Minutes (Parodies which English Canada are quite used to seeing).
FOR COMPARISON SAKE (ENGLISH) — Here’s the real deal…
ENGLISH – Another parody which has gone down as a bit of a classic.
The last post introduced “la bise” (a kiss on the cheek used as a greeting). CLICK HERE for the last post (part 1).
It laid out some of the abstract rules of the art. In this post, we will look at some of the physical rules of exchanging “bises” (Oh la la !!)
Two kisses, no more, no less
If you’ve travelled outside Canada, you may have noticed that other countries also “font la bise”.
In Europe, the number of kisses can vary. In some parts of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Switzerland there are three kisses. In parts of France, there are one, two or three kisses (depending on the region). Other countries may only have one.
In Hollywood (California), actors love to, well, act… Thus, Hollywood seems to be creating their own new “bise” tradition in their off-screen lives. Being the ‘lil attention lovers that they all are way down there in Hollywood, they presumably are doing this to show the whole world how cultured they are (Giving “bises” makes you cultured? Really??).
But I’ve noticed they’re not quite sure how many kisses to give, and it has become one big mess. I’ve seen some Hollywood actors give up to eight “bises!” That’s almost enough to get someone pregnant! (Too much wine at their parties if you ask me!!).
Here’s the rule in Canada and Québec:
- Do NOT follow Hollywood’s lead (please!!… For the love of God, do NOT follow Hollywood’s lead), and
- Just stick to two kisses.
Simple, simple! So if you screw it up, then it’s your own fault. (Count… 1… 2… Done!).
Start on the left, and move to the right
(Isn’t that a song?? To the left, to the left… There goes my clear head for the day!! To the left, to the left… )
Just as different countries give different numbers of “bises”, various countries start on different sides of the cheek. Some countries my be on the left, others on the right.
BUT here in Canada, when you give your “bises”, give a peck starting on the LEFT cheek first, then finish on the right. The person you’re “bising” will reciprocate at the same time, and all should go as planned.
If you start on the right, but the other person starts on the left, you’ll head bunt, get a bleeding nose, or be Frenching in the most awkward sense of the word. Don’t start on the right, don’t aim for the chin, and keep the forehead as a no-go zone. Just stick to the left. (To the left, to the left… damn song is in my head!!)
Keep a little bit of distance, unless…
Feel comfortable to stand close enough to put your hands on each other’s’ shoulders when giving your “bises”.
You should be close enough that your elbows are slightly bent, but not close enough that you’re rubbing your unmentionables together. You should not be so far that you have to stretch your arms to eternity to reach the other person.
There is however an “unless” in this equation. Remember a little earlier I mentioned that you might find yourself in a rather intimate situation — one in which it could be appropriate to give a hug and a “bises” all-in-one? (a “bisug”)?
A “bisug” might be appropriate at a funeral, wedding, Christmas, with close family and close friends. You want to keep the intimacy, while keeping the somberness or joyousness of the occasion – all wrapped into one !! (Yippy!!)
When you kiss, what are you kissing??
Last point… What are you kissing?
Generally speaking, you’re not actually kissing the person (ie: don’t plan on making lip-to-skin contact). Maybe they do in some countries… but in Canada we generally don’t (and hence, our kids only have 2 eyes).
Kiss the air. If anything, just pretend there is a troll sitting on the shoulder of the person who you’re kissing. You want to give that little troll a peck on the lips, thus avoiding any mouth-to-cheek contact with the real person.
But when I say peck, I do NOT mean a full-out kiss. Just make a little “fish breathing” motion. NO sound (other than a fish breathing sound from your lips parting), NO saliva, NO tongue, NO ocean whirlpool funneling or gulping & sucking noise… NO NOTHING.
A peck to the wind… that’s it, that’s all.
With that, you’re now an expert in the art of “la bise!!”