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“L’autre midi à la table d’à côté”; Roy – Lafortune discussion summary – Post 3 of 3 (#149)

This post can be useful for you if you’re learning French, if your French is already at an intermediate level.   In this post, I’ll offer you a summary of what the subjects of our last two posts spoke about;  Patrice Roy and Charles Lafortune.

You can also listen to the conversation yourself.   For learners of French:  Without translating the entire show, I’m providing you with summaries of various parts of the show.  The summary below is in chronological order.  You can use the summary as a “crutch” to try to stay on track.  It might be able to help with your language learning, and can fill in the holes as you move through the diaglogue.

The radio show L’Autre midi à la table d’à côté” is the brainchild of François Legault.  Regardless of where you are in Canada, you can listen to a new episode, with new people, during weekdays from 11:00am to 12:00.  It airs nationwide on Radio Première (you’ll have to check the internet to see where Radio Première falls on your radio dial in your part of the Canada).

The web-link for the Patrice Roy – Charles Lafortune audio episode can be heard by clicking HERE.

  • Charles Lafortune is introduced as having been the host of many shows; La voix, impro, comedy, variety. In his 20’s, he appeared on various youth programs (Watatatow, Tam-tam, etc.).
  • Patrice Roy = the chief anchor of the Téléjournal de Montréal. (Montréal’s nightly RC TV newscast).
  • Roy – Is a father with twins. Both Roy & Lafortune speak about how children tend to view the world, and how to relate the world to their children so children can understand the world.
  • They speak about how growing up in working families affected their personalities.
  • Lafortune said he can live with the idea of not having a job in front of the camera precisely because he’s able to take pleasure in other aspects of work. Roy agrees because he says he too loves the behind-the-scenes aspect of preparing for the work day.  However Roy said he still loves being in front of the camera and presenting.
  • Both agree they are under tremendous public pressure owing to the information age provides them with immediate public feedback, both good and bad. They speak about how they attempt to adjust themselves to deal with such pressures.   Lafortune comically says that if someone tweets him a criticism, his way of “dealing” with it and with that person is to re-tweet it to 90,000 of his followers – which usually takes care of the problem 😉
  • Roy says that when he was a news bureau chief in Ottawa, he felt the need to “shake things up”. He chose to take a flight to Afghanistan, and pursue his national reporting from there.  He spoke about the fear he felt, in a very human sense, when bombs fell around him and his crew, injuring many people (including his cameraman who had to have his leg amputated).  Roy had to step up to the plate to help.  He also spoke about post-traumatic stress and how his thoughts have changed on numerous topics.
  • Roy speaks about how his upbringing in a journalist family influenced his own work style and work values, as well as his values towards journalism.
  • Lafortune speaks about challenges he has in raising an autistic child in a family environment (he has to pay attention to many small things, such as having to remain standing when watching hockey games on TV at home so as to keep an eye on what his child is doing). He talks about his biggest anxiety in life, which isn’t his television career, but rather what will happen to his child once Lafortune passes away (he’s worried it could happen sooner than later, as an early heart attack, etc.).  He speaks very much from the heart about quite intimate subjects in this respect.
  • They both speak about Roy watching his father’s health deteriorate and eventually pass away (his father was Canada’s ambassador in Tunisia).
  • They speak of their thoughts regarding how they physically appear on television and what value they give (or don’t give) to it, and why. Lafortune’s first faced public criticism in his 20’s when he say an article about his entitled “Good Looking, but Insignificant).
  • Patrice Roy admits that all television managers he knows in Radio-Canada consider viewership numbers important, and this has a bearing on individual’s behaviour and decisions within the organization, just it does in a private company such as TVA (which Lafortune discusses).
  • Lafortune admits that most of the successful TV productions he is involved in are often most often modeled after those in the Netherlands and Israel (rather than being home-grown ideas. Nor are they modeled after American productions, contrary to what the public may believe).
  • Lafortune speaks about the delicate situation he ran into earlier in 2014 when presenting La Voix the night before the last provincial elections. The show that night was watched by over 2,700,000 people, it was produced by Julie Snyder (the wife of Pierre Karl Péladeau, PKP), who himself was running for election.  He talked of having to be very conscious on stage about how he said things (so as not to be perceived as taking political sides).  (Note for reader… this whole issue regarding PKP, and the influence his role as Québecor’s owner has on the media, is currently a very serious debate in Québec.  Here we hear an on-the-ground 3rd party account which shows it is a consideration which is making some pretty big celebrities feel uneasy or feeling they’re walking on egg shells).
  • Roy speaks of some of his thoughts when covering political matters… and how he approaches certain issues. He also speaks of his thoughts regarding individuals he has interviewed.  (It’s quite interesting to hear his personal thoughts in this sense, since he has to play a completely neutral role on air).  Lafortune then jumps in with some of his own thoughts regarding how political parties and politicians tend to behave.  He speaks about what gets on his nerves.

If your French is at a basic or elementary level, do not get discouraged if you find Roy and Lafortune are speaking too fast.  I’ve studied a few languages, and I know that it can be frustrating when you can’t understand everything, or you feel the dialogue has left you behind as you’re still trying to figure things out.  But you’ll find that, with time, the more & more you listen, the more words will take anchor in your brain, and you won’t have to always stop and try to figure out what’s being said.  Stick with it and give yourself a pat on the back… after all, you’re further along than where you were 1, 3 or 5 months ago 🙂 .




Patrice Roy – An “eavesdropping” short series: Roy-Lafortune – Post 1 of 3 (#147)

For the next series of several posts, I’ll provide an interesting way to introduce you to a number of well-known personalities in Québec, as well the topics they find themselves about when alone in an intimate one-on-one setting.

Radio-Canada airs a long-running radio program, “L’Autre midi à la table d’à côté” (translation : “The other day, at the table beside me…”). It airs nationally, once a week, across the country. The program brings two well-known people (or people of various spheres of society) together, over a meal in a restaurant, and then records their conversations. You, the listener, are listening from the vantage point as if you were eavesdropping from the next table.

  • Note if you’re learning French: There are several ways you can say “eavesdropping” in French.  There is no one single translation for the word.  You could use a metaphor and say “Écouter aux portes” (“listening at the door”). You could also say “Écouter de manière indiscrète” (“tactlessly listening”. In this case “indiscrète” has two meanings in French. In English, it only has one meaning: “indiscreet”. But in French, it can mean both “indiscreet” as well as “tactlessly”. In this context, it has the latter meaning). Many people may also just say “Écouter” (listen) – which is what I tend to say. People will know the “eavesdropping” context if you say you are “listening” to the table beside you.

The personalities chosen were generally not friends prior to meeting for the pre-arranged one-on-one meal.  It’s quite interesting to listen to them discover each other – their similarities, interests, and differences. They really make an effort to “click”. What gives the program its authentic feel is that the microphones capture the conversations in an “eavesdropping” context, rather than an “interview” context (this format facilitates randomness and spontaneity).

What I especially like about the program is that it makes an effort to match two people who would naturally hit-it-off over a meal, and thus not hold back in the topics they discuss.  Because they match each other so well on the personality or life-experience front, conversations can become quite intimate, revealing, and surprising.  More often than not, the conversations are captivating, to say the least.

Here is how we’ll approach the next few posts:  For the next few posts, I’ll present to you some of the more notable personalities who appeared on the radio program in the past year.  I’ll present each personality as their own individual post (example two personalities = two posts, with each post providing a short biography of sorts).  I’ll then offer a third post, giving a brief summary of the on-air conversation the two personalities had, as well as an official link for that particular shows’ recording so you can take in the entire conversation (the official online recording may particularly be of interest to Anglophone Canadians who are learning or trying to improve their French).

What you’ll likely get out of the next several posts:  Québec, like other regions across the country, has extremely interesting, generous and very personable people. “L’Autre midi à la table d’à côté” is a wonderful program which allows us to experience this kindness, friendliness, and passion of Québec’s people from all walks of life. What I hope to do through the next few posts is allow Anglophones across Canada to also partake in this experience – to allow Anglophone Canadians across the country to meet various people from Québec and share in the intimacy of their thoughts and conversations in a way which Anglophones may have not otherwise have (especially if there is a language or distance barrier). I’m sure that you’ll agree, after a few posts, that Québec’s people are what makes Québec’s society so rich, warm and authentic. You’ll also see that you share much in common.  Like Anglophones across Canada, Québécois, rely on the goodness of their own personal character, upbringing, values and best efforts to get through life – and to make the lives of their families, those they care about, and other around them as best as possible.

So with that, lets get right into it and meet our first personality 🙂 .

Patrice Roy :

A few months back, we briefly ran into Patrice Roy in the post “Political interview series of major Federal party leaders”.  I mentioned in the post that Roy is a well-respected journalist.  He has an interesting career and personal background. He also has an array of intriguing life-experiences — some of which have caught the public’s attention on numerous occasions.

He is the main anchor for Radio-Canada’s Montréal supper-hour evening news program (you can probably tell I’m from the Prairies because I use the word “supper”. Hahaha.  I stubbornly refuse to use the word “dinner”… which often garners me a number of strange looks here in Ontario 😉 ).  Prior to this, Roy was Radio-Canada’s Ottawa Political Bureau Chief.  He has held other positions as a television presenter for Radio-Canada programs over the years, and you’ll regularly see him on television across Canada on the 24-hour news channel RDI.

One notable life event which brought him a good deal of public attention (including an appearance on Tout le monde en parle) was an attack on his convoy in Afghanistan.  He was doing foreign correspondent work for Radio-Canada in Afghanistan, reporting on events related to the war and Canadian soldiers.  His broadcasts were seen in French across the country.  In 2007, his convoy was attacked by the Taliban.  Two Canadian soldiers, who Roy was accompanying, were both killed. Roy’s Radio-Canada cameraman, Charles Dubois, lost his leg in the attack, and Roy had to heroically step up and try to help save the lives of his compatriots.  It was one of those rare moments in the history of Canadian journalism where journalism meets real life, and the journalists become the stories themselves – sometimes under the most unfortunate and trying of circumstances.  Charles Dubois continues to work for Radio-Canada today in Ottawa.

Patrice Roy is also associated with his very famous late father, Michel Roy. His father was a well-known journalist in Québec. He was later a political counsellor for the former Canadian Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney.  Michel Roy also served as Canada’s ambassador to Tunisia.

In the earlier post “Political interview series of major Federal party leaders”, I stated that Patrice Roy does an amazing job of maintaining journalistic neutrality in his reporting.  I have no idea what his own political colours may be, and nor do I care – simply for the fact that he maintains complete objectivity and neutral rigour througout his journalism.


In the next (second) post we’ll meet Charles Lafortune; the person who will share a meal and conversation with Patrice Roy. The (third) post, after that, will give a brief synopsis of the conversation between Lafortune and Roy, as well as providing official links for “L’Autre midi, à la table d’à côté” for you to listen to the conversation yourself.



Political interview series of major Federal party leaders (#62)

We’re going into Federal election mode.   The next election is slated, by law, to be held exactly one year from today (if the government does not call it in April, after a March budget).

Patrice Roy is a Radio-Canada journalist who hosts the 6pm Le téléjournal Montréal (the local Radio-Canada Montréal evening newscast, not to be confused with Le téléjournal which is the pan-Canadian national evening newscast).   Roy has held several high profile positions on Radio-Canada over the years, most notably political bureau chief in Ottawa, and Québec City.   He brings a great deal of political savvy to his job.

Over the last several days, he conducted and aired a series of interviews with all four major Federal party leaders (with the exception of Elizabeth May from the Green Party, and with the exception of Steven Harper who sent Denis Lebel in his place) — candidates who hope to be the next Prime Minister.

Patrice Roy spent only 10 minutes interviewing each candidate.  I believe he did an excellent job of asking the most pertinent questions possible of each candidate – questions the public and political observers have been asking themselves of the candidates.   Roy decided to interview each candidate individually while walking with them in a public space.   The “walking” nature kept the public from crowding around the politicians.  When confronted with very challenging questions, because the politicians were walking, it was difficult for them to respond in an equally confrontational manner (as opposed to sitting in a quiet room using a chair as a crutch).   Because they were interviewed separately while walking, it also kept “stage-performances” out of the equation.  The format of the series lent much to “thinking-on-your-feet” answers.

Objectively speaking, I was also equally impressed by Roy’s ability to treat all candidates equally.   He asked similar natured questions to each candidate, and also asked questions specific to each candidate, honing in on what they are most criticized for by the public.   It was a fair, pertinent, and telling interview.  I don’t think many other interviewers could have flushed out quite the same responses as Patrice Roy.  Considering its short length, it was one of the better political interview series I’ve seen in a many years on any Canadian television.  We’re only at the beginning of the campaign, and naturally, I don’t think all candidates want to show all their cards at this point (at least one has said he doesn’t want to release the entirety of his party’s platform until the writ has actually fallen).   But if Patrice Roy continues to follow-up with them over the course of the next several months, I think we’re going to see some excellent reporting and very insightful (or at least useful) responses which will help the public decide who to vote for.   I wholeheartedly hope that Radio-Canada keeps Patrice Roy on this file and keeps this interview series alive.

You can see the interviews here (in alphabetical order):

Mario BEAULIEU interviewBloc Québécois  

Denis LEBEL interview – stand-in for Steven HARPER – Conservative

Thomas MULCAIR interview – NPD

Justin TRUDEAU interview – Liberal

Regardless of your political stripes, he takes much of the guesswork and doubt out of the equation, asks questions anyone would be interested in, and he allows you to concentrate squarely on the matter at hand.   If you will be voting sometime within the next 12 months (and I sincerely hope you do), I strongly recommend you catch Roy’s latest interview series, and that you continue to follow him throughout the year.

Being informed is essential when it comes to voting.  It’s our civic responsibility.  Every vote counts and is extremely important – regardless of your political stripes.