My readers/friends:

Seven months ago, in January 2015, a Quebec Superior Court came down hard on nearly two-dozen Quebec-based businesses, accused of violating Quebec language law. …After nearly two decades, they ALL had to pay! GUILTY!!!

This 17-year long case cost the Canadian and Quebec tax payer hundreds of millions of dollars and had, at its result, an utter and total violation of Canadian Constitutional and Charter law. It also had a supplemental result of closing down other businesses and resulted in further unaccountable losses in commercial and tax revenue both provincially and federally. During this same 17-year period, multiple Quebec provincial government(s) were arguing for more rights and for more “MONEY” from the Federal government!

**Please listen to French talk-radio in Montreal and Quebec City… their most pervasive complaint{s) revolve around how they are not receiving enough FEDERAL dollars – THEY BLAME OTTAWA for all the problems befallen onto the province of Quebec!

Wow, right?!

In 2011/2012, “Pasta-Gate” took the nation’s attention away from the fact that a study from the University of Montreal simultaneously found that 1-in-3 children are coming to school hungry in THIS CITY! This is a CRIME that our grandchildren will in fact CHARGE US WITH, make no mistake! In fact, this is something we should still be talking about, as a city/community/culture/country. And to my sovereigntist-readership, make no mistake: YOU DID THIS! You are IN FACT, WHOLLY responsible for this disturbing outcome. You are in fact, STARVING YOUR OWN CHILDREN just to prove some outdated point. How sad.

Under the backdrop of the Charbonneau commission, and seeing how many billions of dollars per year  are being potentially misallocated, misappropriated, and with an estimated 2.5-3-billion dollars going towards the Quebec language police per year (an amount that would SOLVE child poverty in this province instantly), aucune, that is to say, ZERO EXTERNAL PRIVATE SECTOR INVESTMENT should be coming into the province of Quebec – and thankfully, that is proving true without any need for movements and threats. …It’s already happening…by virtue of NATURE. SHAME, SHAME, SHAME!

In March of 2015, the independent Fraser Institute Research Bulletin released this report:

https://www.fraserinstitute.org/uploadedFiles/fraser-ca/Content/research-news/research/publications/quebecs-2015-budget-bold-action-on-debt-and-taxes-needed.pdf

In response, Quebec released its own “report”, issued to the media:

http://montreal.ctvnews.ca/solid-economic-growth-coming-for-quebec-says-conference-board-report-1.2395369

La Lune!

Seriously, our next tact, is going after Montreal’s FESTIVAL circuit – We have enough material and proof to prevent future American performers from coming here and supporting what is AN ILLEGAL, ANTI-CANADIAN, ANTI-FREEDOM REGIME.

Please forward this to your friends and ask them for their support!

I’ve never asked that before but I am currently in several LEGAL BATTLES –  Battles that are costing me upwards of 100k, just to guarantee the rights of minority Quebecers that SHOULD be guaranteed under the Federal Charter and Constitutional law…

And we’re having an election in several months?!

Please, CHECK OUT and order BILL 101: LE GAME… on Facebook and tell your friends about us!

We shouldn’t have to be paying taxes under such a confounding rubric of constitutional settlements that ultimately do NOT protect us and our rights.

Question: Why should minority citizens in Quebec be the only citizens in Canada with legislated human rights and freedoms compromises?

Answer: We shouldn’t. It’s time to “stand on guard for thee” and fight for our rights as citizens of CANADA. I’ll leave you with those thought(s). Please feel free to contact me.

My best,

Ian Stone :)

A friend of mine wrote this about 2 years ago and never seemed to do anything with it. Not surprising that the English language media in this city does not have the kahunas to publish such a critical review of 40-years of language restriction in our province. Maybe we need someone in that official capacity stirring things up… just a tad?

I asked my buddy if I could post it here and he said, “sure, why not?!”

Here it is then. Enjoy! Ps: The piece was never titled and has no conclusion. Did I leave anything out in my assessment or did I include something questionable? I always welcome constructive feedback.

Ian :)

Recently, I had occasion to sit down with two friends who could not be more polar opposite in their politics. One defines himself as a Quebec sovereigntist while the other prefers to label himself a “democratist” rather than the usual counterpoint of Federalist. I asked them one question and asked if I could record their answers. I told both that they could each talk for as long as they like but could not interrupt the other because I would be transcribing the entire conversation for future print.

I asked them both one question:

What have been the benefits and/or drawbacks to forty years of language restriction laws in Quebec?

These are their answers, in their own words. First, my friend Jean-Michel, a self-declared sovereigntist:

Well, first and most important, there is today, a higher ratio of people who speak and know French in Quebec. This is important. There’s more kids going to French schools and because of these laws the French language is much less at risk in North America than it was say in 1980. And, honestly, all that has made us more ready to make a country and become our own entity. I guess that is about it.

Same question, to my friend Ian. Ian is neither a Federalist nor a Separatist and defines himself as a lover of freedom, equality and democracy. For the purposes of condensing this piece into something readable I have taken the liberty of summing up Ian’s thirty-three minute response in bullet form:

  1. One of the highest unemployment rates in all of North America
  2. One of the highest poverty rates in North America
  3. 1 in 3 children arriving to school in Montreal hungry or malnourished
  4. 40-years of near stagnant private sector growth
  5. Increased fiscal dependence on Canada, ironically
  6. The break-up of families as children leave the province for better places
  7. Nearly 3-billion dollars per year budgeted to L’Office de La Langue Francaise
  8. Countless billions wasted on prosecuting businesses for language violations
  9. Closing down and fining businesses rather than promoting and protecting them
  10. One of the biggest migrations out of any province in modern times, still ongoing
  11. The loss of thousands upon thousands of professionals, specifically in the medical field, but across all disciplines/fields
  12. Crumbling infrastructure that is literally collapsing onto people, no money
  13. Schools that are two-three years behind their English-language counterparts
  14. Ridiculously long waits at hospital emergency rooms, for surgical procedures and screenings because so many doctors and specialists have packed up and left
  15. Chronic corruption across all areas of governance/business
  16. Chronic and systemic racism and discrimination that is in fact top-down legislated
  17. North America’s highest suicide rate, per capita
  18. North of Quebec City – Zero opportunities for youth/young adults
  19. A bitterly divided electorate/society that is regularly butting horns over nonsense
  20. Increased isolation that has lead to increased xenophobia, particularly north of Montreal
  21. Decades and billions of dollars spent coming to our current constitutional stalemate?
  22. Minority rights and freedoms aren’t fully protected in Quebec
  23. Increases in cost of living particularly with a diminishing population
  24. Decreases in quality of life, across the board
  25. A total lack of entrepreneurial, progressive, out-of-the box thinking – in virtually every industry, Quebec lags several years behind, specifically in technology and application thereof
  26. It’s an international global economy where the more languages you speak the better poised you are; we should be encouraging people to learn languages not trying to prevent their “spread”
  27. Quebec takes more than 50% of Federal transfer payments per year, amounting to a little more than $10 Billion; that is only part of what it is costing the Federal tax-payer to keep Quebec solvent and part of the Federation, loosely associated as it is and nothwithstanding, of course.
  28. A political elite that feels entitled, almost mandated to legislate things like religion, or what language we speak in offices, or what holidays will be observable, what we can name our own companies,  and what words are “o.k.” for our business-Facebook pages

Question:

If minority citizens’ rights and freedoms in Quebec aren’t protected under the French Language Charter and are only protected under the Canadian Constitution and the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms at enormous financial and life costs (and even then, no guarantees, notwithstanding), then why are we, minority citizens of Quebec, paying taxes to two sets of governments, neither of which “has our backs”? Has anyone else ever asked themselves that question?…

Given the current state of affairs in Quebec (less than two years after we went to the polls to decide if our government should have the right to legislate religion), minority citizens need to start using words like “restitution” and “tax-exemption-status” in their discourse. This is the new direction that we need to take this debate in.

According to U.N. conventions, we, the minority citizens of Quebec have EVERY LEGAL right to withhold ALL Federal and Provincial taxes until such time as we are granted equal treatment and the same rights and freedoms enjoyed by every other Canadian, including, French Canadians.

Minority citizens of Quebec need to borrow a page from the “solidarity handbook” so often cited as gospel by hard core separatists. And, it’s…

  – time to awaken

FEAR:

PERMEATING ALMOST EVERY ASPECT OF LIFE IN QUEBEC

 

 

Fear is a terrible thing. It makes human beings do things that are otherwise illogical, illegal or extreme. In fact, throughout history, fear has been one of the driving factors of war, brutality, totalitarianism and even mass-genocide. Fear can be used to justify almost anything, as evidenced by the American and global response post 9-11, or, as evidenced by Quebec language laws that protect one language and culture at the expense of ALL others.

 

When humans are afraid, we seem to be willing to give up our rights, our freedoms, even some of the things we hold most dear, like our privacy. We will even give up on what we believe in, deep down, because, alas, we’re scared. In psychiatric-speak however, perhaps it is time that Quebecers faced their biggest fears? As most psychiatrists will say, such an exercise could be extremely cathartic and beneficial in both the short and long term.

 

Quebecers live in a state of near-constant fear. French Quebecers are afraid that their language and culture will be absorbed by the larger ANGLO-presence in North America, and this is in fact, a legitimate concern. Anglo and Allophone Quebecers fear another PQ government rising to power, more restrictions to their rights and freedoms, more racism and diminished opportunity. This likewise, is a legitimate concern.

 

Can we marry the two or perhaps, a better analogy, can both groups’ fears cancel each other out somehow? Ultimately, they will have to if we plan on moving forward as a unified province. Right now, the laws that have been created out of fear are hurting business in Quebec; they are making it near-to-impossible for Quebec to attract businesses, entrepreneurs and other professionals; in fact, we are haemorrhaging all of these.

 

We are in direct competition with states like New York, who are offering relocating businesses TEN YEARS tax-free. What are we offering businesses to relocate here? Restrictions? The highest tax burden in the western hemisphere? Forced enrollment in French schools for their children? Proposals to make speaking English in Private-sector offices of more than 50 people, illegal? Exactly what are we offering, what are we doing to make Quebec an attractive place to locate one’s business? The answer, sadly, is absolutely nothing.

 

At the same time, our government, whose primary responsibility ought be the maximization of the Quebec brand and our people’s wealth and security, is shutting down businesses because of English signage, or because of an un-updated Facebook page, the word “pasta”… This is PROOF that FEAR is governing us here in Quebec. We are ALL living in and under the governance of FEAR.

 

The laws associated with the French Language Charter are DIRECTLY to blame for why we are waiting in hospital emergency rooms for upwards of 12 hours. We have literally chased away the majority of upwardly mobile people who can do better and have ALL their rights protected and assured, anywhere else in North America. So why stay here?! …Even after we’ve helped subsidize their educations! It’s like we’re exporting professionals at our expense and leaving mediocrity behind to tow the line.

 

The laws associated with the French Language Charter are DIRETLY to blame for nearly 40-years of private sector stagnation – nobody wants to come here or set up shop here. Wall Street and global financial experts are perplexed – it’s like Quebec doesn’t want to do business with the world, or rather, it insists on doing business on its terms, which are as antiquated and backward as many Third World nations.

 

The laws associated with the French Language Charter are DIRECTLY responsible for creating the current RIFT in Quebec society – something that no one can argue is healthy, beneficial or good for the province’s social, cultural, economic and even political future.

 

We need to start confronting our fears and proactively addressing them with solution-oriented models. Surely, a compromise of sorts can be reached?

 

I’m a Jew. And the only reason why I mention this is because my people have been persecuted throughout more than 4000 years of global history; we’ve been discriminated against and killed en-masse for thousands of years and yet – we still exist. We still have our traditions, our values, our languages, our culture… despite odds the likes of which French Canadians will never see or have to endure. If anything, Jews can totally help French Canadians develop a schematic for the preservation of their language and culture, without having to diminish the rights and freedoms of other languages and cultures. So, why not? What do we have to lose?

 

What are we afraid of?

 
Ian Steinberg
514-318-4672

Some data I’ve written about and have since transferred to vid format. Enjoy! Ian :)

ALLiance Quebec 2.0: Our Organization’s Future

Nobody ever knows in what direction the wind will blow them. Case and point, since starting ALLiance Quebec 2.0, I’ve received two job offers from the United States, one of which is a freelance/contract writing gig which I have accepted. I’ve also received more offers of help from Americans than I have received from Canadians, even from Quebecers themselves! …And, I’m even deep in the process of carving out a business relationship with an American-based documentary filmmaker!  Yet, the issues we are fighting for concern us; they concern our democratic future and status as a society. And perhaps not surprisingly at all, more of us are talking about “les Habs” than any of this “stuff” that just so happens to concern our children and our children’s children. Wow. Really?!

I find it shocking and more than a little frightening to be honest. …Like pod-people frightening.

At the best of times, it’s been frustrating. First off, trying to wake up a whole city’s media and getting them to start conducting themselves in a manner consistent with other major city’s media outlets across North America – this, this has proven astoundingly insurmountable, particularly tasking one person with this. I mean, I get it: Montreal is Montreal and it functions under the various rubrics that have been laid out for it and embedded into what is a highly engineered and legislated society. But still – who precisely is making the decisions on behalf of us of “what is news” and do these people bring with them an established bias? The answer of course is yes, they do. As to who they are… I’ll let those who are interested conduct their own investigations.

I will forever ardently maintain that media is a fundamental societal check and balance system. That’s what it should be anyway. In Montreal it is not this. The sheer volume of ever-exposed corruption ought to prove this, right? Montreal newsrooms are much more given to pursue news tips than to investigate and actually “BREAK” news. We have almost as much “fluff” in our daily newscasts as we have reports on the latest corruption inquiry headlines… And I’m not even going to get into the embedded media bias present in both English and French language media in this city; I believe I am on record with that one, having worked in multiple jurisdictions myself over the last two decades. Of course, another unique feature onto Montreal media is the longevity by which media people here in this city CLING to their jobs, literally forcing more journalism graduates out of Montreal than medical professionals! (…Little known factoid).

It doesn’t end or even begin with the media though… in fact, the real “news” story here is us, Quebecers. We have become so accustomed to having the government do everything for us, make our decisions for us, legislate things for us the likes of which, again, doesn’t exist anywhere else in North America, that many of us have acquiesced ourselves into a corner… and the crazy thing is, many of us, are comfy in our snug, albeit all too often tight-fitting corners. To many Quebecers, in 2013, making a single “x” on a ballot every four years and paying 100 million dollars for that opportunity to label ourselves a democracy this way, is sufficient. That’s not a democracy to me – it doesn’t cut it anymore. We can do so much better than that, it’s almost a joke even debating where we are at now as a collective, as the Quebecois people. 

And that’s where I find myself, the day after this somewhat cathartic Easter weekend, although I’m kind of laughing at myself some. We have worked so incredibly hard at ALLiance Quebec 2.0 and have produced so much content and product based on message, that we were honestly expecting to be a little further down the pike than where we find ourselves now. With no volunteers to assist, I’ve been working 8-12 hour days for no pay for going on four months now. Cue the violins, no don’t; I chose to make that sacrifice because I believe in our message and I believed I could make a difference.

Obviously though, this current framework isn’t sustainable. With little or no media coverage, no one purchasing our product(s), donating to our crowd-funding campaign – and so few actually helping to spread our online digital footprint and message, we’ve been forced to conclude that we need an altogether different formula – one that is more sustaining on this end.

So, I am very seriously considering turning the ALLiance Quebec 2.0/Bill-101 product line into a division of a larger, private company that specializes in creating humorous political product. At the very least, this way, if I am going to be working 8-12 hour days for no pay, I will have profit motive to sustain me. We do have some incredible product developed in-house and in production as I type this; I refuse to accept that it’s all been developed for nothing. I also save myself a tonne of aggravation trying to convince people to get on board with my message.

Drop the message. Keep the products. Embed as much messaging into said products. Go Private. That is Le Plan, in a nutshell at this point in time.

Finally, if I may say, there are waaay too many players with egos in this particular field. In my admittedly biased and short-term analysis, many of them are clueless, have no business or political experience and/or are too old to be able to fight the fight the way it needs to be fought today. I admit I’m new to the Quebec political scene, but I stand by this analysis. I’ve been fighting “my own” for most of my organization’s existence. I’ll even add this, as a final, concluding, perhaps chilling thought:

We are on a precipice as a society here in Quebec – and we’re about to take the plunge off the democratic cliff into unchartered waters. It is most definitely a slippery slope. When leaders see that they can get away with taking away “X” with little or no recourse, the pattern usually concludes with more letters of the alphabet being taken away.

There are however three letters of the alphabet that the Quebec government will never be able to legislate away and those of course are, “U”, “S”, and “A”.

Ian :)

I invite everyone to sign ALLiance Quebec 2.0’s Quebec Refugee Registry. I don’t know about you, but once Bill-14 passes, I have a personal appointment with a Mai-Tai and a palm tree, in Malibu. Surf’s up!

Actually, the title should read – Montrealers’ problems with immigrants, because from what we are seeing, integrating immigrants into the Quebecois fold is becoming increasingly impossible and the onus is on US – Quebecers, for not doing enough to smooth and facilitate their incorporation into our society.

Approximately 40% of Quebecers view immigrants as “a problem” and a “potential threat” to the long-term viability of the French presence in North America. With numbers like these, is it any wonder that “Mohamed”, from Bangladesh cannot find work in Montreal? Mohamed was a neurosurgeon in his native land; here in Quebec, he works part time sweeping floors and delivering newspaper circulars. His children are well fed and taken care of, but Mohamed is failing himself. Actually, we’re all failing him and our society is losing out BIG TIME for it.

…And by the way, you don’t need to be from Bangladesh to encounter this discrimination and racism in Quebec’s workplace. I am third generation Quebecer. I have international references and have been published all over the place. When I lived in the U.S., employers apologized to me for starting me at $50,000-60,000/yr and that was some 15 years ago! Likewise, when I lived in Calgary, Alberta for a few years, my employer felt bad that the best they could offer me was a $27/hour job. Not surprisingly at all, here in Quebec, I am completely unemployable, despite speaking six languages, including fluent French.

What up?! I mean, particularly since our Premier has reached the pinnacle of success having barely mastered one language…how many languages do I need to speak before I’m considered a commodity in this particular economy?

There’s the clincher and it’s an ironic one no less. See, it’s not about language. I happen to have the misfortune of having a very identifiably “Jewish” last name – but it gets even worse than that:  My last name is associated with wealth, so I have actually been asked/told things like the following, at real job interviews (HERE IN QUEBEC):

-“What would rich Jew like you want with job like this?” (This was for a Federal government employee no less)!

And even better, on a separate occasion, in the private sector:

-“If we hired you, you would be the only Jew here, so we couldn’t be giving you special treatment for your holidays and prayers.” (I’m not religious, but I’m pretty sure the law provides me with the right to take off Jewish holidays, even though I don’t do that in practice).

Understand, these comments came at me totally out of left field and were prompted by nothing in terms of segue on my part. These comments come out of ignorance, isolation, insulation, and language laws that tell French-Quebecers they are “top-tier” members of society and all others are “beneath them”… that’s where comments like these come from. For the longest time, I’ve gone on record as saying if I took my exact resume and simply changed my name to i.e., Jean-Luc Desjardins, I’d have my phone ringing off the hook… and now, as of yesterday, I have OFFICIAL proof that this is in fact the case.

Did I actually send off a resume or two with the Jean-Luc moniker? No. But I was watching an interesting debate on Videotron’s Channel-9, on this very subject. The person in charge of immigration in Montreal was on the panel and he echoed exactly what I’ve been saying for years, though he used the Mohamed nomenclature to prove his point. Quebec employers, for the most part, when given the choice between a “Mohamed” and a “Jean-Luc”, 9/10 times will choose “Jean-Luc”. He even went so far as to suggest that there is a racist string to this phenomenon and he attested to the fact that he knew of situations where the identical resumes went out to companies, but with the two different names, and “Mohamed” was never once called, while his “Jean-Luc” counterpart was. He also cited stats that demonstrated that the problem was much less pronounced throughout the rest of Canada.

Quebec is a totally unique landscape, on so many levels. I get that. I ALSO get why this is the case. We are so insulated here. So many of us have never left this province so we lack comparative reference in terms of “how others are doing something”; this inherently slows down the process of change. But this is one area where we are going to have to speed up the wheels of progress in this province. We need to fix this problem and fix it with sound, community-oriented grassroots movements; simple, cheap things like Quebec families sponsoring immigrant families, working with them to ensure smooth transitioning, this can all be done. Instead, we bow to the never-ending political bureaucracy who on one hand is doing nothing to integrate these people and on the other is screaming in horror that their culture and language is under imminent threat because these people won’t integrate. How can they integrate when the messaging they are receiving and the laws the government is passing are telling them that they are second class citizens? Add to this the fact that many cannot find work and one must ask, how does a legislated second-class citizen with no representative voice, no job and no money, effectively integrate into the dominant culture when the dominant culture, at least 40% of it, doesn’t want them here to begin with?

As John Stossel, formerly of ABC News 20/20 would say, “GIVE ME A BREAK!”

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