Anglophones Au Quebec: Anglophones in Quebec

Inroads: A Journal of Opinion, Annual 1998 | Go to article overview

Anglophones Au Quebec: Anglophones in Quebec


The popular media is attracted to the extremes. It's not surprising, then, particularly if we have access to only English-language media, that we get a skewed picture of Quebec. While it's true that only some 7 percent of Quebec anglophones and allophones voted OUI in the 1995 referendum, Howard Galganov and William Johnson are not representative of Quebec anglophones, just as Guy Bertrand does not well represent Quebec federalists. As Dermod Travis says below, "Part of the reason for the hardening of attitudes is that English Canada hears about Quebec from [people] who are not really representative of the average Quebecer."

For this third Inroads roundtable, we bring together five anglophones who are, we hope, more representative of the average anglo-Quebecois. This does not mean that they speak with one voice. At one end is a person who voted OUI in the 1995 referendum; at the other, someone willing to consider partition's strategic value.

The following is an edited version of the discussion that took place, in Montreal, the evening of January 21, 1998. The participants were:

Howard M. Greenfield is a lawyer in private practice. In 1985 he was instrumental in establishing a legal clinic for illegal migrants eligible under the amnesty program. He is a former president of the Equality Party, was interim regional director of the Montreal Chapter of Alliance Quebec in 1995, and has appeared before the Beaudoin-Dobbie Committee on Constitutional Reform. He is legal counsel for various cultural and non-profit organizations.

Julius Grey has been a practicing attorney since 1974 and a member of McGill University's Faculty of Law since 1977. From 1977 to 1985, he was a lecturer at the Universite de Montreal. He is the author of Immigration Law in Canada as well as many articles. He served as president of the Canadian Human Rights Foundation from 1985 to 1988, and was president of the Task Force on Canadian Federalism from 1990 to 1992.

Peter Scowen has worked as a journalist in Quebec since landing a job at the Sherbrooke Record in 1983. He covered the Quebec City region and the National Assembly for CBC Radio from 1985 to 1987, and was co-owner and editor of a weekly, The Stanstead Journal, from 1987-1991. He has served as editor-in-chief of two alternative Montreal weeklies, the Mirror and, currently, Hour.

Carolyn Sharp is editor-in-chief of the French-language current affairs monthly Relations. She is an active member of the Federation des Femmes du Quebec and of the Women's Ecumenical Network of Quebec. She has a daughter who attends a French-language high school.

Dermod Travis was born in Alberta, studied International Relations at the University of British Columbia, and was a senior policy analyst for the Alberta Liberal Party. In 1990 he moved to Montreal where he established Public Interest Research Associates. With other young, bilingual Montrealers he co-founded Forum Action Quebec in 1994, a non-partisan organization that promotes cross-cultural dialogue on issues facing Quebec and Canada.

Arthur Milner (chair) is a playwright and director, and an editor of Inroads. Originally from Montreal, he has lived in Ottawa since 1971. He returns regularly to Montreal where he is associate dramaturg with Playwrights Workshop Montreal and teaches playwriting at Concordia University.

INROADS: We're meeting in the aftermath of the ice storm. Did the response to the storm stimulate any thoughts about Quebec?

CAROLYN SHARP: There was a self-sufficiency, a lot of bricolage [doing it yourself]. An ability to figure out solutions. It reminded me of when, a few years ago, the Conseil des Affaires Sociales went to the Gaspe to find out what sort of training people wanted, and got a lot of requests for butchering courses. We couldn't figure it out, there aren't any butchering jobs there. But people said that if they knew how to butcher properly, they could put the stuff they hunted in the off-season into freezers and the inspectors wouldn't find it. …

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