Stanstead Journal - - FORUM -

There are a lot of ways to kill a so­ci­ety. Mass geno­cide is one, it’s clear, makes for block­busters, songs and leg­ends: The bad guy is killing the good one.

The ‘shot them­selves in the foot’ kinds of geno­cide are a bit less doc­u­mented. So let’s ad­vise his­to­ri­ans of the fu­ture about two hap­pen­ing right now.

One is in Montreal. The be­wil­der­ing de­ci­sion by the An­glo­phone School board to ad­ver­tise it­self as a French School sys­tem for An­glo­phones! Dumber is hard to find. Well we did: French schools in On­tario de­cided that telling par­ents that send­ing their kids to their school would as­sure that they would be bilin­gual. If you don’t know the sorry end re­sult of that pol­icy, happy for you in a way, it’s a very sad end­ing.

English schools should not only be teach­ing places but also the foun­da­tion of the An­glo­phone So­ci­ety in Que­bec. Not as ‘bilin­gual An­glo-Québé­cois’ but as An­glo­phones liv­ing in English in Que­bec and able to en­gage with the ma­jor­ity. Said ma­jor­ity only ask­ing that the An­glo­phones are not let apart from it. You would be hard pressed to eas­ily find a ‘na­tion­al­ist’ ar­gu­ing that An­glo­phones should as­sim­i­late. Yet, this is the end re­sult of that dumb de­ci­sion.

While this is a Montreal based drama, there is an­other closer by: The de­ci­sion to merge all fire de­part­ments in the Mem­phrem­a­gog MRC. Well in this case, the LAST as in LAST in­sti­tu­tion where English is still al­lowed to be used, ev­ery­body look­ing the other way, is about to be gone.

There were al­most ri­ots in Bury a cou­ple of years ago when some dis­cov­ered that the Fire De­part­ment was about to be a French in­sti­tu­tion when there was a mass ex­o­dus of work­ers from a plant that closed. Most were An­glo­phones and, since the econ­omy in Al­berta was good, they found jobs there. The re­sult was that the Fire De­part­ment be­came a French only one. Which, by the way, it is legally sup­posed to be, but then no­body ever gave a hoot about the is­sue. Be­cause it was a non-is­sue.

As is that merger pro­posal which make sense fis­cally; we will all save a cou­ple of bucks on our tax bills. After all, who is against sav­ing money? But in a year at most, there will not be the ca­sual English speak­ing at­mos­phere taken for granted today. Take our word for it. Soon all ra­dio con­ver­sa­tions in a fire will have to be recorded and since of­fi­cially all will have to be done in French, don’t be sur­prised when an in­sur­ance com­pany sues the MRC’s Fire De­part­ment be­cause ei­ther part of the conversation was in English or that some fire­men or fire­women’s un­der­stand­ing of French was not enough.

Right now, the sta­tus quo is more or less pro­tected by the fact that most mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties have a bilin­gual sta­tus. In that merged sce­nario, the MRC is not bilin­gual. And to be bru­tally hon­est, will never be.

As for mu­tual in­ter­na­tional as­sis­tance, again where’s the treaty or at least a let­ter of un­der­stand­ing that reg­u­lates them?

This is a very, as in very dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tion for the English com­mu­nity and we are afraid it is much too late to do any­thing about it.

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