Thursday, April 25, 2013
Thursday, September 13, 2012
I've read the article several time and looked at the picture and I sincerely hope the newspaper got it wrong and that the police are not involved. If they are, we have bigger problems in Quebec than whether one can wear a crucifix or headscarf to work.
I get that the police want to make sure that the premier-elect is safe. But comparing her to Adolf Hitler is stupid, not illegal.
Every politician is compared, eventually, to Adolf Hitler. In arguments, this even has a name: Godwin's law, which states that "as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches." Critics of President Bush in a supreme act of laziness gave the 43rd president of the United States the nickname "Bushitler" to make their point and posters of Bush with a Hitler moustache were shown at all demonstrations against him. Ever during the student unrest last summer in Quebec, protesters had posters with Premier Jean Charest sporting a hand-drawn Hitler moustache. Some students even raised their hands in mock Nazi salute as a way to compare the police to the Nazis.
So why do people continue to compare modern leaders to the Nazis? Because the Nazis are famous in a way that, say, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov (Turkmenistan) or Omar al-Bashir (Sudan) are not. People are lazy so if you oppose violations of civil rights you use the only example you know and/or the only one your audience will know.
I find offensive the statements and proposals made by the Parti Québécois during the campaign to limit who can run for public office and the continuous vilification of the English language--and therefore the people who speak it--as something that needs to be contained and prevented from spreading. This offensive rhetoric has been going on for so long that the people who say it don't realize it is offensive. But while I loathe this kind rhetoric, it is not anywhere close to the things the Nazis said. And more importantly, no one is arrested in Quebec for being English, as the Nazis arrested and murdered people who were gay, Jewish, Gypsie, communist or anything else.
People looking to compare premier-elect Marois might consider former Alabama Governor George Wallace who the Encyclopedia Britannica says was a populist who "seized on issues that appealed to the majority of his white constituents", such as segregation. Replace race politics with language politics and you now have a comparison that is, at least, in the same ballpark.
Wallace didn't murder anyone. He just made a part of his society feel bad, tried to limit access to public schools, and blamed everything on the federal government.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
“Breaking” was about right. I felt myself rending internally as I was forced to watch—that’s how it felt, as with being made to witness a torture or an execution—the scenes I don’t have to describe to you. Or perhaps you will forgive me one exception to that resolution. As I saw the first of the towers begin to dissolve and lose its shape and outline, I was alerted to what was imminent by the abrupt sinking and sagging of the big antenna on the roof. I can only phrase this by saying that I was very suddenly and very overwhelmingly actuated by pity. I know that this is the pathetic fallacy at work and I dare say I knew it then, but it was like watching the mute last moments of a dying elephant, say, or perhaps a whale. At any rate, the next emotion I felt was a rush of protectiveness, as if something vulnerable required my succor. Vulnerable? This commercial behemoth at the heart of an often-callous empire? Well, yes, at the risk of embarrassment. And my protective feelings were further engaged and enlisted as, on this most faultless of September days, the whole southern tip of Manhattan was suddenly engulfed in a rolling, boiling cloud of filth that blotted out the sun. And in that filth was contained the pulverized remnant of many of my fellow creatures. In a first-reaction report I wrote that it was as if Charles Manson had been made god for a day.
More Mansonism was in store. My hometown was under attack as well. The next time Carol called, she wasn’t quite so wry and detached. The Defense Department was on fire. She could not get across town to collect our daughter, who had just been dropped at school. Chaos was official. There were hysterical and false reports of explosions near the White House and the State Department. The wonderful spaces and distances of America feel fractionally less glorious when a husband and father is on the wrong side of the Continental Divide and can’t do a thing. It transpired that, if not for the gallant action of the passengers on United Flight 93, and the traditional tardiness of air-traffic control at Newark Airport, which gave those heroes and heroines their time lag, another plane would have gone sailing through the blue of that day, arrowing right behind the coiffed heads of the TV newscasters, and burst into a gorgeous ball of red and yellow and black against the dome of the Capitol. From an early age, I had dreamed of Manhattan and identified it with breadth of mind, with liberty, with opportunity. Now it seemed that there were those who, from across the sea, had also been fantasizing about my longed-for city. But fantasizing about hurting it, maiming it, disfiguring it, and bringing it crashing to the ground. “Let it come down!” as the first murderer says in Macbeth, expressing in those four words a whole skullful of nihilism and resentment.
Before the close of that day, I had deliberately violated the rule that one ought not to let the sun set on one’s anger, and had sworn a sort of oath to remain coldly furious until these hateful forces had been brought to a most strict and merciless account.
And what of my other adopted city? How often had I laughed or even sneered at Washington, sometimes saying (echoing a smart friend) that it was New York’s nicest suburb, and at other times mocking it in various tones as “provincial” or a “company town.” Should I now also feel protective about that other behemoth, the Pentagon? Well, into its outer walls had been flown a nice acquaintance of mine, a feisty Republican lady named Barbara Olson. She had managed to get her husband on her cellphone to say she had been hijacked, and to him had fallen the task of telling her that she was mistaken about that. She was not a hostage. There were not going to be any “demands.” She was to be murdered in order that others, too, might die. As I tried to picture her reaction, I hit a barrier that my imagination was unable to cross. Also, when you have seen the Pentagon still smoldering across the river, from the roof of your own apartment building, you are liable to undergo an abrupt shift of perspective that qualifies any nostalgia for Norman Mailer’s “Armies of the Night” or Allen Ginsberg’s quixotic attempt to levitate the building. In his book The Company of Critics the Social Democratic intellectual Michael Walzer says that most of his friends and colleagues have never even visited Washington except to protest. I was to find this thought, about the mentality of America’s intellectuals, recurring to me as the days went by, but meanwhile my feeling for the city became distinctly more tender, and I began to value more what I had become used to taking for granted: the openness and greenery, the nexus of friends and contacts, the wonderful museums and galleries and concert halls, the two Shakespeare theaters, and the way that one could walk right up to the railings of the White House.
And then another filthy miasma arrived, this time in the form of anthrax spores stuffed into envelopes. A well-liked mailman on our route was one of the casualties, and our downstairs mailroom was briefly closed. This is the sort of phenomenon that breeds paranoia and hatred and fear, yet I was above all struck, throughout that month, by the calm and dignity with which New Yorkers and Washingtonians were conducting themselves. Every now and then, some nervous official would broadcast an appeal to people NOT to go and launch random attacks on Arab-run groceries or local mosques; these appeals grated on me as being superfluous and patronizing. There were a very few abject morons out in the boondocks who summoned the courage to attack anyone wearing a turban—they usually managed to pick Sikhs or Tibetans—but this was hardly a police-blotter blip.
Two things began to contend for mastery in my head. At first, I was most afraid of an orgiastic flag-waving unanimity, in which the press and media would congeal into an uncritical mass, as if “we” all lived in a one-party consensus. But then a chance encounter crystallized quite another fear. I was still stuck out at Whitman College, waiting for the airports to reopen, and went into a store to buy some overnight supplies. I was approached by a young woman who had been at my Kissinger lecture, and we chatted briefly about it before turning to the inescapable topic. “You know what my friends are saying?” she inquired. “They are saying it’s the chickens coming home to roost.”
I have always had a dislike for that rather fatuous and folkish expression, and this dislike now came welling up in me with an almost tidal force. (What bloody “chickens”? Come to think of it, whose bloody “home”? And, for Christ’s sake, what sort of “roost”?) And I could suddenly visualize, with an awful and sickening certainty, what we were going to be getting by way of comment from Noam Chomsky and his co-thinkers in the coming days. This realization helped me considerably in sorting out the discrepant and even discordant discussions that were taking place in my interior, and I soon enough sat down to write my regular column for The Nation. I titled it “Against Rationalization.” I did not intend to be told, I said, that the people of the United States—who included all those toiling in the Pentagon as well as all those, citizens and non-citizens, who had been immolated in Manhattan—had in any sense deserved this or brought it upon themselves. I also tried to give a name to the mirthless, medieval, death-obsessed barbarism that had so brazenly unmasked itself. It was, I said, “Fascism with an Islamic Face.” In this I attempted to annex Alexander Dub ek’s phrase about Czechoslovakia adopting “Socialism with a Human Face,” and also to echo Susan Sontag’s later ironic re-working, following the military coup in Poland, of the idea of Communism going the other way and degenerating into “Fascism with a Human Face.” Obviously, this concept is too baggy to be used every time, so I am occasionally “credited” with coining the unsatisfactory term “Islamofascism” instead.
Anyway, I didn’t have long to wait for my worst fears about the Left to prove correct. Comparing Al Quaeda’s use of stolen airplanes with President Clinton’s certainly atrocious use of cruise missiles against Sudan three years before (which were at least ostensibly directed at Al Quaeda targets), Noam Chomsky found the moral balance to be approximately even, with the United States at perhaps a slight disadvantage. He also described the potential civilian casualties of an American counterstroke in Afghanistan as amounting to “a silent genocide.”
As time had elapsed, I had gradually been made aware that there was a deep division between Noam and myself. Highly critical as we both were of American foreign policy, the difference came down to this. Regarding almost everything since Columbus as having been one continuous succession of genocides and land-thefts, he did not really believe that the United States of America was a good idea to begin with. Whereas I had slowly come to appreciate that it most certainly was, and was beginning to feel less and less shy about saying so. We commenced a duel, conducted largely in cyberspace, in which I began by pointing out the difference between unmanned cruise missiles on the one hand and crowded civilian airliners rammed into heavily populated buildings on the other. We more or less went on from there. Gore Vidal, also, could hardly wait to go slumming. He took the earliest opportunity of claiming that, while Osama bin Laden had not been proved to be the evil genius of the attacks, it was by no means too early to allege that the Bush administration had played a hidden hand in them. Or at least, if it had not actually instigated the assault, it had (as with Roosevelt at Pearl Harbor!) seen it coming and welcomed it as a pretext for engorging the defense budget and seizing the oilfields of the southern Caucasus. His articles featured half-baked citations from the most dismal, ignorant paranoids. President Bush had evidently forewarned himself of the air piracy in order that he should seize the chance to look like a craven, whey-faced ignoramus on worldwide TV. Vidal’s old antagonist Norman Mailer was largely at one with him on this, jauntily alleging that endless war was the only way to vindicate the drooping virility of the traditional white American male.
Thus did the nation’s intelligentsia, and a part of the mental universe of the New York Review of Books, show its readiness in a crisis. I thought I had to say a word for the fortitude that the rest of society was manifesting. I had another motive that is perhaps plainer to me now than it was then. I could not bear the idea that anything I had written or said myself had contributed to this mood of cynicism and defeatism, not to mention moral imbecility, on the Left. I did not want that young lady at Whitman College to waste her time drawing facile and masochistic conclusions. I had said all I could about American policy in South Africa and Chile (Salvador Allende had been overthrown and murdered on another 11 September twenty-eight years before) but as I asked an audience in Georgetown in a later debate with Tariq Ali, could anyone imagine Mandela or Allende ordering their supporters to use civilian airliners to slaughter more civilians? Any comparison of that kind, or any extension of it to Vietnam, was—quite apart from anything else—vilely insulting to the causes and struggles with which it was being compared.
|Rousseau trumps Locke in Quebec|
When I disagree with some seemingly intelligent adult on some issue, I like to try to understand how they arrived at it. That is, assuming we agree on the same facts in the world, how did we end up at different conclusions.
So what is Pauline Marois' premise? There are at least four. They are the following:
- French is the only legitimate common language of Quebec and other languages are illegitimate.
- The presence of English speakers in North America (including in Quebec) is a clear and present danger to the use of French as a common language in Quebec.
- The government must legislate to ensure that French remains the common language of Quebec.
- Collective rights trump individual rights.
Marois and the Parti Québécois believe that French is the only legitimate language of Quebec. In much the same way as the Catholic Church labelled people as illegitimate, Marois believes English not legitimate, in spite of the number of people who speak it. Given its lowly status, it is entirely reasonable to, say, censor English words, give language tests to would-be politicians or people calling a government help line.
The presence of English speakers in North America (including in Quebec) is a clear and present danger to the use of French as a common language in Quebec.
In spite of the fact that more people speak French today in Quebec, including as a second or third language, the threat to French is ongoing. It's like the now discarded terrorist threat level in the United States. It's always set to high or near-high. Even if all parts of the province were entirely French-speaking, the threat would continue.
The government must legislate to ensure that French remains the common language of Quebec.
Quebec is a nanny-state ("gouvernemaman") so the idea of interfering in the way a business operates is acceptable to many politicians (not just Pauline Marois). However, when the interference has to do with the French language, interference is not just permissible, but required.
Pauline Marois knows the group is the fundamental unit of political society, not the individual. That's why Pauline Marois can so easily support preventing adults from choosing their preferred CEGEP. The collective, represented by the government, knows best and will decide.
Conclusion: If you believe, as does Pauline Marois and the Parti Québécois in these four premises, then there is nothing controversial about censoring words from storefronts, violating international agreements on access to public education, or limiting those who can run for public office.
Monday, August 27, 2012
|President Eisenhower's farewell address|
Premier Jean Charest said that a new Liberal government would try to convince Ottawa into making French the workplace language for federal institutions and federally regulated businesses in the province.
Friday, August 24, 2012
But not so fast, dear citizens. In an attempt to defuse the criticism that she would let hardcore separatists dictate the timing of a referendum on secession, Pauline Marois now says that the Quebec legislature would decide whether to accept a citizen-initiated ballot initiative.
You can now add arbitrary rule-making to the growing list of anti-liberal, anti-liberty and anti-democratic positions put forward by the Parti Québécois.
What's the point of a citizen-initiated vote if the legislature can arbitrarily quash it? The PQ is like an alcoholic father who drinks too much. The kids know it's wrong, but it's all they know. Quebecers are so used to the PQ's crazy ideas that when a new one is discovered, no one is shocked. What's worse, the candidate expressing the idea gets to carry on in the campaign as if nothing has happened.
Compare Marois' comments about giving a language test to people who want to run for office in Quebec to another crazy comment south of the border. US Senate candidate Todd Akin said that women could not get pregnant from "legitimate rape". For that, his party is throwing him under the bus and he will likely have to drop out of the election. Marois gets to continue her campaign.
How is it that the idea of barring citizens from running for public office made it all the way up to the leader of the party? No one at any of the meetings spoke up and said, "Dude, I think that's pretty f*cked up. Maybe we should scrap it"?
Why, in other words, do politicians in Quebec get away with expressing the kinds of crazy ideas that would destroy their political careers in any other jurisdiction in North America?
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Yes, a referendum on secession will suck. Passions will be stirred. Whatever the outcome, people will be disappointed and angry. But a citizen-generated referendum on other topics could be what Quebec needs in 2012. Why not let the citizens decide on:
- Removing restrictions on access to public schools, as French-speaking parents have been demanding, or allow English-speaking immigrants to attend English-language schools.
- Allowing English-immersion programs in French-language schools, as French-speaking parents have been demanding.
- Repealing the parts of the French language charter that even the French-speaking population think is overkill.
- A ballot initiative is a proposal to change or create a law at a local or state level. Instead of relying on the legislature to make all of the laws, citizens can use the ballot initiative process to implement laws on their own.
- A referendum places a law that has already been passed by the legislature to a popular vote.
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
|Quebec has jumped the shark|
In today's newspapers, there are reports that the Parti Québécois is considering preventing citizens from running for public office--provincial and municipal--if they don't speak French sufficiently well.
Anyone wanting to run for public office in a Quebec led by Pauline Marois will have to prove they can speak French first, the Parti Québécois leader said as she announced her latest language-related campaign promise Tuesday. The PQ leader said anglophones, allophones and aboriginal people will be forbidden from seeking municipal or provincial office unless they have an appropriate knowledge of French.
Source: Globe and Mail
From 1974 onward, successive Quebec governments have enacted laws, slowly making the use of English abnormal. Like smoking and drunk driving. Always couched in the language of preservation of the French language, the effect of the laws was to limit the use of English in ever-decreasing areas.
The goal was to change the language reality of Quebec. The idea is that by pretending that English wasn't a common language, and passing laws to stop it from being so, the fairy tale would become true, in time. Parents were prohibited from choosing their preferred school for their kids based on a law that discriminated against people who had the wrong grandparents. Merchants were prevented from communicating on signs with their customers in a language other than French (later amended to allow some English, provided it knew its subordinate place). All outdoor billboards and public transit ads were censored to allow only French words (with the exception of radio and tv stations and other cultural institutions).
At every point, the English-speaking community believed that the new restrictions were stinky, but more-or-less went along with it to humour the French-speaking majority who had been convinced into believing that the language of 82 percent of the population was in danger.
Today, August 22, 2012, in the middle of a Quebec election campaign, the party leading in the opinion polls is recommending---in all seriousness--to thwart the democratic process by barring the wrong kinds of people from seeking political office. Instead of letting voters decide, the PQ thinks it should decide.
It must be said that this is consistent with their policies about prohibiting college-age students from picking a CEGEP or parents from picking a school for their kids. It is consistent with legislating the use of French on commercial signs instead of letting the market penalize merchants who don't offer good services. It is consistent with the sick and unhealthy political society where the freedom of the individual is made subordinate to the dictates of illiberal government.
In Quebec, the government decides for you.
Monday, August 20, 2012
Monday, August 06, 2012
|Uninspired slogan, 2012 edition|
My preference is for something like: "No slogan. Just good government." Or maybe: "Just Google us."
Instead, the new Quebec election campaign has given us:
- Pour le Québec (For Québec)
- C'est assez, faut que ca change! (It's enough, it must change!)
- A nous de choisir (For us to choose)
- Debout (Stand up)
Wednesday, August 01, 2012
Monday, February 27, 2012
Example: Ms. Morin has ads every week in local newspapers, including the West End Times. Whoever is in charge of preparing this ads for her could use some help. The ad states: "Isabelle Morin, Députée de | M.P. of..." In fact, it should read "M.P. for" and not "M.P. of", which is a literal translation from the French.
On the Parliament of Canada website, Ms. Morin's page contains another typo: "Partyl Website". I checked other pages and the mistake is not repeated. I guess she wasn't curious enough to see what her page looks like.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Saturday, January 28, 2012
I argued at the time that implicit in her remarks was the view that most/some/all Quebec anglophones don't speak French, or don't speak it properly. Apart from being demonstably false, it was also a disgusting thing to say, no less disgusting than if Jay Leno were to say to Will Smith: "Wow. A black guy who can speak English properly."
I decided to see what would happen if I complained to the broadcast standards bureau. They sent the complaint to TVA to respond. Then I wrote about their response, which amounted to, "No, baby, that's just jokes."
Flash-forward to January 2012. Gazette columnist Don MacPherson wrote about Snyder's latest faux-pas, which went more-or-less unnoticed by the media.
[...] Congratulating one Ontario-born contestant on the live show for speaking French well, showbiz veteran Snyder added, with mock incredulity:
"How can that be? Us, we have anglophones in Montreal who don't speak a word of French, and they were raised in Quebec! They were born here!"
In fact, most English speaking Montrealers now are bilingual. And as long as private citizens who still don't speak French aren't forcing Snyder to speak English, what concern is it of hers?
When Don Cherry brings up a negative stereotype about Quebecers, he's condemned by commentators in English Canada as well as French Quebec.
But a disparaging remark about Montreal anglophones by a prominent personality in Quebec society, made on a television show watched by 2.3 million viewers and covered by several journalists, somehow went all but unnoticed. I found only one brief reference to it, in a column in La Presse.
That Snyder would feel free to make such a remark on province wide television, and that it would then go uncriticized, shows that anglo-bashing is socially acceptable in Quebec.
It's even more acceptable in the ambient anglophobia since recent stories about a few Montreal financial executives who don't speak French set off a witch hunt for unilingual anglos, even in private life.
Now anglo-bashing is even prime-time entertainment, suitable for the whole Quebec family.
No doubt MacPherson will be attacked in some circles and Julie Snyder will be defended for saying nothing wrong. I'm proud that the New Quebec was a kind of early-warning system about the kinds of vile things that could emanate from Julie Snyder. Last time, nothing happened.
Maybe this time, because of MacPherson's column, she (and others like her) will take the time to understand the degree to which the English-speaking community has changed and stop repeating that kind of bigotry. Yes, bigotry. There is not another term for this.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Although it is probably not illegal to block a McDonald's driveway (as opposed to blocking an intersection), it is nonetheless a drivers convention. Also, it would be mean to block the driveway unnecessarily.
So, today and yesterday, I slow down and stop, leaving a car length of space in front of me. The guy on my right did the same. We both noticed the car trying to exit McDonald's and both judged that it would be appropriate to let him out.
Then the driver behind me honked because I left a space in front of me. Note that the traffic light was still red and there were about eight cars ahead of me. We weren't going anywhere. Yet, the driver behind me honked and raised her hands in the air. I pointed to the car exiting McDonald's. I didn't know what else to do.
I wonder if the driver saw the car exiting McDonald's but thought I should have blocked it or if she didn't see it. Evil or stupid?You decide. Either way, a complete douchebag.
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
Mon ostie de vidange de scribouilleur. Si je te vois encore en train de barbouiller mes mures, je vais te chercher et te trouverai pour t'arracher la tête et te chier dans le corps.
You stupid ass-hole. If I even catch you painting my walls again I will go after you and I will find you to kick your head off and shit all over you !
You can see the Google Maps street view of the sign yourself. I don't know how effective these signs have been and whether it has reduced the amount of graffiti. But maybe the city should plaster the city with threats of violence to vandals who deface stuff that doesn't belong to them. It would be an interesting anti-crime experiment.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
In short, DDO says the bylaw that prohibits street hockey is 25 years old, is based on a Quebec law, but has never been used. Until last week. And that was a mistake.
But I guess DDO is sore about the media coverage and the discussions in the blogosphere about this incident--all critical of DDO. Mayor Janiszewski in a moment of Nixonian fury couldn't resist taking a swipe and the media and the public. The statement says that "Mayor Janiszewski deplores the public outcry sparked by residents and journalists alike." Yes, it's the media's fault. And the public. If it wasn't for all those pesky residents who live in DDO, the mayor would have a much easier job. You hear that, folks. No more public outcries.
This is a hideously bad reaction.
This was a snafu by an isolated public security agent. You should simply explain that he was overzealous and move on. No need to blame anyone else. And in an era with massive voter apathy and limited public participation at the municipal level, you should be happy anyone is paying attention to anything that happens in your town.
Mayor Janiszewski adresses the question of street hockey
Publish on 3/30/2010
Dollard-des-Ormeaux, March 29, 2010 – The bylaw which prohibits street games has been in effect for over 25 years. The ticket recently given to a Dollard-des-Ormeaux resident for playing street hockey with his son and a dozen other youths is an isolated case and the one and only ticket ever given for street hockey in the City’s existence.
Mayor Janiszewski deplores the public outcry sparked by residents and journalists alike over such an isolated case and wishes to remind all citizens that the City of Dollard-des-Ormeaux strongly endorses sports for youth and is proud to see young persons playing, provided that they are in no danger, do not damage cars or disturb public order and peace. The bylaw which exists in most cities will not be changed, as it is based on a provincial law.
To all parents: "Nothing has changed. Let your children play as usual, but make sure that they are doing so safely and with respect for the property of others.
Included with the invoice was an flyer titled "Quick'n easy!" that included a photo of a woman pointing to the "Q" in "SAAQ", which was shaped like a power icon. I've conveniently included a photo with this post.
But let's assume I am over-analyzing this ad. Maybe my government agency wants to get my attention so that I will pay my bill via electric money transfer rather than by cheque or at one of their government offices. The problem is that one can only pay an SAAQ bill with the Caisse Desjardins (credit union) or the National Bank of Canada. If one banks with RBC, BMO, TD, CIBC, ScotiaBank you are out of luck.
If Quebec is going to trouble of producing a colour flyer with a quick'n easy, attractive woman turning herself on, why not also expand the number of banks with whom they interact?
My advice to the SAAQ is as follows: don't publicize your limited online services too much unless you give your customers the ability to pay using any of the chartered banks. And, while you're at it, let me get my bill via ePost.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Quebec street hockey dad fights fine
Last Updated: Tuesday, March 23, 2010 | 9:06 PM ET Comments115Recommend71
David Sasson, fined for playing street hockey with his son, says municipal leaders in Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Que., should encourage children to play outside.David Sasson, fined for playing street hockey with his son, says municipal leaders in Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Que., should encourage children to play outside. (CBC)More than 500 people have signed a petition to strike down a Montreal-area West Island bylaw that forbids street sports, after a father was fined for playing hockey outside with his son and friends.
The acting mayor of Dollard-des-Ormeaux, where the offence occurred, says the bylaw won't be changed, but this shouldn't stop street hockey games — unless someone complains.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Monday, September 07, 2009
But most likely the bus driver in the article below acted as any Quebecer would when confronted with an English-speaking (strike 1) brown-person from some other part of the world (strike 2) who makes the mistake asking for the time in English in Montreal (yer' out!).
STM bus driver refuses to speak English, calls police
Passengers kicked off bus after man asks driver for time – in English
By Jason Magder, The Gazette
September 6, 2009
MONTREAL – At least now he knows how to say "Quelle heure est-il?"
Muhammad Ahmad Munir, a master's student from Pakistan studying at McGill University, was kicked off the No. 66 bus at 6:45 Friday morning after he asked the driver what the time was in English.
"I got on the bus and I didn't have a watch, so I asked the driver for the time," he said. "She started talking in French and I didn't understand what she was saying."
The 32-year-old native of Islamabad came to Montreal a few months ago to enroll in a master's degree program in Islamic studies at McGill.
After twice telling the bus driver he didn't understand French, she responded in English, saying: "I don't speak English."
"I then told her that she just showed me that she does speak English, and that's when she really got angry."
Munir said when he insisted on being served in English, the bus driver pressed a button to phone police, and proceeded to tell all the passengers to get off the bus. The bus was stopped at the terminus on Côte St. Luc Rd. at the corner of Walkley Ave. There were about 20 people on board the bus, Munir said.
Constable Yannick Ouimet confirmed the Montreal police received a call from the driver about a passenger who was being aggressive.
Reached Friday afternoon, Société de transport de Montréal spokesperson Isabelle Tremblay said the incident is under investigation.
Notre Dame de Grâce resident Linda Whitehall, who was waiting to get on the bus, said the driver must have phoned her colleague on the next bus because when it came, its driver would not open the doors for anyone waiting at the stop. Whitehall, who works at the Montreal General Hospital, was late as a result of the incident, and was forced to take an alternate bus.
"I was so embarrassed," Whitehall said. "This is the first time I have ever been embarrassed to be a Quebecer. Everyone was outraged over this."
Munir said he was upset about the incident, but it hasn't turned him off Montreal.
"I know for the most part, people are not like this," he said. "I haven't had a problem with anyone else since coming here."
Munir said coming from Pakistan, he understands the need to preserve the French language.
"In Quebec, they really have saved the culture very well," he said. "In Pakistan, we have lost our Urdu language, so on this point, I can appreciate the insistence on language, but there should be more tolerance for others."
Munir, who speaks Punjabi, Urdu, Arabic, and English, said he has tried to speak French, but so far can only manage a few words.
"I can say 'bonjour,' and I even said 'bonjour' to her, but I can't put together a complete sentence," he said.
>> Follow-up article
Sunday, July 12, 2009
My SD1000 had three spots on the lens that I couldn't remove. Then we lost the camera. So I needed a new one. I wanted my next point-and-shoot camera to have HD video (either 720p or 1080p) so I wouldn't have to buy an HD camcorder and a good zoom (at least 5x or more).
After much research, I decided to buy the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3. The starting price (in Canada) was $500 and I waited until the first price drop this week. I bought one on sale for $450 CDN at Future Shop on July 11, 2009.
Here are some comments. Keep in mind, these are comments from a long-time Canon user.
- The HD video looks as nice as advertised. Watch a video recorded in AVCHDLite (m2ts) format at a resolution of 1280 x 720. The m2ts file was 106 MB and was uploaded to YouTube. There are some playback issues (see below). But I suspect standalone camcorders cannot produce video that is much better than this camera. UPDATE 2010/09/28: The occasional stuttering of video on Vimeo and YouTube when viewing at HD (720s) resolution is caused by slow computers. Not much you can about this. It's the price of being ahead of the curve on preserving videos in HD.
- You can set it up to automatically record a 5-second audio clip after taking each photo. This was a feature I always wanted in my Canon cameras. Some photographers like to make a note about what is in the photo, like: "Here we are at Bob and Mary's 25 anniversary party." While this is not a feature everyone will want or use, it is great news for those who want it. You cannot change the clip to record longer than 5 seconds, at least not in this auto-mode. (I assume you can manually add an audio note of any length by working through the menus.) UPDATE 2010/09/28: I thought I would use this more. I never have.
- There is a "wind mic" setting that supposedly helps to minimize the effect of wind noise when recording video/audio outdoors. It seems to reduce the bass and the change in sound is similar to other such wind-reduction techniques. It works pretty well at reducing wind sound, although your audio sounds tinny.
- This camera uses the popular SD HC memory card format. No need to buy new ones if switching from a Canon camera, although I did buy a 16GB card as I shoot a lot of 720p video.
- The Panasonic ZS3 is bigger than, say, the Canon SD1000, although it is comparable to the similarly-priced Canon and Sony cameras.
- The two microphones are on the top of the camera. I guess this is smart as it allows the photographer to narrate. However, this means that this camera is not ideal for any kind of quasi-professional interview that you need to record. Also, I guess this is not a good idea for people who breath heavy while shooting video. UPDATE: When interacting with the person on camera, the shooter sounds much louder. This is kind of annoying. I think the mic should have been on the front.
- You'll want to buy an extra battery, but good luck buying one in store. Future Shop does not sell this Panasonic accessory. That is always a consideration when buying non-Canon cameras. It is harder to get extras and harder to get generic versions of the battery (like from Energizer or Duracell). [UPDATE: I bought my camera at the Future Shop at the Marché Centrale big box centre in Montreal. Perhaps other Future Shop locations sell the extra battery. UPDATE 2: I bought a Panasonic DMW-BCG10PP battery at Best Buy for about $79.]
- There doesn't appear to be GPS tagging of photos. That is sort of sucky as this isn't a cheap camera.
- The USB wire is not the standard one used on Canon cameras. The plug that connects into the camera is thinner. This sucks as it means I need to bring this wire to Canon households if I want to load photos on their computer. UPDATE 2010/09/28: This still annoys me, but I bought an SD card reader for my home PC, so I don't use the USB wire much anymore. And I don't really ever transfer stuff at people's homes. No, this is more or less a non-issue for me now.
- No viewfinder.
- When the camera connects to the computer, the ZS3 lcd screen does not go black, which wastes the battery. UPDATE 2010/09/28: As I now use the SD card reader, this is a non-issue.
- You have to select the correct camera mode (manual, iA, etc.) when transferring photos in playback mode. That is, the camera won't transfer all of the stuff at the same time. UPDATE: I cannot replicate this problem. I must have been drunk. UPDATE 2010/09/28: Someone in the comments suggested this was because I was wearing polarize sun glasses.
- As other reviewers have mentioned, the photo button is to the left of the mode select dial. I haven't yet accidentally turned the mode dial, but I did have to search with my finger for the photo button on day 1. UPDATE 2010/09/28: This happens quite frequently. I can't say that I have missed photographing the UFOs landing or something like that. But still something Panasonic should fix in future versions.
- When I rotate the camera to portrait, the viewscreen darkens. Will try to figure out why. UPDATE: I was not able to replicate this symptom inside the house. Odd. UPDATE 2010/09/28: Polarized sunglasses.
- The video record button is on the back of the camera, causing some jitter when I want to stop recording. I'm not sure why Panasonic didn't make the photo button also the video button. I though perhaps it was done this way so the user could take photos while recording video, but I tested this and discovered one cannot take photos while recording video.
- There doesn't appear to be as of July 2009 any video software or add on that can re-encode files in the m2ts video format, which I understand is what is used on Blu-ray discs. (Note: The MainConcept MPEG Pro HD 4 plug-in for Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0 may allow me to edit these files... need to investigate.) Meaning that one either has to convert this 720p file to another HD format before editing or else switch to the other recording format that takes up more space, but is supposedly easier edit later on. I haven't tried this yet, but this program from Panasonic converts m2ts (AVCHD) files to "P2 DVCPRO HD format." I guess the second format is more common than the first. UPDATE 2010/09/28: I use Sony Vegas nowadays as it allows one to edit the more compressed AVCHD-Lite format. Pinnacle Studio 10 didn't permit it. And neither did Adobe Pinnacle, although I think there is supposed to be a plug in.
- Transferring videos from the ZS3 camera to your computer. See the next section.
My preference for transfer jpg and avi files from my Canon cameras to my Windows XP computer has always been the Windows camera and scanner wizard. I like the flexibility it gives me in naming my photos and my folder.
One of my annoyances with the ZS3 in my first week is the fact I cannot transfer m2ts video files using the Windows camera and scanner wizard. See the details below:
- The Windows camera and scanner wizard doesn't copy m2ts video files to computer. Nor does Picasa. This is one of my biggest pet peeves about this camera.
- The Windows camera and scanner wizard does successfully copy the MotionJPEG video files (MOV), which is the other, less compressed video format into which that the camera records video. However, Picasa does not.
- The only way to transfer all your photos and both video formats from the camera is by using the included PhotoFunStudio HD Edition. However, this is a slow, unwieldy software. I am not happy with the options it gives when naming files during transfer. I guess I will have to live with it for now. (I recommend Better File Rename to batch rename your files.) UPDATE 2010/09/28: The other way to transfer videos is to browse the SD card and locate the MTS video files in the STREAM folder. Copy and drag to your Windows folder. Seems very 1998-ish. But it works.
- The AVCHDLite (m2ts) video files play well with the provided PhotoFunStudio HD Edition. But when I play them with the VCL media player 1.0., or Media Player Classic, or Windows Media Player 9, there are weird artifacts in the video image. UPDATE 2010/09/28: This is still a problem. I've come to live with it, as I don't really view the raw videos anyway on their own. My edited version of the videos is all I watch.
- The MotionJPEG (mov) video files play well inVCL media player 1.0. But the image doesn't change in Media Player Classic. Weird.
If you are reading this, you probably edit your home movies and want to know if it is as easy to do with these two video formats. The short answer is no. Here are details.
- Pinnacle Studio 12 Ultimate can import but cannot not render (convert) edited AVCHDLite (m2ts) files properly. There are missing frames and weird frame-rate speeds.
- However, Pinnacle Studio 12 Ultimate can render edited MotionJPEG (mJPEG) files, which is the other way to record at 720p on this camera. There are several HD formats to output to, including mpeg4 at 720p, which means that the quality of the edited video looks as good (to my eyes at least) as the original.
- Sony Vegas Pro 9.0 can render (convert) edited AVCHDLite (m2ts) files properly. I haven't test MotionJPEG too, but I assume it can render from this source video format too. UPDATE 2010/09/28: Sony Vegas 9 doesn't accept MotionJPEG (mov) files. So, you need to pick your format on the camera and try to stick with it unless you want to change your video editing software (which is something I did). I now shoot in AVCHSLite and edit in Sony Vegas exclusively.
- Premiere Pro 2.0 does not recognize AVCHDLite (m2ts) or MotionJPEG files when I tried to import them.
- I assume that I could add the MainConcept MPEG Pro HD 4 plug-in for Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0 to help overcome this limitation, but I haven't tried this yet.
UPDATE 2010/09/28: Like all consumer electronics, things get better and cheaper. Other cameras can do what the ZS3 does (except maybe the zoom while video recording). If you want my advice of what model to get, you should consider the ZS3 (or future version). But also look at the comparable Canon. I think Canon still produces warming photos. And while I cannot state any expert opinion on the 720p video of Canon still cameras, I suspect the different (if any) is slight. And remember that no matter what you buy, it will break or get dust on the lens in a year or two and you'll have to do it all over again. Finally, don't forget to back up your videos and images. Buy an external hard drive of 1TB or 2TB and back up you stuff.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Today, I sent a complaint to Canada Post asking them to clean the grey box in front of my home. I will update this entry when I get a reply and when Canada Post cleans the box.
To make you own complaint, visit https://ssl.postescanada-canadapost.ca/corporate/about/contact_us/customerservice-e.asp#subject.
UPDATE: July 10, 11:08am
Received this confirmation e-mail from Canada Post:
***THIS IS AN AUTOREPLY. PLEASE DO NOT REPLY TO THIS E-MAIL***This is to acknowledge receipt of your message to Canada Post. We are currently experiencing a rapid increase in e-mail requests from our customers. This has caused delay in our ability to respond promptly to your request. The average time to respond is now 1-2 business days. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
UPDATE: July 15, 2009Thank you for your message to Canada Post.I can certainly appreciate your concern and would like to apologize for the inconvenience caused.I have opened an inquiry, which will be sent to the local depot that is responsible for delivering the mail so that they can look into this concern and take appropriate action. Your customer number is 10708*** and your case number for this inquiry is 7354***.The depot does not normally follow up with the customer for these types of issues unless they require additional information. Please allow 10 business days for resolution and if you have further concerns, please contact us again. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.Regards,Josée *******Customer ServiceCanada Post
Sunday, May 31, 2009
The New York Times article presents anecdotal evidence to conclude that relations between black people and white people are better. The reporter, Susan Saulny, quotes black people and white people who say they think things have improved. Yet she plays down the most relevant nugget of actual information about the rise in the number of hate groups.
Saulny reports that: "In dozens of interviews in seven states over the last several days, black men and women [...] said they were feeling more optimistic about race relations than even a year ago."
One does get a sense of the optimism from the black people being quoted. But the quotations from some of the white people are unintentionally funny. I wonder whether the person even exists or whether some copy editor had some fun with the article.
So, Mr. Schmidt, who admits that he doesn't usually talk to black people at the gym, walks up one and asks what he thinks about Barack Obama. This reminds of every comedy movie where some non-waspy gal is having dinner with the parents of her new boyfriend and they ask innocently offensive questions (see My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Meet the Fockers, etc.) having to do with her race/religion/national origins. I can imagine some Parti Québécois cabinet minister meeting with ultra-Orthodox Jews and after a moment saying with complete sincerity, "Hey, what do you think of Jerry Seinfeld?"
Northeast of Los Angeles, M. J. J. Schmidt, 62, a real estate executive who is white, said he also felt something different.
“I go to a gym where there are a number of black people,” Mr. Schmidt said. “We don’t often communicate. They tend to have their own circle of friends. But now, there’s been more communication. Now you have an opener. After the election, I started saying hello. I said, ‘Hey, what do you think of Obama, about our new president?’ ”
My point is this: There is more to the black guy at the gym than the fact he is black. Maybe he's an accountant. Or a postman. Or a real estate agent. But asking for his thoughts on Obama is like saying to him, "I only see you in a one-dimensional way so I'm going to ask questions related to that one dimension."
(Schmidt was a in a gym, remember. You can ask someone for a spot or ask their advice on how to do some exercise. There are lots of ways to interact with people without mentioning Barack Obama.)
Perhaps it's a generational thing. I wouldn't call The Gazette to announce that I had spoken with a black guy because it's not really newsworthy. And that's my problem with this New York Times article. It purports to show that things are getting better. But all it says to me is that things must be pretty bad if a reporter thinks that Mr. Schmidt's (unintentionally-offensive but deliciously-humorous) interaction at the gym is an example of positive race relations.
Saturday, May 02, 2009
"It's hard to be a communist in North America," Étienne said. "But with the current economic crisis, with everyone questioning capitalism, we have a open window."I have not heard anyone question capitalism as a result of this predictable cyclical economic recession--an amount of people several orders of magnitude less than the "everyone" Comrade Étienne suggests.
So, he exaggerates a bit. But maybe there is something to this. After all his fellow traveller Eric is reported to be a PhD student. However, Comrade Dr. Eric reveals a childlike world view.
"Workers would make the company's decisions, and there would be no boss." (emphasis mine)
Do you get the sense that Eric once worked at a local dépanneur and his boss was an a-hole who made him work a few night shifts and maybe even asked him to re-stock the beer case from time to time? I used to sort mounds of returned sticky beer bottles and in all those hours I never once thought that we should overthrow our capitalist system. (Upon reflection, however, that might be because the store played Cité Rock Détente on its public address system and one can't really muster the will to overthrow the system while listening to cooing sounds of Julie Masse.) My only epiphany was non communist in nature and was when I reflected on whether there were more alcoholics in Quebec than previously thought. We got a lot of beer returns.
While Eric is dreaming of how wonderful the world would be with "no boss" perhaps he could add to his agenda putting Coke in drinking fountains, no school on Fridays and free videogames for everyone. I imagine he could easily be elected grade 8 class president in any school in Montreal.
Sunday, March 08, 2009
In the first case, secessionist groups hinted there might be violence if the National Battlefield Commission did not cancel a re-enactment of the 1759 battle in Quebec City between soldiers from France and Britain. France lost the battle and eventually gave up all of New France to Britain at the end of the Seven Years' War.
By the by, no one protests the annual re-enactment of the Battle of Gettysburg (not even the Ku Klux Klan). But veiled threats from the brown shirts at Le Réseau de résistance du Québécois helped get the event canceled.
It's debatable whether battle re-enactments circa 1759 depicting Old World soldiers killing each other should offend us today. But the secessionist political parties followed the lead of the Le Réseau de résistance du Québécois and so the organizers cancelled the re-enactment.
In the second case, the organizers the Quebec City Winter Carnival said on February 18, 2009 they would not remove an ice sculpture depicting a hunched-over, hook-nosed Jewish man holding a bag of money. The sculpture was near the entrance of--wait for it--the Plains of Abraham.
The sculpture, which is called "The Jew" and three others next to it were put on display by the Ukrainian community.
A summary in front of the sculpture explained the work was inspired by the Ukrainian folk tale Den or Vertep, which is told at Christmas time. The summary explained the characters in the piece, the Tsar, the Warrior, the Jew, the Goat, and Death were divided into both "positive and negative characters.Hmm. I wonder whethere "the Jew" is one of the positive of negative characters in this Ukranian tale.
Olena Zakharova, the press secretary for the Ukrainian Embassy, defended the sculpture. "It was not the intention of the Ukrainian sculptors to offend anyone. Vertep is an ancient Ukrainian tradition." She suggested that whether the Jewish figure is viewed positively or negatively is "a matter of preference."The Ukranian embassy certainly has chutzpah. Their defence of the anti-Semitic sculture is that the story to which it makes reference is an ancient Ukranian tradition. Translation: Anti-Semitism is part of our cultural tradition, so what's the big fuss about the sculture?
Source: The Chronicle-Telegraph
However my favourite quotation from the article is from the carnival person in charge of the scultures. Audrey Cook examined the art and didn't see any problem with it.
"You have to be well informed about all of the little symbols and what they could signify. I looked at this sculpture from all angles before the complaint and I couldn't see any negative connotations associated with the work," Cook said last Thursday.I'm not sure if Cook's cluelessness means that the average person in Quebec is far removed from the typical anti-Jewish imagery of Europe and doesn't recognize it, or that the average person does recognize it but assumes it's a normal depiction of Jews and their money-hording ways so what's the big fuss?
Source: The Chronicle-Telegraph
Maybe everyone in these two stories was a little too sensitive. Maybe the outcome of the 1759 battle shouldn't bother Quebecers. Maybe anti-Jewish Ukranian ice scultures shouldn't bother Jews. After all, Quebecers and Jewish Canadians both have it pretty good in 2009.
In fact, we're living in the golden age of liberal democracy. French-speaking Quebecers have successfully protected their lanaguage. Jews are not second-class citizens. A black man is President of the United States. Gay people can get married in Canada (more or less). In short, we're moving the right direction on many fronts.
Which is why it is disconcerting that (1) 'the Jew' sculpture was made, approved and kept in place at the Quebec City festival and (2) a group of misfits can threaten violence to get a battle re-enactment cancelled.
These are worrying signs in our golden age.
(For the record, here are two articles on these topics.)
Plains of Abraham re-enactment scrubbed
By Ken Meaney, Canwest News Service
February 18, 2009
The National Battlefield Commission bowed to opposition from Quebec sovereigntist groups Tuesday and cancelled plans to re-enact the Battle of the Plains of Abraham at the site of the conflict in Quebec City this summer.
Commission chairman Andre Juneau said Tuesday the re-enactment portion of events planned to mark the battle--a turning point in French-English relations in Canada -- was dropped because the commission couldn't "guarantee the safety of the public."
Juneau said the plan was distorted by opponents and was the subject of "veiled threats of violence."
The re-enactment had been planned as part of the 250th anniversary celebrations--from July 30 to Aug. 1 -- of the pivotal battle in the French-British struggle for North America. But sovereigntist groups, such as Le Reseau de Resistance du Quebecois, led a vocal campaign against it and threatened to bring out hundreds of demonstrators to disrupt the event. Juneau said the re-enactment was wrongly portrayed as a celebration.
"It was never the intention of the commission to recall the events of 1759-60 as a pretext for a party or celebration," Juneau insisted at a Quebec City news conference.
"Is is an extremely painful page in our history,"he said, noting the commission is mounting historic expositions and a book about the war and siege that led to the battle.
The outcry against the re-enactment caught the commission by surprise.
The battle has been re-enacted three times before, most recently in 2004,luring thousands of tourists to the provincial capital.
But it has become a flashpoint in Quebec, where it is seen as the beginning of assimilation into the English majority.
Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe and Parti Quebecois Leader Pauline Marois supported le Reseau de Resistance in its opposition to the re-enactment, calling it disrespectful.
But federal Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff lamented the debate surrounding the re-enactment of the battle was hijacked by sovereigntists.
"What I don't like, frankly, is that sovereigntists are trying to dominate a free debate. As someone who likes Canada and knows a thing or two about its history, I want to have my say," Ignatieff told reporters at a separate event in Quebec City.
He said he isn't for or against the re-enactment, but stressed any commemoration of this "defeat and tragedy" would need to be dignified.
Controversial snow sculpture gets cold reception
Posted by Scott French
Published: February 18, 2009
A snow sculpture of a Jewish money-lender on display at Quebec City's winter carnival has received a cold reception from members of Quebec's Jewish community and the Canadian Jewish Congress. Although the Carnaval administration has since apologized for the sculpture, which was created by a Ukrainian team, many feel not enough was done to prevent or remedy the work's anti-semitic message.
"We are sorry. It's circumstantial, it was never our intention to shock people. The Carnaval hopes to provide snow sculptures that appeal to everyone," said Jean Pelletier, director general of the Carnaval.
"Shocked" and "disappointed" were the terms Jake Burack and his wife, Tamara Fitch, used to describe how they felt when they came across the sculpture with their children, 8 and 11, near the entrance to the Plains of Abraham two weekends ago.
"It was a caricature of an Eastern European Jew, hunched over with a hooked nose, wearing a skullcap and holding a money bag. Every cliché possible," Burack said. "Our kids could see how upset we were."
A summary in front of the sculpture explained the work was inspired by the Ukrainian folk tale Den or Vertep, which is told at Christmas time. The summary explained the characters in the piece, the Tsar, the Warrior, the Jew, the Goat, and Death were divided into both "positive and negative characters."
An interpreter who was present during the building of the sculpture told the Buracks the Jewish figure "was a man who lent money at high interest." According to Burack, the interpreter did not understand why they were concerned.
The President of the Carnaval's Snow Sculpture International, Audrey Cook, also examined the work and found nothing questionable about it. "You have to be well informed about all of the little symbols and what they could signify. I looked at this sculpture from all angles before the complaint and I couldn't see any negative connotations associated with the work," Cook said last Thursday.
Some passers-by seemed undisturbed by the sculpture as well. Julien Laplante of Quebec City easily identified the Jewish figure. He said those who felt the Jewish figure was portrayed negatively were "projecting" it onto the sculpture.
Another couple who passed by and identified themselves as Polish-Canadians living in Montreal thought the sculpture was "beautiful."
Before Burack could submit his written complaint, the sculpture had been awarded two of the Carnaval's six prizes. Cook said the sculpture was awarded the prizes based "upon the aesthetic beauty and technical merit of the sculpture, not its potential symbolic significance."
When the Carnaval called to apologize to Burack by telephone last Friday, however, a spokesperson suggested the sculpture might be destroyed or its prizes taken away.
Pelletier later said the Carnaval would not take any of these actions, explaining that the prizes were given by a committee of volunteers and should therefore not be removed.
"The essential is that this will not happen again," Pelletier indicated.
Burack said he could not help but feel "very disappointed" by the Carnaval's lack of action.
"The lack of action detracts from any apology and indicates a lack of sincerity and/or understanding of the issue," Burack indicated via email.
The Canadian Jewish Congress agrees. "It's very disappointing that the organizers didn't realize this was grossly offensive," Rabbi Reuben Poupko said on behalf of the organization, adding, "The iconography is from the middle ages."
Simon Jacobs, the general director for Exhibition Shalom Quebec, an exhibition on Quebec City's Jewish heritage, was upset that such symbolism . "Something anti-semitic is going on in [Ukraine] and is acceptable to the point that they thought they could bring it here to Canada."
Olena Zakharova, the press secretary for the Ukrainian Embassy, defended the sculpture. "It was not the intention of the Ukrainian sculptors to offend anyone. Vertep is an ancient Ukrainian tradition." She suggested that whether the Jewish figure is viewed positively or negatively is "a matter of preference."
The Ukrainian team composed of sculptors Orest Dzyndra, Petro Romanyuk and Sergiy Klyapetura left Quebec City following the award ceremony and could not be contacted by the QCT. Neither the Embassy nor the Carnaval was able to reach them by press time.