Wednesday, December 14, 2005

TVA responds to my compaint about Julie Snyder's anti-anglo comment

TVASo, I decided to see what would happen if I complained to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council about those anti-anglophone comments Julie Snyder made on Star Académie a few weeks ago. For the record, here's what the Council says it does:

The CBSC is a national voluntary self-regulatory organization created by Canada's private broadcasters to deal with complaints made by viewers or listeners about programs which they have seen or heard broadcast on a member station. The CBSC administers four industry codes, namely a code of ethics, a code concerning television violence, a code concerning sex-role stereotyping and a code of journalistic ethics, which set out the guidelines for television and radio programming. [Emphasis mine]

I sent a complaint letter about Snyder's comments to the Council on November 6. I got a reply on November 16 from the Council saying, in part, the following:

By copy of this email, we are asking CFTM-TV to respond to the concerns you have raised and to hold a copy of the logger tape of the broadcast which concerned you. This is always the first step taken by the CBSC in pursuing a complaint. You should know that broadcasters who are members of the CBSC take their responsibility to respond to audience concerns very seriously. The dialogue between broadcasters and members of their audience is a cornerstone of the CBSC's complaints resolution process. Concerns are often resolved satisfactorily through this dialogue phase.

Today, I received a reply from TVA. In short, TVA says (1) none of the four codes listed above were violated, and (2) Julie Snyder wasn't making fun of Quebec anglophone, just anglophones in general. You know, like Americans and Brits. But definately not Quebec anglophones.

Sir, The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (« CBSC ») has sent us your correspondence of November 6, 2005 for review and response. Your complaint was more particularly about the humorous comments made by Mrs. Julie Snyder : « Enfin un anglophone qui parle français comme il faut », following her conversation in French with popular singer Chris de Burgh.

First of all, we apologize if those comments have upset you. However, with all due respect, we are of the opinion that the different codes supervised by the CBSA were not infringed. Mrs. Snyder’s comments were not particularly about the Anglophone artists of Quebec, but the Anglophone artists in general, of whatever country.

That's... how you say... ah, yes... bullsht. When the average Quebecer listens to Jodie Foster speak French in an interview, he says "wow, an American who speaks French," -- not "wow, an anglophone who speaks French comme il faut."

To a Quebec audience, the term "anglophone" is strongly associated with a particular community in Quebec. People in Ontario or BC are commonly referred to as "English Canadians." People in the United States
are "Americans." But only English-speaking Quebecers are commonly referred to in Quebec as "anglophones." And the "comme il faut" line suggests that Snyder was refering to Quebec anglophones... they speak French, but not very well.

So, I don't buy argument that the "anglophones" Snyder was referring to are those in Sydney, Johannesburg and Cleveland -- none of whom speak French. Snyder was talking about the ones in Kirkland, Cote St. Luc and Westmount who speak French, but not "comme il faut." And I contend that was crystal clear to her audience.

In that context, it is certainly not far from the reality to pretend that most English-speaking artists, coming from an English environment, rarely speak French to Quebecors the way Mr. Chris de Burg did it.

I swear that's the way the TVA dude spelled "Quebecers". Was it an innocent typo? Or was it an ominous tell about the plans for us all by (TVA's parent-company) Quebecor? Is the Péladeau-owned company planning a new world order in the province of Quebec Quebecor? (If so, I apologize in advance to the Péladeaus if my blog is taking up too much space.)

Finally, Mrs. Snyder said the comments on a very humoristic tone, as we know her, insisting on the fact that she has a lot of difficulties herself speaking English, and that consequently, Mr. Chris de Burgh had a superior French than her English.

This is true. I agree.

Therefore, the audience was amused about the whole situation, knowing that the comments were aimed at the author of the comments only.

His conclusion doesn't follow from his premise. I agree that Snyder acknowledged her own shortcomings in her second language.

But the "comments" were not "aimed at the author" -- the comments were aimed at anglophones and their (relative lack of) ability to speak French properly.

Once again, we are sorry if this matter has upset you in any way, and we thank you for taking the time to inform us of your concerns. Hoping the whole satisfactory, we remain,

So, that's TVA's reply.

TVA still doesn't get it.
Imagine if Jay Leno said about Will Smith: "Wow, a black guy who can speak English properly!" And then imagine if NBC responded to compaints by saying, "Mr. Leno was referring to the black people in Haiti, Niger and Congo who don't speak English properly."

I guess TVA doesn't see a problem in promoting negative stereotypes about anglophones in Quebec.


JonasParker said...

Perhaps we need more anglophone media here discussing English in Quebec, and then a personality talking about a Quebecker (I like it with the "k") that speaks English the way it should be spoken. Whatever that is.

These are the same people that talk about the French from francophones outside of Quebec with disdain. As though Quebec French is THE standard by which all other French should be measured. Julie Snyder's comments should not come as a surprise.

Anonymous said...

Your overly sensitive nature betrays you need to find oppression from anything from Quebec / French Canadian.

GetALife said...

Your overly sensitive nature betrays you need to find oppresive source justifying you hatred...

Get a life.

Anonymous said...

I got on your site by chance. I am a "francophone" living in Québec, and I can assure you that "anglophone", in Québec, refers to all English-speaking persons notwithstanding of the place they lived (Québec, Canada, US). In the same vein, "francophone" refers to all French speaking persons (be it from Québec, France, or Senegal, whence the expression "La Francophonie"). In that sense, from the elements you have posted on your blog, I can but only concur with Quebecor that Snydor referred to any English speaking person, regardless of their nationality. No "Quebec English" bashing here.

allego said...

yeah. you should really lighten up a little. People like you are the reason we have the loi 101 and language police.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Overly sensitive? Such hyprocrites. If an anglos made the same remark about a franco, the francos would spin themselves into mind numbing tissy. Get a life? That the point, Anglos want a life of equality and respect, but it ain't gonna happen in Quebec where the francos rule and have the market cornered on self pity and double standards.

Anonymous said...

Francophones always refer to the English speaking in Quebec as Anglos!!!!There should be more quebec english TV shows to balance the rule...The Anglos of Quebec are here to stay and we should enpower them the same way Francophones are.Maybe than there will be some equality!!!