Last week, Quebecor-owned tabloid newspaper the Journal de Montréal ran a cover story about an undercover reporter who applied for retail sales jobs in downtown Montreal while pretending to speak only English.
The supposed English-speaking job applicant was rejected by 75 percent of employers. But you wouldn't know that from the sensational front cover or the outrage this caused on French-language talk radio. The Journal did a good job of spinning the article in such as way so as to play up the 15 percent of retailers who agreed to hire her and not the inverse statement.
Last year, it was the Journal de Montréal that stirred up anger and resentment against religious and cultural minorities. This led the governing Liberals to try to defuse the Journal's irresponsible stories by what they hoped would be a boring public commission.
Now the Journal is back to baiting the English-speaking community. On cue, all the usual language supremacists are demanding the Quebec government strengthen language laws to make the most business-unfriendly jurisdiction in North America just that must more intolerable. The threats from the FLQ won't be far behind.
From time to time, you begin to think everything is going to be okay in Quebec. I can live here. I'll buy a house and send my kids to school here. And then things like this happen to remind you to pay more attention to the writing on the wall.
The only happy note in all this is that Quebecor World, the parent company of the Journal de Montréal--whose founder once commented that Jews "take up too much space" in Quebec and women had no place on boards because "they seduce too much"--filed for bankruptcy protection today. The Péladeau brothers should have no trouble getting work at a store downtown as their French is impeccable.