Canadians for Language Fairness

End the unfairness of official bilingualism. Stop wasting our tax dollars.

23 April 2017

CBC's "The Story of Us" + French Rally in Ottawa

The CBC doesn't seem to be able to bend over backwards far enough to please any "special interest" group which receives massive amounts of funding to pay these perpetual whiners.  Pity the "silent majority" has no such well-paid champions.  This 10-part series was put together as part of the celebration of Canada's 150th birthday bash.  I haven't seen it myself but if you have, I would welcome your comments.

I asked John Robson & Conrad Black for comment - see below for what they had to say.

Kim McConnell

National Post


News MPs to grill CBC over docu-drama; The story of us


A House of Commons committee is asking CBC representatives to testify about the controversial history docu-drama The Story of Us.

The 10-episode weekly series, which began airing at the end of March, is supposed to recount Canadian history in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of Confederation.

It has faced a public backlash over its representation of francophones, indigenous people and some regions of the country. The premier of Nova Scotia, for example, criticized its failure to acknowledge Samuel de Champlain's first settlement in Port-Royal.

At the crux of the issue for MPs is the fact CBC is a public broadcaster, using public money to fund and present programming. The series is also connected to Canada 150 celebrations and featured an introduction from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

New Democrat MP Pierre Nantel successfully moved last week to have the House heritage committee ask CBC to appear. In a statement Thursday, CBC spokesman Chuck Thompson said the broadcaster is aware of a pending committee invitation but hasn't yet received one. "When we do, we will work with the committee to set a date," he said.

The motion is worded broadly, asking CBC "to discuss the efforts of the corporation, by virtue of its mandate, to ensure the representation of First Nations, Inuit and Métis, and of francophones, and concerning the corporation's activities in the context of the 150th anniversary of Canada."

But MPs understood in committee that they were really talking about The Story of Us and whether or not it paints an accurate picture of Canada's early days.

"I think it's been very lazy," Nantel said of the series, and "a big mistake." In an interview Thursday, he said he wants to ask the public broadcaster, "How can a decision be taken so lightly?" The CBC did apologize earlier this month, saying in a statement "our intention was never to offend anyone or any group, nor diminish the importance of any of the stories that were not included." Though post-episode "live digital conversations" were announced, no changes to the program are anticipated.

Nantel is especially incensed about how francophones are portrayed, and that Quebec actors weren't hired to play francophone characters. He complained translations weren't done in the province either, so translated lines are in the accents of French-speakers from France.

"How can you not hire French-Canadian (actors) to play French Canadians?" he asked as well. "How can you bear to have a fils du roi speak with an English accent? It's a super joke."

The series was produced for CBC by Bristow Global Media Inc., headed by CBC veteran Julie Bristow, in partnership with U.K.-based company Nutopia. The latter has used an "internationally successful format," a Bristow press release says, to put out similar Story of Us programs in the U.K., the U.S. and Australia.

Nantel said this is "sausage-machine TV" - though he acknowledged it's probably "good TV" - and suggested CBC shouldn't have gone for an international format that may have "led to some compromises."

In an emailed statement Thursday, Bristow said the show was never intended to be a "typical, comprehensive historical documentary series." Although she regrets that some people feel misrepresented by the show, Bristow said "this kind of public conversation is a good thing" - even if it's "thorny, complex, and even sometimes painful."

Marie-Danielle Smith

I contacted John Robson with this question:

John, do you feel that the CBC has represented Canada's history accurately?  Why is it that the French are always complaining about inadequate exposure when they've already been given more attention than any other group in Canada?  They have had the 1982 Constitution written to give their language & culture far more than any other group in Canada, using their minority status as a reason to demand overly generous proportions of our resources to inflate their own worth.

What's your opinion on this?


From: John Robson []

Sent: April 21, 2017 10:52 PM

To: Kim McConnell

Subject: RE: MPs to grill CBC over docu-drama; The story of us

Hi Kim,

I can’t claim to have watched the program in question. I suspect Cartier’s shirt wasn’t always clean though I don’t hold it against him.  But I find this hoo-hah hilarious given that the CBC bends over backwards to avoid offending Quebecers, aboriginals, women and on down the PC line, and yet finds itself on the grill.


Same question to Conrad Black got an entirely different response:

The French founded the country and the French-Canadians were not defeated by the English-Canadians; the French were defeated by the British. They joined the country with co-equal status to the British Canadians and are entitled to that. They cannot be compared to "other groups." What they do not have any right to do is break up the country.

Best, CB

I am deeply disappointed with Conrad Black's response. Given my previous correspondence with Lord Black I am sorely tempted to believe - now more than ever - he is more liberal than I had wanted to believe...  If breaking up the country to maintain sanity and not become overrun and overwhelmed by the French fact then that is the way to proceed. If not Quebec leaving, then the West!  Quebec has, FINALLY, reached the ultimatum of the "magic formula" which is full-bore welfare (blackmail) subsidies from the rest of Canada to "keep" it within the federation - a federation it cares for the least except as an entity that cuts cheques. Black, in my opinion, is being disingenuous to say the least as he, better than most, knows his Canadian history. He prefers to have a Canada hobbled and saddled with extortionist blackmail tribute rather than see the country break up.  But like all cancers that are allowed to fester for too long, inaction leads to an inevitable premature death of the patient.  With the coming Trump effect - the gathering economic storm - perhaps leading entities in Canada's officer class may begin to wake up from the Soviet-socialist style of governance slumber and begin to rethink the role the current French presence is having on Canada......



Conrad is pretty good most times but he missed one fact ..

The British Armies defeated the French Army in North America. The locals helped out of course but there was a world war going down. The resultant arrangements were curtsy of England.  And as it subsequently transpired ...ill advised.

Bear in mind that there were approximately 40,000 habitants in Quebec and around 2 million colonists in North America. Anything the french received was hardly by right. The disparity in relative strengths hardly needs emphasising. They were lucky to have not been transported back to where ever!


New date for The Intimidation Rally in Ottawa  

Just as we thought, the French Intimidation Rally was changed to May 31, 2017.  We have decided not to mount a counter rally as we haven't got the kind of organization (well supported financially by tax-payers) that the French groups can muster.  We encourage observers to go & take pictures & record the gathering at City Hall.  We'll wait for a media report - from either the English or the French media.  Then we'll see if the Mayor & the 12 Councillors who have consistently said NO will capitulate to the French demands.  With the City of Ottawa running a deficit of $41 M. as reported in 2015:

The $41 million deficit indicated is truly laughable insofar as Council approved the City budget last Fall (2016) and "there will be an additional $116 million in additional debt authority according to City treasurer Marian Simulik..." (Nepean-Barrhaven News, Thursday, November 17, 2016, p. 45, written by Melissa Murray.) It was not made clear in the article what the actual (or projected) 2016 City deficit is or will be but nevertheless, $116 million was added to the City's debt in 2016. Debt, debt, debt and deficits and reckless spending without end imperiling future generations with sustainability.  Now begin to factor in the Trump effect on Canada where, eventually, prices and wages and benefits and government employees/government size will need to shrink to maintain a semblance of competitiveness in the world, and we can only scratch our heads wondering where the money will come from to reach a balanced-budget, debt-free City....

Al S.

I really cannot see how the City can afford to increase their budget for services in both languages.  As a reminder, the 2016 budgeted amount for French language services was $3,064,000.  The potential amount (if the Federal govt. expenditure on OB is indicative) is $20 MWe absolutely cannot afford that.  The French lobby will refute that figure of course but everybody knows they cannot be trusted.  It cannot be argued that such a policy will cost a substantial amount more than the City is currently paying & that it will work against the interests of the majority English speakers of Ottawa.

Kim McConnell

(Google translation below)

OTTAWA - Initially scheduled for April 20 , the rally to support the bilingual Ottawa designation will finally take place on May 31.


In a bilingual message broadcast live on Facebook, on Wednesday, April 19, the Franco-Ontarian Student Group (RÉFO), the Association of Francophone Communities of Ottawa (ACFO Ottawa) and the Franco-Ontarian Youth Federation (FESFO) Invite the population to mobilize on Wednesday 31 May.

"This citizen day bilingual Ottawa is a unique opportunity to mobilize you and show your support for Ottawa to become an officially bilingual capital in this year of the 150 thanniversary of Canada," says Co-Chair Refo Geneviève Borris.

The initiative is primarily a "day of public support for bilingual Ottawa".

"Bilingual Ottawa means demanding that our two languages ​​be equal and no matter what our language, origins or neighborhood, we can get services from our municipal government in the official language of our choice," explains Soukina Boutiyeb, Treasurer Of the ACFO Ottawa.

In a statement, the Vice-President of ACFO Ottawa, Alain Dupuis, insists: "As a result of sustained dialogue and information efforts with elected municipal officials in recent months, the time has come for the public to repeat Strong support for this approach. This will help convince the city council once and for all that this cause is just right, both for the francophone and anglophone communities in Ottawa. Official bilingualism would not only be a gesture of unity and respect for all our communities but would have a definite positive impact on business and tourism in our capital. "

Two activities

Two activities are scheduled for May 31st. Starting at 9:30 am, a walk from Strathcona Park in the Sandy Hill neighborhood will take you to City Hall. At the end of the day, starting at 6:30 pm, a citizen rally will be organized at the Desmarais Pavilion of the University of Ottawa. Both events also include bilingual musical performances and performances.

"The march aims to send a clear message to the city council that bilingualism is important for all citizens of our city," concludes Boutiyeb.

The rally takes place while a majority of councilors are very hesitant to support the initiative,  as demonstrated by a survey initiated by #ONfr last November. Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson has always opposed Ottawa's official bilingual designation.

Comment from one of our directors

I am still of the opinion it will be better not to have a counter-demonstration when the French zealots are having theirs. It is doubtful we can match the numbers when they are able to muster school children (allegedly) to add to the numbers with signs and placards and lots of noise.  Besides, the mayor and most of council is already on record as opposing the idea of OB for Ottawa.  I am more interested in what the follow-up reaction at City Hall will be.  If, as a result of this demonstration, the City decides to bring it to a vote anyway on Council there will be a notice, it will be on the agenda of the appropriate standing committee. In other words, if it is decided to bring this to a vote there will be sufficient time to muster forces at that time to appear at the committee proceedings and to write letters. 

Should Council be foolish enough to place this item on an agenda, it will become a huge embarrassment to the French cause when we parade the results of OB in other places not to mention why Gatineau was not included... and the howling success of the world's laughing stock known in Quebec as the language police... 

Al S.

From a reader in NB where the French speakers are dominating the scene because the English-speaking majority are not fighting back as hard as they should:

"Please, please keep up the fight to end official bilingualism. Living in New Brunswick I am faced with what forced bilingualism has done to this province on a daily basis and  it is not a pretty picture for anyone who is not Francophone and does not speak French. Do not allow the Elite to force the officials into making Ottawa an "Officially Bilingual" city.  This is a takeover of our very way of life and the values that our ancestors fought and died for. The Elite are blatant bullies and must be stopped."



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