10 mai 2012

TLMEP Overview of May 6

This past Sunday was the last episode of Tout le monde en parle for this year. The Tous les autres en parlent team, myself, Dominic and Sylvie, each had challenges this week and we've been a little late in producing our notes. We apologize for the delay, but the good news is we have a few months to recharge our batteries and tackle this project head on in September.

That doesn't mean this site will become completely quiet... watch this space for more in the coming days and weeks.


Action-Packed and Star-Studded!

Not long after being named general manager of the Montreal Canadiens, you knew Marc Bergevin would have questions to answer. The native of Pointe-Saint-Charles is happy to be back in Montreal, even if he never saw himself good enough to play for the Canadiens.
Read Dominic's in-depth summary of the interview with Bergevin.

Charles Lafortune, the television host, is very interested in what Bergevin has to say about the Canadien--he actually walks in unannounced during Bergevin's interview and usurps the interview!

Not to be outdone, Denise Filiatrault walks on stage unannounced (or rather, announced as Lafortune!) to tell us about this summer's line-up at the Théâtre du Rideau Vert, including a first production of Une vie presque normale, a French-language adaptable of the accalaimed Next to Normal.

But let's come back to Lafortune. He hosted hosted this year's gala for the Artis awards we spoke about last week. How fun was it? Watch and see:

He also talks about rumours running of him hosting a talk-show, and the Quebec version of The Voice. (The rumours about The Voice have since been confirmed. The Gazette says it's an adaptation of NBC's show, but NBC's is an adaptation of the original The Voice of Holland.)

But that's not the only reason why he's here. He tells us about his challenges with his autistic son, Mathis, and the work they do at the foundation he's spokesperson for, À pas de géant/Giant Steps, that offers resources for families with issues with autism. It's an area that lacks resources, mostly because it's not a deadly disease, there's no solution to it, and there's no pharmacological response to capitalize. Among other things, Giant steps help get autistic youth a one-on-one education.

Lafortune speaking about autism:

Syndicats and Syndicates

Jean Poirier, general president of the Machinists' union representing employees at Aveos, where 1,800 Montrealers lost their jobs on March 19; Magali Picard, who is alternate regional executive vice president for Quebec of the Public Service Alliance of Canada and speaks for the some 17,000 federal public servants whose jobs are at risk of being cut; and Marc Maltais is president of the Steelworkers (Métallos) local for Alma that are in a lock-out from the Rio Tinto Alcan smelter since January 1 (Happy New Year!).

The union leaders accuses the federal government of interpreting the laws in a way that fits its agenda. That means not holding Air Canada to its legal obligation to keep jobs in Montreal, Winnipeg and Toronto--Poirier expects them to move to El Salvador--and using back-to-work legislation when they want certain people to work, like in the case of other Air Canada employees. To quote Poirier: "Le gouvernement conservateur [...] présentement est un dictateur--c'est clair, net et précis." (The Conservative government, presently is a dictator--that much is crystal clear.) That statement is met with applause and a standing ovation.

Maltais reminds us that the positions the Harper government wants to abolish are not just boondoggle paper-shifters, but real people who provide real essential services: search and rescue responders, food inspectors (the 100 positions created after a series of listeriosis crises are now abolished); the site inspectors at Transport Canada that check the airplanes in the sky... inspections that, if Poirier is right, will be outsourced to El Salvador.

In the case of Rio Tinto Alcan, they denounce the Quebec government, who buy through Hydro-Québec (a Crown corporation), buying the excess electricity that the idling plant is generating, essentially subsidizing them to the tune of 14,5M$.

Watch the interview with the union leaders.

Switching gears, we talk with Stéphane Rousseau and Luc Dionne to talk about the upcoming film, Omertà. The film is inspired by the television series about the Italian mafia that aired on Radio-Canada in the late 90s. View the trailer.

We talk about Rousseau's experience with shady characters, and his time in France making films and doing stand-up. (We assume these are two separate events.) Luc Dionne talks about doing the West Wing-style mini-series, Bunker, le cirque.

Louise Latraverse tells us about National Mental Health Week, from May 7 to 13. Mental health problems cost the Canadian economy $51 billion annually; 500,000 people are home sick from work on any given day due to mental health issues.

Rémy Couture is quite right in the head, but the police accuse him of corrupting social morals and encouraging sexual deviance by way of his gory special effects website. He is now awaiting a court case, facing a two-year sentence and a criminal record. He deplores the fact that this goes beyond just censorship, but outright criminalization of speech. To show his craft, the guests are "handed" a dismembered arm (moulded on his own) and a juicy brain (he won't say where he got the mould for that!). A website has been started to support his cause.

We close the season with a crop of upcoming young atheletes that are looking forward to competing in the London Olympic Games this summer.

  • The judoka Sergio Pessoa is born in Brazil and speaks French wonderfully well after only seven years living here. He's proud to represent his adopted country and wouldn't trade it for Brazil or the world. Sergio's father competed in judo in Seoul and is now his personal coach.
  • Synchronized swimmer Marie-Pier Boudreau-Gagnon is preparing for her second Olympic games. The Canadian syncrhonized swimming team worked hard to qualify early, so that they would be able to develop their program in hiding and not show their hand to other national teams in other world competitions.
  • Swimmer Charles Francis, going into his first Olympic competition, says he needs to find the equilibrium between focus and living in the moment.
  • Audrey Lacroix, also a swimmer, will be competing in her second Games. In recent years, she's been struggling with anxiety, which had its toll and shook her confidence. Since September she's done a lot of work with psychologists to improve her situation and be at her full potential.

TLMEP interview with Marc Bergevin

The show was recorded on Thursday May 3rd, 24 hours after Marc Bergevin was announced as the new General Manager and Vice-President of Hockey Operations for The Montreal Canadiens.
MB left Quebec 30 years ago and now he’s back – did he come home or get traded yet again? MB says he’s come home.
MB has performed a lot of roles in hockey: defenceman, scout, assistant coach, director of player personel and assistant GM, to name a few. Guy wonders if there’s anything MB hasn’t done? Drive the Zamboni would be the answer. Which, he points out, is also something Patrick Roy has likely never done. MB is asked if he’ll meet Saint Patrick (that’s what Quebecois call Patrick Roy. If ever you needed more reasons why the Montreal Canadiens are considered more a religion than a hockey team) and the short is answer is he’s not sure – apparently the people that would advise him in the Saint-Patrick case aren’t here at the moment to help him answer that question. Or decide, I suppose.
Asked if the Habs are amochés (Bruised and beaten) or pas trop maganés (not too worse for wear) he responds they’re amochés but that the right elements are in place.
Did MB ever dream of being part of the organisation? As a player, he held Montreal in a class apart from most other teams in the league. He would have loved to play for them but never considered himself good enough.
Journalists in Montreal were a bit of a surprise for MB – he never expected that many. Just that morning he was being honked at in the street even!
Asked about scouting in Quebec, he quickly responded: If you’re Quebecois, you can play with us.
MB great qualities as a hockey player? Team first kinda fella. He’ll be the same in this new role.
MB is quite the practical joker and he explains one where he couldn’t sleep and it was 6am, so he changed the clocks in the room to 8am, woke up his roommate to tell him they were late. They scrambled to get ready and by the time they were downstairs, panicky roommate and all, they were fine.
At this point Charles Lafortune arrives to participate – says MB if fun and it’s too boring to stay back there waiting – he wants to participate right away. And so he asks what MB will do to make it more fun in the organization – especially considering that M. Gauthier was more like Urgel Bourgie. MB answer quite nice – “winning is fun.”
Asked about the family situation MB confirms his kids (3 of ‘em between 11 and 14, I think) were not terribly pleased but as a family man and dad, it’s his job to take care of them so he’ll do what he needs to do.
After talking about the devotion his parents showed to his hockey love he’s asked about how he’d attract free agent players to Montreal: This is the capital of hockey, this is where the fans are the most passionate. There is no better place to play.
Large contracts can be a good idea – depending on the player. Chicago has 3 large contracts, they’re working out ok. What about Carey Price? Would you sign him to a 10-year deal? Marc says we’ll see.
Charles asks about Russian players and their rep – Yeah, they’re a bit of a risk because of the attractiveness of the KHL and the lack of transfer agreement (see Radulov saga in Nashville). (MB turns and give Charles a friendly smack while laughing – you can tell he’s pretty comfortable about the whole dilly-o, says he likes it here!)
MB talks a bit about Price and Subban, quite honestly in fact, and Guy finds this surprising. MB response is golden: “you ask me questions, I answer ‘em” as if to say, what’s the problem? Is there a problem here? I don’t see a problem. Love the guy.
Asked about the decisions regarding Radulov and Kostitsyn in Nashville – he would support the coach’s decisions.
MB thinks fights can be a problem despite there needing a place to “reglé nos comptes” – the goon era is over though (he’s had 55 or 56 fights in his career.)
Dany presents his card: With the great number of teams you’ve worked for, you’d have the right to have the Habs tattooed not over your heart but on your bottom.

30 avril 2012

TLMEP interview with Lucian Bute - April 29

Guy's intro to Lucian? Quand il est dans le ring, y'a des hommes qui tombent - When he's in the ring, men will fall.
M. Bute was supposed to be on the episode on December 31, 2011 but could not make it; why? Well, in mid-December he took his exam to become a Canadian citizen and on the 31st he was... (actually, he never tells us specifically why he wasn't there on 12/31. Hey!) Lucian arrived in Canada in 2003, no French, no English. He spent 6 months at Université de Montréal learning French as part of his goal to become like us - to have the Canadian passport, to be able to vote. He became a citizen on March 26, 2012. He's very proud of his passport - he even has it with him as he essentially just got off the plane from Florida.
Let's talk boxing! Lucian's been training in Florida in preparation for May 26th when he will confront former WBF World Champion Carl Froch in Nottingham, England. Asked about going abroad to defend his IBF title, Bute talks about how it was his choice to go there. He knows he'll be in enemy territory, but he'll have all of Quebec behind him so he's not worried. "When I hear Quebecois at ringside yelling in French, it'll lift me up". Froch was quoted as saying Bute was either very confident or very stupid for coming to England for this fight. Bute believes he's just showing he's willing to do whatever he needs to prove he's the best. It's less money in England, even than it would have been in Montreal.
Initially Bute wanted to fight Andre Ward but Ward countered with some trash talk - Bute needs to pay his dues first so M. Froch it shall be. Besides, for Lucian now, it's all about the next fight, not the one after - even though it most certainly is his goal to fight the best in the world.
Dany wants to know about the coaches - Lucian is so nice, how do the coaches get him to fight? It's about work ethic. "I don't need to trash talk, the best will win." Apparently M. Bute has never even told another boxer he's smelly.
Adonis Stevenson (a guest on TLMEP on Feb 26, 2012 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfeWRaM2SMc) had a few interesting things to say about Bute then. When watching the clip, Lucian looks quietly amused. "Yes, he and I sparred, yes, in the 5th round he hit me with an uppercut that hurt me but I didn't fall. Now in the same sparring session, in the 12th round I hit him with a left that left him stunned."
Asked who hits the hardest, Lucian responds: Berrio, Glen Johsnon. Wait, Glen Johnson's your sparring partner? M. Bute responds that sparring partners are there to help, so they can't be nice. They have to push you.
One fight HBO would like to see is Bute vs. Jean Pascal but that would involve Bute going up a category - from 168 lbs to 175. He'd still love to do it - what with JP's international credibility, it would mean a lot.
It's very hard to change weight category though - everything changes, from diet to exercise. The hardest is going down - it's nearly impossible for a boxer to lose muscle mass.
Dany presents Lucian with a wonderful card (I like Dany's cards and he seems so honest when giving it out, to the point of wondering if Lucian can even read it. Which he does) "Quebec will be behind you in the ring and since the French lost in 1759 it's now up to you to get revenge."
Why this matters: Bute is 30-0 right now and is a Southpaw. This fight will likely be his toughest and it will open many doors for bigger and better things.
Quebec's been behind Bute for some time now and we love to watch him win. He's had many fights in Quebec City and in Montreal and he's contributed greatly to the popularity of the sport here in Quebec. GO LUCIAN!

TLMEP Interview with Xavier Dolan

Written by Sylvie Lupien. Merci mille fois, Sylvie!

Dolan enters the set with the song "Tout le monde aime Xavier Dolan". Dolan is here to talk about his film "Laurence Anyways" who was nominated at the Cannes Film Festival but not in line for the prestigeous Palme d'or award; it is being screened outside of the competition (hors compétition). He wants to set the record straight because in the press he was perceived as being childish and spoiled for reacting negatively for not being in competition.

Everyone thinks that this young man is brilliant, articulate and should appreciate his luck. Well, that is where Xavier Dolan gets interesting, I think. He further explains that the press for the last year, has written that his movie should and would be nominated and then, last week, he, we, find out that it isn't.

"Yeah I was disappointed," he says. But not only that, its has been eleven years since the last nomination for "Les Invasions Barbares" (The Barbarian Invasions) by Denys Archand. No one will convince me, Dolan says, that there hasn't been a good movie, here in Quebec, over the last eleven years. We have the talent, we have the knowledge, we are capable, we are proud; therefore we should dream of the ultimate dream and push for it. We should not be quiet and accept other peoples' conclusions on our movies or anything else for that matter. Culture is what makes us human and he believes that in every bone in his body. He is ambitious, he wants to dream bigger than life, he wants it all and believes everyone should do the same if that is what they want. He hates that in school, teachers say things such as: Tu rêves en couleur (you're dreaming in Technicolor). "We, in Qc, have the talent, the courage the ability and the obligation to dream big, to believe the Hollywood dream. We are survivers. If we want Quebec to be a country, then we can dream of being the best. Why the hell not?" he says. He is a proud trooper! "Tink big, ostie," comme dirait Elvis Gratton!

On Twitter, the reaction to his interview was immediate. It was positive, if only because people view him as being arrogant and pretentious. The way much of the Twitter population sees it is, you don't get where he is now by being silent, conservative and precocious. You need to make waves, oser, make a scene to get what you want or, you end up living your life like a québécois expression: Né pour un petit pain! Dolan does not want that and he wishes the Quebec population would arise above also.

Why is this interview important?

  • Xavier Dolan is the youngest director to have been nominated three times at the Cannes Festival
  • He has written and directed three films, J'ai tué ma mère, Les amours imaginaires, Laurence Anyways
  • The subjects of his three films have never been dealt with before, at least not the way he wrote them. He is daring with the subject he choses...very personal except for Laurence Anyways who is fictionnal and not "autobiographique"
  • He financed his first movies by doing dubbing movies into French (du doublage), such as the caracter Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter movies. He did this when he was young and still does it today. He even called Warner's Brother studio to complain that the doublage should not be done in a french from France. He thought it was a mistake since their expression are not understood by most french population.

TLMEP Interview with the Student Protest Leaders

UPDATE: Added the Youtube video of the entire interview at the bottom of the blog entry. Thank you to GASMORG on Youtube for posting a high-quality, sound-synchronized version.

Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois is co-spokesperson for CLASSE
Martine Desjardins is president of FEUQ
Léo Bureau-Blouin is president of FECQ, the Quebec Federation of Cegep students

Source: Le Soleil
The leaders are introduced with a play on word that cannot I cannot do justice by translating: « Ils font le ménage à trois du printemps québécois. » Just remember: faire le ménage means housekeeping, you know what ménage à trois means, and ménage du printemps is the same as spring cleaning.

The threesome are met with applause and a standing ovation. Many of those standing are wearing the red square badge, including fellow guest Xavier Dolan... who wasn't wearing one ten minutes ago!

Altogher, these three leaders represent 175,000 cegep and university students on strike (or boycotting classes, if you are concerned with abusing the term "on strike") for the past twelve weeks now in protest against the government's plans to raise tuition.

Minister of education Line Beauchamp invited student leaders to meet early last week, on the condition that there was a 48-hour stop ("trêve", "truce") of all economic disruption. After some wrangling, all three student leaders met with the minister for some 40-odd hours.

Bureau-Blouin: They were ready to listen and negotiate. They were prepared to walk away from the table with concrete proposals to take back to students for voting. But the minister applied different standards to the different associations, in deciding to kick CLASSE out of the talks after they were accused of organizing a protest during the "truce." This short-circuited any negotiation with all three of the groups. Desjardins pointed out that her federation, FEUQ, did organize protests during the truce, notably in Rimouski, and yet they were not kicked out. "Il y avait deux poids, deux mesures dans cette circonstance-là" ("There was a double-standard in this case").

Nadeau-Dubois points out that the accusation stems from a link the CLASSE website has to an open Facebook group, upon which a user organized a protest. It was not sanctioned or encouraged by CLASSE. In his opinion, the minister invited thinking she could divide the student groups at the table. Once faced with a block standing in solidarity, "elle n'avait pas le choix de retourner sur la vieille stratégie de diviser pour mieux régner" (she had no choice but to return to the old strategy of divide and conquer) and to do that, she kicked the CLASSE out.

Does the minister have anything personal against you, Nadeau-Dubois is asked. It's not between the minister and Nadeau-Dubois, or minister and the CLASSE. It's between the 180,000 students (he gives a different number from Guy A. in the intro) fighting for "accessibility to studies," and against a government he accuses of being corrupt, and whose credibility is being undermined more and more with each passing week.

Guy A. asks: There has been a lot of clashing (grabuge), thugs (casseurs) in the protests in recent days... Does the federation control their members? BB says yes, but reminds us that when one organizes demonstrations with tens of thousands of people, it can happen that some ill-intentioned people can infiltrate the event.

What's important, suggests BB, is that the vast majority of demonstrations have been peaceful, and among the thugs is "toute une génération qui se lève et qui fait un cri du coeur" (a whole generation that is rising up and making a plea from their heart.)

Normally it's the children who should be listening to their parents, but today we have hundreds of thousands of youth asking their parents and their government to be heard, "parce que c'est nous les jeunes qui devons vivre les conséquences de ces décisions" (because it is us, the youth, who will have to live with the consequences of these decisions.)

CLASSE has a lot of direct democratic processes that the minister finds student association's structure heavy and difficult. In fact, all the student federations involve their memebership in the decision-making process, through general assemblies, votes by raised hand and secret ballot at time. Nadeau-Dubois finds the minister's confusion normal: "le parti libéral du Québec et la démocratie, ça semble en effet avoir une relation compliqué" (the Quebec Liberal Party and democracy do seem to have a troubled relationship). But it's the implication of the membership in the decision-making, rather than a top-down approach, that helps drive and mobilize them.

Not just a pretty face.
Source: Le Soleil via Le Globe
Let's take a quick break here. Xavier Dolan keeps making googley eyes across the set, and is blushing, laughing... What's going on? Guy A. sets the stage, by quoting Dolan from earlier last week: "Il est très, très éloquent, il m'impressionne beaucoup et aussi je trouve--mais bon, c'est sans importance--qu'il est très sexy." 

Dolan, blushing and laughing, reaffirms: Bravo pour le bon travail. Nadeau-Dubois returns the compliment "sans aucune gène, ni malaise" (without any embarrassment or unease... and yet he has a little difficulty making eye contact), saying Dolan makes great films.

Turcotte rubs salt in the wound by pointing out the newly appeared red patch on Dolan's jacket. Dolan, now struggling to contain himself, explains he meant to wear his but forgot it at home, and so he had to borrow one before the interview with the student leaders began.

Okay, okay... back to democracy. Desjardins feels the government has nothing to Quebec Liberal party has no right to lecture the students on democratic principles, when they perform general assemblies and votes by raising hands (le vote à main levée). The Libs work exactly the same way in their conventions! And the alternative, the secret ballot, leads to even higher numbers in support of the protests, so it's not to the government's advantage, anyhow.

The federations never encouraged violence without denouncing them either, at first. Then the vandalism, the fighting. Do you denounce it now? Bureau-Blouin says there is no doubt they condemned violence from the outset, that the movement go on peacefully, and he appeals to the student public again to continue to demonstrate pacifically. What concerns him is that the Quebec government knew in cutting off the talks that it would spur violence, and questions if that was not ultimately their true intention.

Is the semester scrapped? Bureau-Blouin says it's not worthwhile to cancel the entire term, as it will cause problems cascading problems for people finishing high school and looking to find seats in cegeps.

How busy are these guys? They can't count the hours they do, but they've done about 30 interviews on the day of taping. (Later, on the Téléjournal newscast, he hear about how news of the demonstrations is making international headlines... They must be even busier now!) But the work of these three pales in comparison to the hard work the leaders in individual colleges and universities are doing to rally the troops, hold the picket lines and organize the general assemblies and votes.

Guest Louis-Gilles Francoeur, journalist with Le Devoir, finds what these leader are living is essentially a course "applied political science." He is pleased to see a renaissance of the spirit that he thought dead after the 60s.

On March 28, support against the tuition hikes was at 45% in survey; on April 16 it's gone as low as 38%. What happened? Bureau-Blouin: The message in the public has been consistent--that they don't want to empty taxpayers' pockets, that there are plenty of savings to be made in universities and the organization. But the violence helped lose the message.

Spoken like a true politician, he says: C'est aussi bien sûr que toutes les violences, les débordements sur lesquelles on a mis beaucoup les projecteurs ont peut-être pas aidé dans ce sens-là (For sure, also, all of the violence and overflowing that the screens have been focused on have not helped in this regard.)

Dany's card, to all three leaders: IT'S RED, instead of the usual green! It reads: "Vous êtes l'avenir du Québec. S'il vous plait profitez à plein de vos études afin que nos futurs gouvernements soient plus matures, intègeres et visionaires." You are the future of Quebec. Please make the most of your studies, so that our future governments may be more mature, integral et visionary.

Video of the interview:

© 2012 Radio-Canada. Shared on Youtube by GASMORG

29 avril 2012

TLMEP Summary of April 29

Tout le monde gagne!

Patrice L'Écuyer, Denis Bouchard and Gino Chouinard are invited on the set to explain how they reacted to winning le prix Artis, presented at a Gala broadcast on TVA last Sunday. Denis Bouchard won best male role in a television show for the drama following the lives of crown attorneys, Toute la vérité (The Whole Truth). Gino Chouinard, weekday host of the most popular morning show in Quebec, Salut, bonjour!, won best host for a service broadcast (émission de service), and Patrice L'Écuyer won for best host for a game show, L'Union fait la force. As they all say, its always nice and honoring to be chosen!

Lucian Bute know something about winning. The current IBF Super Middleweight champion, and recent Canadian citizen, is prepared to face Carl Froch on May 26 in Nottingham, England.

The 23-year-old actor, director, screen writer, Xavier Dolan, comes on the set tonite to speak about his disappointment for not being selected in the official run at the Cannes Festival's Palme d'Or for his third movie Laurence Anyways. It will be, now the third time, being selected but never in the official competition--once for writing and directing J'ai tué ma mère (I Killed My Mother), then for Les Amours imaginaires (entitled Heartbeats in English). He admits being disappointed, but not for dreaming and being ambitious. He would of like to have had the opportunity to be selected honoring Quebec where talent is growing and for all the young directors out there who wish to make it in the business. He is not humble about his success, he is not going to down play it. Dolan is proud of what he has accomplished and will not be quiet about it.

Following the North Star

Journalists Raymond Saint-Pierre from Radio-Canada and Louis-Gilles Francoeur from Le Devoir, talk to us about the North, in the governments' plans and in reality on the ground, and why it's important that everyone understand the issues and demand to have their say in the decisions being made.

Some couples do everything together. Marie-Ève Janvier and Jean-François Breau take it to an extreme: they live together, work together, make albums together and even put on a show together! How do they do on TLMEP together?

Oui, chefs!

Are you a "food-porn" addict? Then you'll be happy to hear chef Daniel Vézina's the upcoming season of Les chefs! on Radio-Canada is starting back up on June 27. That's supposing you haven't gotten enough out of his show on the channel Zeste, or his other show on the channel Zeste... or his new show with his son on channel Zeste!

Do too many cooks spoil the broth? Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, spokesperson for student association LA CLASSE, and Martine Desjardins and Léo Bureau-Blouin, presidents of FEUQ and FECQ student groups respectively, have kept up their student protests using a potent recipe of direct democracy, solidarity, boycotting and (mostly) peaceful pressure for the past twelve weeks. They're turning up the heat... Will it bring the government to a boil?

25 avril 2012

TLMEP Interview with Christian Bégin - April 22

Christian Bégin is a busy man – acting in a new play for Juste pour rire this summer, writing a new play now being performed, starting on TV and raising a teenager. Is there anything he can’t do?
Prénom, adapted for Quebec, from the French play of the same name will show in the summer during just for laughs. It’s a 5-character diddy that takes place at a dinner party in one evening. Should be interesting.
His third play, just finished and now showing, explores sadness and isolation and questions why we are so alone. CB thinks there’s a glorification of the ME and that our participation in so many virtual worlds is making it worse. Relief and salvation will come only when we sincerely believe others are as important as we are. (It is here that I begin to understand that CB has some interesting insight to offer. Yup, I had prejudice walking in to this interview) If only our governments could take the lead on this, we’d be doing so much better.
His critically acclaimed TV series (aired on Tele-Quebec) Bar Ouvert was cancelled and CB is sad at this even though his mother was quite pleased. The show was weird and pushed the boundaries of taste and may have even been disconcerting at times but it was still magical in its creativity.
CB recounts an amusing anecdote involving getting two denver boots in two weeks because of address changes not being done in one office vs. another. His fines would be sent to an old address and yet they found his car. Twice.
Speaking about his part – David Roche – in the prime time drama series Trauma, he’s asked how close to reality the portrayal is. Well, this is fiction, so there must be exaggeration for effect.
Talking about his teenaged son Théophile, he’s worried; worried that his son is about to live his first true heartbreak as a member of CLASSE. He doesn’t believe the students will win this battle. Although Théo will suffer heartbreak, CB thinks this will have good positive consequences for his son’s character. CB thinks he understands why (at the time of the recording of the show) CLASSE had not officially condoned the violence and that is because he thinks the government wants to undermine the students as much as possible and possibly discredit the movement altogether (take a moment, it’s not that far-fetched a notion). Asked if he believes this is the Printemps Quebecois, he’s not so sure. Maybe in a dozen years we’ll think back to 2012 and see it a turning point… as a final thought CB offers this beautiful insight: (…, paraphrasing a little) we need to denounce things. Change only comes from opportunity or revelation; not through individual thought.
Why this matters: CB is a well-known character actor and entertainer. Like all guests of his profession before him, this is the simple continuation of growing our arts culture. At least this guy’s quirkily interesting and talented. Check out his rant from TLMEP in 2010.

24 avril 2012

TLMEP Interview with Alain Gravel and Fabrice de Pierrebourg - April 22

Alain Gravel and Fabrice de Pierrebourg are here to discuss their findings in the recently exposed corruption case in Mascouche - google news link here. Alain Gravel is the host and of Radio-Canada's investigative news series Enquète and Fabrice de Pierrebourg is an investigative reporter with La Presse. They are being interviewed to discuss their findings in the Mascouche case. All that information is readily available online and they offer no unique insight into that investigation.
Of course, when the shit hits the fan in Montreal and all our corruption is exposed, it'll be much bigger sums.
What is interesting is their take on UPAC's mandate - which now has become much too big. 55 police officers investigate for UPAC and now they have to investigate daycare centres as well as politicians and their business partners.
In many cases the RCMP seems to be getting in the way of UPAC. M. Parent pipes up here to explain that not all is as it seems - sometimes the RCMP just doesn't have enough to go on and therefore doesn't want to muddy the waters with imprecise intel.
Why this matters: Ok, exposing corruption at any level of government is very important. The work that journos like Messieurs Gravel and de Pierrebourg do is incredibly important to keeping our politicos honest. See the links I posted and you can get a full understanding of the scope of this investigation.
Many thanks to bl1ndedbyfear on youtube for posting TLMEP videos so quickly. I hope to get in touch with you soon!

23 avril 2012

TLMEP Interview with Marc Parent - April 22

Marc Parent, chief of police for the city of Montreal.

The number of protests certainly has increased in the past few months. Indeed, confirms Parent, there have been 160 student demonstrations since January of this year. It asks for a lot of vigilance on the police’s behalf, but they are trained and equipped for it.

How well trained? Guy A. plays clips of police strong-arming, including a protester being wrestled to the ground, policemen punching their way through a human chain of protesters, and using of pepper spray. Do they use a judicious amount of force?

Parent explains that the police department is responsible for upholding the right to free speech and assembly, but they are also responsible for seeing that demonstrations unfold safely and peacefully. They oversee the events (on est là pour encadrer les manifestations), and they have to intercede at time when violations are committed.

Only when public safety is threatened. They progressively announce their intentions to disperse the crowd, if for example they are blocking a building and holding people captive. Police are trained to use a minimal amount of force.

Do the police intimidate protesters? The beating of batons on shields and advancing in formation is not a form of intimidation but rather an announcement of police’s intentions, that they want the crowd to disperse. M. Parent concedes that the police force is not perfect (on a pas un bulletin de 100%). There are times where they haven’t made the best solution, but explains that these are decisions that are taken in the heat of the moment.

Turcotte suggests the police is not at war with today’s youth. Quite the opposite, says Parent, they try to work with them and oversee their protests (he repeats the word encadrer). That being said, he has found in the past two weeks, there have been a radicalization  of the movement (casseurs, agitateurs): including tactics as unleashing smoke bombs in the metro, bricks on the metro tracks, break-ins into government offices, use of pyrotechnic devices…

Guy A. reminds of that one protest is more delicate than all the others, the March 15 annual protest against police brutality. This year there were 226 arrests. Parent says this protest has been a problem for the past fifteen years. He feels there’s a legitimate message in the movement, but like in others, like the anti-capitalism movement, there is a radical element that infiltrates, causes problems, and the message is lost.

Two La Presse journalists were arrested and their material confiscated during the vandalizing (saccage) of the ministry of education’s offices. In this case, regrettably, the police intervened as the last was being broken and they arrested everyone on the spot, including the journalists. They were released not an hour later. Parent believes journalists are partners of public safety. One of the journalists arrested has been reporting on the protests since the beginning and there hadn’t been any problems before or since, and the arrest was not well handled. Since then, there have been discussions with La Presse management and the Qc federation of journalists. Unfortunately, in the fog of war, it’s not always clear who is a journalist. Not all journalists want to clearly identify themselves.

Mole Yan Davidson tried to sell a list of informants to the mafia. How did this simple police officer get access to this info? There’s a limited set of officers have that access; no one doubted his integrity until it was found out. The availability and security of sensitive information has been in. Officers take discretions like this very seriously among themselves.  M. Davidson committed suicide.  Guy A. infers that it could have been an inside job: did he commit suicide, or was he suicided? Parent confirms it was definitely a suicide.

Inquiry into police officers releasing confidential information. Journalists question the real intention of the inquiry and feel it is meant to intimidate them. It is normal for journalists to speak to the police, but police must have a certain discretion. When confidential information is transgressed.

Mario Hamel shot last year, or Freddy Villanueva has undermined the credibility of the SPVM. Are you aware? Not a single officer wakes up waking to kill an innocent. There are 33,000 calls of people in mental distress, which is related to the issue of vagrance. When problems aren’t resolved with health services and street help, it falls on the police. And when drugs are involved, their behavior worsens. Thus why they watch synthetic drugs, such as speed and ecstasy; it’s a growing problem.

Police is in Parent’s blood. His father was a cop, and one of his son’s is considering it in his future. He was hired as chief of police year ago was hired, to the cheer of the police corps.

The topic of corruption is being put aside for the interview later with reporters Alain Gravel and Fabrice de Pierrebourg.

Parent produces a pair of gloves. A policeman’s out-reach initiative at Louis-Joseph Papineau High school given drop-outs and youth with other problems an outlet through the discipline Olympic boxing. Parent offers Turcotte and Guy A. boxing gloves and invitations to the upcoming gala.

Turcotte counters, first with a jet of “pepper spray”, but then with his traditional card: I'm pleased to have met you. Next time I get stopped, I can say: Hey, I know your boss, okay? Get back in your car." (Heureux de vous avoir rencontré. La prochaine fois qu’on m’arrete, je pourrai leur dire: <<Hé! Je connais votre boss, oké? Retourne dans ton char.>>)

In a surprising reversal, Parent counter-counters with a card of his own: he invites Turcotte to experience a night in a patrol with police officers, or Parent himself! (Je vous invite à vivre une experience unique: une nuit à Montréal en auto-patrouille avec nos policiers ou en ma compagnie.)

Why this Matters

TLMEP Interview with Janette Bertrand, April 22

Written by Sylvie Lupien

Janette Bertrand.
Credit: User:Asclepias, Wikipedia
Janette Bertrand arrives on the set of Tout le monde en parle helped by Dany Turcotte and Guy A. Lepage. She is 87 years old,  though just looking at her, you can sense that her energy says otherwise. She is so happy to have been invited back to the show (she was last on in 2008, see video) and admits that she missed both Guy and Dany. I should add that she is a role model for Guy A. Lepage and openly admits that he adores her and calls her his spiritual mom!

She is here to talk about her new book: "Lit Double" ("Twin Bed") which will be available as of April 25th.

Guy A. asks: Why write about couples, again? Bertrand says she wanted to write about those 49% of couples that succeed in their union instead of emphasizing the 51% that divorce. She followed five couples of all ages and sexes (one gay couple is part of it) and revealed how they manage through crisis and their sexuality. Her daughter protested on the quantity of sexual aspect in her book, to which she replied: "Couples and sexuality go together. If you want to talk about couples, you have to talk about their sexuality".

Cover of Janette Bertrand's latest book.
Credit: Les éditions Libre Expression
What, then, is the secret to a successful relationship? Three things, claims Bertrnad. Man, woman and the couple. She goes on to say, that the problem is, in her opinion, female (heu non!). Women have a tendency to dream of a man that doesn't exist (heu....non, non!). Her explanation is that passion—real passion—does not last, and that this is normal (apparently, we women don't get that).

How long does passion last, Guy A. asks immediately? The man is worried! Six months to two years. After that, Bertrand says, reality settles in and the real relationship begins. She goes on, giggling that, in the beginning, everything is easy because basically you don't know each other and you make love all the time. When that slows down a bit—because it does—it's the "couple" that needs to be constructed, and it is up to the man and the woman to make a decision. Do we want to pursue this relationship, do we love each other enough, and what are we willing to do to make it work?

Bertrand herself has had two men in her life. One relationship that lasted 34 years (Jean Lajeunesse with whom she had children) and another, M. Genson, that has been going strong for the last 30 years, still deeply in love with (and who, I may add, is twenty years her younger). She demystifies the notion that you can love only once. She has and deeply was in love with both of her husbands. She left the first one on the basis that she couldn't emancipate herself (« s'émanciper ») since the very basis of their relationship was man overpowering woman. (We'll touch this again in the "Why This Matters" section, below). She met her second husband very shortly afterward, but was not able to be with him since he was already married and she therefore waited for him.

In the second part of the interview, Guy A. mentioned that Bertrand recently received the Guy Mauffette prize, the highest government award for lifetime distinction in radio and television. This is the second year of the prize's existence, and Bertrand is the first woman to be given the honour. She admits that she still suffers from impostor syndrome, even after all these years and all her achievements. Waiting to be named to received the prize, she was still convinced that they were going to tell her that they had made a mistake and that she wasn't going to be honoured. She relates this problem to her upbringing by the generation in which she was born: women were less of a person than men, women were not able to amount to anything worthwhile, women should be quiet and be pretty. She still holds a lot of insecurity, even though her work portrays a woman ahead of her time.

Why this matters

  • Janette Bertrand was born in 1925. She is an author, a radio and television host and an actress.
  • She studied at the Université de Montréal to become a journalist. It is then, that she opens up to feminism.
  • She began her career as a radio host, at CKAC, in the 1950's, with the show "Mon mari et nous" ("My Husband and Us").
  • She went on to create a television show called "Toi et moi" with her husband Jean Lajeunesse, which aired from 1954 to 1960. It talked about couples and their everyday problems, and she and her husband were actors in that series. Despite being the author of the screenplays, nowhere does Bertrand get credit for her work, because Radio-Canada at the time could not conceived that a woman could do such a thing. Her husband then had to sign his name as the author or else the television station would not take it.
  • She later explained in her book "Ma vie en trois actes", that she was deeply in love with her husband Jean Lajeunesse, and so having him signed his name at the bottom of her writing was understood by her as being what a woman should sacrifice for her marriage. I can already tell you that her perspective changed over the course of the following years and, if her husband had adapted to this change, she would probably still be married to him.
  • The body of Bertrand's work relates to love, couple's life, marriage, sexuality, adolescence and sexual discovery, and feminism. Through her radio appearance, television series, playwriting and a newspaper advice column she wrote, she influenced many young Quebec women in finding their voice and their sexuality.
  • If it's any measure on her impact on Quebec society, the iconic singers Robert Charlebois and Mouffe sing Madame Bertrand in 1969, portraying a man and a women writing to her separately in search of advice on finding their soul mate.

22 avril 2012

TLMEP Overview of April 22

After receiving student leaders on the set of TLMEP, Guy A. continues to give a more complete picture of the situation, tonight: from the police, from parents, and from a former minister of education. That's not all that was talked about tonight, but after this weekend's violent protests after the show's taping, expect more in the coming weeks.

Bonjour la Police!

(If you don't get the reference in this heading, take a minute to watch this video of the the popular comedy skit/song from 1989.)

Taking the heat for the fuzz, Montreal police chief Marc Parent steps onto the set of Tout le monde en parle to talk about the handling of the more than 150 student protests that have occurred since the beginning of this year.

Not policemen, but helping them in their work, investigative reporters Alain Gravel and Fabrice de Pierrebourg are here tonight to talk political corruption in general and the Mascouche affair in particular. Their job is to gather facts and build the stories not to give everything away to the police or courts of la. They will help us ponder the next scandal; cause in Quebec, it never ends.

Taming Dragons or Relationships? Which is Harder...

Janette Bertrand, the 87-year-old writer, journalist, radio talk-show host and actress, came to the set to talk about her new book, "Lit Double" (twin bed) . It's a novel (roman) that follows five couples through their relationships that are still going strong. She tries to explain why 49% of couples succeed  where 51% don't. She gives her perspective on how and why these couples manage to survive the crisis.

Danièle Henkel, Algerian-born entrepreneure, is one of the favorite dragons in the Radio-Canada show "Dans l'oeil du Dragon" (the Québec version of the Japanese "Dragons' Den" popular in English Canada on CBC). She explains her life story, when she arrived to Quebec in 1990, and how she rebuilt her life, her pharma-cosmetic company, working hard and never considering failure as an option.

Food, Politics and other Passions

Foodie and epicurian Christian Bégin is a strong pursuer of all his passions be they acting or eating or writing. He's gained and lost much recently and talks about those times. He also takes some time to discuss the road that lies ahead for his son Théophile who attends CEGEP and, as a member of CLASSE, he believes is about to live heartbreak.

Here to talk about what it's like being in the minister of education's shoes is, Jean Garon, who held the position from 1994 to 1997. He explains why he's against the fees, what he would do differently, and why Régis Labeaume (if you're a #badanglo, that's the mayor of Quebec City) is getting it right.

18 avril 2012

TLMEP Interview with Members of Les Belles-soeurs Musical, April 15

Written by Dominic Major and Tim FitzGerald

[Editor's note: If you've never heard of Michel Tremblay or Les Belles-soeurs, then it is your civic duty to read the Why this matters section to this article. I can't express enough how important this is to understanding Quebec culture.]

This evening's show starts with company members of a re-imagined musical version of the play that allowed Quebec culture to express itself, Michel Tremblay's Les Belles-soeurs. If the original play stirred controversy over its use of joual in higher forums of culture then, it has now managed even to win the hearts and minds of French audiences in Paris, where they're renowned to sneer at more provincial dialects.

Four guests are here to represent the company that played Les Belles-Soeurs in Paris’ Théatre du rond-point: René-Richard Cyr (director), Daniel Bélanger (composer/musical director), Janine Sutto (actor, Olivine Dubuc) and Guylaine Tremblay (actor, Rose Ouimet). Talk went back and forth and between all the guests quite quickly. Here are some highlights:

René-Richard Cyr, Guylaine Tremblay – Yes, we were surprised at how the French received us this time around. With so much history of disliking our “provincial-ness” it was amazing to see how much they enjoyed our patois and joual this time around.

Daniel Bélanger – DB did the music but was not a musician, so why did you go to Paris? To be there, to experience the moment and to help out if needed. It was fun. A small anecdote about the music: when doing the first rehearsals for the music RRC called Michel and invited him over – he said yes. It was a little nerve-wracking to say the least.

Janine Sutto – Janine will be 91 years-old on April 20th! How great is that? Asked if it was important for her to join the troupe in Paris she answers that she needed to be there to support to live to participate. Although the girls didn’t take her out much she still very much enjoyed it. Janine participated in the very first public reading of Michel Tremblay’s oeuvre back in May 1968. When asked to compare her performance then and now, she feels she was less authentic in 1968 and that today, she has more to offer.

The question of ultimate peril: Define alacrity. Well, no one got it. (which I found vaguely amusing). It means, we learn from Guy A., brisk and cheerful readiness, or pep.

Guy A. wants to know about the funding for the upcoming tour – 36 dates, all over Québec in the summer. It would cost a reported $1M. Where does the money come from? In part from Loto-Quebec and they found 3 other companies to help fund the project: CGI, La caisse de depot du Québec and Power Corporation Canada.

What’s next for everyone?

  • RRC: looking to put on another Michel Tremblay play. This time, Albertine en cinq temps.
  • GT: Filming all summer. Sonia Rochon will replace her as the company tours this summer.
  • DB: working on a new album inspired by rockabilly. We hear a clip from his new song (I like it).
  • Janine was simply asked how she manages to keep going after losing husband and daughter recently. Her answer, quite simply: You must assume/own whatever happens in your life. I love it.

Why this matters:

Les belles-soeurs was the first of Michel Tremblay's plays ever to be produced.
Who's Michel Tremblay? Well...

  • Michel Tremblay is a playwright and novelist, born on the Plateau Mont-Royal in 1942. Far from the trendy neighbourhood we know it as today, the Plateau was a poor, working-class neighbourhood of primarily francophone origin. Like many in the area, he grew up in very modest standing, if not squalor. Writers of Montreal paint an excellent picture:
    • Poverty squeezed three families--twelve people--into seven rooms. Until he was six he ate in a high chair; until he was nine, he slept in a crib. He was brought up by six women.
  • In 1960, as Quebec begins its cultural revolution, the book Les insolences du Frère Untel  is published. Written by a Marist brother, the book laments the Church-dominated educational system and the poor quality of french spoken in Quebec. In writing this, he employs the word joual—a deformation of the word cheval (horse), as in people talking like the way a horse would —to describe the common people's dialect, as opposed to a proper French. Joual is exactly what Tremblay is exposed to growing up on the Plateau.
  • The book sparks a firestorm, and is an important factor in the Quiet Revolution that starts at around this time. It raises questions like: what's wrong with the way I speak? The way we speak?
    • I'm not finding a webpage to link to that adequately describes the debate over the quality of language, joual vs. le bon français.
  • It's in this context that Les Belles-soeurs premieres at the Théâtre du rideau vert (the very same that still stands on Saint-Denis in the Plateau) in 1968. The language his characters use is the language all the women in his house used. It's his mother tongue in the most authentic sense of the word.
  • To give you an idea of how it was received, some critical reviews at the time:
    • Le Devoir critic Jean Basile "suggested that it was 'a necessary tool to make people aware of their nauseating cultural condition so they can vomit it up once and for all.' One would rather not see "the evidence of our degeneration," he added, but Tremblay's play was collective consciousness raising, difficult but necessary for the people to improve themselves."
    • Martial Dassylva of La Presse "asserted that it was wrong to present joual as the national language of Québec, and that in so doing Tremblay broke an unwritten convention of drama writing, and transformed the play into an illegitimate cultural event."
  • Tremblay's explanation of joual as a housewife's defense of the French language is beautiful:
    • Pour moi, le joual est une chose assez admirable. Parce qu'il est né d'une volonté des femmes du début du XXe siècle de Montréal de rester francophone. [...] À la fin du XIXe, du début de la XXe siècle, les gens de la campagne sont venus s'installer à Montréal parce que c'est ici qu'il y avait les jobs, qu'il y avait des industries, qu'il y avait de l'argent. Mais l'argent était anglais. Alors les hommes allaient travailler en anglais, rapportaient à la maison des mots anglais, mais c'est les femmes qui voulaient rester francophone et c'est à la rencontre des mots qu'on rapportait à la maison.
    • For me, joual is a rather admirable thing. Because it was born of the willingness of women in the beginning of the 20th century in Montreal to stay francophone. [...] At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, folk from the countryside settled in Montreal because that's where the jobs were, where industry was, where the money was. But the Money was English. And so the men went to work in English and brought home English words, but it was the women who wanted to remain francophone and met the words that were brought home.
The questions of Paris and funding has its history as well.
  • In 1971, after a very successful run of Les Belles-soeurs in Montreal, a theatre in Paris proposes a production in the French capital.
  • But they are unable to secure government funding. The stinger came from Quebec minister of culture who "said that she preferred theatre plays written in correct language and that she could not subsidize a play written in joual to represent Québec in Paris."
  • They only made it two years later, with financing from... the federal government!
More info:

17 avril 2012

TLMEP Interview with Christian Tortora, Apr 15

Written by Dominic Major

Christian Tortora – journalist covering Formula One for over 30 years is our last guest of the evening. (Being an F1 fan, I was looking forward to this.)

Torto is here to help promote a new direct-to-DVD documentary that he participated in: Ecclestone’s Formula (Ecclestone: La formule du pouvoir). Torto had this to say about Formula One’s über-boss: Bernie’s a maniacal obsessive. He’s got all the money in the world and he’ll still check the journalists’ bathrooms to make sure they have the right toilet paper. He loves power, not money to the point of not even knowing the value of it within his sport; a new team wants in and he’ll simply quote a number, like $200M, which would get paid without hesitation. Next year will see TV stations re-negotiate their agreements with F1 in order to lower costs. It’s not that F1 is not profitable; it’s just that they must lower costs in order to continue down the right path.

After thirty-plus years in the paddocks, Tortora now works the races from home, in Provence. He’s got a nice set-up with multiple monitors and camera views and is able to do the races live on RDS. Torto doesn’t miss the paddocks so much anymore – his friends are gone and in the past few years, the pilots have become less and less accessible. There was a time where a driver would step out of his car at the end of the race and be immediately swarmed by journalists.

Asked about the 2013 race in New York (it’s actually New Jersey, but no one correct Guy A. they fear him I suppose) he doesn’t believe it will compete with Canada’s GP. The Canadian race is the second-largest event in the calendar by attendance, attracting approximately 150,000 people to the race.

Minister James Moore is asked about this and he makes a comparison to the Olympics: it’s not in our best interest to lose this event; it makes too much money.

Torto reminisces briefly about a most painful moment for him – May 8, 1982 at Zolder (Belgian Grand Prix), when Gilles Villeneuve, father of Jacques Villeneuve, crashed and died. He didn’t sleep for three days after the event as he was kept busy. He acted as spokesman for Joann (Villeneuve père’s wife) representing her to the media; there were so many tape-recorders at the hospital, they lined a whole wall. In the end, after having to speak with prime minister P.E. Trudeau, Villeneuve was given military escort to the airport and by plane back to Canada. Sleep came soon after.

Although the vroom-vroom interview segment is later, the speed at which questions are asked and answered is impressive, so I’ll use that here on in:

  • Most memorable moment? Jacques Villeneuve’s 1997 World Championship win
  • Why did JV not succeed more? Bad advice from his manager. ‘nuff said.

(Villeneuve fils was in Paul Arcand’s movie – he tested some of the modified cars for performance. He’s a great guy apparently.)
  • Favourite course: Spa (Spa-Francorchamps, site of the Belgian Grand Prix for most of the 20th century, with breaks in-between due to safety concerns. It’s a crazy track!)
  • Least favourite course: Monaco
  • Favourite city: Montreal, of course!
  • Least favourite city: Spa
  • Most missed race: Argentina
  • Course that should never have existed: Abu Dhabi
  • Fastest driver: Tie between Prost and Senna
  • Driver that could have profited from a better car: JV
  • Least friendly driver: Michael Schumacher
  • Most bastardly (salaud) driver: Schumi again.
  • Most feared current driver: Alonso
  • Biggest rivalry: Prost/Senna
  • Biggest gaffe in career: during preparations for the 1981 Belgian Grand Prix (at Zolder, not Spa-F), Torto was called to Rome to cover the assassination attempt on Pope Jean Paul II. Upon arriving in Rome he was counselled by friends and colleagues to just go back and call a few times a day for info. Sadly, during a call in to his home network, listeners were greeted with the sound of speeding F1 cars as he delivered his report “live from Rome”.

Why this matters

There are positive and negative feelings towards F1 in Montreal so I’ll let you decide if it matters or not. In the end, it’s entertainment and therefore only matters to folks who gain from it – one way or another. I still like Torto a lot and I’m happy we’ve had his perspective tonight.

TLMEP Interview with James Moore, April 15

UPDATE: Kudos to Mr. Moore for posting a video of his appearance on TLMEP. Way to understand the digital society!

Written by Tim FitzGerald and Sylvie Lupien

James Moore is the federal minister of Heritage and Official Languages. His department is responsible for, among other things, the application of the Official Languages Act (the law before the constitutional change of 1982 that lays out how Canada is meant to be bilingual), the Naitonal Film Bureau... and CBC/Radio-Canada. A native of British Columbia, he is bilingual enough to come onto TLMEP and speak French.

The tone is set when Moore walks on the set. Over the loud speakers, we hear Offenbach's lead singer Gerry Boulet shout the lyrics: "Ayoye! Tu me fais mal, à mon coeur d'animal." (Ow! You're hurting me!)

Moore is the minister responsible for the CBC and Radio-Canada. Which means he will be the one implementing the $132M in budget cuts to culture as outlined in the federal budget. In a studio deep in the recesses of Maison Radio-Canada, surrounded by RadCan employees and other guests who make a living in part with federal culture funding, is he like Daniel in the lion's den?

Not one to let his lose his cool on a guest, Guy A. rattles off the numbers coldly: $115M to be cut from the CBC/Radio-Canada, $10M from Téléfilm, $17M from the National Film Board... For the CBC, that represents 650 jobs to be cut in the next three years. Pretty rough decision, coming from someone who his Conservative colleagues call Monsieur Radio-Canada Lover.

To put it in perspective, the budget overall counts for $5bil in cuts, and over 19,000 job losses. And even then, Moore reminds us... that cut represents only 0.1% of the Canadian economy. And to take a step back further, we're certainly in a more fortunate situation that other countries right now (cf. Greece, Britain, Italy).

But does the government see the need for a public broadcaster, asks Guy A.? Yes, assets Moore. You wouldn't have any French broadcasts from coast to coast without one.

Moore repeatedly mentions that despite the cuts, much funding of art and culture has been protected. The budget to the Canada Council for the Arts, remains untouched. In fact, much of the cutting will happen within the ministry; the Heritage department is cutting 42% of its public service employees.

The situation of funding is less clear on the ground, guest Guylaine Tremblay tells us. She stars in Les rescapés, and she herself doesn't know with the budget changes if her show will be back next year for a third season. There are rumours it might, but with fewer episodes? The whole thing is unclear.

Wait a minute-- did he just say forty-two percent? Paul Arcand is flabbergasted. How can we afford such cuts? Well, Moore explains that in preparation of the Vancouver Olympics, of which there was a strong cultural component, the bureaucracy was expanded. Now that the Games are over, the need is gone and we can right-size.

So, if Arcand understands correctly... either Moore is flat-out lying that this can be done harmlessly, or his department has had a tremendous amount of waste for the past year and a half!

The conversation changes to a recent editorial cartoon published in Le Journal de Montréal on April 10th. It portrays an F-35 fighter jet on a collision course for the tower of the Montreal Maison Radio-Canada. Does one come at the expense of the other?

The fleet of CF-18s are in need of replacing. Moore defends the government's decision to move ahead by saying it will create jobs in Canada, notably in Quebec's developed aerospace industry.

But look at Aveos! When Air Canada was privatized, they were ordered by law to keep maintenance centres in Winnipeg, Toronto and Montreal, and now Aveos, the maintenance company, has gone belly-up. Why isn't the Conservative government doing more to defend the aerospace industry today, as legal obligations aren't being met. Yes, Moore concedes, Air Canada has to explain itself to the Commons, but it will respect the law and keep jobs in Montreal. Will it be a shell of its former self? The minister dodges the question.

By all appearances, notes Turcotte, there is a growing divide between Quebec popular opinion and the Conservative government in Ottawa. Mr. Moore is aware. That's why this is his sixth appearance in Montreal in the past two months, to build bridges. But why are there bridges to be built?

Recently some unilingual Anglophones have been appointed to high-level public offices, notably Auditor General Michael Ferguson and Supreme Court nominee, Michael Moldaver. As federal minister responsible for the application of Canada's official languages, is that acceptable? Using his politi-ju-jitsu, he avoids the question of Fergusson, saying he's worked as auditor general in New Brunswick, Canada's only officially bilingual province, and he's super-duper-promised to really work on his French. As for the Supreme Court, he does find it's acceptable as to do otherwise would rule out a majority of otherwise qualified applicants, be they Anglo or Franco, from being considered.

René Richard Cyr speaks up at this point, saying he actually doesn't mind having Conservatives in power, if only because they are transparent in their position. All he's hearing from the minister's mouth is numbers, numbers and more numbers. No actual talk about culture itself.

One interesting remark is

Why This Matters

  • As mentioned numerous times during the interview, Quebec has an important cultural industry. Local music is strong (Canadian content requirements has helped this in English Canada as well), as well as local television and film production.
  • RadCan is part of the Quebec landscape, and it was on this network taht we saw Quebec culture emerge in all its forms, including theatre, film, music and comedy. At the time of the Quiet Revolution, it was the only game in town. To this day, it is the only network that holds as a value or policy to portray culture in all aspects.
  • Radio-Canada is one of only four major francophone broadcasters broadcasters in Quebec. The others:
    • TVA and V are private, and while they do have more local content than CTV or Global, a lot of their material is dubbed from American sources
    • Télé-Québec, the provincial broadcaster, makes gems out of the paltry budget it has, but much of its airtime is dedicated to the mission of culture and education, and less to entertainment
  • English Canada, by comparison that has not only three Canadian major networks (five if you count CTV 2 and Citytv?), but its viewers along the border (or who have cable or satellite) also have American broadcasters to watch.
Let's talk a little bit about laws and obligations

  • One of the outcomes of the Quiet Revolution is Ottawa's enshrinement of Canada's bilingual status in the Official Languages Act.
    • It codified the rights to federal services in French and English across the country, according to needs.
    • It promises the right to address the courts in either language.
    • The appointment of unilingual people in key positions raises concerns over the Conservatives commitment to maintaining bilingualism.
  • Air Canada was a crown corporation, owned by the federal government (and coincidentally therefore subject to the Official Languages Act). When the company was privatized by law in 1989, a number of requirements were set. Among them, that it has to remain headquartered in Montreal, that it has to continue to operate in both languages, and that it had to keep maintenance centres in Toronto, Montreal and Winnipeg.

More Food for Thought

Canada is far from the only country with an editorially autonomous public national broadcaster like the CBC/Radio-Canada, but not all countries have Canada's model.
  • Britain's BBC collects funds directly from the public through licenses on television sets.
  • Most of us are familiar with the American Public Broadcasting System, where funding comes from a mix of US Congress, state support, private corporate "underwriters", and of course, "Viewers Like You" who donate during telethons and get lovely tote bags out of the deal.
  • Public broadcasting in the Netherlands gets its funding from the government, but its content is managed under an interesting membership model: if you are more interested in arts and culture programming, you become a member of that broadcasting association, and that association gets airtime proportional to its membership.
  • In Germany, broadcasting is a state-level (Bundesland) responsibility and not a federal one. There's a fair deal of local programming, but also, in an example of cooperative federalism, national channels where they share content.

More Analysis

Chantal Hébert from Toronto StarJames Moore can’t repair Quebec rift on his own. Published Apr 16, 2012

16 avril 2012

TLMEP Interview with Paul Arcand and Claudia Di Orio, April 15

Written by Dominic Major; edited by Sylvie.

No-nonsense radio talkshow host Paul Arcand (the incomparable!) is here to promote his new documentary on reckless driving, called Dérapages (Loss of Control). Guy A. thinks should be mandatory viewing for all young aspiring drivers.

His third documentary, we start the interview with clips from the movie (to be released April 27, 2012).

After the short clip, the silence present on the panel and in the audience says a lot about the impact this film has. Claudia is here to help promote both the movie and CoolTaxi (more on that later). If her name sounds familiar, her father, Nicola Di Orio was on TLMEP on October 17, 2010, on the same topic. Claudia was in a traffic collision last year where she broke her hip, broke her nose, was left paralysed on her left side and was in a coma for about a month as a result. When her father asked her to speak with M. Arcand as part of the documentary film, she accepted. The short recap of her "accident": when she woke from her coma (no hair, wearing a diaper), her dad said: "you left the bar, Laurent ran at 120km/h, he hit a tree."
M. Arcand's film is centred around youth who "party" and then get behind the wheel. Also about kids with more guts than sense in their modified cars.

M. Arcand talks about the process and the method behind the film - he wanted to let the kids speak for themselves so he simply followed them from bar to bar, last-call to last-call and let them be... in front of his camera.

Yet another gruesome story in the film is the one of Brendan, then 18 years old, who drove down residential streets at 70km/h, lost control, hit the curb, bounced into the yard and whooshed two-year-old Bianca away from the side of her baby-sitter. The horrific part of this is that it happened in 2007 and in the process of heading to court (initially to be tried as an adult, then appealed to be tried as a juvenile) Nadine, Bianca's mom, had to continuously relive the stress and pain by having to go back and forth to court all these year.

Asked if he's angry, M. Arcand responds: "Yes, it's crazy! You made your choice, you did what you did. You lost control, you hit and killed a child on her lawn! You must live with the consequence." (I paraphrases a bit here).

M. Arcand is not the only one with lingering anger - Claudia is still angry with the driver in her collision as well.

(There are more stories shared and they are all in the film. I was certainly shook up and simply listening; I can't imagine how I'll feel after seeing the movie.)

Paul spends some time talking in general about the issues raised from his filming:

  • In 1997 driving mandatory driving lessons were removed for licensing. They were brought back 2010. Despite that, still today you can get your licence without ever going on the highway.
  • One law under review would have anyone under 21 not allowed to drink and drive: tolerance zero. it's a great idea according Claudia. (me too)

The big question asked of the panel in general: Do parents need to be involved more to help prevent these horrific acts? Yes, they need to be there. I can't solely be up to the state, but the state can help; with a curfew for example. But you still won't have police everywhere.

Parents must define the rapport with the car and the decisions drivers make, day in day out. Even though parents often say: "but my kids are responsible", they aren't thinking about all the friends their kids have and of course, how many drunk teens would call their folks at 3am for a ride? Not many. Luckily, Cool Taxi is here. Claudia's dad started this project with other fathers one year ago and it's been a great success. These are essentially pre-paid taxi chits that kids can use anywhere in Quebec. Guy A. mentions a time where his son took a cab and used Cool Taxi but that the driver did not want to take it - Claudia interrupts with her own story about the same issue where she took the time to tell her story to the cab driver to get him to take the chit. Afterwards, Guy A. explains that all you need to do is take down the cab car number and call the SPVM's taxi hotline and report the driver.

Final thought: Guy A. believes this movie should be mandatory viewing for everyone working towards their driver's licence.

Why this matters

Drinking and driving in Quebec is a major issue. As discussed by Paul in the documentary, it's in the rural areas that it can be most-problematic. Anything we can do to educate and maybe change will help. No one needs to die or live a horrible life following stupidity behind the wheel.