On January 7th, most of us will be a week into our already-failing New Year’s resolutions, but in Quebec on that day, separatists and French-language groups will be protesting against the “policy of Anglicization” at the first Habs home game of the new year.
The firing of Jacques Martin and hiring of English-speaking Randy Cunneyworth as interim head coach has many in Quebec upset. To them, the Montreal Canadiens are already becoming Anglicized with the growing presence of English music at the Bell Centre, bilingual arena announcements and the lack of Francophone players on the Habs roster. Naming Cunneyworth as head coach just made the problem much, much worse.
Imperatif Français and Mouvement Quebec Français have already called for a boycott of Molson products (the Molsons own the Habs) to protest the hiring of Cunneyworth, and both groups hope that others will refuse to buy Canadiens merchandise over the holidays.
Boycotting beer and protesting over an INTERIM coach? Really?
Originally this Rant was based on these groups overreacting to something temporary (Cunneyworth), and how ridiculous that is, but as I wrote, I realized that if you take away the labels and the history of the groups involved, this entire situation is boiled down to this:
A group of people are boycotting and protesting over the hiring of a person from a different ethnicity.
Of course it’s more complex than that, and don’t get me wrong, I completely understand how important the Montreal Canadiens are to Quebecois culture and always have been; you’d have to be deaf, dumb and ignorant not to see that.
But at the same time, this is blatant discrimination against someone because of their ethnic background.
And when has that ever been okay?
Because it’s Quebec, however, it seems somewhat normal or expected from separatist groups and language groups, so many Canadians tend to turn a blind eye or walk on eggshells around the subject.
People don’t want to label it as discrimination because we’re discussing something culturally sensitive to Canadians.
But let’s turn the tables for a moment: What if a French-speaking coach was being protested against in, let’s say, Edmonton because fans couldn’t understand his accent, and they wanted an English-speaking coach because Alberta is an English-speaking province?
Could you imagine the backlash and cries of discrimination out of Quebec?
How is it different if French people want a coach fired for being English?
I think my point is, discrimination is discrimination, regardless of the battle cry it hides behind.
What does Cunneyworth’s language have to do with his coaching skills or the success of the Canadiens in NHL rankings? Especially when his assignment is only temporary? Who knows, he could have the ability to take the Habs to the playoffs, but apparently that doesn’t matter to some Quebecois.
Hell, the poor guy wasn’t even given a chance to prove himself as a coach before people started freaking out, simply because he couldn’t speak French.
I think there’s a word for that.
Why are so many people making excuses for this behaviour simply because it’s culturally sensitive? Why is this blatant display of discrimination against Cunneyworth considered tolerable in this country because it’s coming from Quebec?
I’ll leave it at this:
It is completely unacceptable for any group to openly demand the removal of someone simply because he or she isn’t from a certain ethnicity, race or culture.