Here is the Gazette Kevin Dougherty’s take on my answers on Francos/Anglos relations, this Thursday, Original source article.
QUEBEC — Jean-François Lisée, who is Quebec’s international relations minister and also has a mandate to establish better relations with the province’s English minority, described his approach Thursday as « reciprocal empathy. »
« I think we have to get out of this idea that if one community in Quebec takes a step forward, it means that others have to take a step backward, » Lisée said, emerging from his first meeting of the new Parti Québécois cabinet.
« The joke now is that I want every anglo to know Marie-Mai and I can live with that, » he added, referring to an article he wrote in L’actualité magazine in the spring, lamenting that 74 per cent of Quebec anglophones do not know the pop singer Marie-Mai.
In an interview with The Gazette this week to promote her new album, Miroir, Marie-Mai said she is not surprised English Quebecers do not know her.
« If I was anglophone and I didn’t speak French at all, I probably wouldn’t listen to French music either, » Marie-Mai told The Gazette.
« I’d like every franco to know Leonard Cohen and many more, » Lisée said Thursday. « I think we should start building on reciprocal empathy.
« I think francophones should have empathy for the fact that the English community in Quebec has to stay strong and vibrant; and the English community has to have empathy for the fact that the French majority has to stay strong and vibrant, » he said, speaking in English.
« So we share some linguistic anxiety for the future and if we start seeing that as a shared goal, to stay here for generations to come with a strong and vibrant English minority and a vibrant French majority and say, ‘Hey. There’s some trouble here for the English minority. We should do something.’
« And, ‘Hey, maybe it’s the case that if you don’t have a majority of French speakers on the island of Montreal, it’s a worry, » Lisée, touching on a PQ campaign theme, used to justify the party’s proposal to bar non-anglophones from studying in English CÉGEPs.
« There was a time in 1970s when 60 per cent of the people on the island of Montreal were French speakers at home. It didn’t take any thing out of the English community.
« It was just a more prudent equilibrium for the future.
« So my first task I think is to try to make all Quebecers on these linguistic issues think out of the box, » Lisée said. « We’re not in a box. We’re in the Quebec garden and if everyone grows, that’s fine.
« And that’s my pitch. »
Lisée, a former journalist, was asked his view of CJAD running a brief excerpt of an interview with Richard Henry Bain, who is facing a first-degree murder charge in the death of lighting technician Denis Blanchette.
« I am always in favour of freedom of the press, » Lisée said. « It is up to them to decide. »
Told of the concerns of his cabinet colleague, Public Security Minister Stéphane Bergeron, that CJAD had given Bain a platform, Lisée replied, « Everyone has their sensitivity. I have confidence in the press. » […]
One can read some reactions to my appointment, including Graham Fraser’s, here in Le Devoir.