Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Give Me Strength!

This is a very funny example of what we have to put up with in Quebec

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

2012 started with a spectacular fireworks display in London. We watched it a little later online in Canada and were very impressed. We are very excited about the prospects for the BritClub in 2012 and want to build on our success in previous years. We want to make the Britclub the no.1 resource for British immigrants in Canada. But we can't do this without you! Please send in any help/advice/suggestions to make the BritClub the best it can be.

In 2011 we began the BritClub "Directory of things Brits in Canada might be interested in". If you see or hear of anything at all that needs to be added - let us know.

Above all we like to hear you stories of how you came to move to Canada and how the experience has been. The help and advice of long term immigrants is priceless for those new to the country so please share your experiences. Have a fun, healthy and prosperous 2012 and thank you for your support.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Reflets de Montreal

On the few occasions that I have ventured into Montreal, I have never had any problem with speaking French.  In the sixth form at my grammar school, I took conversational French  with Mademoiselle Rose from Paris  (for whatever reason, this was easily the most popular language option), and later on I actually lived and studied for a short time in Paris. The result of these misadventures is that although I still do not speak French very well, I speak it with a Parisian accent, which is anathema in Montreal. A few years ago a distinguished visiting professor from Paris was asked by his audience (in Montreal!) to please speak in English because they could not understand his 'Parisian French'. My experience has been similar; whenever I have ventured to speak French to anyone in Montreal, they have always politely asked me to please switch to English, because 'you 'ave an 'orrible Parisian accent'. The aquisition of this accent is therefore of inestimable value to anyone planning to move to Montreal, as they will never have to speak French except very briefly. In any case, the best place to go in Montreal is Charlie Biddle's Jazz Club, where English is the Language of Heaven.

The ability to speak French, or any other language, usually has nothing to do with what school you go to anyway.  The late Jack Layton learned French from his hockey pals and not at school. My daughter is completely fluent, despite going through the English-language school system here with never a hint of immersion. She is also fluent in several other languages that she picked up from her friends.  Meanwhile, people who have known her for years, including her husband, cannot pronounce her Welsh name properly.

On a recent visit back to 'the Old Country', one of my cousins told me 'you do have an interesting accent - half Welsh, half Canadian'.  That is what happens when you have been away for a long time, you do not really belong anywhere, except in your family, et dans les recoins de l'imaginaire.

Keith Jones, Manitoba

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Emigrating to Canada - What Was Your Biggest Mistake

When you are sitting comfortably in the UK anxiously waiting to fly to Canada to start your new life, everything seems exciting and you can't wait for the challenge to begin.

Often the reality of emigrating, once the novelty has worn off, is much harder than you expected.

What do you think was your biggest mistake when you emigrated?

Mine was not securing a job before I left and arrogantly assuming that my qualifications would be accepted at face value. Often, in Canada, your qualifications are not accepted and you have to take and study for their exams (With a hefty fee attached) before even being considered for a position you would have walked into in the UK.

Click hear to follow link to Bye Bye Blighty for a nice little article concentrating on this common mistake (And some surprising statistics regarding your chances of finding work).

Mick McCafferty
Author of "The Illogical Debtor"

Friday, November 18, 2011

Bill 101

IF YOU ARE EMIGATING TO QUEBEC WITH KIDS THIS WILL AFFECT YOU. A topic that effects almost every immigrant to Quebec is "The Charter of the French Language" widely known as Bill 101. The Bill basically says that if you are an immigrant to Quebec then your children, if under the age of 16, MUST attend a French school. On the face of it this seems crazy and raises serious question concerning human rights. What do you think? Is this Bill crazy or a perectly reasonable measure to protect French culture in Quebec? Did you fight the Bill and win or are you of the opinion "When in Rome do as the Romans do"? Whatever your opinion we want to hear from you!

Discrimination in Quebec

Each weekday morning my twelve year old child wakes up with a sad resigned look on his face. Slowly but surely his spirit is being broken by the despicable school system practiced in Quebec that excludes him from learning in his mother tongue. He is one of the unfortunates who is bright, intelligent, has no learning difficulties or other defects and who's parents did all of their education in English but, crucially, in England and not in Canada (This blatant, disgusting discrimination is just unbelievable - Shame on you Canada).Therefore, in the bizarre parallel universe that we live in, he must go to a French school. Rather like the Black kids in 1960's Alabama he is forbidden to enter into certain schools based on his race. In most civilised countries damaging and abusing children based on race is considered a crime but, oh no, not in Quebec, Canada.

Of course, in Quebec this will immediately be considered a language issue. THIS IS NOT A LANGUAGE ISSUE IT IS A FREEDOM ISSUE. There is an English School Board in my area and the schools are much closer to our home than the French school. It is my human right to choose where I send my child to school. I am an adult and I have the right to freedom of choice.

Instead we are all treated like children and our basic rights are abused. The rest of Canada then turn a blind eye and let this happen without sanction.

My eldest son also had to go to a French school. He was brow beaten, made fun of by one of the teachers and broken to the point of depression over a two year period. Even when diagnosed by the school psychologist as suffering depression they still would not let him go - Bastards. I am convinced the policy of the school is to make the lives of English immigrants so difficult that, eventually, the kids are withdrawn from the school. After all, they have committed a crime by being born in England so surely they deserve to be abused? Once withdrawn from the school what do they do? Who cares they're only immigrants!

Fortunately we found a way round the situation due to the kindness of a couple who reached out to us and gave us the opportunity to send our son to Ontario to finish his high school education.

As someone who gives a lot of my time volunteering to advance the development of kids in Quebec whatever race, creed or colour, the only words I can find to describe the medieval policies practised in this province are SAD and BIZARRE.

The smoke screen of the language issue, as always, obscures the real issue here; a child?'s welfare. The best interest of a child is not being taken into consideration at all. Yes he can now speak French but what is the use of this if he is put off the whole French culture and language because he is being forced to do something he hates? My son is now bilingual; he speaks French. The job is done. What moral argument can possibly be put forward for keeping my son in a school he detests? Canada should be ashamed!

Bill 104 has recently be thrown out by the Supreme Court of Canada seven years after it was first challenged. However, they have given Quebec a full year to put something in its place. The question is why are Canada so scared of upsetting Quebec? What hold does Quebec have over the Canadian government?
Anyway, one thing is for certain, nothing will change and Quebec will continue to find ways to antagonise and drive English immigrants out.

Mick, St-Lazare

About Me was conceived and designed in 2006 by Mick McCafferty who emigrated to St-Lazare, Quebec from Nottingham, England in 2004 with his wife and three children. The purpose of the site is primarily to provide help advice and support to British immigrants in, or about to move to, Canada. Mick also publishes the BritClub Gazette periodically to keep British immigrants informed.