Mon pays

February 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

My erstwhile colleague, Matthew Hayday, has written an interesting critique of John Furlong and VANOC’s attempts to use the Québécois singer Gilles Vigneault’s song, “Mon Pays” for the 2010 Olympic opening ceremony. Except that VANOC made no attempt to contact Vigneault for permission before planning the festivities and they were left holding the bag when Vigneault refused permission.  As Matthew notes, quelle surprise, Vigneault is a well-known separatist and “Mon Pays” was the song people cried in their beer to after the 1980 Referendum loss for the “Oui” side.

Matthew goes on to note that Furlong demonstrated a total lack of understanding of Québec here. I have a few things to note in response.

First, Matthew is bang on, deciding to use a Vigneault song for Canada’s Winter Olympics is missing the entire point of Vigneault’s long career. Second, choosing a song that was recorded in 1966 shows a devastatingly pathetic grasp on pop culture in Québec.

But more to the point, the lack of understanding about Québec from some in the ROC is not all that shocking to me. I have been told many times that I speak “very good English” for a Quebecer. The most recent time being last summer when I was in Vancouver. Indeed, it is impressive an Anglo-Montrealer would speak English well.


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