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Time will run back

A roundup of recent punditry for your checklist:

My column for last Friday’s Post was a look at the many dimensions of the Saku Koivu/French language controversy, written with what some may find a surprising amount of sympathy for kooky shit-disturber Guy Bertrand. (Key question: if Quebeckers are so eager for the Montreal Canadiens to be competitive that they are willing to overlook their own starchy rules about language and culture, why isn’t the same attitude extended to companies that are also competing internationally for top talent and market share and creating far more real permanent jobs in the province?) I also have a bonus column in today’s edition about a strange moment in tech history that seems imminent: the personal computer, having sucked the functions of dozens of other media devices into itself like a black hole, is about to explode and belch those functions outward into a world of ubiquitous wireless connections and embedded processing power.

There’s more on the Post’s Full Comment site, where you can read speculation on the Blue Jays as a player in the A-Rod sweepstakes and see an example of egregious spin in Alberta’s controversy over oil royalties.


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Comments (3)

Hmm. The link says Saku Koivu, but it's the Post... Alright, I'll hold my nose and read it.

There once was an institution in the heartland of separatist Quebec that held more sway over francophone youth than the Canadiens. That institution is in Denver now. For a long time the Nords were the French Quebecois team and the Habs were the anglo team to a lot of separatists. Those attitudes linger. While most of the province wants to see the Habs win, a lot of separatists don't give a shit about something as 'Canadian/Canadien' as hockey.

Bertrand, being a Quebec lawyer, is well aware of the costs and benefits of the language laws. It's natural for a Western Canadian pundit to measure a law in terms of jobs and GDP. Separatists have different priorities. They know Parizeau was right - his faux-pas was admitting it out loud. Bertrand knows language laws ultimately discourage immigration of non-francophones. He's aware of the accompanying disadvantage to Quebec business. He knows it means less opportunity for the workers of Quebec, and that's a sacrifice he's willing to make. A cynic might look at the province's generous child care and suggest a similar motivation. Language laws decrease the 'no' votes, child care options increase the 'yes' votes. It's all about the next referendum.

Sure. That's the point I intend to make at the end when I say that the separatists/self-conscious xenophobes know how much their language policy has cost them in hard dollars. (But imposing ethnic and cultural standards on top of the old linguistic ones increases the dollar costs and presents new problems of regime legitimacy, which is probably a big reason the PQ's been at such a loss in the "reasonable accommodation" fight.)

William Newman:

See also Paul Graham's remark (in http://www.paulgraham.com/america.html) about the truly vital importance of sports outweighing the supposed vital importance of applying in the workplace those principles of social policy dear to all right-thinking folk: "European public opinion will apparently tolerate people being fired in industries where they really care about performance. Unfortunately the only industry they care enough about so far is soccer. But that is at least a precedent."


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