What You Need To Know About Canada’s One-Dose Summer & Quebec’s Language Police
A new episode of our weekly podcast just dropped!
Tyeler: Hello and welcome back to Now On Narcity. I'm Tyeler.
Cormac: I'm Cormac.
Lea: I'm Lea.
Brit: And I'm Brit, and this week on the podcast we are talking about restrictions, more so lifting restrictions across the country and in a few of the different provinces. There's been a lot of news lately on that. We're also going to dive into a new French language bill in Quebec. That has ramifications for the entire country. Spoiler alert, start practicing your French.
Tyeler: Okay, team, you know what time it is. We're kicking things off with Shot and Chaser.
Cormac: Let's go. Trudeau says we can go hiking again if 75% of Canadians get their first dose by the summer. Terrific news for every single woman I ever met on Tinder in B.C.
Lea: Montreal's ugly manholes are about to get a whole lot prettier. No, the city won't be helping you with your manscaping.
Tyeler: More than 20% of Americans say they'll never feel comfortable visiting Canada again. Oh, no. That's so sad. Heartbroken.
Brit: Justin Trudeau says that Drake is not on his personal playlist right now. Which is actually a really big bummer because middle-aged white French Canadians are Drake's entire target market.
Cormac: Ah, perfect delivery I really, I really liked that. According to reports, Ontario won't be returning to the colour-coded framework when it reopens. I knew I should not have gotten that tattoo.
Tyeler: Literal swirling bug tornadoes have been spotted in Ottawa and they look like part of a horror movie. As if Quebec wasn't on its way out of Canada before, their bags are certainly packed now.
Lea: Joe Biden is asking Americans not to bully people who are still wearing masks. Come on, man!
Cormac: Someone in B.C. is the heir to a $1.9 million estate and they don't know it yet. Oh, God fine, I'll call my grandma.
Cormac: We are getting ever, ever closer to summer, which is a blessing. It truly, truly is. I think everybody in Canada needs this summer to happen right now. And so, as summer comes closer, restrictions are beginning to ease up and we're seeing the story a lot across Canada, nationally, and provincially as well. Brit, I know you were covering this on the trending desk last week. But Canada has made a pretty significant jump in terms of sort of talking about what this spring and summer and fall is gonna look like. Right?
Brit: Totally. As we all know, when politicians and health officials are asked questions about specifics in news conferences, they tend to be a little slippery and not give direct answers. And they did what they could recently and gave us a bit of what they're calling a life after vaccination guide. We've all heard Trudeau talking about what he's calling a one-dose summer. And that means that he thinks that most Canadians who want a vaccine can get their first dose during the summer and then we'll move into the coveted two-dose fall. Assume what that means. But they did lay out, he and Dr. Tam, laid out what spring, summer, and fall are going to look like. Spring, what we're allowed to do is stay home, stay safe, and get vaccinated.
Cormac: Nice. Okay. So nothing, so nothing.
Brit; Yeah, so the familiar activities as of late, but then moving into the spring. Keeping in mind this is the federal government, provincial regulations trump, this is kind of just like a general template. But in the summer rather, we're going to be allowed to go camping, hiking, picnic, and go on patios, and then come fall, this is when some indoor stuff will be reintroduced. So indoor sports, family gatherings, going back to college, this sort of thing. So it looks like an outdoor gathering summer as far as the federal government is concerned, but some provinces are already saying different stuff. So Quebec has been making some pretty huge announcements this week, hey Lea?
Lea: Yeah, as of Tuesday, they reopened basically everything and that was like a huge deal.
Cormac: Like everything's like everything straight up open again?
Lea: Not open right now, but like opening. So they released kind of a three-step opening process that they're going to follow. And since the beginning of the pandemic, we've been following the colour-coded system as I'm sure it has been the same in other provinces.
Cormac: This is a whole separate story that I won't digress too much. But I really would love to spend the day with someone who gets to decide what the like name of the system is, or what the colours are.
Lea: I mean, it has to be very rudimentary, so I guess it would always be like, red, yellow, green.
Cormac: What were they in Quebec?
Lea: It was red, yellow, green.
Cormac: Yeah, okay. Yeah.
Tyeler: Imagine they were like magenta, aquamarine, lavender.
Brit: Like I'm in the mustard, mustard zone.
Lea: Yeah, chartreuse.
Cormac: But now they're moving to a three-step plan.
Lea: Now they're moving to a three-step plan. And so how it's going to work is that as of May 28, the majority of Quebec will be in orange zone, which means that the restrictions will be lifted, but there's still some restrictions, for example, the number of people that can gather, especially in restaurants and on terraces, it's a maximum of… Tyeler's laughing at me because it is a terrace, we are from Quebec, so we say terrace. I know the English word is terrace. I will never say terrace in my life.
Brit: But we don't even say terrace, we say patio. Let's go hit up some terraces?
Cormac: I say pa-tee-ohs too, but people again, people don't love that.
Tyeler: Potato, potahto. My gosh, I feel like there's gonna be, yeah, there's gonna be parties in the streets when everything's open.
Lea: People are dying to go outside like the parks, the minute the weather gets warm, the parks have been so packed.
Brit: Oh, my goodness, you guys must be popping off.
Cormac: Brit, you're on the west coast. What are things looking like over there? Are we beginning to hear about reopening in places like Alberta and B.C.?
Brit: Let's talk about somewhere much more exciting and wanderlust-worthy, which is Saskatchewan.
Cormac: Yeah, agreed.
Brit: I'm shocked you didn't ask. Alberta, and B.C. have been speaking very generally about reopening, linking it to things like vaccinations and hospitalizations in sort of a sense like these metrics will matter. But we haven't got a really clear picture yet. Jason Kenney in Alberta did say on Monday that he thinks that restrictions could start to be removed within "weeks" if more people keep getting vaccinated. But Saskatchewan released a reopening roadmap that is extremely specific. It's based on vaccinations. And they have virtually a full reopening in the third step. By the second week in July. Of course, masking and distancing and stuff would still be in the mix. But literally, people gathering inside, concerts, things like that, where they're looking at basically back to normal by mid-July.
Cormac: Amazing. Meanwhile, in Ontario, Tye, what was the latest big announcement from Doug Ford?
Tyeler: Oh, my gosh, the extension of the stay at home order to June 2. Surprise, surprise.
Cormac: Yeah. But we have seen the end of a bit of a saga of sort of the outdoor spaces saga in Ontario, that's sort of coming to a bit of an end, isn't it Tye?
Tyeler: Yeah, and we've seen lots happen over the last few months like basketball hoops being removed. Playgrounds closing and reopening, cherry blossom trees getting roped off. But now it looks like the outdoors are opening back up again. And there's one group of people who are going to be particularly happy I think...golfers.
Cormac: Frickin golfers.
Tyeler: Golf course closures seem to be breaking hearts all over the country, specifically Ontario, which has actually led one musician to take it upon himself to try to change Doug Ford's mind about golf course closures in Ontario. Have you seen this, Cormac?
Cormac: I haven't. But I mean, I mean, I guess Doug has, and I guess it worked, right?
Tyeler: So, Chad Driscoll is a musician from Peterborough, Ontario. And what he did was posted a video of himself reworking John Denver's classic, Take Me Home Country Roads. I know you guys know this. You can't not know this song.
Cormac: It's a great song. It's a classic. Lea's not convinced, but it's a great song.
Tyeler: So basically what he did was he reworked Take Me Home Country Roads into his own version, which he has titled, Ontario, Let Me Go (Play Golf).
Tyeler: Let's take a quick listen to this. Okay.
Cormac: I love a bit of John Denver. Don't get me, don't get me wrong. I love a bit of Country Roads Take Me Home. But I personally can't imagine ever writing a song about golf and missing it that, that much. Lea, Brit, please feel free to chime in for the pro golf crowd.
Brit: I get it. I mean, I don't get that. But If you deeply cared about something, and it's an outdoor thing, and you just really feel like it should be in your zone and allowed. That's one thing and some restrictions have been really funny. Like in Alberta right now. Currently, the way that church gatherings are going is that you can go in a church with 15 people unless one of them is dead, then only 10, because only 10 at funerals. But if you're outside, only five, outdoors you can only gather in groups of five.
Cormac: You guys want to, are meeting up for a round of golf? Is that what's happening?
Tyeler: Oh, heck yeah. I wear my finest polo.
Lea: I just, I would only go golfing to like look hot. It's about the outfit.
Cormac: Listen, I went to private school, I look good in a polo shirt. Okay. That might be the richest and whitest thing I've ever said in my life. And that is saying something.
Brit: Maybe you can teach us croquet on your sailboat.
Cormac: Of course you can't play croquet on a sailboat, you pleb.
Lea: So earlier this week, I spoke to a lawyer from Devachi Avocat in Montreal and her name is Virginie Bourgeois-Plante. And I asked her a lot of questions about Quebec's new French language reform, which is called bill 96. Have you guys heard of this lately? at all?
Cormac: No, nothing, The borders are closed? I haven't heard anything.
Tyeler: Lea, what is that?
Lea: So it is the largest reform on the French language since Bill 101, which was drafted in the 70s and has been amended multiple times since then,
Cormac: Which you talked about on a previous podcast.
Lea: But this is kind of the latest major reform for the French language in Quebec. It's one of the strictest and one of the most specific bills that the government has drafted in like nearly 20 or 30 years. Yeah.
Brit: Is this trying to loosen things? Or is it trying to crack down and make people have to speak French and do service in French and stuff more?
Lea: So, essentially, what the bill aims to do, and this is, there's a number of very specific things that it's going to do to implement their main goal, but what it chiefly aims to do is declare Quebec a nation and also make sure that Quebec's only official language is French. In the words of the French language minister in Quebec, Simon Jolin-Barrette, the bill is aiming to put an end to institutional bilingualism in Quebec.
Lea: Wow. I mean, pretty freakin' heavy words.
Lea: So, basically, some of the, I mean, there's so many things that the bill touches on every aspect of life in Quebec.
Tyeler: Yeah, so that was my question like, how does this affect my day-to-day life? Like if I were to come to Quebec for a weekend, and I went into a coffee shop, would they only serve me in French?
Lea: Again, this is not passed yet. So if this bill were passed, they would not, they would not necessarily only serve you in French, but they have the right to only serve you in French if they want to. So this is an issue in the eyes of the government from what they've written in this bill, which is that bilingualism is not what they are trying to foster, they are trying to make sure that French is the only official language in Quebec.
Tyeler: So Lea, your Francophone. So what like what's your take on this? And what are you hearing from like members of your community and people around you and like, what are people saying in Quebec about this?
Lea: Well, I'm less Francophone than somebody who does not speak English. And that's an important distinction to make because they're not the same things. I'm fully bilingual and I have no issue in English or in French and no accent in English or in French. But there are people who do not speak English. And that's, essentially, who is going to be more affected by the bill in terms of education, that's going to take place in the form of education, because there are French schools that offer English courses. And they're going to be putting a cap on those courses so that people get less education in English. That's really how it's going to affect people day-to-day.
Brit: Oh, so it affects both ends of the spectrum, being that Anglophones might have a more difficult time navigating everyday life. But francophones will have a more difficult time breaking into the bilingualism.
Lea: And learning English. Exactly.
Brit: Interesting. I lived in Montreal as an Anglophone person who speaks very little French, and actually no French. But this, this was back in 2014, 2015. And constantly, this was being talked about. So like, this is a thing that's kind of like at loggerheads in the government for a really long time. And there was lots of chats about it being more of a crackdown and being more serious, and I would be a person that would walk into a coffee shop, and it would always be like, "bonjour Hi". And if I would even be like "salut" they would be like, Okay, hi. Yeah. And the whole deal is like you, you need to first greet in French. So even if someone walked up to me and said, Hey, how's it going? And I happened to be a government official, that would be bad. And it's about things like having signs in front of your business. It needs to be French, first French always. And the way you market your business, the way you market yourself, it's difficult for Anglophones, I did a lot of like marketing back of house jobs. But if I'd ever be like, Oh, well, I can go on the floor. They'd be like, absolutely, No, you can't. There's no way I could do a 10-second conversation. And that could be really bad for business, if I went out and very clearly, was steering the conversation to English because I cannot speak French and have no other option. Obviously.
Lea: Those are two things that they're going to change. So these are, this is what I meant before, but this is like it's overhauling everything. So there are already existing rules on signage that it has to be predominantly in French. Now what they want to do is force businesses with English trademarked names, so for example, Legault used this example, Canadian Tire, the Canadian Tire would have to be smaller than the description of what the business is in French. So you would have "centre de rénovation" which is like whatever, like a renovation center. Yeah. So that would have to be bigger, in bigger font than Canadian Tire. So we don't know how it's gonna go.
Tyeler: Tourists are gonna be puzzled.
Lea: Yeah, tourists are gonna be puzzled, which they generally are when they come here, but it's enjoyable. It's like chic, whatever. But they not only are they changing the signs, but they're also changing another thing which is pretty major that never existed before, there's always been the language police in Quebec. It's called the OQLF.
Cormac: Who are they policing?
Lea: They are policing the use of French in Quebec?
Tyeler: So they just like walk down the street? They're like, No, no, no, no, no, no.
Lea: No, but they do police people to some extent they can give businesses fines. For example, there was pasta gate, in Montreal, if you remember past gate.
Cormac: What is pasta gate?
Lea: So basically what happened this was a few years ago, but this was also the subject of another language debate, which arises every few years in Quebec like clockwork. So what happened was that there was a supper club called Buonanotte in Montreal that had certain menu items and terms in Italian so they had on their menu, pasta, the word pasta, as well as, as well as calamari and antipasti, which means appetizers and Italian. So on their menu, they had all these items and the OQLF tried to fine them for having these menu items on their menu. And since pasta is Pâtes in French, there is an actual word obviously for pasta and so that's what they wanted them to change it to but it was an Italian menu so they use the word pasta.
Cormac: It was because they didn't have these menu items in French?
Tyeler: Wow. I'm literally dumbfounded by this, like this is something I would read and be like that's not real. You never find a restaurant for using the word espresso.
Brit: I know, I almost said Language police, but I thought that I had made that up.
Lea: No, it is, it is called the language police. Yeah.
Brit: Yeah. Like you couldn't have a big welcome sign. Bienvenue.
Tyeler: Quebec needs reality TV.
Cormac: Quebec has reality TV. And it's incredibly popular. Occupation Double.
Lea: Yes, it has Occupation Double, which is Big Brother.
Cormac: Why 2021? I mean, we're in the middle of a pandemic. What has happened recently that the government is like, this is now a priority for us.
Lea: There was kind of a little breaking point in 2020, during the pandemic, where there was a French language publication in Quebec that did an investigation into the use of language in stores and in businesses in Montreal. And it found that in particular, there was an example about Victoria's Secret and an employee had told the investigator who obviously, they did not know that this person was investigating, but they had told them "I don't speak French." And that was like the major.
Cormac: And that set off a literal province-wide controversy.
Lea: Yes, the mayor spoke about it. The premier spoke about it, the French language minister spoke about it. Everyone was talking about this. And this was last year. And so following that, the French language minister and the Quebec government vowed that they would do something to end institutional bilingualism.
Cormac: That one Victoria's Secret salesperson, wow.
Lea: But this is one of many, many, many instances where this has happened. And it's just a little tiny piece of the language debate in Quebec, which all of us live through. If you're from here.
Cormac: Do we know, just to wrap this up, do we know why is this coming into the news now? Why are people talking about this right now? And what's going to be the next major update we hear about this? And when is it going to happen?
Lea: So they tabled the bill very recently. That's why it has been all over the news. They had a press conference where they were very happy about releasing this bill. And so this was all over the news. I wrote so many articles on this, I was on this beat for like a few days in a row. Thankfully, I'm very interested in it. So it's, it's good for me, but they are trying to, they have constantly said and consistently said that this is not going to come at the expense of Anglophone rights. And the Anglophone Francophone debate has been a debate in Quebec. I mean, it's like 30 years that this is ongoing.
Tyeler: So when will we, when will we know the verdict on this? When could it pass?
Lea: There's no real timeline yet.
Tyeler: Okay. Well, in the meantime, I will be reviewing French menus, brushing up on my oui oui and, and croissant and all of the, all of the things for my next trip to Quebec post-second dose.
Cormac: You have a long way to go if you're pronouncing croissant.
Tyeler: Hey, I took French immersion K to grade 12. I could probably make do with what I've got.
Lea: Let's do a French episode of Now On Narcity.
Tyeler: Bonjour, je m'appelle Tyeler et bienvenue à Now On Narcity.
Brit: All right, so we are gonna cap it off with our weekly segment. Last call. So let's find out what we're each looking forward to this week. Cormac, why don't you kick it off?
Cormac: Sure. I wrote a great story, in my opinion. Sorry, but I did.
Cormac: Earlier this week. I didn't even know this but there's a Canadian company that's making a COVID-19 vaccine. I didn't know this until earlier this week. It's a plant-based COVID-19 vaccine, which is even more interesting. But it's a company called Medicago out of Quebec.
Cormac: And they are planning to, they say they expect to have Health Canada look at their vaccine for final approval by summer. 2021. So it could be really interesting. We could by the end of the summer, we could be looking at a Canadian-made COVID-19 vaccine, which I think is really interesting. Leah, how about you?
Lea: I'm just looking forward to going out like I haven't been out. I literally have not been myself for an entire year and a half as I'm sure so many people, you know, feel that same way. So I'm just looking to like, go out look cute in my outfits.
Tyeler: Pop some bottles.
Lea: Have a couple drinks on a terasse and just like enjoy my summer like I look forward to it every year. What about you, Brit? What are you looking forward to?
Brit: Of the exact same vein, mine is a lot less structured than yours because Alberta has not received a green light or an orange light as he would say that Quebec has. But Jason Kenney did say today that Alberta could start removing restrictions within and I quote "weeks if people continue to get vaccinated at the rate that they are".
Brit: We've kind of been ebbing and flowing in and out of restrictions a lot lately, so to even just sort of gain a little understanding of what summer is gonna look like for us is really exciting to me and we had a scorching hot weekend last weekend. This weekend's not looking so promising. But whatever we felt the summer vibes, we need to keep them going and Jason Kenney is giving us just that little glimmer of hope. So, let's see. Tye, how are you feeling?
Tye: Well, by the time you're hearing this, the Leafs will have either triumphed against the Habs or a heartbreaking loss. I'm looking forward to more playoff games, I hope the boys pulled through cheers to the boys either way, but I love playoffs. I'm a bandwagoner, I don't watch at all until the playoffs I'm just gonna come out and say it, I don't watch until the playoffs.
Lea: Live your truth.
Cormac: I think maybe next episode we have a little, maybe Tye and Lea you guys have a little bit of a bet going on.
Tyeler: Guys people loved the Hab -
Lea: Go Habs go. Nothing is going to, first of all go Habs go. The best team ever. Put some respect on.
Tyeler: Live your truth girl.
Cormac: Can you guys can you both agree whoever wins if the Maple Leafs win Lea you have to give us a little Narcity podcast intro telling us why the Leafs are the best and Tye if the Habs win you have to do the same for the Habs.
Tyeler: Game one? Like the game that happened today?
Cormac: No, no the series whoever wins.
Tyeler: Oh, oh, gosh. My dad is going to block my phone number. Yes, I'll agree.
Tyeler: If the Habs win the series, I will do a diddy about how the Habs awesome.
Lea: I'll do it very sarcastically. But anyways, that's never gonna happen. Because, go Habs go.
Cormac: Right, right, right. Right. Yeah. Whether you are listening to this podcast en Francais, or you are enjoying your one dose summer outside. Thank you so much for tuning in. We'll be back again next Friday with another episode of Now On Narcity. I'm Cormac.
Brit: I'm Brit.
Lea: I'm Lea.
Tyeler: And I'm Tyler. And we'll see you at the digital dive bar next week.