Getting to Know Vous

Getting to Know Vous

Ross_Murray_Headshot_SmallHere it is folks, Ross Murray’s debut column:

Getting to know vous, getting to know all about vous

Oh, hello there, Quebec City! Nice to see you, and by “see you” I mean I’m over here in the Eastern Townships, but I am waving.

Go ahead, don’t be shy, wave back. There, I knew you could do it; I don’t care what those Townshippers say about you Quebec Cityers.

Is that right? Cityers? It can’t be Quebecers because we are all Quebecers, or in the case of the English and new immigrants, “sort of Quebecers.” Quebecians? Cityens, maybe? Or the more correct “cityens et citiyennes”? Capitalists? Q-Cees? Quacs?

Clearly I have a lot to learn about the provincial capital. For instance, do you cringe when they call it “the national capital” or is that just everyone else in the English-speaking world?

Some of you may even be wondering why you’re reading something written by a Nova Scotian transported to the Townships with virtually no familiarity with Quebec City other than a stay-over at a hotel by the bridge and a reading in the library at Quebec High School (where, by the way, I killed).

You may be wondering it but I doubt you’re saying it out loud. That’s just how polite you Q-Dawgs are. (Like that? I think it looks good on you. Go ahead, it’s yours.)

First of all, I’m thrilled to help support the emerging “Life in Quebec” media empire because, as they say, every time an English magazine is published, an anglo gets its wings.

Secondly, I think it’s important for the different regions to forge a dialogue about those matters that bind us all – our culture, our preoccupations and our place in this province.

Plus, the owners promised me small fortune if I’d do it.

Reaching Out Between Two Linguistic Communities

Part of the dialogue that “Life in Quebec” is, presumably, attempting to undertake is between the two linguistic communities.

Consequently, I would like to reach out to the French readership by offering a few statements of principle, a sort of state-of-the-pseudo-nation address, accompanied by translation using the French skills I have acquired in my 20-plus years of living in Quebec:

1. Unlike the English in the rest of North America, Quebec anglos can never take their language and culture for granted, a fact that can only strengthen their identity.
Est-ce qu’il y a une subvention pour ça?

2. My Quebec is an open society, warm and welcoming, not the distorted caricature of intolerance portrayed by the inflammatory media.
Mon pays, ce n’est pas un pays, c’est livraison gratuit.

3. Self-imposed isolation will be the death of any linguistic community.
Vivre le Québec ivre.

4. The English community is not to be feared. The haters have long gone and the rest of us have chosen to stay here, to move here, to embrace the beauty and uniqueness of Quebec.
Ou est l’accent grave sur mon keyboard?

5. Whenever politicians refer to “the vibrant English community” I like to pretend they said “the vibrating English community.”
Je ne comprends pas. Je suis de Nouvelle Écosse.

You’re welcome, Q.C. Just happy to do my bit, or as we say in French, “mon bit.”

About the author:

Raised in Nova Scotia, Ross Murray has lived in Quebec for over 20 years.

He is the former editor and owner of The Stanstead Journal, an English weekly newspaper, and since 2005 has served as communications coordinator at Stanstead College, a private high school.

Since 2004, Ross has written a weekly humour column in The Sherbrooke Record, Quebec’s only English daily outside Montreal.

Ross also records a biweekly radio column for CBC Quebec City’s afternoon show “Breakaway.”

In 2010, he published a collection of his newspaper columns entitled You’re Not Going to Eat That, Are You?, available at all good bookshops, including AngloStore, Quebec City.

Ross’s insightful, irreverent humour has also shown up on “McSweeney’s,” “The Big Jewel,” “Errant Parent,” CBC’s “WireTap,” CBC Montreal’s “All in a Weekend” and a number of anthologies.

Ross lives on the Vermont border with his wife Debbie.

They have four children, Emily, Katie, James and Abby. You can read more at Drinking Tips for Teens.

Categories: News, Opinion

About Author

Ross Murray

Ross Murray is an award-winning humorist and radio contributor and the author of two books ‘You’re Not Going to Eat That, Are You?’ and ‘Don’t Everyone Jump at Once’. Raised in Nova Scotia, Ross has lived in the Eastern Townships of Quebec since the early 1990’s with his wife Debbie, four children and far too many pets. After all this time, Ross feels comfortable calling himself a Townshipper; his neighbours call him something else.

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