Grande Déboulé Red Bull, Anyone?

Grande Déboulé Red Bull, Anyone?

Submitted by Peter Stuart 

THEY’RE BAAACK! GUESS WHAT FOLKS, IT’S STARTING ALL OVER AGAIN: THE DREADED LANGUAGE COPS ARE ON THE PROWL AGAIN!

Just when you thought it was safe to go outdoors in Quebec City, especially now that spring is just around the corner, BAM, the language cops hit the streets with more of their malarkey. 

I just got an e-mail from the Tour Guide Association here in Quebec City, saying that they’re lobbying the Red Bull Crashed Ice to change its name to the ‘Grande Déboulé Red Bull’. Gimme a Break!!! 

Let me tell you that I may be a card-carrying member of the Association, but I certainly do not support this initiative. They even have gone so far as to have an article printed in a recent copy of the Soleil newspaper explaining in great detail why, because of the distinctly French character of the city, we need to change the name. 

What seems to be lost on these people is that The Red Bull Crashed Ice is an event which is not just for Quebec City, but is broadcast on cable TV around the world, and from a marketing point of view, it would be far more difficult to sell something with a name like ‘Grande Déboulé Red Bull’ to world markets than it would be to sell ‘Red Bull Crashed Ice’. 

Also, internationally, this event is sold as being held in Quebec City, in Canada. People don’t make the distinction between the French and English-speaking parts of the country around the world. They mostly think of Canada as an English-speaking country, except perhaps in France, where people know about Quebec. 

Also, to deny the English name of this event is to deny the strong English heritage of Quebec City, which, undeniably has influenced us for over two hundred years in everything from urban planning, architecture, politics and government, the economy, music and culture, etiquette and table manners, and lastly, civic-mindedness. 

In that vein, may I remind the good folks at the AGTQ (The Tour Guide Association), that a healthy spirit of civic-mindedness and ‘vivre et laissez vivre’ is increasingly the order of the day in the new Quebec and the new Canada. We don’t want to go back to any of these old ‘Hambourgeois’ debates or having OLF inspectors show up in Shawville with a tape measure checking the size of the letters on the English words on the menus at the local cafés, only to be chased out of town, quite literally, by the local Anglo ‘Irréductibles’.

I think we’ve got bigger fish to fry than that. Try 240+ billion in Greek-style debt. 25-40% high school drop out rates, lowest birth rates in the developing world, highest abortion rates (around 30-40% of all pregnancies), very high suicide rates, especially amongst young men (over 1,000 total per year in the total population of the province), sluggish economic growth, crippling taxes, Byzantine bureaucracy which nobody has the courage to pare down like Chrétien and Martin did in Ottawa in the 90s, highest rate of out-of-wedlock births, lowest rate of marriage, lowest rate of religious practice, one of the  highest levels of single family households in Canada. And the list goes on and on. 

Meanwhile, we’ve got people with nothing better to do with their retirement years than to get involved with old-style rear guard nationalist politics and take Quebec back to the dark ages of the 1960s and 70s by trying to re-ignite old hot button issues of language and identity. 

Just let it go, will ya? I want to go outdoors this spring and enjoy the nice weather, not be harassed by some sort of silly language protest from 1968, driven by a bunch of retired baby-boomer swivel servants who’ve all got their iron-clad public sector pensions from the government, and are now indulging their fancy in some old guard style nationalist politics from the comfort of their homes in the suburbs. 

I think I’ll continue to let the Ice Crash as opposed to having anything ‘Déboulé’. 

What do you think?

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About the author:


Peter Stuart is a freelance journalist and writer based in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. He has a degree in Canadian Studies from the University of Ottawa.
He has written Op-Ed pieces for the last ten years for publications including: Le Soleil, La Presse, Quebec Chronicle Telegraph and Impact Campus.
Peter writes in both French and English, and and has published his first book, entitled ‘The Catholic Faith and the Social Construction of Religion: With Particular Attention to the Québec Experience’. 
You can read more of Peter’s work by visiting his blog.

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