28 November 2012

Bilingual Today, French Tomorrow and the Bigots of Yesteryear

Bilingual Today, French Tomorrow:
     Trudeau's Master Plan and How It Can Be Stopped
J.V. Andrew
Richmond Hill, ON: BMG, 1977

Author Jock Andrew once claimed that Bilingual Today, French Tomorrow sold over 100,000 copies. While I don't doubt it, the laziest of investigations reveals that pretty much every figure contained in the book itself is false.

Bilingual Today, French Tomorrow is the work of a bigot who, expecting to be labelled as such, attempts a preemptive strike. "We are not really sure of what a bigot does," he tells the reader,  "and therefore anyone can readily be called a bigot without having anything proved."

I know what a bigot does, and will add that there's proof enough here. Let's begin with Andrew's description of French Canadians as a race. Quebec, which they control, is "an impregnable bastion, breeding-pen, and marshalling-yard for the colonization of the rest of Canada with both French-Canadians and with imported, made-in-France, Frenchmen."

When Andrew wrote these words, made-in-France Frenchmen comprised two percent of all immigrants to Canada. Never mind. What stays is the image of the breeding-pen, a fixture decried as part of "Quebec's breeding-project", in which French Canadian families are "little more than breeding units. Work, to many family-heads in this category, becomes pretty much a take-it-or-leave-it affair." Andrew will also have you know that in Quebec cars are used primarily to ferry fathers between home and the local tavern.

Andrew's contention – he dares call it conspiracy – is that Pierre Trudeau, Gérard Pelletier and shadow-player Marc Lalonde were seeking "the takeover of Canada for the French-Canadian race." The goal would be achieved within a matter of mere years under cover of programs promoting bilingualism. English-speaking Canadians would find "their country" colonized, and watch helplessly as "the relative population ratios of English-to-French swing from 75:25 to 50:50 to 30:70 to 10:90 to 0:100."

Quel désastre!

"There is nothing that has come out of Quebec or French-Canada that I can think of that is either particularly distinctive or particularly desirable", writes Andrew. Lest my French Canadian wife feel bad, I rush to add that the author thinks little of Canadians as a whole writing that we "would rather sell out and live in Florida".

Andrew's opinion of the country he swore to defend is dimmer still: "The marriage of Quebec with English-speaking Canada was at best a shotgun affair. It was brought about for the sole purpose of putting up a united front against the United States in 1867." Should Trudeau's nefarious plans be thwarted, he believes that it's just a matter of time before English-speaking Canada opts for union with the republic to the south.  "Hollywood has made Americans and English-speaking Canadians one and the same people" – or didn't you know that?

Anyone wondering why the English-speaking Canadians of 1977 couldn't see "the French racial takeover of Canada" must recognize that the media was both suppressed and in the pay of the Trudeau government; Reader's Digest is given special mention. Andrew contends that Gérard Pelletier "imposed just as an effective censorship on Canada as was exercised on Nazi Germany." Doubters will find evidence in the 1974 Dominion Day celebrations on Parliament Hill:
The program definitely put Mr. Pelletier at least on a plane with Dr. Goebbels. I can recall a movie-cut of Hitler slapping one of his cronies on the back and doing a little jig on the occasion of the French surrender during World War II. I can just imagine Mr. Trudeau in the same role, during that performance on Parliament Hill, slapping Gerard [sic] Pelletier on the back, and saying, "Hey old buddy, you sure gave it to them that time."
Yes, Andrew can imagine. He imagines that he lives in a country in which he might be imprisoned for his words. He imagines that he lives in a Canada in which those accused of bigotry are beaten, stoned and shot.  He imagines unseating Pierre Trudeau through a Progressive Conservative/Parti Québécois alliance – all the while lamenting: "in many other countries, the actions of Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Pelletier would have long since resulted in a revolt by the military and a hasty execution of those two politicians".

Most of all, he imagines "racial chaos" that has brought country to the brink of civil war. Andrew tells of an episode he witnessed in which an Ottawa bus driver hurled an insult at a Quebec motorist:
If some French-Canadian passenger on the bus, or another driver, or a pedestrian, had taken issue with that bus driver, there would have been a fight. And what is important is that there wouldn't have been just two people involved, because I would have been in it too. And I would have been on the side of the bus driver. And I would have been in that fight dressed in the uniform of a Lieutenant Commander in Canada's Armed Forces.
     My point is this. Canada is just one hot afternoon and one small incident away from open hostility.
Let us imagine a uniformed member of Armed Forces working not to diffuse, but to inflame such a situation. Let us imagine him doing so with the belief that his actions might be the spark that leads to great bloodshed. Let us give thanks that Lieutenant Commander Andrew is no longer an active member of our Armed Forces.

Object: A 137-page paperback, my seventh printing copy fell apart in the reading. The author would have me blame poor production standards on Pierre Trudeau, who cast a chill over printers operating in "the whole of the city of Ottawa."

Access: A dated, poorly produced book that has been out of print for thirty-four years, it isn't surprising that Bilingual Today, French Tomorrow has all but disappeared from our public libraries. Used copies can be purchased online for one dollar. A bookseller in Ladysmith, BC, has the audacity to ask US$39.95 for a "Fair Reprint".

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  1. But what about "Red Maple--How Canada Became the People's Republic of Canada in 1981"? That sounds pretty cool.

    1. Sadly, I've yet to come across a copy. That said, the description provided by Winnett Boyd in the Forward to Bilingual Today, French Tomorrow has me sold:

      "In his book, RED MAPLE, Kenneth McDonald traced the phenomenal growth of government under Prime Minister Trudeau to its logical conclusion - complete state control of Canada's economy and Mr. Trudeau's emergence, in 1981, as Premier of The People's Republic of Canada."

      Boyd later wonders whether the country isn't destined to have "the worst of both worlds and become La Republique [sic] Populaire de [sic] Canada."

      I suppose it's too much to hope for a revised second edition.

    2. If you can't find a copy, I can't imagine who can. I always wonder, with things like Superstorm Sandy, if we lose the last paper copies of things, in people's flooded basements in Queens.

    3. Truth be told, I haven't looked very hard. However, after Bilingual Today... I'm keen to track down every BMG title I can find.

  2. Move to NB and you will see every word spoken in the book come to life.

    1. I know New Brunswick well. Jock Andrew's predictions for the province are every bit as accurate as those of his BMG stablemate Kenneth McDonald - which is to say not at all. In this respect, both have something in common with Uri Geller and Jeane Dixon.

  3. Used to be three or four copies in every used book store in central Ontario when I was living there. I read it years ago and the only thing that turned out to be accurate was the belligerence of Ottawa bus drivers.