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  #21  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2014, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by RyLucky View Post
From reading some responses here, I predict that there is a divide in attitudes between Quebec and Western Canada on this issue.

I can't speak for all westerners, but usually when I hear a view about white or anglo people becoming an "under class", I immediately am uncomfortable because (in the west at least) that is a common view of the kind of people who deny white privilege. In my opinion, attitudes that feel threatened by immigration and diversity are archaic and potentially racist.

Quebec clearly has a different experience with language laws, and has been bathing in a context of french v english for two hundred years. I'll admit that most Westerners do not understand the Quebec-specific issue related to language and immigration. However, Quebecers/Québécois should know that when westerners hear Gilles Duceppe/PQ/BQ and other Quebec politicians relate immigration to ghettos, ban minority religion dress and custom in public, etc, we think of how these attitudes/policies would be interpreted in our culture, and the conclusion is that these attitudes/policies are considered extremely (unacceptably so) conservative. Of course, I don't mean to paint all of Quebec with one brush; I know there are many stances on this issue. Nonetheless, these conservative attitudes seem to be tolerated in Quebec more so than they are in the rest of Canada, probably because French speaking people see themselves in the defensive position, which I understand, but it makes for a delicate and uncomfortable issue from the outside.

The very fact that this forum is using English excludes certain viewpoints and gives privilege to some potential contributors over others. I'm sure there is somewhere on the internet where this issue is being discussed in Mandarin and French with very different attitudes prevalent.
Surprisingly, Vancouver has a mentality that is different from the rest of Anglo Canada. There are some White Vancouverites who feel that this is just a symptom of a broader problem, and compare the situation in Vancouver to the Quiet Revolution in Quebec. In Quebec, it was a substantial Anglo minority that had all the wealth and power. In Vancouver, some White Vancouverites feel that the Chinese constitute that wealthy and powerful minority.

I think such a view is utterly stupid and bizarre, but the growing anti-Chinese sentiment in Vancouver is difficult to miss.

It's sad, really.

Back on the specific topic, I think even beyond the principle / theory (whereby I think that the government should not dictate private signage language), as a practical matter, this is not something worth spending tax money on. To establish a Quebec-style language police in BC would be the stupidest way to spend taxpayer money. There are so many substantive issues; if I were a taxpayer in Richmond or BC and such proposals were floated around, I'd be pissed about how my taxpayer money is going to solve a non-issue (and that's a polite characterization).
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  #22  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2014, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Metro-One View Post
Well, the internet sometimes makes it difficult to discern what people's true intentions are. There have been many self serving threads on this forum before (I am guilty of this as well).
No worries. I was a bit harsh in my response; my apologies.
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  #23  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2014, 12:23 PM
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Actually many of the people who are most against the new wealthy Chinese are in fact the established older Chinese community members.

Again, I feel American PC policies creeping in with the idea that a minority can never be wealthier / better off than the "majority."

I could go on, but again living overseas in Japan I would find it extremely terrible to only associate with other Canadian ex-pats and make no attempt to take part in mainstream Japanese society.

I don't condone racism against Chinese, in fact the majority of my friends in Vancouver are Chinese, but hanging out with them you quickly learn the difference between those Chinese who are normal citizens who plan to make Vancouver their home (or already have) and those who are ultra rich, don't give two shits about Canadian society outside of their ultra rich Chinese bubble, and are only using Vancouver and Canada for its free services / education.

And I can tell you those two groups don't get along! There is a very large wealthy Chinese population that does make Vancouver's Chinese "minority" a very different situation from other minorities in North America.
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  #24  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2014, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by saffronleaf View Post
No worries. I was a bit harsh in my response; my apologies.
Don't sweat it i know I can be very opinionated.

PS, I just noticed how far off topic my last post and others are becoming, was fearing this would devolve into a racist / not racist argument... Because I honestly believe this is not as much about race as some (largely from outside of Vancouver I am guessing) believe it is.
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  #25  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2014, 12:30 PM
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It's different when there's already a well-established minority presence.

I moved to Winnipeg. I met and associated with Manitobans. Almost everyone I knew there, everyone I dated there, everyone I dealt with on a day-to-day basis there, was a mainlander. I was surprised and excited every time I met a fellow Newfoundlander or heard word of some Newfoundland-related event.

A few of my cousins moved to Alberta (Calgary and Grande Prairie). They only ever met and associated with Newfoundlanders. They lived in neighbourhoods where they dominated, shopped at groceries with Newfoundland Foods aisles, dated other Newfoundlanders.

The only difference is the size of the community in each place. And either way, it has benefits and disadvantages. They were certainly much happier than I was, but their lives were also a lot more transient. "As soon as you make a friend, they're gone back home."

A Chinese person coming to Vancouver is likely to have an experience more like my cousins than mine.
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  #26  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2014, 12:31 PM
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To me, language is a temporary aspect of our society, as such I feel the government should not dictate the language of business. That said, the language of government - for now - is English and all businesses need to support that. If, in 50 years, the majority language in Vancouver, BC or Canada is Chinese, then the language of government will be that and our descendants will live in that language. I personally don't care if English, or French, disappears in Canada within the next X generations. It just reflects the continued evolution of our society.

Will the US still be an English country in 100 years or Spanish speaking one? Who knows and who cares. Language does not define a society, it is merely a tool to communicate.
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  #27  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2014, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Metro-One View Post
IMO if you are okay with businesses only catering to a certain language demographic, then don't condemn wedding business owners not wanting to service homosexual customers. I know that I will see the same people who are supporting this segregation completely change their tune when it is a white / english business in question.

To me there is no real difference because they are both obvious exclusions of major sectors of the population. One is just more direct that the other.
The difference is that you can still walk into a restaurant and be served even if the sign is in another language. I don't entirely follow your logic.

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And sorry, but you cant paint the entire world with the "American" model of race history and culture. I find that waaaaaay too much of modern human geography and PC politics is completely based on American culture. Believe it or not but there are other very privileged ethnicities / groups in the world outside of white males. I know, unbelievable as it is for first year undergrads / career students to comprehend.
Are you saying that sociological term "white privilege" is a strictly American term and phenomenon? Obviously, in Japan white privilege is irrelevant (or at least much different), but power and privilege are universal issues. I never took sociology in undergrad, but off the top of my head I can tell you that followers of Paulo Friere (Brazil) and the Frankfurt School (Germany) use the term white privilege.

What ever your opinion, I don't think you can deny that being born a white, anglo male in Canada offers advantages over others. Fortunately, the playing field is rapidly levelling, but it was not that long ago when Aboriginals were not allowed to leave the reserve without permission from the Indian Agent or when Japanese-Canadians had their property confiscated and were ostracized from society after some prison labour. Even today there are far too few non-white non-male political leaders in Canada. Call it "white privilege" or "systemic racism" or "biased power structures" or "oppression" or whatever you like - it's a problem everywhere in the world that is worth solving as best we can.
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  #28  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2014, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by saffronleaf View Post
Back on the specific topic, I think even beyond the principle / theory (whereby I think that the government should not dictate private signage language), as a practical matter, this is not something worth spending tax money on. To establish a Quebec-style language police in BC would be the stupidest way to spend taxpayer money. There are so many substantive issues; if I were a taxpayer in Richmond or BC and such proposals were floated around, I'd be pissed about how my taxpayer money is going to solve a non-issue (and that's a polite characterization).
well-said.
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  #29  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2014, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by RyLucky View Post
From reading some responses here, I predict that there is a divide in attitudes between Quebec and Western Canada on this issue.

.
I don't see that at all - at least not on this thread. There are almost no people from Quebec so far on here and the regular SSP members from Quebec aren't necessarily representative either. TheGenuineArticle is from Quebec but I have no idea if he or she is francophone, anglophone, allophone or a mix of any of these three.

People from English-speaking Canada seem to be quite divided on the isssue, at least on this thread.

Finally, there are no Québécois people on Richmond city council to my knowledge.
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  #30  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2014, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by shreddog View Post
Language does not define a society, it is merely a tool to communicate.
Yeah, tell that to the Japanese, the french, the Spanish, the Portuguese etc. The Quebecois culture and the french language are intrinsically tied to the core. Language very much defines societies all over the world. Not all, of course. There is no getting away from that.


Anyway, my view is that if I moved to Lima, Peru to open up an English-labguage book shop and most of my clients were english-speaking expats, I would still have Spanish on my sign. Its basic courtesy. To not do that is just plain insulting.
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  #31  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2014, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by BretttheRiderFan View Post
I can guarantee that if you polled westerners tomorrow about the issue of businesses in western Canada with Chinese-only signage and then you did another poll about Quebec sign laws, you'd get different results in each and more people willing to support Richmond city council on this one than would be supporting the Quebec government.
Ding ding ding! We have a winner. That's the absolute truth.

You'd have to do two separate polls, but you've correctly predicted what the results of those two polls would be.
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  #32  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2014, 12:50 PM
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The difference is that you can still walk into a restaurant and be served even if the sign is in another language. I don't entirely follow your logic.
If you cant follow the logic then there is nothing really more I can say to you. I feel you are following the PC guide book to a T, hence you completely missed the point of my previous posts. I don't fee like getting into another SSP circular argument. The main point was just because a group is a minority doesn't automatically make them less privileged, and there are many other "privileged groups in the world outside of the White Male, especially in the 21st century.

And yes, what happened to Japanese Canadians during WW2 was terrible, and needs to be rectified, but at the same time the Japanese were doing far worse things to the Chinese and Koreans and other atrocities in the Philippines and Indonesia, etc... I actually find it quite funny that the popular view towards the Japanese in Asia is nearly identical to that of the popular PC view towards white people (particularly males) in NA (and Europe to a lesser degree).
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  #33  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2014, 12:50 PM
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The difference is that you can still walk into a restaurant and be served even if the sign is in another language. I don't entirely follow your logic.

.
It's kinda hard to order, though, if the menu is all in Chinese characters that you can't read.
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  #34  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2014, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by RyLucky View Post
I'm sure there is somewhere on the internet where this issue is being discussed in Mandarin and French with very different attitudes prevalent.
In Quebec anyway, such issues in Anglo-Canada are usually viewed with bemusement and many people get a chuckle out of them.
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  #35  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2014, 12:57 PM
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Yeah, tell that to the Japanese, the french, the Spanish, the Portuguese etc. The Quebecois culture and the french language are intrinsically tied to the core. Language very much defines societies all over the world. Not all, of course. There is no getting away from that.
Historically that may have been the case, but I personally don't believe the future will continue that.

Do I care that we no longer discriminate against women, races, groups in our society? Do I care that we have great healthcare and education accessible to all? Do I care that our society has a safety net for those that need it? Do I care that our society believes that the environment is just as important as economics? Or do I care that I speak the same language as Canadians (outside of Quebec) did a hundred years ago? Guess which ones are important and which are not.

BTW, I'm trying not to bring in the QC experience, so I'll just focus on English Canada and reiterate that I don't care what the language of the country will be in 100 years, but rather what the society feels are the key elements of it's definition.
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  #36  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2014, 12:59 PM
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Ding ding ding! We have a winner. That's the absolute truth.

You'd have to do two separate polls, but you've correctly predicted what the results of those two polls would be.
Actually I beg to differ with both of you. Based on the people I know/associate with and the trend of responses from Westerners in this thread, the opposite is true.
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  #37  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2014, 1:02 PM
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It's kinda hard to order, though, if the menu is all in Chinese characters that you can't read.
Then they don't want, nor get, my business. If enough people do understand the menu they will succeed. If not, they fail. So why is it the government's role to dictate that?

Again, if over time the majority of the local population only understands Chinese so what? As long as business supports the language of government (which represents the overall majority) no one is harmed.
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  #38  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2014, 1:03 PM
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Historically that may have been the case, but I personally don't believe the future will continue that.

Do I care that we no longer discriminate against women, races, groups in our society? Do I care that we have great healthcare and education accessible to all? Do I care that our society has a safety net for those that need it? Do I care that our society believes that the environment is just as important as economics? Or do I care that I speak the same language as Canadians (outside of Quebec) did a hundred years ago? Guess which ones are important and which are not.

BTW, I'm trying not to bring in the QC experience, so I'll just focus on English Canada and reiterate that I don't care what the language of the country will be in 100 years, but rather what the society feels are the key elements of it's definition.

Clearly what you don't care about and the reality of World cultures ain't the same my friend. Go tell a British person that the English language doesn't in any represent their culture and that in the future Croatian will become their lingua franca, and that this wont affect them in any way.

Real cultures, with real histories don't work like that. A culture's language is a culture's I.D. card in more ways than one. You can't compare suburban British Columbia with say, Spain.
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  #39  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2014, 1:06 PM
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Originally Posted by shreddog View Post
Then they don't want, nor get, my business. If enough people do understand the menu they will succeed. If not, they fail. So why is it the government's role to dictate that?

Again, if over time the majority of the local population only understands Chinese so what? As long as business supports the language of government (which represents the overall majority) no one is harmed.
I am not making the argument either way. Just pointing out that not using the main language (especially when the alphabet/characters are alien to the majority) can preclude most local citizens from frequenting that business. It may be acceptable, legal or said to be perfectly OK whichever way you wanna slice it, but it is "exclusionary" nonetheless.
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  #40  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2014, 1:08 PM
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language gives us our vocabulary and idiomatic structure, as well as the symbols available to express our worldview. it is not a mere "plug-in" that can be applied or removed, with no effect, from the legal and cultural outline (20th century liberal/capitalist individualism) that you have outlined above.

instead, the legal and cultural outline is the specific product of specific places and cultural interactions and thinkers and historical events. were it to change languages overnight, as you correctly point out, it would not change form overnight... but give it a century or two. even individual people are often amused to discover the slight differences in their outward (possibly inward?) character that occur when they speak other languages for extended periods.

slight differences, expressed over time and masses of people, become large ones.

the great divide of the early 21st century is between civilization-as-contract and more traditional models which hold civilizations to be the specific creations of cultures.

if the former proves ascendant, i suppose we will unite under some accomodating and consensual structure and fly thusward to the stars. if it does not, our future selves may laugh at how, for a period lasting from the french revolution until the mid-21st century, we allowed ourselves to forget everything.
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