A Canuck on French Canadians




That’s what I would say to you if I wanted to greet you in Quebec, the French-speaking province of Canada. Don’t worry, I’m not French Canadian, so I’ll settle for a “hello.”

A common misconception is that because Canada is a bilingual country—English and French are the official languages—many Canadians are also bilingual. False.

Although I am not fluent in French, I’m not completely ignorant when it comes to communicating: Hors d’oeuvre, anyone?

Even if I was full-blown French Canadian, that moniker doesn’t carry the same suaveness of a France native. You know, that of an actual French person. Quebec is diet France, much like Buffalo, N.Y., is diet Canada. They’re almost like the real deal, but fall short in too many ways.

A French Canadian doesn’t enjoy self-loathing or accept mime as a valuable form of expression quite like the Parisian does. For a French Canadian, mime is on par with juggling and LOL cats in terms of entertainment value.

And instead of perfecting mime like any self-respecting Frenchman would, French Canadians decided to start Cirque de Soleil, an avant-garde circus act where the acrobats have sacrificed everything for the honor of wearing the glow-in-the-dark leotard and having maximum bendiness in their bodies.

Perhaps it’s for this reason that some extremist French Canadians want to separate from the rest of Canada. The idea is so silly I give them a oh-hoh-hoh-hoh stereotypical Parisian laugh as I tilt my beret, take a drag of my cigarette and sip my sauvignon blanc.

I think the French Canadians are bluffing about leaving anyway. They continue to use too many anglicized words (for example, a “party” in Montreal is still called a “party,” whereas in Paris, a “party” would be a “boum”). Pick a side, Quebecers.

Nevermind the rift that exists between French Canadians and English Canadians. My brother is a Quebec native and we have occasional disagreements, much like French Canada and the rest of Canada do, but at the end of the day we still love each other.

In melting pot countries, such as Canada and the U.S., you can’t hate someone for being quirky. You have to embrace the fact that in one province of your country cheese curds and gravy on fries made perfect sense.

After all, without French Canadians we wouldn’t have the musical talents of Celine Dion. Also consider that it is sadly because of French Canadians that we have to endure the musical talents of Celine Dion.

It’s these love-hate paradoxes that evoke a slight je ne sais quoi when thinking about French Canada.