I am still sick, but my friend took this picture of me yesterday. I wanted to smile, hoping it would make me look healthy. I thank John for taking care of me during this illness and for staying with me as I went from test to test at the hospital in Magog. He did not leave me.
The above is a copy of a Susor-Coté of still life entitled Nature morte avec oignons(Still life with onions). It is the work of Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté, a prominent Canadian artist and a friend of my grandfather’s family. The legend goes that my grandfather met my grandmother when she was an employee of Suzor-Coté. She was an artist. Would that I could interview her. She died many years ago.
Medicine in Quebec
I have gone to a hospital emergency room five times. I did so whenener I felt I would go into cardiac arrest because my heart was queezed as in a vice and my blood pressurce was climbing rapidly. I am suffering from pericarditis, from inflamed muscles in the rib cage as well as a musculoskeletal condition on the left side of the rib cage including a damaged schoulder and pain from the shoulder to the fingers. Using a computer is well nigh impossible, but I will try to carry on as soon as I can use my left arm again. I am left handed.
My visits to Emergency Rooms gave me the opportunity to see that medicine in Quebec was facing great difficulty. At the time of the Quiet Revolution, a prosperous Quebec planned to be a Welfare State (un État-Providence). Canada could be described as a Welfare State. It should be noted that Welfare States cannot sustain their programmes without levying taxes, nor can Welfare States afford extremely high fees. When Quebec declared it would be unilingual, Bill 22 (1974), and passed Bill 101, the Charter of the French Language (1977), affluent English-speaking citizens of Montreal left Quebec. I may be wrong, but I believe Quebec’s status as a unilingual province inside a bilingual Canada and ensuing laws caused well-to-do English-speaking Quebecers to leave. There cannot be a unilingual province in a bilingual Canada. It makes no sense.
My visits to the Emergency Room in Magog’s hospital provided me with an opportunity to witness what could be the impending breakdown of the medical system in Quebec. For instance, it surprised me not to be asked to remove my earrings and necklace when X-Rays were performed. Only one radiologist asked me to take off my jewellery. I could not lift my arms, so he helped me. I was also surprised that very scant attention was given to the severe pain I felt. If my mother had been subjected to this much pain at the age of 77, I do not think she would have survived. I have aged more slowly.
Yet, my worst experience was watching an old lady who had taken her number and was waiting her turn. At one point, she went to the wicket to ask when she would be seen. She was told that she would have to wait for her number and her name to be called. She sorrowly returned to her chair. Never in my life had I seen so immensely sad a face. What, in Canada? There are no doctors in Magog. The clinic closed when the doctors retired. If one is unwell, one must go to a hospital Emergency Room, take a number, and then wait, however dire one’s needs.
It could be that some doctors will attempt to leave Quebec, but one wonders whether doctors who do not hold a Bachelor of Science degree would be hired elsewhere. French-language universities do not require a Bachelor of Science degree for admission to a medical school. Future doctors spend two years in a Cegep: Grades XII and XIII, and then enter medical school. Yet, there are excellent doctors in Quebec, but many, if not most, are good technicians. They know how to send a patient for a test and probably count on the test to determine a diagnostic. They also have a book listing medications. As well, outside Quebec, a pregnant woman may be delivered by her obstetrician. In Quebec, one goes to a humble birthing-room, however complicated the pregnancy and childbirth.
I should also note that when a patient enters a hospital, he or she will not be treated by his or her doctor. Doctors do not leave their office. I have already mentioned that medicine is more successful if there is a trusting relationship between a doctor and his or her patients. One must be able to reach one’s doctor if a crisis occurs, such as the death of a child. There is no center in my depiction of medicine in Quebec.
Quebec’s Premier François Legault is trying to get doctors to work a little more, but they are protected by powerful syndicates and command very large salaries. I fear the premier will not succeed. It has been about fifty years since doctors worked under the best possible conditions.
I do not know what caused my sudden heath problems. It could be solitude and my not finding help to remove books from my apartment and settle comfortably. It has been a very stressful time in my life.
I wish to thank you for being my community. I hope to continue operating my weblog, but I will not be at the computer for as many hours as I used to. Lying down and using the swimming pool will now be more important. I will also require help performing household tasks. Everything has to be simplified.
I have been in Magog, very close to Sherbrooke, but despite the effort, I have not been able to complete a post on Quebec’s Language Laws. The muscles of my left arm are still very sore, which keeps me away from the computer. Moreover, I have been taking medication. It affects one’s concentration.
I wanted to write a post about Quebec’s language laws. Such an endeavour is a little ambitious. I may, however, express my main thoughts.
Unfortunately, to a very large extent, the language laws that bedevil Canadians to this day are the result of John A. Macdonald‘s refusal to allow the children of French-speaking families to be educated in the French language outside Quebec. Bilingualism in Canada ended at the time of the Confederation. Although we cannot determine to what extent Canada would have been genuinely bilingual, there can be no doubt that had children been educated in French outside Quebec after Confederation, more Canadians would have been bilingual. Immigrants to Canada learned English.
Therefore, it could be argued that Prime Minister A. J. Macdonald created the Quebec “question,” and put French-speaking Canadians on the defensive. Quebec’s first nationalist was Pierre-Stanislas Bédard. Bédard founded the Parti Canadien and, in 1806, he founded a French-language newspaper: Le Canadien.
So Quebec uses laws to maintain the French language. I do not think these laws serve a purpose other than deepening the rift between French-speaking and English-speaking Canadians. But the arrival in future Canada of thousands of United Empire Loyalists (UEL) had changed the demographics of Britain’s new colony in North America and had also led to the Constitutional Act of 1791. The Constitutional Act divided the former Province of Quebec into anglophone Upper Canada and the mostly francophone Lower Canada. Should the two Canadas be united, Canadiens could be assimilated.
The two Canadas were united in 1840, but the Premiers of the Province of Canada, Robert Baldwin in Canada West and Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine in Canada East fashioned a bilingual Canada. John Ralston Saul has written a fine book on Robert Baldwin and Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine. I agree with John Saul that Canada was born before 1867, the year four provinces were confederated.
As we have seen in earlier posts, it appears that John A. Macdonald sewed the seeds of a long conflict. In 1867, the year four Canadian provinces entered Confederation, the population of the Red River Colony, a territory bought by the Earl of Selkirk, consisted of an equal number of French-speaking and English was a bilingual and multicultural location. Once the Métis moved to Saskatchewan in search of river lots, the Red River Colony ceased to be bilingual.
Other than the Red River Colony, and, earlier, the great ministry of Baldwin and LaFontaine, we have no model of a bilingual and multicultural community. Confederation rolled back Canadian history to the Age of Discovery when explorers claimed as theirs the territory they had “discovered” and displaced or destroyed the people living on the newly-discovered territory.
By 1848, the “great ministry” was granted the responsible government Canada had sought since the Constitutional Act of 1791. I agree with John Ralston Saul. Canada was born long before 1867.
John A. Macdonald took his inspiration for shaping Canada from the increasingly large and successful British Empire. He, therefore, subjected Canadians to an Age of Imperialism. Yet, in 1774, under the Quebec Act, the French in Canada governed themselves and did not have to include a religion when pledging allegiance to their new Monarch. As noted above, matters changed with the arrival in the current Canada of United Empire Loyalists. Their world was British. In the case of John A. Macdonald, the world spoke English and consisted of Orangemen.
Although one cannot read into the future, one can suppose that Canada would have grown into a more bilingual and multicultural land had John A. Macdonald created equality between provinces. We are uncovering the body of Amerindian children molested in Residential Schools and we are facing the probable passage of yet another language law: Bill 96, An Act respecting French the official and common language of Quebec.
French-speaking Canadians have a right to protect their language. It has been made into the language of a threatened minority by John A. Macdonald, a Father of Confederation who was a narrow-minded and prejudiced member of the Orange Order. French-speaking Canadians find their origin in one of the world’s finer cultures.
I oppose language laws. They are the business of accountants. Yet, as distasteful as they are, language laws exist because of persons such as Air Canada CEO Michael Rousseau who, in early November 2021, addressed the Montreal Chamber of Commerce in English only. The Quiet Revolution occurred in the 1960s and the Official Languages Act (Canada) was passed in 1969. Yet, more than half a century later, in 2021, there are CEOs such as Michael Rousseau who have yet to realize that Canada has two official languages.
How long will it take for the CEO (PDG) of senior corporations to acknowledge the bilingual status of Canada, the country they inhabit? And how long will it take for the truth to be told and understood? French-speaking Canadians outside Quebec were not given the opportunity to be educated in their mother tongue. They may have been destined to be a minority, but they were also forced into that position. John A. Macdonald himself separated Quebec.
I am a bilingual Canadian and my ancestry is diverse: European, British and Amerindian. During the course of my career, I have worked as a University Teacher of French and have served as President of the Canadian Association of University and College Teachers of French, l’APFUCC.
Members of l’APFUCC teach French but they do not, to my knowledge, advocate universal bilingualism in Canada. However, French-speaking Canadians expect respect on the part of English-speaking Canadians and so do English-speaking Canadians on the part of French-speaking Canadians. That is a minimum.
Let me state again that I oppose language laws, but I also bemoan the arrogance Air Canada CEO (PDG) Michael Rousseau displayed in early November when he addressed the Montreal Chamber of Commerce in English. He ignored the Official Languages Act (Canada) of 1969.
Michael Rousseau’s mistake does not justify putting language laws into place, nor do John A. Macdonald’s prejudices, but both cases show why Quebec passes language laws hindering rather than promoting knowledge of French in Canada, which is sad.
Michael Rousseau is a lost cause, and it seems there are too many Michael Rousseaus: arrogant, insensitive, etc.
Would that Confederation had not separated the people of Quebec from other Canadians, but we have to play with the hand we are dealt. Why didn’t monsieur Rousseau invite a French-speaking Canadian to join him when he addressed the Montreal Chamber of Commerce? It would have been courteous. More importantly, why did the executive of Air Canada, the largest airline company in this country, not take into account that Canada is an officially bilingual country and accommodate this reality. In Canada, French is not a foreign language.
Would, moreover, that French-speaking Canadians devoted more time to promoting in Canada a richer brand of French, it goes both ways, despite the odds. The world speaks English.
We cannot undo the past, but the future is for us to determine, which we can do humbly…
We will be returning to a question I have not been able to answer. I have been wondering if separate schools from sea to sea (A Mari usque ad Mare) had been created west of the Red River Colony, would French communities have flourished from the Atlantic to the Pacific, therefore making Canada more bilingual. In 1867, the year the British North America Act or Canadian Confederation was signed, half the citizens of the Red River Colony were anglophones and half were francophones. As a member of the Orange Order in Canada, John A. Macdonald opposed separate schools based on language mainly. Confessional schools would be created, but they would be private schools. According to Articles 93 and 133 of the BNA Act (Canadian Confederation), schools would be uniform schools. After the Red River Rebellion (1869-1870), Louis Riel (22 October 1844 – 16 November 1885) would oppose such schools, but John A. Macdonald had little tolerance for Catholics, and, less so for Catholics who were also French. Moreover, many émigrés priests who had fled to England to escape the French Revolution accepted to serve in Canada, where they revived the waning Catholicism of the French in North America.
A Third Visit to an Emergency Ward
On Sunday morning, 7th November 2021, I asked my friend to call an ambulance. The pressure on my heart barely allowed me to breathe. He decided to take me to the hospital because it was a short drive and he wished to be with me. When we arrived at the emergency room, I was so weak and in such pain that I simply lied on the floor. My friend and other men lifted me and sat me in a wheelchair. Pericarditis and inflammation made it difficult to breath and medications quickly lose their effectiveness. I was given strong Tylenol and a kind doctor with experience saw me as soon as possible. My friend wheeled me from test to test, but the diagnostic was consistent with diagnostics determined during my two earlier visits to the emergency room. However, my condition had deteriorated. After various tests and a study of my computerized file, the doctor came back. He prescribed a potent anti-inflammatory to be taken immediately and a less aggressive anti-inflammatory to be taken for two years. He also prescribed a supply of hydromorphine and asked me not to leave my friend’s home until this crisis was over. Everything else could wait.
Medical Studies in Quebec
My adventure, which is not finished, made me reflect on the education provided future doctors. After Grade XI, Quebec students enter a Cegep. After completing two years of study, they obtain a diploma allowing them enter medical school. I do not know if they write an entrance exam, but medical tuition fees in Quebec are inexpensive which means the province can train a large number of doctors. About five years after they enter medicine, they graduate, except specialists.
The doctor I saw on Sunday was an experienced doctor who had accumulated competence working in an emergency ward. But I had never met my personal doctor because the pandemic kept me indoors. He was very young. He prescribed a mild anti-inflammatory and suggested I had sustained a neck injury, unconsciouly. He wanted my neck to be ex-rayed, but my nephew was waiting to take me to Magog. So, I was tested on Sunday, in Magog.
Pemier Legault, the “doctors,” and the doctors’ syndicate.
Premier François Legault of Quebec is currently trying to give more work to doctors, i.e. a few more patients, so everyone has a doctor.
I cannot provide a definitive and absolutely correct conclusion to this post. Some Quebec doctors are excellent doctors despite brief training. They gain experience. But, in Quebec, medicine appears one of the fastest ways to a plump income and a privileged life. Doctors are protected by powerful sindicates, labour unions. Syndicates provide medical professionals with the best possible working conditions and, at times, they may also eliminate the hours a doctor should work in a hospital and shorten their work week considerably. Such conditions, i.e.very little general education, rapid training, and the best of salaries will unavoidably travel outside Quebec and lessen the quality of the care patients receive. Pressured by syndicates, doctors make more money forcing governments to eliminate resources previously covered by a citizen’s income tax dollars. For instance, persons injured in an automobile accident and requiring physiotherapy will have to pay for that service
Once again, Francisco Goya’s “the sleep of reason produces monsters” applies. Unjustified privileges may cause patients to medicate themselves and harm themselves. It would also be my opinion that the relationship a patient grows with a devoted and consciencious doctor reduces stress and promotes healthy communities. Just how many yachts should a doctor own, not to mention luxury cars and the very best of everything. Not to mention that, in the United States, a doctor’s wife simply travels to another state to get an abortion in the case of a pregnancy that could have been avoided. I have never undergone an abortion.
Love to everyone 💕
I plan to continue my blog but devote more time to the fine arts in Canada nnd to current events.
After posting October Gold (1922), I wondered why I did not speak about the Group of Seven. They left an unforgettable heritage. They were active during the 1920s and were based in Toronto. However, they painted Ontario’s north and west. They are also known as the Algonquin School. (See Group of Seven, Wikipedia.)
British Columbia artist Emily Carr, who lived in Victoria, has been associated with the Group of Seven. Still, she wasn’t sitting with other group members at a table in a Toronto restaurant. I remember sitting with colleagues at a table in a Toronto restaurant. That conversation, a unique conversation, will never end.
Emily Carr was also part of my life. My husband and I honeymooned on the west coast of Vancouver Island, where she worked. She lived in Victoria, which was home to me for ten years. I thought I would retire in Victoria, but it didn’t happen.
Quebec’s most iconic artist is Dutch-born Cornelius Krieghoff (19 June 1815 – 5 March 1872). Krieghoff depicted Quebec’s people, “habitants” and several Amerindians (North American Indians), and the land. Members of the Group of Seven painted nature mostly.
This post is a mere glimpse of Canada’s artistic heritage. The painters I featured in this post are classics. Krieghoff was born in Holland, but he is a “genre” artist who depicted everyday life in Quebec.