I found the following statement posted to Reddit’s Montreal community page. It’s not entirely clear where or what the original source is, but it’s nonetheless attributed to Dr. Joe Schwarcz, a well-respected local chemist, professor and published author. Schwarcz is a mainstay of MontrÃ©al’s vibrant intellectual and academic class; he keeps a regular column in The Gazette, runs McGill’s Office for Science & Society, and is a frequent guest on CJAD and the Discovery Channel.
He rose to prominence as a popular ‘de-bunker’ of magicians and mentalists (such as Uri Geller) by demonstrating that there are simple, scientific explanations for myriad phenomena. In other words, hardly the type to make rash judgements based on emotional (and unnecessarily so) political decisions.
Consider for yourself, I think the man has an excellent point:
“Within the last ten days I’ve been in New York, B.C. and Washington.
I was there to talk about various issues in chemistry but in each instance the topic of conversation with my hosts quickly focused on “pastagate.”
I felt ashamed to be from Quebec. We have become the laughing stock of the world. It is sheer lunacy that with numerous legitimate issues to be addressed, the narrow minded Quebec politicians worry about the French language losing its eminence because of what they see as a treacherous restaurant menu.
And it’s equally disturbing that while the Parti Quebecois commits these linguistic atrocities, the Federal government just stays silent.
The simple-minded critter who was in charge of the language police, and that is the proper description, claims that her heart was in the right place. Maybe so, but it is her brain that is missing.
Our infrastructure is crumbling, our education system is a mess, our emergency rooms are stressed to the limit and we are funding the Office QuÃ©bÃ©coise de la Langue Francaise to the tune of some 30 million dollars a year.
This is a crime!
A colossal misappropriation of public funds. We are actually paying people to go around measuring signs and telling stores to cover up “on” buttons on microwave ovens.
It is time to disband this foul operation and put the expertise of the employees to use in measuring the depth of potholes. Filling them probably lies outside their capability. It is truly amazing that Minister Diane de Courcy, when announcing the resignation of the head of the OQLF and declaring that questions in English would not be entertained, did not recognize the irony of standing in front of a sign declaring “Un Quebec for Tous.” Surely that rusty brain needs some oiling.
Educated Americans used to be ashamed to say that George W. Bush was their president. Compared with our premier, he was an intellectual giant.
– Dr. Joe Schwarcz