Quebec in Student Uproar

Quebecois institutions under attack

Apr 13th, 2010 | By Paul Moth | Category: Featured

Immigrant students line up for registration at French language course

After weighing the arguments in both hands, balancing a woman’s fashion beliefs with the mandated French language courses all immigrants must study, the Québec government stepped into a foreign woman’s classroom again this week and offered her an ultimatum: show some cleavage or drop the course.

According to Education ministry spokesman Guillaume Cricauloin, following earlier reprimands the woman in question had “shown a willingness to emphasize her bosom” with tight tops, “but refused to display appropriate décolletage.”

The woman has been attending the French course for several months at a community college.  When first advised of the Québecois fixation on all things mammary, she took what her lawyers claim was a step towards assimilation by not wearing a brassiere to class.

It seemed the unnamed college was willing to accommodate her, but Cricauloin and the government stepped in.

“Nipples are not enough in Quebec — we have to see her boobs,”  said Gilles Menard, a well-known columnist and cultural critic for the influential daily, Ménage.  “It is a part of our heritage.  If you want to live here, at least show us the respect of some decent T and A.”

The low-cut scandal is just one in a series of incidents across the province that “call into question the willingness and ability of immigrant women to adapt to the Québecois way of life,” claims Thierry la Fronde, organizer of the “Toutes les Choses Québec” festival, in testimony before a provincial government inquiry into immigrant belligerence.

M la Fronde cited an occurrence in the rural community of Saint St. Denis where a woman studying in a culture class refused to eat poutine, widely regarded as the national dish of Québec.  And in Brossard, on Montreal’s South Shore, another woman allegedly refused to buy a living-room set of white leatherette sofas and accompanying lava lamps from the husband of her language teacher.  La Fronde accused the immigrant learners of committing “systematic acts of aggression against the local ways and customs of the Quebec nation.”

According to Menard, in forcing a modest student to withdraw from further instruction on the grounds of insufficient cleavage, the government has sent non-conformist immigrant students a clear message.  “They shall not pass.”

Students practice conversational French in class

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