Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Media watch
Québec, les Québecois and the Canadian Monarchy

Before the Duke and the Duchess of Cambridge arrived in the Dominion of Canada, the media hoped for trouble in the province of Québec by a republican protest wave.

They grounded their hopes on a well-known quack: Amir Khadir, a Québec Solidaire member of the province’s National Assembly had called the newlywed royal couple “parasites.” Mr. Khadir is known as an outspoken politician, whose remarks have put him in the spotlight before.

Québec’s Minister of Foreign Relations and Minister of La Francophonie, Monique Gagnon-Tremblay, welcomed their visit, which is already garnering the attention of dozens of international journalists seeking accreditation for the tour. She said the province would cover part of the cost of their tour, although she didn’t specify the exact amount. She called the visit a chance to put the belle province on display.

That incensed Mr. Khadir even more, who compared the parading of the royal couple to a “circus” meant to attract tourist.
The Globe and Mail, 31st May 2011

The visit to Montréal on 2nd July and Québec City on 3rd July went ahead and was a huge success.

The worst reported incident arising during the visit of Prince William and Kate on the weekend was a small group of Québec anti-monarchists, numbering between 30 and 100, unfurling a banner calling them royal parasites.

The protesters were overshadowed by scenes of unbridled enthusiasm for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. In Québec City, the heartland of Québec nationalism, William delivered a speech "tout en francais" that was deemed passable, with an improved accent. The attractive young couple went up to the barricades to shake hands and talk to star-struck Québecers who voiced their approval.
Calgary Herald, 5th July 2011

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge kept calm and carried on as they were met by small but loud groups of Québec sovereigntists expressing their disdain for the Crown over the weekend.

Nearly 100 members of the British media are in Canada to cover the royal couple's first official international visit.

They are part of the almost 1,400 journalists accredited to cover the royal visit.
The Canadian Press, 3rd July 2011

It must be exhausting to continually fight the battle of the Plains of Abraham more than 250 years after its formal conclusion, and utterly demoralizing to keep losing it.

The relative handful of demonstrators who tried to disrupt the Montréal and Québec City segments of the royal tour only succeeded in demonstrating that their anti-monarchist sentiments are even less relevant than the monarchy.

The cost of accommodating Prince William and his wife, Kate, is a pittance compared to the international attention a royal tour commands. Travel industry marketers would kill to get that kind of bang for their buck. So the “parasites” argument doesn’t wash, especially coming from fringe characters in North America’s most notorious welfare state.

Then there’s the character of the royals themselves. I had the privilege of meeting William’s father, Prince Charles, and Charles’ wife, Camilla, during their visit to Montréal in 2009, and their easy-going nature, impeccable manners and good humour under constant scrutiny left an unforgettable impression. These are people who are drilled from early childhood in the art of social politesse, and they embrace their position and responsibilities with unfailing grace, which is more than can be said for self-centered athletes, actors, rock stars and famous-for-being-famous celebrities who behave like petulant children when they feel their ”space” is being invaded. (I’ll never forget a story from a friend of a friend who, as a teenager, was waiting outside the Forum to get a famous visiting hockey player’s autograph, and when the team bus showed up, the player brushed past his biggest fan and growled, “F*** off, kid, I haven’t even had breakfast yet.
Montréal Gazette, 5th July 2011

Anti-monarchist protesters failed to disrupt the visit of Britain's Prince William and his wife Kate to Québec, which was the most politically sensitive portion of their Canadian royal tour.

A group estimated by local reporters at about 200 people used loudspeakers on Sunday to decry the royal family and call for sovereignty for the French-speaking province, but they were kept far away from the couple in Québec City.
Reuters, 4th July 2011

Gary Sims, a staunch monarchist and amateur historian, said the protesters don’t know their history. “If it wasn’t for the British influence in North America, there would be no French at all,” he said, noting that, had the Americans and not the British triumphed in the War of 1812, French-speakers would likely have been assimilated and Quebec as we know it would not exist.
The Globe and Mail, 3rd July 2011

Sunday morning, Montréal very nationalist daily newspaper Le Journal de Montréal, posted 80% of all its pages reserved to the royal couple (the Montréal visit) in a very positive mode, with nice pictures and details. 20% was reserved for the protests, insisting these people are a minority. This morning, Montréal federalist daily newspaper La Presse report explains how Québecers appreciate the visit in Québec city, with minor references to the protests. Now look at english media outside of Québec and their pathetic focus on how these Québec separatists hate the royal couple. The focus to find and interview some Québeckers who dislike the monarchy, etc.... Let me be clear: their is no enthusiasm for the royal family in Québec, and there will never be. But the immense majority of people are polite and have nothing against Kate and William. We are simply nor indifferent or nor charmed by this couple. So now read english national media, and you will see that the coverage of the royal visit in Québec has by far focus on these bad people. English media were so happy to see some Québeckers booing them. These media needs daily doses of Québec bashing to keep alive a part of their audience.
Denis_Montreal, 4th July 2011

1 comment:

Graham Sproule said...

Absolutely right! The protests fizzled out and weren't very large or noticeable. If anything they showed that even in Quebec where republicanism is high that there isn't a huge amount of enthusiasm for ending the monarchy. Of course I'm sure that disappoints the media since displays of violent anarchy - like the recent Vancouver riots - always draw increased viewership.