Yvon Dupuis Reincarnate

What drives the man who drives the Quebec Créditistes?

ANN CHARNEY November 1 1973

Yvon Dupuis Reincarnate

What drives the man who drives the Quebec Créditistes?

ANN CHARNEY November 1 1973

Yvon Dupuis Reincarnate


What drives the man who drives the Quebec Créditistes?

Until recently, Quebec provincial politics was dominated by the growing conflict between two sharply defined forces. The confrontation was almost classic in its simplicity, two visions of the future in stark opposition to one another, mutually exclusive — and apparently set on a collision course for the next election. The Liberals, led by Quebec’s reserved patrician premier, Robert Bourassa, were committed to what they called “profitable federalism,” a strong Quebec within Confederation, the security of continuity. The Parti Québécois, under the compelling leadership of René Lévesque, offered the prospect of separation from the rest of Canada, nationhood, independence. Federalism or separatism: until that issue was settled, it seemed there would never again be any other way to vote.

Now, suddenly, a third contender for power has elbowed his way in between the two adversaries, upsetting the nervous balance between them, and causing Quebec voters to step back and have another look. Yvon Dupuis, once a federal Liberal cabinet minister, has been reborn as leader of the Quebec wing of the Social Credit Party. And from him the Parti Créditiste (until recently Ralliement des Créditistes), a second federalist force, has drawn new vitality. Since Dupuis’ election as leader in February of this year, the party has been stridently selling itself as the only viable choice for those who are discontented with the Liberal regime, but shrink from following Lévesque into the uncharted promises and perils of a separate socialist Quebec. Traditionally a right-wing protest movement sustained almost exclusively by the impoverished heartland of rural Quebec, the Créditistes are now making a determined bid for urban and middle-class support. For the first time in its history in Quebec, the party is being considered a serious alternative for the government of the province.

It seems appropriate that my first meeting with the Créditistes takes place far from the big city. The occasion is a sugaring-off party being given by the Ralliement in the Eastern Townships in honor of their newly elected leader.

I arrive early at the Chalet des Erables, near Birchton, where the party is being held. The chalet turns out to be two barn-like buildings, a restaurant where tables have been set up for the evening banquet, and a café-dance hall. Both are almost empty. In the far end of the dance hall an all-girl rock band is tuning up. They are advertised as “La famille Marticotte — noces, showers, spectacles.” As the first guests arrive, the Marticotte sisters break into a vigorous rendition of Never On Sunday.

Outside, new arrivals greet each other with enthusiasm and back slapping. There are a few strangers, but most of the crowd mingles with an easy familiarity that comes from years of common attendance at weddings, baptisms, funeral parties, church socials and Saturday-night bingo games.

The focal point for the crowd is a large truck with a loudspeaker system mounted on the cab. The sign on the side of the truck reads “Meubles-Henri Latulippe-2ième étage-25 Frontenac.” Henri Latulippe is the federal Créditiste representative from this area. His son, Paul André, who is on the truck trying out the sound system, is a Créditiste Deputy to the

Quebec National Assembly. In Quebec, perhaps more than elsewhere, politics is a family business to be handed down from father to son.

The Latulippes greet everyone by name. Young Latulippe is finally satisfied with the loudspeaker and turns it up full blast as he flips on a rock station. The brutal rhythm of the music shatters the country quiet and the older people look up at the truck with an air of bewilderment. But Latulippe is already immersed in his next task as he helps his wife and her young friends put up posters and directional arrows.

One of these friends, Mme Tony Langelier, represents the new sort of people who have followed Dupuis into Social Credit. She is attractive, fashionably dressed, and has a public relations job in Montreal. Her family numbers some Parti Québécois supporters, but no Créditistes until recently.

“I used to think the Créditistes were a joke,” she confides with a giggle, “you know, old-fashioned funny types. But that’s all changing because of Yvon Dupuis. He’s going to make this into a real party. Lots of people I know are leaving the other parties and coming over to our side. They’re changing the whole tone of the Ralliement. It’s becoming modern.”

Certainly in her palazzo pants, her thick artificial eyelashes and her blue bowler, Mme Langelier has single-handedly affected the tone of this gathering. The older farmers look at her as if she were some exotic bird who has unaccountably settled for a moment in their midst.

Romeo Cousteau has been a Créditiste since 1940, when the movement in Quebec was still known as the Union des Electeurs. Like most people in the movement, he began with the traditional parties, “les rouges et les bleus,” and left them in disappointment and frustration. Social Credit brought him into contact with men who hated socialism and who believed in the things he cherished — an attachment to the land, large families, French-Canadian culture, language and religion.

“Our young are being brainwashed. The teachers in the CEGEPs are all Péquistes. The newspapers are against us. You know, the trouble with our party has always been that our people are too sincere, too straight to succeed in politics. But with Dupuis, this is all beginning to change. At last we’re being taken seriously, and even the young are beginning to come over to our side.”

I look around me and wonder aloud why there are so few young people in attendance. Cousteau throws up his arms. “What do you expect? It’s the hockey. Don’t you know the play-offs are on this afternoon?”

We are interrupted by the arrival of a strange cortège. A small bus has pulled up in front of the dance hall, and one by one its occupants are being carried inside in wheelchairs or supported in their spastic movements. They come from a home in Sherbrooke run by nuns, and the Créditistes have organized this outing for them. As they are carried or helped into the dance hall, they pass a table where Créditiste literature and membership cards are sold. A few of them sign up. I follow them inside and discover among the pamphlets copies of extracts from The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion, a notorious anti-semitic tract. A pleasant grey-haired lady sells it good naturedly, as though she /

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were presiding over a church bazaar.

The presence of the handicapped and the missionary tone of the literature crystallize a sense of recognition in my mind; this is the atmosphere of revival meetings, of mass public worship, the politics of miracle workers.

Dupuis’ arrival confirms the image. The new keeper of the Créditiste faith appears riding in the back of his white Mercedes. His aides follow in other cars. With appropriate coincidence, the song Here Comes The White Man is coming over the loudspeaker.

He leaves his car quickly, a small, pudgy man with long Indian-black hair, eager to begin the work of the day. Although he has often talked of his “reluctance” to return to politics, one has only to see him like this, in the midst of a crowd, to know that he loves every step of the campaign trail. Close up, he lacks the smooth gloss of his publicity posters, but he has the manner of a man who expects applause and usually gets it.

A few minutes after his arrival, Dupuis is surrounded by the crowd. Everyone here is anxious to see him, to touch him, to shake his hand. Dupuis rises to the occasion. He is expansive, jovial, familiar with the men, respectful with their wives, tender with their children. Each hand is clasped and held firmly, each comment receives a reply. Dupuis’ voice is his greatest asset and he uses it, like an actor, to embellish the most ordinary platitudes. Although he is not making a speech today, the power of his voice vibrates amidst the crowd.

As he advances, his family falls behind and he is alone in the midst of his

followers who are reaching toward him. There is no hysteria, no apparent excesses of emotion, just the gentle undulations of a crowd stirred by hope and gratitude. He moves among them radiating conviction, energy, determination. Dupuis has found his people, who, at last, have found the leader they deserve.

Near me I notice two old men preparing to greet Dupuis. They have been sitting in a car these last two hours, waiting and talking. The day is warm and they are in shirtsleeves. Now they put on their jackets and caps, and walk over to Dupuis. They shake his hand, talk for a minute, and return to the car where once again their coats and caps come off. Tradition and respect for authority are bred into them, and they bow with the reflex of their fathers submitting to the seigneur, the “boss,” the parish priest.

It is time for the sugaring off. The temperature is near 80 degrees, and I have been wondering how the syrup will be cooled. The answer arrives with a truckload of snow brought down from the mountains earlier in the day. The snow is packed into troughs and the syrup is poured onto it from large metal canisters. It is delicious but hard to capture as it trickles to our feet with the melting snow. The ground turns muddy and slippery. People begin to drift away to a nearby school bus converted into a “patate-frite” stand, where the refreshments are more conveniently obtained. Dupuis, after an obligatory lick of the syrup, disappears inside to be interviewed by the local press.

The crowd is beginning to thin out. Some are going home; others are mov-

ing inside for the “danse d’orchestre.” As I leave I notice part of Dupuis’ entourage gathered around the trunk of a car where a bar has been improvised. The local people keep a distance from this little island of exclusivity. They are more comfortable inside, drinking beer and listening to the Marticotte sisters.

Dupuis has given me an appointment in the city. His office is at the foot of St. Lawrence Street, in restored Old Montreal. The area bristles with expensive chic and historical plaques. At the corner of the building which houses Dupuis’ enterprises is the restaurant Chez Louis Seize — disco, salon, piano, bar. We are a long way from traditional Créditiste territory.

Créditisme arrived in Quebec in the mid-1930s at a time of great social and economic difficulty. It thrived in the rural areas and small towns of Quebec, among people who saw themselves as discards of social and economic progress. Here, in the forgotten corners of the province, the monetary reform theories of Major Clifford Hugh Douglas, a Scottish engineer, mated enthusiastically with the traditional values of a semi-feudal, Catholic society. Créditisme became an outlet for the backlash against increasing modernization and industrialization of Quebec society.

Although the movement was originally called the Union des Electeurs in Quebec, it was from the beginning more a religious crusade than a political party. Its leaders saw themselves as prophets rather than politicians. They struggled not just for votes, but to save their people from the dangers of an international alliance of Jews, Freemasons and Communists. Their aim was nothing less than total social reform.

In 1957 the Union des Electeurs was replaced by the Ralliement des Créditistes, formed by Réal Caouette and Laurent Legault, who felt that the movement should focus more specifically on winning votes and political power. The party succeeded in attracting between one quarter and one fifth of the Quebec vote, still concentrated among the poorly educated, deprived segments of Quebec society. It never achieved the widespread support the Social Credit party enjoyed in Alberta or BC.

Dupuis’ accession to the leadership of the Crêditistes marks a new phase in the development of the movement. More worldly than any of its former leaders, he comes to the party from a background that includes experience as a former cabinet minister in the Pearson government, a newspaper publisher, businessman and, lately, host of an immensely popular open-line program. He enters the electoral race with very favorable odds; his supporters, and even some of his critics, believe that he has

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the ability to attract the substantial vote that used to go to the now moribund Union Nationale party. Voters in Quebec are trading in their allegiances to the old parties, and Dupuis has every intention of dazzling them along their route of indecision.

Since his election in February, he has taken the Créditiste message to urban middle-class audiences. In the process of making Créditisme respectable, he may be changing a relatively harmless, ineffective social anachronism into a serious political party. To achieve this, Dupuis has been relying heavily on his public style, perfected and refined during his years as a radio hot liner. Like a ventriloquist, he can throw his emotions with perfect verisimilitude. Dupuis has the added advantage of not being a true Créditiste. Unlike his predecessors he does not seem particularly interested in popularizing the monetary reform theories of Social Credit. Instead, he reserves his verbal energy for social and political aphorisms, tried and tested in his years on the hot line. Like a wise oracle he knows what his audiences fear, and by inciting their anger he provides them with an easy cathartic release.

Born in Montreal, October 11, 1926, of an Irish mother and a French-Canadian father, Yvon Dupuis grew up in an atmosphere where politics invaded every conversation. His father, Hector Dupuis, was an aide to Montreal mayor Camillien Houde, and in 1950 was elected to the House of Commons. Prominent political figures of the Thirties and Forties were frequent and casual visitors to the Dupuis home.

His own taste for politics budded in 1945. “I was asked to take the PC side in a debate at my school, Ecole Normale. I went to the library to read up about the Liberals so that I could say nasty things about them. To my surprise, I discovered that I agreed with what I was reading. Laurier in particular impressed me. His ideas, his mentality, were mine. I switched sides in the debate and won.”

Dupuis’ future political career was to prove he had found a prophetic formula.

In 1952, at age 26, he became the youngest deputy ever elected to the provincial assembly. Despite his youth, he wasn’t content to remain a silent backbencher. He shrewdly recognized that his quickest road to recognition lay in attacking “le grand Chef,” Maurice Duplessis, and in provoking him to public outbursts of anger.

One day, as Duplessis spoke in the assembly, in the hush that prevailed even among members of the opposition, Dupuis interrupted repeatedly. Duplessis tried to brush him off by remarking that “the young deputy from SainteMarie is behaving like a schoolboy.” This brought Dupuis to his feet: “The

PM does not have the right to call me the young deputy. He should refer to me as the honorable deputy. After all, I don’t call him a little old man.”

In the repressive atmosphere that surrounded Duplessis at the height of his power, this remark was considered appallingly shocking, and was consequently relished by all the newspapers. Dupuis’ role as enfant terrible began to be institutionalized.

In 1958, Dupuis moved from provincial politics to Ottawa, and the notoriety and publicity attending him expanded to fit the larger arena of federal politics. In Ottawa his extravagant behavior seemed even more bizarre than it had in Quebec. He was labeled “the Caouette of the Liberal party,” and considered an embarrassment to his colleagues.

However, when election time came around in 1963, the Liberals recognized in Dupuis their most likely match for Réal Caouette and his brand of revivalist oratory. Dupuis pursued the Créditistes across Quebec, reviling them with burlesque parody. He painted them as crackpots or feebleminded hillbillies, crowning his act with a moment of high theatrics as he threw piles of “funny money” into the air. These tactics succeeded in reducing the Créditiste caucus from 26 to 13 seats.

Dupuis recalls this period with appropriate repentance. When he speaks to Créditiste crowds these days, he is given to humble public confessions of his past political sins. In Drummondville, for example, Dupuis reviewed for an audience of Créditiste militants the days when he was charged with the task of “exterminating” Social Credit: “Caouette called me a big nothing then, and he was right.” After the applause stopped, he continued: “It’s true. I fought in the ranks of a party that didn’t deserve my presence.”

Yet, at the time, it seemed that Dupuis was finally enjoying his party’s favor. As a reward for sabotaging the Créditiste campaign, he was named to the Pearson cabinet as minister without portfolio. His success was short-lived. Two years later he became involved in an influence-peddling scandal, known in Quebec as “La Bombe Dupuis.”

Dupuis was accused of accepting a $10,000 bribe from a chiropractor and racetrack promoter, Roch Deslauriers, in return for a racetrack concession. After weeks of rumor and speculation in the local press, which ran photographs of the two men and their wives engaged in gay Saturday night sociability, Dupuis was charged with influence peddling and sent to trial.

The trial itself was marked by confusion and melodrama. Deslauriers’ mother testified for her son, while Dupuis’ wife was carried out in a dead faint from the courtroom. Dupuis him-

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self frequently burst into tears during his testimony and, in spite of his claim that he was the victim of a frame-up, he was convicted and sentenced to one year in prison or a $5,000 fine. But, a new trial reversed the verdict and acquitted him.

The stage was now set for a new Yvon Dupuis to emerge. Physically he grew thinner, his manner became softer and more restrained, and he acquired all the dignity of a man who saw himself as a public martyr. Seeking renomination in his old riding of Saint-Jean, he invoked the theme that was to follow him in the future like a discreet halo. “For eight months they have dragged me in the mud, dirtied my name, flagellated me, crucified me, without judging me. Will you throw me out like a lemon peel once the juice has been squeezed?”

His constituents at that time rejected his plea for vindication, and Dupuis now says that he wasted no time in bitterness or self-pity. “I believe in ultimate justice. The truth will always out. My only regret is that my father did not live to see me cleared.”

For a while Dupuis continued to cling to his political career. He ran as an independent Liberal and lost. He then tried to promote his wife as a candidate, but eventually it seemed that he had resigned himself to the fact that his career in politics was irrevocably compromised. It now appears more likely that he merely changed directions to begin the long road back.

He began modestly enough with a small business set up in the basement of his home, which offered reproduction services for legal documents. The idea had come to him during his trials when he had been appalled by the number and cost of the documents required for each trial. The business grew into a large and profitable enterprise with assets estimated to be worth more than a million dollars. Dupuis sold out in the fall of 1972 to a member of his family.

But this activity, successful as it was, was not enough for a man who admits “a need to be in touch with the public.” He renewed contact first through a political column in a daily newspaper, Le Journal de Montréal, appropriately titled, “La vérité sort des puits,” or Truth rises from the pit. In 1968, he joined station CKVL in Montreal as the host of an open-line program. In 1971 he moved on to a more important station, CKAC, where he gained in both popularity and notoriety.

As the commentator of a hot-line program, Dupuis’ success was inevitable. Patiently he listened to the woes of housewives, the old, the sick, the unemployed. Then, with great skill, he would stoke their anger and direct their hostility against his favorite bêtes noires. In their name, he ranted and raved against socialism, strikes, revolutionaries, sex

education, abortion, women who worked and school reform. In effect, he was assuming the role of the powerful parish priests whose hold over their flocks had loosened in the last decade in Quebec. Dupuis offered his large audience daily confession and the absolution of his anger. They tuned him in faithfully. When he was ready to return to politics, they became his constituency.

Dupuis and Réal Caouette had met some 10 years earlier. Although at that time they behaved in public as bitter enemies, beneath their different political affiliations they were soul brothers. As they flung insults at each other during the 1963 election, they recognized an affinity that was to end in political partnership. For all that Caouette called Dupuis “le gros jambon,” the big ham, he recognized Dupuis’ fanatical following in Montreal as a powerful political asset. More a politician than a believer himself, Caouette realized that Dupuis could achieve what previous Créditiste leaders had failed to win — a Créditiste breakthrough in urban areas. By 1970,

when the Créditistes decided to form a provincial wing, Dupuis was Caouette’s choice for leader.

But they made their move prematurely. The story goes, and it has haunted Dupuis ever since, that while Caouette was setting the stage for his surprise Dupuis waited out of sight, in a toilet, for an acclamation that never came. The old-time Créditistes remembered his previous witch-hunting and they greeted his name with boos and hisses. They preferred to give their support to a traditional preacher of the faith, Camil Samson.

Dupuis now denies the story. “I was not in the toilet, I was in the cloakroom. I did not want to come in because I was not a candidate. How can you say they rejected me when I was not running?”

Immediately after this failure, he began to work at winning support among Créditistes. He carefully upheld the Créditiste line on all major issues. Créditiste leaders became frequent guests on his radio program. In 1971 he founded an unusual newspaper, Le Défi, which became another forum for extreme right-wing ideas. It was supposed

to be made up entirely of unsolicited letters to the editor — “the only paper written by the people for the people” — which were remarkably unanimous in praising Dupuis and his ideas. In the April 1973 issue, for example, one Hormides Thibodeau expressed the general mood of the paper: “M. Dupuis is a man sent by God. He has the courage to save the people of Quebec.”

At the second provincial Créditiste convention, in 1973, Dupuis was organized to win. He launched a hard-driving campaign to sign up supporters before the deadline. Many of them had no previous association with the party and they were bussed to the convention and lodged there at Dupuis’ expense. In fact, his lavish use of funds earned him the accusation of Armand Bois, another candidate, that he was being financed by Mafia interests.

But Dupuis could no longer be stopped. It was obvious from the start of the convention, when Bois was introduced by a man who lost his dentures while making the presentation, that Dupuis’ slick organization would win.

Even after the victory, there were numerous charges of corruption from within and without the party. The Montreal Star, for example, ran a typical comment on the convention: “His people were not Créditistes despite the fact that they carried cards to prove it. They were lately recruited bodies to fill a convention hall, fingers to mark ballots and minds laundered to think only of Dupuis.” Many old-time Créditistes left the convention, bitter and disillusioned. It seemed to them that their ideal had been turned into a political machine to grab power, manipulated by a man with no respect for their values.

Dupuis denies division within the party and says that his attackers have no proof. “I asked the municipal police to look into some of the charges being made. They found nothing.”

I ask him about a photograph in Québec-Presse, showing its editor, Gérald Godin, voting twice with delegates’ cards he found lying around. Annoyed, Dupuis leans forward. “Godin was just looking for a way to make us look ridiculous. Look, if I invite you to my house would you get down on the floor looking for dirt? Godin was our guest at the convention. His behavior was dishonest.”

There is no doubt that for the present Dupuis is firmly enthroned at the head of the Créditiste movement. Those who object to him are mostly from an older generation, and time is on his side. Dupuis already refers to the convention as if it were an event in the distant historical past. He does not see himself as a new leader, but as the leader, who will give the movement new life, new direction, and guide it to power.

With ritualistic compliance, Dupuis

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describes the reign of Créditiste power as a regime of high democracy and respect for the individual. Once these obligatory reverences are out of the way, he gets down to specifics.

“Yes, I believe in democracy, but it must be a strong democracy, not a license for all sorts of abuses of the law. I believe in liberty for the individual, but not when it interferes with the defense of private enterprise. I’m ready to fight for private enterprise. I believe in the democracy of the capitalist system.”

In line with this position, Dupuis’ program includes identity cards for every Quebec citizen. The promise to protect the unionized worker from union terrorism. A necessary purge of the press, the CBC, and the school system in particular, to prevent them from imposing unsavory ideas on their captive audiences. “Government has not only the right but the duty to see that school is a place of propriety, healthy morality, and equilibrium. I’m not narrow minded, but all the same, sex education for little kids 12 and 13, or even sevenand eight-year olds — that’s disgusting. The first sexologue who’ll walk around with a mirror when I’m in power, I’ll . . .” He does not finish his threat but one gets the feeling that it would not pay to be a “sexologue” in Dupuis’ Quebec.

Dupuis believes that nationalism must begin with the family. “The French-Canadian race can only be saved if first of all we get down to making children and then to turning them into men who will be able to pick up where we left off.” As an encouragement, he would offer every young couple $2,000 after their marriage. If the wife stays home and takes care of the children the money is a gift; if she goes to work, the couple must return it. There will also be no subsidized nurseries or day care centres. “The role of women in society is to continue the race, perhaps even to save it. No one can take the place of the mother in the home.”

These policies are tempered, however, with more liberal measures. Dupuis’ platform promises a guaranteed annual income, a referendum to settle the independence issue, help for the aged, the sick, the infirm, support for farmers and protective legislation for the French language.

Since his election Dupuis has been taking his crusade to every corner of the province. Wherever he speaks, before Chambers of Commerce, social, occupational and ethnic clubs, he manages to draw audiences that go beyond the usual crowds of Créditiste faithful. There is no doubt that the timing of his arrival on the political scene works in his favor. Coming to prominence at a time of external calm and superficially diagnosed apathy in Quebec, he has provided a badly needed “Happening,” fresh mate-

rial for commentary and speculation. His personal success is being hailed as the expression of a right-wing backlash brought about by the “excesses” of the left. People who would ordinarily be appalled by his statements derive a certain comfort from the way he has been going after left-wing “troublemakers,” and others of their kind.

There is also in Liberal circles a certain sense of satisfaction that Dupuis’ rise may damage the PQ, since both parties compete for the same protest vote. Whatever his strength may be, it is already being touted in editorials as a kind of warning against rapid social change and as a barometer of a new conservatism in Quebec. At the same time, the May 1 march, sponsored by the PQ, the unions and various left groups, drawing the largest crowds in the history of Quebec, is not considered relevant.

Dupuis is well aware of the forces working in his favor. Although he claims to attack all parties, his harshest words are for the PQ. Instead of confronting the government in power, he has spent most of his verbal energy in carrying on a personal vendetta with René Lévesque. He has repeatedly offered, for example, to fight Lévesque “in man-toman combat” in any county Lévesque might choose. He has gloated publicly ever since he made it known, with great fanfare, that one of Lévesque’s brothers would run in the next election as a Créditiste. It’s not surprising that some of his critics accuse him of being in secret alliance with the Liberals, a collaboration that would be in both their interests since it could increase the Liberal majority, fragment PQ support, thus leaving Dupuis with the balance of power.

When I ask him about this, he of course dismisses the idea. “I don’t see the PQ as our opposition. They’ve been losing ground steadily since 1970. Their image was tainted by those events. Our star is rising. We have hundreds of new members every week. It’s obvious people are behind us, in the cities as well as in the country. Our critics say that we will become the official opposition, which means that we’ll be in power.” He says these words with hypnotic intensity, and it’s easy to see why crowds lulled by his voice forget to ask him questions.

Leaving his office I notice a portrait of Pierre Laporte and beneath it this inscription: “If you can see your life’s work destroyed and, without saying a word, set yourself to rebuilding it, you will be a man.” I want to ask him about it, but he has already turned his attention elsewhere. People are waiting to see him, he is reminded of appointments to be kept, phone messages to be returned. He handles it all with the discipline of a fighter training for a championship. In one way or another he has been running for the big prize all his life. ■


Yoo gotta be kiddin’

As a former Canadian and resident of Toronto for many years, I was surprised and disgusted at Heather Robertson’s Canada: alive and well on the wireless (August).

If she had an argument over whether there is a Canadian language

— an accent and set of expressions which are recognizable as “Canadian”

— the pronunciation of the word “been” would verify that there is, but the slang expressions supposedly used by Peter Gzowski in dialogue with Danny Finkleman certainly do not represent the conversations I have heard by Canadians, either on radio or in person.

I listen to Foster Hewitt describe hockey and other well-known individuals on CBC, but have never heard anything like what she likes to describe as “recognizably Canadian.” What she describes might be a conversation between two American gangsters. If it is typical Canadian, then the language must have changed drastically from when I last visited Toronto, not so long ago.

I knew Peter Gzowski’s grandfather and his father, and if Peter talks as described I am sure they would turn over in their graves.


p.s. I am sure that the members of our Canadian Club in Chicago will be much amused by the article.

That strike went foul

As an American and a baseball fan, I resent Roy MacGregor’s article on baseball — Losing out on the joy of losing — in your September issue. He states, “Baseball was never intended for grown-ups. That, presumably, is why the Americans are so fond of it.” He continues “. . . we, fortunately have never got into that obsession for statistics on RBIs, ERAs, saves . . .”

While watching the 1971 Stanley Cup play-offs, my Canadian brotherin-law had just finished haranguing me on how we Americans ruined sports with our “obsession” for statistics when Danny Gallivan stated that Bobby Orr was the first defenseman to ever score three goals in one game during the play-offs. He also stated that an Indian defenseman had once scored three goals in one all-Canadian finals before 1900, but,of course that was several years before the NHL had come into existence.

Congratulations, Bobby!