Saturday, May 18, 2024
Chris Judd

A slap on the face

Several hundred years ago, a slap on the face was a message to an opponent. Usually, it was delivered by one man to another over the right to dance with, or talk to some very pretty young woman who one man believed he had more right to than another who stepped in. It was taken as an act of dishonour towards the person who received the slap. The person who received the slap either walked away in defeat, or challenged the other to a dual usually with either swords or pistols.
When the Seven Years’ War between England and France, came to North America in 1759, the conflict was carried out on the plains of Abraham at Quebec City. Both England and France had sent their best troops to fight in Europe and both had engaged Scottish mercenaries to help fight in North America. The battle lasted less than an hour with the British declared as the winner.
By 1763, France had given up all North America and retained only the small island of Saint Pierre and Miquelon. By 1774, England had declared that freedom of both language, religious affiliation and French civil law be enshrined.
When WWII was looking bad for France, the German army rolled into France, to save many French from being killed, the French government gave Hitler free range of France. Germany then constructed strategic, heavily armored lookouts on the cliffs of Normandy to protect the beaches from the allies landing.
When England, Canada and United States eventually landed, they experienced extremely heavy casualties but persevered and took Normandy beaches. By the French giving free run of their territory to Germany, German subs were also seen around Saint Pierre and Miquelon and in the St. Lawrence River up as far as Montreal. They were blamed for sinking several ships in the St. Lawrence and the North Atlantic.
After the German army had been defeated ending the European conflict in WWII, the free French was given back control of France. A few decades later when De Gaulle visited Quebec, he gave Canada another slap on the face when he shouted “Vive le Quebec libre.”
With the introduction of Bill 96 in Quebec, many of the French residents in Quebec have also received a slap on the face from the Quebec government. Although many of the families of affluent French families in Quebec have the option to attend private schools who regularly teach English and prepare those privileged students to attend the finest universities in Europe and the United States, the common students are limited to a small number who can attend an English CEGEP.
Bilingual graduates, because of their ability to work in two languages, will be given an advantage in securing the best jobs in many provinces, states and countries. Most of the companies who deal and work internationally have already moved head offices out of Quebec to areas with less restrictive language laws. Both education and health jobs have also noticed a brain drain of their finest doctors, nurses, technicians, teachers and professors who have no trouble finding work outside Quebec where there are less restrictions with language and red tape.
During my younger years, I spent many, many days trying to introduce the newest technology in farming to our Quebec farmers. Because most of the newest computer programs have been developed in countries that are not French it was very hard to encourage them to service Quebec.
On our farm, we have used the most used and most popular dairy program in the world to store all breedings births, deaths, medical treatments, calving dates, milk weights, dates checked safe in calf, date sold, date purchased, all hoof trimming and anything associated with dairy production. Quebec refused to use this program until last year while they continued to try to unsuccessfully develop their own.
We have had free access to the most read dairy publication in North America for more than 20 years but Quebec refused to allow free distribution of this publication until it could be delivered in French. I worked with the editor until I persuaded him that there was a worthwhile number of French speaking dairy farmers in Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick, Vermont, Manitoba and in other provinces and countries to make it profitable. Now that excellent dairy publication is printed in English, French and Spanish. Mexican dairy workers produce the majority of the milk in all North America because most of the large dairies of 100-10,000 cows use Mexican labour.
The most used option offered by DHI or dairy herd improvement in the United States is a MUN or urea nitrogen test of every milking cow each month. Nutritionists can use the test results to determine if the cow is receiving enough, too much or too little soluble protein and enough effective fiber in her ration to produce the most profitable milk and at the same time be very healthy. It took me three years to convince Quebec to allow this option to be offered in Quebec. Now it remains the most popular option used by Quebec dairymen.
During my 40 plus years representing both French and English farmers, I took pride in introducing my French farming friends to farm leaders in other parts of Canada and the US. Also helping them visit some of the most progressive and profitable farms in the world. I showed my Quebec friends how the most advanced universities in the US worked together to share the newest and best ideas to give their farmers the edge. Even after that, Quebec refused to share information with other Canadian universities.
Some of the US states have more population and university professors than all of Canada.Two of the most knowledgeable animal scientists in Canada left Quebec universities in the same year for positions in the US with less restrictions and more pay.
Quebec’s agricultural offices were ordered not to allow any non-French information in their offices or visit agricultural information days outside Quebec without prior approval which they seldom received. While attending an information day sponsored by Canada’s largest dairy co-op, we were informed that farmers in the US are two years ahead of Quebec in addressing greenhouse gas emissions, methane emissions and other climate change problems in our world.
I was recently reminded of a quote from Muhammad Ali, “One does not really begin to fight until you receive a good solid blow to the head.”

Chris Judd is a farmer in Clarendon on land that has been in his family for generations.
gladcrest@gmail.com

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