08 December 2014

Bilingual Today, French Tomorrow Redux

Enough! (Enough French. Enough Quebec)
J.V. Andrew
Kitchener, ON: Andrew Books, 1988

How very far away yesterday's tomorrow seems. In 1977, the year Jock Andrew's Bilingual Today, French Tomorrow made a splash, the Blue Jays played their first game, Jimmy Carter pardoned Vietnam draft dodgers, and plucky Sid Vicious turned twenty. I myself turned fifteen. Iggy Pop's Lust for Life was released on my birthday. The song "Sixteen" comes from that album. In 1977, I thought of sixteen-year-old girls as elusive older women.

Though I have a hard time accepting it, well over a third of a century has since passed. Iggy is still with us; so too is Jock Andrew. The last I saw of him was last year in a choppy video someone uploaded to YouTube. I don't expect you to watch – not worth it, really – so will tell you that it ends with an image of Canada being flushed down a toilet.

Jock Andrew doesn't much care for this country and is pretty sure you don't either. Given half a chance, he's certain that we'd all sell out and move to Florida. Andrew himself prefers Spain, assuring the reader that he'll be gone in two years if things don't change.

Bilingual Today, French Tomorrow was all about Pierre Trudeau's secret plan to make Canada a unilingual country ruled by French-speaking overlords. As evidence, Andrew provided facts and figures he'd pulled from his ass.

Eleven years later, Enough! finds Andrew in a bitter mood tinged with regret. The lieutenant-commander (ret'd) ended Bilingual Today, French Tomorrow with dreams of glory: a military coup, a civil war, or at the very least, a scuffle on an Ottawa city bus. Andrew had pledged to stand up to "the French racial-takeover of Canada", writing: "And if I have to go to jail as the result of it, then so be it." Instead, he crumbled at the first confrontation – a television interview with Morton Shulman, in which he was called out for pulling stuff out of his ass. Why did Andrew pull stuff out of his ass? "Because hard facts were impossible to obtain when I was writing the book," he sniffs in defence.

Andrew writes in Enough! that the exchange with Shulman left him traumatized. I write that Andrew learned nothing from the experience. Enough! presents still more pieces of his shit. For example, Andrew would have me believe that that my wife, like all French Canadians, "is sworn by secret oath to the extermination of English Canada and the English language". He claims that her church is "dedicated to the single goal of avenging the French defeat of 1759." He'll tell you that the Catholic Trudeau issued thousands of secret Cabinet Directives:
Are you aware that through these secret Cabinet Directives there are units of Canada's Armed Forces that are organized and trained for the sole purpose of subduing any signs of civil or political unrest in English-speaking Canada?
     Are you aware that through these secret Cabinet directives [sic], provision exists for emptying Canada's jails to accommodate dissident English-speaking Canadians in case English-speaking Canada wakes up?
     Do you wonder why such an effort has been made to convert the RCMP to French-speaking control when the Province of Quebec doesn't even use the RCMP?
   Are you aware that French-Canadian Mounted Policemen have been planted in every city and town in English-speaking Canada to spy and report on English-speaking Canadians who may not agree with the total Frenchification of this country?
     Are you aware that Trudeau created a secret service for the express purpose of spying on people such as myself who have chosen to think for themselves?
Jock Andrew's vivid imagination is matched by his readers'. Dozens of pages are devoted to old letters he received in response to the earlier book, the first coming from a fellow who had dared express "something similar" about French Canadians. "I was regarded as a racist," he gripes, before proclaiming his support of Apartheid South Africa and Ian Smith's Rhodesia. Likeminded volks, Andrew's correspondents see Hitler "as a 'nice man' when compared with the likes of Trudeau", gun control as a means of keeping English-Canadians in line, and are ready to believe the Canadian International Development Agency funnels money to the IRA ("on the grounds that anyone who hates the 'maudits Anglais' deserves support"). Canadian peacekeepers are alleged to be collaborating with Cuban mercenaries in Africa.

In Bilingual Today, French Tomorrow, Andrew urged Joe Clark and René Lévesque to work together to take Quebec out of Confederation. But that was so 1977. Enough! sees him advising Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia and the Northwest Territories to separate, while at the same time issuing English-speaking Canadians a call to action:
If every last one of us doesn't get off our rear-ends right now, we and our children and our grandchildren will have lost this country before we've had time to figure out what has happened. I'm not talking in terms of years now. I'm talking about months.
More than three hundred months have passed since Enough! was published. Canada remains a united, bilingual country. French continues to be taught in our schools and our cereal boxes are still printed in both official languages.

So, what is Jock Andrew doing here? He promised us he'd be moving to Spain.

Favourite passage:
How say you, Mr. Jack Cole and Dr. Morty Shulman? Without your successful efforts on behalf of your friends in the Trudeau Government to jam my first and second books, and to traumatize me on my first television appearance, the French Canadian move on Canada might have been curtailed ten years ago. Food for thought, for what its worth.
Fun with search engines: Googling Jock Andrew (no quotation marks) brings the image below.

Object: An unattractive trade-size paperback, 153 pages in length, I purchased my copy for $4.50 a couple of years back. This was in the Ontario town of Merrickville, in which my daughter attended l'école élémentaire catholique Sainte-Marguerite-Bourgeoys.

I see no evidence that Enough! enjoyed a second printing, though this variant cover suggests otherwise:

Access: Long out of print, online prices for used copies range from US$1.99 to US$39.95. Condition is not a factor. Roughly half of the copies listed are signed by the author.

Enough! is held by not nearly so many libraries as Bilingual Today, French Tomorrow; twelve in total, including the Library of Parliament, Library and Archives Canada and the Bibliothèque et Archives nationals du Québec.

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  1. I think "Lieutenant-Commander (Retired)" says it all for me. But I also enjoy the kind of book that is more difficult to find unsigned than signed; that to me signals a kind of "publish or perish" fanaticism that is tiresome at a dinner party but fascinating as an abstract connoisseur of publishing vagaries.

    1. Michael Gnarowski once shared the story of a cocktail party at which children of the host approached guests trying to sell copies of "Papa's new book"… in their pyjamas, no less. I bet it was adorable.

  2. God Save the Queen07 August, 2015 13:22

    Hello I just found your blog by chance, and I'm enjoying these reviews of J. V. Andrew's... huh... "work". I stumbled upon a free copy of "Enough!" at a library give-away a while back and I'm reading "Bilingual Today, French Tomorrow" at the moment. As ridiculous and offensive as Andrew's ideas are, they gattered quite the following among a certain part of New-Brunswick's population, even to this day - namely the one that voted COR back in the day.
    I'm doing research on the anti-bilingualism movement in NB (and Canada as a whole to a lesser extent), and I'd love to see that Shulman File interview with Andrew. Do you happen to know where I could find it? Or do you know which date it aired?
    Thanks and cheers!

    1. Greetings. I'm aware of Andrew's New Brunswick followers, but only because I stumbled upon them when researching my post on Bilingual Today, French Tomorrow. Fascinating to see they hold the book in such high regard, particularly given that in Enough! Andrew all but admits that he made stuff up.

      It may amuse you to learn that after the Bilingual Today, French Tomorrow post I was contacted by Canadians for Language Fairness asking if I would like to purchase further copies of the book. I expect they didn't read the post because it was for a time linked, quite prominently, on their website. I've been on there mailing list ever since. What fun!

      How I'd love to see Andrew's Shulman File appearance. I wouldn't know where to find it, other than at City itself (fingers crossed). As to air date, I'm guessing it was in March or April 1977. Does Andrew not say that it was his second or third interview about the book? Again, just a guess.

      Best of luck with your research!