CBC trolled for ‘hard French’ pronunciation of Olympic medallists’ names

Neate Sager
The Eh GameFebruary 11, 2014

The justly neglected, largely unwatched Sun News Network likes to dig into "issues the mainstream media won't touch," leaving unsaid that this is because real news operations grasp the concept of giving a story what it's worth.

In the case of how CBC commentators pronounce the names medallists such as Chloé Dufour-Lapointe, Justine Dufour-Lapointe and Charles Hamelin, whose given names are used in English and French, it's probably worth half a short Tweet. Surely, a TV channel that isn't little more than vessel for useless wedge politics and Quebec-baiting would find better use of five minutes of precious air time — on the eve of Canada's federal budget being announced — than bashing the CBC for how its on-air talent tends to over-pronounce Francophone athletes' names. But vituperation and fomenting divisions is Sun News' lot, because preaching to its very small choir is all it's got.

Athletes from Quebec having accounted for six of Canada's first nine medals; the CBC has the Olympics; Sun News bows at the altar of the governing Conservatives, who aren't the biggest CBC backers; parent company Quebecor views the public broadcaster's French-language operations as its greatest obstacle to dominating the Quebec market. That's how you get five minutes of two jackholes nit-picking the CBC's elocution, even though Brian Lilley probably thinks elocution is what happens when someone grabs a live wire.

Seriously. Should this tripe coming from people with Montreal-based masters be hash-tagged #ironie or #irony?

This is exactly what one thinks it is: trying to put Quebecers in their place. Shame them for being proud of the province's Olympic athletes — and the unique, unmatched essentially anywhere in the rest of Canada that plants and sows the seeds for their success — as Quebecers and as Canadians. It's provocation, albeit decently done provocation. It has induced a reaction, even if mostly boils down to two words: quelle stupidité!

During Vancouver 2010, it was pointed out in this space that Quebec would be a viable Winter Olympics nation if one strictly looked at the percentage of Canadian medals accounted for by athletes who came of age in the province. Hindsight being 20/20, that wasn't meant to be literal. It was meant to point out what can happen when Olympic athletes get rock star status at home all the time instead of even-numbered years.

This country's linguistic tensions are intractable, yet Canada is still intact. Finding a way despite differences and, yes, the appearance of double standards is part of our humanity. Learn to love it, like the ubiquitous commercial says, we all play for Canada.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to btnblog@yahoo.ca.