Denise B. au pays des Francos

Documentary
French

Region: Western

Year of Production: 2019

Duration: 52 minutes

In the so-called ‘Bombardier Affair’ about French-speaking Canadians outside Quebec, one can say that there has been some exaggeration on both sides. On the one hand, Denise Bombardier has pushed the envelope a little bit further by stating that French-speaking Canada outside Quebec is dying and that the Métis, for example, no longer speak French at all. On the other hand, the French-speaking minority and those defending them are exaggerating the situation by suggesting that there are 2.7 million French Canadians outside Quebec when in fact the number who can claim French as their mother tongue is about 1 million. After Denise Bombardier’s October 21, 2018 statement on Tout le monde en parle, French-speaking Canadians outside Quebec were shocked and accused her of “almost every sin committed since Confederation by the English-Canadian authorities,” according to her own analysis. Yet, these two camps have one thing in common that should bring them together, and that is the desire to defend French-speaking Canada. That was the idea behind arranging meetings between Denise Bombardier and French-speaking Canadians outside Quebec so they could talk about the situation face to face and understand each other better, which is something the documentary shows quite clearly. The documentary reviews the course of events and documents the emotional reaction of French-speaking Canadians outside Quebec to statements she made on Tout le monde en parle. What does this reveal? Some saw Bombardier’s comments as a kind of wake-up call to mobilize, especially in the wake of events in Ontario under Doug Ford and to continue sounding the alarm. We also meet Denise Bombardier’s counterpart, who is open to and keen to discover what vitality there still is in French-speaking Canada outside Quebec. The journey takes us to Manitoba, Ontario, and New Brunswick. Denise is greeted by representative families and individuals eager to tell her what’s really going on. Denise is invited to take the pulse of French-speaking Canadians who haven’t yet had a chance to weigh in on the subject, despite the fact that they are confronted with important issues. In the end, it’s the truth that wins, without any exaggeration. Yes, it’s true that French in Canada is under pressure and that the fight must go on, but it’s also true that entire communities continue to live in French, in their own way, and with passion. In fact, the documentary was made possible because it was based on a real partnership between Quebecers and French-speaking Canadians outside Quebec. Quebec director Paul Bourgeault has been collaborating for a number of years with Saint-Boniface, Manitoba Métis producers Charles and Patrick Clément of Manito Media. All are committed to French-speaking Canada and all believe that they must, despite their respective experiences, work together to promote the cause.

PRODUCTION COMPANY: Manito Média Inc.

Cast/Participants: Denise Bombardier, James Jackson