French Canadian politicians attempted to wade into the NHL again, accusing Montreal captain Saku Koivu of not speaking French and thereby subjecting Quebec to the horrors (horrors!) of English. Right. If Koivu wants to play in Montreal, this Finnish guy who already speaks three languages, he should have to learn French with an Eastern townships accent, play the spoons, suck syrup from trees, and hate Jews like the rest of Quebec. Koivu did his part, however, putting together some French for a few reporters but sounding a little like Ed Braodbent. Koivu, who beat cancer and savage eye injuries, is clearly unafraid of conjugating a few verbs.
That the French politicians targeted the guy who won the Clancy award for humanitarianism is a mystery. There’s a whole lot worse going on the world: Darfur, Iraq, Al Qaeda, and, lately, the Philadelphia Flyers.
You’d think the Quebec politicians should have learned their lessons by now. On a slow news day in December 2005, Denis Coderre, a Quebec-based member of parliament (Americans: this is congress), first waded into NHL politics when he wanted Shane Doan barred from Canada’s Olympic squad after Doan allegedly yelled a racial epithet at a French-Canadian ref. Doan, a tremendously respected player and a religious Christian who claimed he hadn’t used the word “fuck” in years, denied it and launched a $210,000 defamation suit. He promised to donate all of it to charity if he won.
As for Koivu’s situation, his francophone coach, Guy Carboneau had this to say: “As long as [he] speaks English and understands me, that’s all I’m asking.”
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