09.19.2015 09:31 AM

KCCCC Day 48: old stock


  • What is “old stock” anyway? Well, when I was a teenager in Calgary, it was this. You’d drink it to get wasted faster. 
  • Before that, in Quebec, it was something you heard all the time. I’d hear older Anglo friends of my folks saying it about themselves. When you hear francophones calling themselves pure laine,” which they still do about a million times a day, that’s what they mean.  Old stock. 
  • Is it racist? Was Harper wrong to say it? In Quebec, it sure ain’t. It’s part of the lingo. Everyone says it, so perhaps folks in the rest of Canada are saying seven million Québécois are racist. To me, then, it isn’t racist – and you might say I know a little about real racism – it’s just one of those sayings that we probably shouldn’t use anymore, mainly because it isn’t very accurate. After all, the only folks really entitled to call themselves “old stock” are these guys.
  • So, in closing, a message to Justin Trudeau. Apparently you are super upset Stephen Harper said that. But I’d recommend you stop being being so wound up about it – because, as you know, there was another politician who used the phrase long before Stephen Harper did, as seen in paragraph five. Namely, um, you.


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    Bill MacLeod says:


    I was waiting and waiting for someone, anyone — somewhere, anywhere — to point out that bit of history so inconvenient to Mr. Trudeau.

    It’s one of several reasons I was so disgusted with his performance in the last debate. (It’s probably a damn good thing so few people watched it.)

    You’re a credit to your profession, Mr. Kinsella. Keep calling them like you see them. You’ll have my vote no matter what party you pick.



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      Maps Onburt says:

      Ditto although I’d like to see him join the Tories and balance out the social conservatives who make the most noise (or get the most attention by the media).

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      Maps Onburt says:

      Ditto although I’d like to see him join the Tories and balance out the social conservatives who make the most noise (or get the most attention by the media) – and make a bunch of pink Liberals heads explode! 🙂 Warren is that rare breed of politico that see the good and bad in all parties positions and has the guts to say it. He’s a credit to his party. Too bad there aren’t more like him in it.

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      Matt says:

      CTV actually did point out Trudeau’s use, and other Liberals including Dion use of the phrase.

      They also defended Trudeau on another point. During the debate Trudeau accused Mulcair of, as Liberal environment minister in Quebec, wanting to sell/export water to the US. Mulcair said Trudeau was full of shit.

      Ctv ran a clip of an interview with Mulcair where he sure does seem to indicate enthusiastic support for exporting water.

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        dean sherratt says:

        I’m not sure how long ago that quotations dates but unless its bottled, you can’t move any water in bulk out of any province or out of the country now given the blanket of provincial and federal legislation. The NDP also supported the Conservatives Transboundary Waters Protection Act so yes I think it is a cheap shot by Trudeau…

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    Joseph says:

    I would love to see you moderate one of these debates.

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    Joe says:

    As a Canadian that comes from the west the only time I ever heard the term ‘old stock’ refer to a person was to a middle aged man who came from Russia. He was referred to as an “old stock Russian” because he refused to give up his Russian heritage. He was always teased about ‘if Russian is so great why are you in Canada?’ However in the context of what Harper actually said “New Canadians, Canadian citizens, Old Stock Canadians” I just don’t see the harm or the foul.

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    Jim Curran says:

    Apparently “OLD STOCK” means Tom Mulcair. as in the French Connection part of the Vancouver Sun Article.


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    Matt says:

    Mulcair’s reaction was just as dumb.

    Called it divisive, don’t label Canadians differently, there is only one term that should be used: Canadians.

    He then went on to refer to immigrants as “New Canadians”

    So much for his only one category of Canadians statement.

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    Mark says:

    If it’s vague enough that different people will interpret it differently (say the stereotypical members of the Conservative base one way), but it can have an innocuous enough explanation that makes everyone else who is complaining sound paranoid, then I think it’s done the job it was intended to. Offensive, but smart.

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    MF says:

    There are so very many important things to debate, and the media and politicians spend there time on stuff like this. Shame.

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    MF says:

    There are so very many important things to debate, and the media and politicians spend their time on stuff like this. Shame.

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    Sean says:

    Agreed. Calling out Harper on this statement is more divisive than the statement itself. On the flip side, what about the term “New Canadians”? No one would think it was an insult to refer to someone as a “New Canadian”. Many people would self identify themselves as such. Trudeau’s gambit is cheap, crass, grasping at straws B.S..

    I think there are people on Trudeau’s team who know that any suggestion of a whiff of racism will get some people cranked up and keep them sending in cash for the campaign. There are a lot of naive people who still believe Liberal attack ads of 2006 and think Harper is the devil. That’s what this is about and nothing more.

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      Ridiculosity says:

      A lot of Canadians don’t think Harper is the devil.

      A lot of Canadians do, however, think Harper is evil.

      One month to go…

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    Merrill Smith says:

    In all this controversy about old stock, no one seems to have noticed that Harper preceded it with the term “bogus refugees.” His gang likes to use that word to refer to anyone who for any reason doesn’t have the official designation refugee. If he hadn’t drowned, Alan Kurdi would be one of those bogus refugees. I don’t think his subsequent reference to old stock Canadians was meant innocently. As for Trudeau’s alleged use of the term, the reference provided is a Toronto Star article in which it is taken out of context from a Quebec weekly. There is no mention of what weekly or what language was used in the original. If it was translated, Trudeau probably used the term “vielle souche,” which like “pur laine” is meant to differentiate real Quebecois from the rest of us. (My family arrived in Quebec almost 200 years ago, but I would qualify under either term.) But it doesn’t seem to me that Trudeau was using it at all the way Harper did.

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      Matt says:

      So, you have no idea what paper it was in, you obviously didn’t see it, yet you feel you have the knowledge to put in your opinion of the phrase he probably used?


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        Merrill Smith says:

        Do you know what paper it was in? Or what language? I know the context of Harper’s comments with bogus refugees followed by old stock. I want to know the context of Trudeau’s comment before I accept that it was similar.

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      Jane says:

      Trudeau used it but know one else can, what a pity only in Canada!

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    Joe says:

    Remember, a few elections ago, when all the arbitrators of the English language were dumping on Harper for using the phrase ‘fish or cut bait’? They were all in a lather because they didn’t know that Harper had used the phrase correctly while they thought it meant something else? Somehow this sounds the same. So great a fury over such a little sound.

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    Christian Giles says:

    Shhh Warren. Scott and his fellow Justin kool-aid drinkers won’t be able to take such facts. Either that or they’ll say it’s ok for Trudeau to say stuff like that because he’s from Quebec or some such crap.

    BTW. Enjoy Riot Fest!

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    Mike says:

    I wonder how many on this thread saying the use of the term “old stock” is no big deal are immigrants themselves?

    Unless you have lived that experience yourself you can not know how loaded a term it is.

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      Thomas Gallezot says:

      I can’t agree more with you Mike. I’ve been living and paying taxes here for 8 years, I’ve been a permanent resident for 7 years and a citizen for 2 years. And I’m still treated like a stranger. Don’t call us immigrants New Canadians, call us Second Class Canadians. Because that’s what we are.

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      Doug says:

      By that logic does anyone who speaks as an expert on the issue of death have to have died themselves?

      It was a little odd and was likely more a slip during the moment, but foaming about the mouth because of it as Trudeau was doing is even more silly. In fact the faux outrage is more likely to cause eye rolling by the general public that will hurt the “outraged” candidates.

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        Mike says:

        Well unless you have died you don’t know what it is like to be dead, do you?

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    Bart F. says:

    I was unaware this was a common phrase in Quebec; back in the ‘Peg it meant 7% ABV during my high school and college days. Justin’s overwrought holier-than-thou response was odd since he’s used it himself. Clearly, some people need to spend less time on Tumblr posting about dog whistles and trigger phrases.

    For Harper it was a careless use of dated and best forgotten vernacular to avoid a long wordy description in the debate free-for-all.

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    Larry C says:

    I do not understand all this huffing and puffing about something so silly. Is there something out there more serious to talk about from the Liberal leader? BTW where are his budget numbers?

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    Mark says:

    I’d have to disagree with that assessment.

    Partisanship aside, it’s a term that absolutely does have negative connotations –regardless of how long its been used to for. I mean, the justification that 7 million Quebecois use the term should make it acceptable is a tad bit blasé. By that same logic, the prominent use of the “N” word in the southern regions of the US by non-African Americans could be justified as simply a culturally common lingo. Now, I don’t mean to equate the N word and old-stock Canadian given their vastly different etymologies, but the rationale of acceptance based upon prevalence is still a greatly flawed one. Whether or not the user’s intentions stem from racist motives is open to interpretations, but the term “pure-laine” doesn’t exactly conjure up sentiments of an equal society.

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      Scott says:

      There are people who want to dump o Trudeau whenever they get a chance Mark. Of course is a negative term. That’s why the huge collective gasp when he said it. But you know TDS kicks in every time.

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    rww says:

    Of course it was not intended to mean anything offensive to most people as long as it’s target audience understood what it meant. Ask the Wizard of Oz.

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    T. Xavier says:

    Old Stock Liquidation Sale

    This a trending narrative. Obama: “This whole anti-immigrant sentiment that’s out there in our politics right now is contrary to who we are. Because unless you’re Native American, your family came from someplace else.” Globe & Mail repeatedly states lines like “We are all immigrants” and “THE IMMIGRANT ANSWER –
    What would a Canada of 100 million feel like? More comfortable, better served, better defended.”

    Of course, linguistic precision is not required for propaganda, but strictly speaking, only 20% of Canadian population are immigrants i.e. Oxford dictionary: “A person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country.” Jacques Cartier built a fort at Quebec 1535 – 480 years ago. Saint Augustine, Florida was established 1565 – 450 years. St. John’s Newfoundland was established 1583 – 432 years. For the political class, half a millennia is fresh off the boat.

    For sake of argument, assume that only Aboriginals have a legitimate claim to the Americas including Canada. Surely it follows that it should be they who have the final say in immigration policy? And what might Aboriginals expect in a Canada of 100 or 500 million?

    The 80 million Aboriginal people in India live in appalling conditions, generally far worse than those experienced in Canada. So bad in fact the Indian state has been compelled to battle a Maoist insurgency that has claimed over 20 000 lives. The primary method to deal with Aboriginal poverty and disenfranchisement is through “residential institutes” – emphasis residential – including the Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences that houses and educates 25 000 Aboriginal students – “a total transformation of the tribal children and a revolutionary endeavor.” This philosophy has the backing of the United Nations. Students are taught in the official language of the state and English. If Canada is to mirror the global population distribution, will the future 18% Indo-Canadian bloc support similar initiatives?

    Justin Trudeau’s much admired “basic dictatorship” China is illuminating. The colonization of Formosa. The annexation and brutal suppression of the Tibetan nation. China’s ruthless neo-colonialism across Africa. It is hard to imagine how organs of the Chinese Communist Party will show any great concern for nativists or Aboriginals. Immigrants as percentage of nation population is 0.1 % in China, 0.1 Indonesia, 0.2 Philippines, 0.4 India, 0.9 Mexico. Of the estimated 30 million slaves in the world, 15 million are enslaved in India, 3 million in China. As the genocides in Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan grimly illustrate, the more radical offcuts of the Nation of Islam do not take kindly to non-Muslims nor often each other. These are the models of the Great Society.

    The great irony is that while nativist Canadians are demonized as “settler-colonializers”, the rest of the world is happy to imagine the liquidation of the Canadian nation in one of history’s greatest colonial adventures. Saeeda Sadaf, one of the parents boycotting the Ontario education system: “We want to completely wipe out the Liberals.” (Globe & Mail). The Liberal’s reward for official multiculturalism will be extinction.

    Social conditions in Canada are comparable to the U.K. – but rarely reported. Mary Wandia, female genital mutilation programme manager at Equality Now: “Last year, we estimated that 137,000 women and girls live in England and Wales who have been affected by FGM.” (female genital mutilation). Labour MP Sarah Champion describes the child grooming/gang rape cover-up by Pakistani gangs in England as a “national disaster.” “I think there could be up to a million victims of exploitation nationwide, including right now.” “She told of one horrific case when a girl from Rotherham was traced to a terraced street in Blackpool by youth worker Jane Senior who she employs. ‘She knew where the girl was because of the queue of men down the street and up the stairs,'” (Mirror).

    This is the “more comfortable, better served, better defended” society of the political class where native girls are raped for $50 a pop in sharia no-go zones that dot the landscape with the frequency of shopping malls. The Swedish model where one can purchase modern Ikea furniture and lop off the heads of infidels in a one-stop shop.

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    Jon says:

    On it’s own, “old stock” would be an unfortunate turn of phrase, possibly a dog whistle, possibly not. In my view, the far more obvious and egregious statement from Harper was the suggestion of “hundreds of thousands” of refugees being accepted without security checks.

    We know Lynton Crosby has a particular talent for creating a wedge using refugee issues. We know the polling suggests the Cons may actually have a plurality of support for their plan. We know they’ll do anything to win.

    Taking Harper’s two statements in combination, I have little doubt they were both purposeful, and even less doubt that they are part of an abhorrent turn that we will see more of in this campaign.

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    Vancouverois says:

    I do not see how anybody can reasonably say that his use of the term was malevolent or offensive.

    Instead of engaging in histrionics over an unfortunate (or not) choice of word, can we please discuss issues of substance? Please? It seems to me that the brouhaha over this represents the worst sort of “gotcha” politics.

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    JohnB says:

    I just don’t see how this term is offensive. People who are new to Canada a routinely referred to as ‘new Canadians’. I think that is something to be proud of. I am not a new Canadian, so I suppose I am one of the old stock Canadians Harper was referring to. I am not offended by that term, I think it is also something to be proud of. I suggest that whenever anyone asks him what he meant by the term old stock Canadian Harper responds ‘that its anyone who knows what Extra Old Stock was’.

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    Joe says:

    Is ‘Old Stock’ a dog whistle? Let’s think this through logically. As a westerner I’ve heard it used once forty +years ago. From what I gather from folks on here they are not familiar with it either. So what use is a dog whistle if the dogs don’t recognize it?

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    patrick says:

    Of course it’s racist when Harper cynically uses the term. The cons know this will fuel this kind of debate, further create a toxic notion of “us (old stock) vs them while being able to wave the red flags of “political correctness”, “liberal media” blah blah blah and claim innocence.

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    Al in Cranbrook says:

    MSM backrooms:

    Harper said, “old stock Canadians”…what’s that actually mean anyway?

    Everyone dives into a Google frenzy.

    Hey! I think we can turn this into a negative! Yeah, that’s the ticket! Yeah!

    Becomes almost the entire focus of the debate in the MSM.

    With intermittent smatterings of “nobody is interested in this election” and “why can’t we talk about the issues?” and “what about policy?”

    …with the odd mutterings in the back ground of “why is our readership/viewership tanking year after year?”

    Bunch of #$%##$$#@#$%!!!

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    Jeff says:

    “He wondered in an interview with a Montreal weekly newspaper whether everyone in Quebec was part of that nation, or just the ‘old stock’ pioneers.” The context was that Trudeau was against Quebec’s recognition as a nation, which was a motion that passed in parliament in 2006. Trudeau is criticizing the way of thinking that would lead someone to think of people as “old stock”. So, Trudeau is actually quite consistent on this one. “Old stock” was as unacceptable to Trudeau in 2007 (his question is clearly rhetorical) as it is now.

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