AngryFrenchGuy

On Québec’s Segregated Past and One million English Words

with 215 comments

End of the British Empire

So the English language got it’s 1,000,000th word this summer.

This, of course is one of the great achievements of the great English adventurers who travelled the world, befriended the locals with whom they shared the English language while simultaneously incorporating their lands and lexicon into the British Empire.

That story reminded me of a time I visited my grand-mother about 4 or 5 years ago.

Her place was just a short walk from my place.  I was near Place St.Henri where grown men drank Molson Export before noon on weekdays with no shirt on.  Thanks to some family money that will not be coming my way she was the token french lady at the Place Kensington residence for old English people and ate her breakfast two tables away from where the Senator Hartland Molson ate his own breakfast wearing a suit and a tie.

That night my grandma wasn’t seated with her usual gang. Someone had broken their hip and someone else was at a christening or bar mitzva somewhere in the States. We were seated with two other ladies I didn’t know but who seemed nice enough. We exchanged polite greatings, they commended me for being such a great grandson and then when I thought I had done socializing I ignored them and started chatting with my grandmother.

As my grand-mother was giving the waitress a quarter or something so she would bring me a double serving of white fish one of the ladies leaned over to me and asked:

-What was that language you were just speaking? Was that French?

-Yes it was, I said.

I wasn’t surprised by the question. Place Kensington has plenty of American residents who were following their sons up the corporate ladder. They just spent a couple of years in Montreal until the next transfer and rarely ventured beyond Tony’s Shoe Store on Greene Avenue. They knew nothing about Québec’s linguistic situation and they understandably didn’t care if the help spoke French or Spanish or whatever it is Philipnas speak….

-Where are you from, I asked?

-Drummondville, she answered.

Now I was surprised. Drummondville, of course, is the home of the Madrid Bigfoot Diner, the mandatory pit stop on highway 20 for travellers between Montreal and Québec and the owner of the biggest collection of slightly-smaller-than-lifesize plastic dinosaures in the world. It is also a smallish town that, today, is pretty much entirely French-speaking.

Yet here was this lady who had been born in Québec, who had lived her life, not in the sizable English-speaking enclaves of Montreal, but in a tiny rural French-Canadian village that had some farms and two or three factories and she wasn’t able to, nevermind speak, recognize the French language.

English the great language of intercultural meeting and discovery?  Give me a fucking break.

Like the great linguist Alastair Pennycook said: « The notion of English as a great borrowing language also seems to suggest a view of colonial relations in which the British intermingled with colonized people, enriching English as communed with the locals. Such a view, however, is hardly supported by colonial history. »

Even my separatist-fearing grandmother would lose patience with her companions.

-She handed me a napkin! I said « merci » and she had to ask me what I meant! Seigneur! What’s wrong with these people?

This from a woman, I remind you, who spent her summers at the Royal St.Lawrence Yacht Club and read the Montreal Gazette every morning.

There was a distinguished Jewish woman from Argentina who would come over after every meal and chat for a few minutes in impeccable French with my grand-mother. There was also another woman from eastern Europe –there was a rumour she was a hungarian baronnes or countess—who would always cordially say « bonjour ». The staff, of course had been born after the Empire and all spoke French.

But I never heard an Montrealer Anglo resident so much as salute her in French.

Now I am not saying that Place Kensington was representative of today’s enlightened Québec anglophonie. I am absolutely aware that Place Kensington is where the ghost of Montreal’s past goes to die.

But don’t tell me that Québec never existed. I’ve been there.

Written by angryfrenchguy

July 27, 2009 at 4:06 pm

215 Responses

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  1. Normand Lester? I tell you, flattery won’t work! (but it **IS** flattering, indomitably so).

    Jean Naimard

    August 4, 2009 at 12:03 pm

  2. When you are piss-poor, thanks to the endeavour of others who oppress you with strange laws, national identity is often the only thing that cannot be pried from your dead, writhy fingers.
    Just like (some) jews who value knowledge above all, because that’s the only thing others can’t take from you.

    Jean Naimard

    August 4, 2009 at 12:05 pm

  3. Nah….it’s a case of collective Stockholm syndrome.

    Moi

    August 4, 2009 at 2:39 pm

  4. I think you’re both right. It’s the Poacher Turned Gamekeeper Syndrome and it’s the Stockholm Syndrome. It’s a compound colonial neurosis.

    James

    August 4, 2009 at 4:05 pm

  5. Hah! And just what is it that you suffer from James???

    RoryBellows

    August 4, 2009 at 4:58 pm

  6. The Elliotts, Trudeau’s ancestors, who were Scots, would resent it, I’m sure, if his mother were called “English.”

    The thing about Confederation that Canadians seem often to forget is that it was in part (and I think in large part) brought about by the US Civil War and its aftermath. The Lincoln administration raised an army of over two million men during the war, and London was so sure that Lincoln would at some point send part of this army north that it sent most of the British Army across the Atlantic to defend its Canadian possessions. After the war, bands of freebooting Irish-American veterans (the Fenians) invaded Upper Canada (Ontario), southern New Brunswick, and the then still “English” Eastern Townships, with the (Andrew) Johnson administration intially turning a blind eye to them. The backdrop of a perceived threat of invasion and takeover, I submit, was ultimately what brought the four original members of the Confederation together. Francos in Québec and NB were by and large not affected by the Fenian raids, of course, and I assume that therefore they would not have seen them as an issue that concerned them. Just one less reason in their eyes, I guess, to join up.

    littlerob

    August 4, 2009 at 5:02 pm

  7. I defer to Dr. Allophone on this matter. He appears to be on sabbatical.

    James

    August 4, 2009 at 5:16 pm

  8. “But, indeed, english canadians (“english” tout court) have a cultural inferiority complex towards the americans, and I suppose that one of the reasons they hate us is that we don’t have one, being naturally immunized from it by our frenchness.”

    Potentially very true, and ironically one of the advantages of la francophonie. Same thing in any other English-speaking country, it would be so much easier to maintain our culture from America if we didn’t share a language.

    “The french could very well say the same thing about here, too…”

    And they do. I’ve witnessed many times what what the French say when the Québecois leaves the room.

    “I mean that it is not a bountiful land that was soon depleted of natural ressources. But of course I say it scornfully, having been at the receiving end of british imperialism. But I litteraly mean it, the brits were forced to go overseas because their land could not sustain them, whereas France always gave all the french needed and that they did not need a colonial empire to survive”

    I really can’t agree with this analysis on imperialism. The English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, German, Belgian and other empires were motivated by mush the same things: proselytisation, geo-political power, economic power, resources, slaves etc. All of them committed horrendous attrocities against indigenous peoples and their lands, no exceptions.

    “We are constantly threatened by the english’s relative weight in north america; it’s a battle of a thousand fingers in thousands of dykes — ooooh, dirty thoughts ;) — and the creeping english word when a perfectly adequate french word exists is one of the thousands of little paper cuts we suffer daily.”

    Everyone globally faces this issue, I fear the effect of English (read US) dominance on diversity and the way it is assimilated globally varies so much. Opinions are strongly divided on the merits/demerits. One thing is for sure – this is not a new phenomenon, and there are very few languages on this earth that are no a product of sythesisation and hybridisation. French didn’t just spring from the ground one day as a perfectly formed language, neither did English. Both of them evolved from other languages and have borrowed and adapted constantly.

    Another certainty – they will continue to evolve. Speakers of both languages from 300 years ago would probably scream in horror at what is considered ‘proper’ speech. In another 300 years I’m sure both French and English would make you cry tears of outrage. How about in another 500 years? Or 1,000 or 10,000? For how long do you ‘preserve’ a language, a cultural practice, or a building? And why? Even life on this planet won’t be here forever. Humanity has such a problem viewing anything beyond its current generation. Everything evolves and changes, it’s inevitable.

    “As I said, the ubiquitousness of english make it more visible; in a buffet, you’re more likely to pick from the big table in the middle rather than the one in the corner…”

    Excellent analogy.

    “As I said hundreds of times, we have no problem with the “nanny state”, we, the french, never had a magna carta, hence we do not have a deeply entrenched fundamental cultural belief that the government is bad. You have to take that into account if you want to accurately assess our attitude towards society.
    We have no problem with the government telling us what to do, because we KNOW it cannot mean harm.”

    Interesting parallel with Australia. Americans are horrified as how passively Australians accept a ‘nanny’ state, and it’s one of the great paradoxes to a generally anti-authoritarian streak in the Australian psyche. Yet occasionally something will arise like the ‘Australia Card’ – an attempt to bring in an national identity card – that caused such widespread public outrage that no government has ever since tried to go near the idea.

    My concern is that this sense of security that the government can do no harm leads to harm. People’s trust in their governments leads to complacency, which can lead to terrible things: look at the US post Sept 11, Australia has had its immigration detention scandals. I doubt Québec would be a utopia in this regard.

    “Again, in South Africa, the afrikaans (I was starting to write “boer”) and the english are not the overwhelming majority, so one cannot really compare guavas to lichees.”

    No, but linguistically, Afikaans is the dominant language because it is the mother tongue not only of the Afrikaners but importantly of a massive number of rural blacks (many times more blacks than whites have Afrikaans as their first language, a fact the ANC is very uncomfortable with), South Africa is a very complicated mix of ethnicities and languages. Of course there are resentments and animosities, but people make the effort to get along. In urban areas, you find that people whose native language is neither English nor Afrikaans will have a decent command of both.

    “t’s all nice and sweet, but when a people has been slighted by another, you cannot really expect it to be erased overnight”

    My point is, what was done on all sides until very recently was horrendous (government assassinations of dissidents both white and black, torture, Zulu/Xhosa violence, terrible propaganda) but people have made efforts to move on and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has been part of making this happen. So in a way, I do expect people to change overnight, because in South Africa people have managed to do it. I have met former members of the AWB now working with indigenous rights groups. Having been an angry young man, I know how poisonous anger can be.

    Hamish

    August 4, 2009 at 9:12 pm

  9. I really can’t agree with this analysis on imperialism. The English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, German, Belgian and other empires were motivated by mush the same things: proselytisation, geo-political power, economic power, resources, slaves etc. All of them committed horrendous attrocities against indigenous peoples and their lands, no exceptions.

    But New France was founded specifically to evangelize the indians, which were regarded by the french as the innocence of mankind without the original sin. In the context of 400 years ago, this means that they considered the indians not only as humans but as equals, which is not exactly the case with the english and the spanish.

    “We are constantly threatened by the english’s relative weight in north america; it’s a battle of a thousand fingers in thousands of dykes — ooooh, dirty thoughts ;) — and the creeping english word when a perfectly adequate french word exists is one of the thousands of little paper cuts we suffer daily.”
    Everyone globally faces this issue, I fear the effect of English (read US) dominance on diversity and the way it is assimilated globally varies so much.

    This is why whenever I write english, I try to use british spelling… :)

    “We have no problem with the government telling us what to do, because we KNOW it cannot mean harm.”
    Interesting parallel with Australia. Americans are horrified as how passively Australians accept a ‘nanny’ state, and it’s one of the great paradoxes to a generally anti-authoritarian streak in the Australian psyche.

    Oh, make no mistake, the french are notoriously anti-authoritarian; after all, we crafted the original declaration of human rights.
    We’re just not rabidly frothing whenever the government tries to do something and automatically assume it will be perverted and bad.

    Yet occasionally something will arise like the ‘Australia Card’ – an attempt to bring in an national identity card – that caused such widespread public outrage that no government has ever since tried to go near the idea.

    Hopefully the same outrage will arise with Internet filtering plans…

    My concern is that this sense of security that the government can do no harm leads to harm.

    Aha! That’s the anglo-saxon in you rising!!! :) :) :)

    Jean Naimard

    August 4, 2009 at 10:15 pm

  10. “No, but linguistically, Afikaans is the dominant language because it is the mother tongue not only of the Afrikaners but importantly of a massive number of rural blacks (many times more blacks than whites have Afrikaans as their first language, a fact the ANC is very uncomfortable with),”

    Is this really accurate? Wikipedia says Afrikaans is the first language of about 200,000 blacks, which doesn’t seem a lot when one considers there are 30 million or more blacks in South Africa.

    When I was in university (before apartheid was abolished), it was said that the government’s push for the Afrikaans language was yet another ploy by the ruling National Party (pro-apartheid) in order to further deprive the black majority of political and economic power. (Since the black population massively speaks English as a second or first language.)

    And yes, I am aware that the population known as “Coloureds” (mixed race but no so much black African) in SA does predominantly speak Afrikaans, as do the white Afrikaners of course.

    Acajack

    August 4, 2009 at 10:31 pm

  11. You’re right, I should have said non-white and the numbers are probably slightly higher on the non-white side, with blacks, coloureds, hottentots, bushmen and a few other groups thrown in there. Some of these groups get ascribed to other language groups, I think the wiki numbers underestimate the numbers (due to some ethnic groups being categorised as speaking their ethnic language when in fact in places like the Karahari, Afrikaans is used as a first tongue). My point being, Afrikaans has often been seen by the ruling black elite as the language of oppression and white minority rule, which may be true in a symbolic sense, but doesn’t do any favours to Afrikaans-speaking Cape Coloureds whose children are forced to go to English speaking schools. Ascribing culture to a language can have perverse results.

    Hamish

    August 5, 2009 at 1:10 am

  12. Hamish—Is the ANC government now making all Coloured kids go to English-language schools, or are you just talking about isolated instances? This is a new one on me.

    AFAIK, Afrikaans has for just about all of its history been spoken by more “Kallits” than whites, and my sense is that a good many blacks speak it as an acquired language, although I have no way to prove this and I suspect that no statistics exist.

    littlerob

    August 5, 2009 at 6:31 am

  13. It’s not a forced thing, just a lack of availability. Your free to send your kids to a private school in whatever language you chose, but the language on instruction is, as far as I’m aware, dictated on a regional and provincial basis. If you designate that the public schools in a certain area be English speaking, but it just happens that most families are Afrikaans speaking, the practicalities are they they’ll send their kids to a local English school rather than a remote Afrikaans one. I’d need to speak to my friend in South Africa who works in socio-linguistics to fill out the details, but he was explaining to me when I was over there a few years ago some of the bureaucratic language issues they are facing.

    Hamish

    August 5, 2009 at 7:22 am

  14. Hamish—If bureaucratic obstacles such as you describe were put in the way of Dutch speakers’ kids in Belgium, or for that matter French speakers’ kids in Canada, nobody would ever hear the end of it.

    Jean—at the risk of destroying a dearly-held belief you appear to have, I believe that there were instances when the French colonists of North America screwed Indians as well as anyone else. The episode that comes to my mind in this context is referred to in passing in Dee Brown’s book Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, pp. 4-5, and I have seen tangential mention made of it elsewhere. Brown, and others, seem to believe that the Ottawa chief Pontiac, during the course of his planning his uprising against the British garrisons that occupied Michigan, Ohio, and western Pennsylvania after the fall of Québec, reckoned with the help of the small French colonies in what is now southern Illinois (Cahokia, Kaskaskia, Prairie du Rocher), which had not yet been effectively occupied by the British. The uprising got started (early 1763), but the help Pontiac seems to have counted on never materialized. Brown argues that this was a betrayal of an alliance and that Pontiac might have been able to win the siege of Detroit if the Illinois French had showed up and pitched in.

    The material in English on the French colonies on the middle Mississippi—there were at least two on the Missouri side, too, Ste. Genevieve and (after 1763) St. Louis, is very sparse. I sense that they were sociologically halfway between New France and Louisiana, as they are geographically. If some kind soul would like to point me in the direction of any material on these colonies in French, either in print or on line, I would be much obliged.

    littlerob

    August 5, 2009 at 11:48 am

  15. “The anglicization of immigrants has been the chief weapon the english have used against the french. It eventually became necessary to pass law 101 to kill the notion that immigrants can think that they can live in Québec without speaking french.” J. Naimard

    Partly true, but mostly self-inflicted. Up until the mid seventies, Quebec schools classified Jewish as Protestant , this forced them into the English school system, a convenient way of keeping them out of the French ( catholic) system. A huge proportion of Italians in the 50’s and 60’s were sent automatically to the Irish catholic schools by the French speaking educational authorities. To cry foul and blame the big bad English after the fact, as does Mr. Naimard, is a bit rich and is just another urban legend included in the Québécois victimisation shtick so often propounded by AFG.

    Dave

    August 5, 2009 at 3:14 pm

  16. when youre hungry beurre de peanut tastes just as good as beurre d’arachides

    Dave

    August 5, 2009 at 3:18 pm

  17. Jean—at the risk of destroying a dearly-held belief you appear to have, I believe that there were instances when the French colonists of North America screwed Indians as well as anyone else.

    Well, yes, of course we screwed the natives. I mean, how else could I have had my dark brown eyes and how else would I look younger than I am? I mean, I’m almost 50 and I don’t have any trouble to pick-up chicks, thanks to my indian blood that’s responsible for my super good-looks.
    The french strategy of world domination is to go somewhere and love the natives.

    Jean Naimard

    August 5, 2009 at 4:38 pm

  18. Partly true, but mostly self-inflicted. Up until the mid seventies, Quebec schools classified Jewish as Protestant , this forced them into the English school system, a convenient way of keeping them out of the French ( catholic) system. A huge proportion of Italians in the 50’s and 60’s were sent automatically to the Irish catholic schools by the French speaking educational authorities. To cry foul and blame the big bad English after the fact, as does Mr. Naimard, is a bit rich and is just another urban legend included in the Québécois victimisation shtick so often propounded by AFG.

    Er, actually, this is all the fault of the english (the personal responsibility bullshit limeys worship is just a convenient twist to enable the bourgeois/english to blame their victims). By constitutionally giving to the scatholic* church the control of education in Québec, the scatholic church was able to completely brainwash the french to be not interested in business, so to insure they would not compete with the english.
    In return, to make sure the french would not be exposed to foreign subversive ideas such as communism, they had absolutely no problem sending the immigrants to english schools (the english scatholic schools were a tiny minority), which also served the english’s purpose in anglicizing the immigrants.
    And when immigrants came here and saw that the french were nothing else than the white niggers of america, they certainly didn’t want their children to become white niggers too, so they were very glad to send them to english schools. In the 50’s and 60’s, the italians who immigrated here were told by the canadian officials in Italy that they had to learn english even in Québec, and still to this day, federal immigration judges explicitly tells immigrants that they should disregard Québec language laws.
    The english have always used such dirty tricks to make the natives do their dirty work for them, so they could keep an appearance of being very clean.
    Are you sure you want to keep picking on me? Because whenever a bloke does, I dig up beaucoup english shit.
     
    * Yeah, you read well, “full of shit church”; it’s not for nothing that the brits had very strict anti-scatholic laws; they did not want to be rotted by that utter pile of steaming crap. Well, anyways, it’s not good for them, but it sure is good to impose on others they want to dominate. Fucking bastards.

    Jean Naimard

    August 5, 2009 at 4:49 pm

  19. As soon as I hit “submit” I realized that it was likely that you would respond with something like that, Jean, you Toussaint Charbonneau you.

    littlerob

    August 5, 2009 at 4:54 pm

  20. Brilliant reply, full of facts and logic, bereft of any emotional immaturity. I guess there isn’t anything wrong in Quebec that can’t somehow be blamed on the English.
    QED

    Dave

    August 5, 2009 at 6:54 pm

  21. Thank-you.

    Jean Naimard

    August 5, 2009 at 7:21 pm

  22. That’s not a diss to the Trudeauists btw; on the contrary, I find the impulse to make Anglo-Canadians bilingual moving,

    I don’t really think you can accurately say that Trudeau had an impulse to make Anglo-Canadians bilingual. Certainly he had no legislative impulse to, since that’s not what the OLA sought. And in fact, in what today’s politician lingo would call their “talking points”, the Trudeau circle emphasized that the point of the Official Languages Act and programs was to create a portability or “non-territoriality” of language rights assuring people of either language a certain array of federal services in their language irrespective of their locale. So it did not seek to engineer or compel English Canadians into personal bilingualism, and in theory it was supposed to *reduce* the need for unilinguals to interact with federal agencies in a language other than their first one. It was supposed to assure a scenario where for example a francophone in a Manitoba hamlet could communicate with the post office or the federal tax department in French, or enable an Anglo in an Eastern Townships hamlet to do the same in English (a right the latter already enjoyed de facto anyway but that’s another matter).

    These talking points were important too because many English Canadians quickly concluded that the Trudeau agenda *was* to engineer them into bilingualism. Slogans were raised like “Bilingual Today, French Tomorrow” and some of the same people in English Canada who voted for the Grits in ’68 so Trudeau could put the uppity “Frogs” and “separatists” in their place turned on him over the OLA, and the Grits lost their majority in ’72. There was a group formed later called – and I’m not making this up – the Association for the Preservation of English in Canada. (I can never think of this name without thinking of the “Aryan Union” episode of Seinfeld), some of whose volk have recycled themselves into this more recent group for “Language Fairness” in opposition to bilingual services and signage in Ottawa.

    In any case, offering the range of services it did in only federal jurisdiction could never of itself have “biligualized” English Canadians, and it hasn’t. And any genuine state effort to do so would produce a neo-fascist backlash in Canada.

    The OLA did however get marketed as offering the hope of arresting assimilation of francophones outside Québec. This it could no more have accomplished than it could have the bilingualizing of anglos. But the OLA was also erected as an implicit critique of and in a “cold war” against the developing territorial approach to language in Québec. A good review of the experience here:

    Click to access Inroads_8_Castonguay.pdf

    James

    August 5, 2009 at 11:31 pm

  23. James, thank you for even more food for thought, though I misspoke (which is easy, since I have no idea what I’m talking about). I was referring to the Anglophone elites‚ however few they were (and I’m assuming plenty few) who bought into bilingualism, even if that’s not what Trudeau was pushing, and who sent their kids to French immersion in BC. That was never a mass phenomenon, and it would not have helped allay Quebec’s fears much if it did. And there is an underlying paternalism to it, like there is whenever the hegemon tries to be a fairer hegemon, but remains a hegemon.

    … I still thought it was pretty cool to the extent it happened at all though.

    Nick Nicholas

    August 6, 2009 at 12:09 am

  24. Nick,

    I think there were 2 outsized reactions of English Canadians to the OLA. Obviously OLA required a clerical-administrative infrastructure to power it and a bilingual “interface” which meant jobs. From that, the « arriérés » got pumped up and concluded they’d be francicized by stealth and pretty soon no decent job wouldn’t require French, and so they circled the wagons. I think the immersion phenomenon was part of the other reaction, which was, gee, if I send Junior to immersion he’ll bag a plum high-paying sinecure in the civil service. Despite their divergence in political correctness, both reactions have in common that they were a) exaggerated and b) self-serving.

    I honestly don’t know if immersion can be ranked as a “mass phenomenon” because I don’t know the file. It probably at least merits the ranking of “middle class fad.” But be that as it may, one of the most perverse ironies is that even as these publicly supported immersion schools were springing up like mushrooms all over the place, French Canadians were having to lobby and litigate just to get their own publicly funded schools and autonomous school boards. In Saskatchewan fransaskois kids were reduced to going to immersion schools designed for anglo kids, despite the unsuitability of an L2 curriculum for L1 students. Just another bizzaro monde à l’envers/pays des merveilles aspect to Canada’s language landscape.

    James

    August 6, 2009 at 1:58 am

  25. “But be that as it may, one of the most perverse ironies is that even as these publicly supported immersion schools were springing up like mushrooms all over the place, French Canadians were having to lobby and litigate just to get their own publicly funded schools and autonomous school boards. In Saskatchewan fransaskois kids were reduced to going to immersion schools designed for anglo kids, despite the unsuitability of an L2 curriculum for L1 students. Just another bizzaro monde à l’envers/pays des merveilles aspect to Canada’s language landscape.”

    As a child, your friendly neighbourhood Acajack actually went to French immersion school (and English school before that) because there were no French “as a first language” schools for francophones where we lived. (Though this was not in Saskatchewan.)

    And yes, French immersion for anglos was set up in our province many years before French schools for francophones were opened.

    Acajack

    August 6, 2009 at 8:02 am

  26. Yes, and the fransaskois kids are less than 2% of the population in SK…the french only speakers less than 0.1%. I guess we should open German, Ukrainian, and other schools dedicated to a specific language, where the numbers are in fact larger than the french contingent.

    Was at a wedding last weekend in a predominatly french community. Didn’t hear a word of it…10 or 20 years ago the service would have been mostly in french. It’s for the most part gone Acajack. I am not going to prognostinate on whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing. Just the way it really is.

    So why are we (or should) spending huge somes of money on “french only schools” and “colleges” where in fact there is little or no need. To preserve a culture that for the most part no longer exists in these parts. Well, there aren’t that many in any event. The immersion programs are a failure both here and elsewhere in the ROC. I am sure you will disagree and thats your option. The facts, however, speak for themselves.

    As I have said before, french in Quebec and likely english in the ROC. Of course, in the ROC, there are no language or sign laws to protect english, are there?

    ABP

    August 6, 2009 at 8:35 pm

  27. To protect english? Against what?

    midnightjack

    August 7, 2009 at 1:27 am

  28. ¿¿¿ Español ???

    Jean Naimard

    August 7, 2009 at 9:51 am

  29. ça tombe bien ton poste mon littlerob car voilà un monsieur qui vient appuyer l’essentiel de ton hypothèse dans le Devoir d’aujourd’hui. Sauf que, ce n’est pas la validité des lois affirmatives sur la langue qu’il met en cause, mais plutôt le supposé « berceau protecteur » de la confédération canadienne:

    http://www.ledevoir.com/2009/08/07/261894.html

    Le 5 août Serge Joyal, dans son article du 4 août intitulé «Jacques Cartier, une autre réflexion», laisse entendre que le fait français au Québec aurait survécu grâce à son appartenance au Canada en comparant le Québec avec la Louisiane, où les francophones ont été assimilés.

    Mais cette comparaison est fausse. La Louisiane, à l’époque de sa vente aux États-Unis, en 1803, était un vaste territoire peu peuplé, contrairement au Québec. Elle était aussi victime de la migration des colonisateurs américains vers l’ouest. Une comparaison plus juste pourrait être faite entre la Louisiane et les Praires canadiennes où habitaient les Métis, qui sont principalement francophones, soit les provinces du Manitoba et de la Saskatchewan actuelles. Sauf que les Métis ont été assimilés aussi. Quand le Manitoba s’est joint à la Confédération en 1870, la proportion de gens ayant le français comme langue maternelle était de 40 %. Aujourd’hui, elle est de seulement 4,2 % selon Statistique Canada 2006. Les francophones de la Saskatchewan forment aujourd’hui 1,7 % de sa population. Sept pour cent des Louisianais parlent encore le français, ce qui rend les Louisianais francophones moins assimilés que les Manitobains et les Saskatchewannais francophones.

    Donc le Québec, ayant déjà une forte concentration de francophones, aurait résisté à l’assimilation de la même manière s’il s’était joint aux États-Unis plutôt qu’au Canada. Papineau avait raison de vouloir se joindre aux États-Unis parce qu’à l’époque, les États-Unis étaient plus démocratiques que le Canada.

    James

    August 7, 2009 at 6:59 pm

  30. Il serait interessant de savoir le pourcentage des francophones dans l’Etat de la Louisiane a l’epoque de l’adhesion a l’union americaine (1812) et a l’epoque de la guerre de la secession, pour pouvoir comparer l’histoire de l’etat avec celle des prairies canadiennes. Je ne sais meme pas si les chiffres existent; ici, dans les recensements, on se preocupe surtout de la race de la population, et pas la langue parlee a la maison.

    littlerob

    August 10, 2009 at 9:12 pm


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