AngryFrenchGuy

Quebec’s Efforts to become 30% English

with 144 comments

Many people this week were upset at the news that the Québec government was giving lifetime access to government services in English to new immigrants.

According to a report in Le Devoir, as many as 27% of the 48 000 immigrants Québec welcomed in 2009 were designated as Anglos in the State databases, even though only 3,5% of them claimed English as their mother tongue.  According to Québec laws, government services in English are a privilege of Québec’s historic Anglo community, not a right of all citizens, even though any one can decide they are Anglo any time they want.

According to the numbers published by the daily,  many as 30% of these new members of Québec’s historic anglo community don’t even know how to speak English!

In other words, the Québec government was now in the business of teaching English as our common and business language to immigrants.

And why not?

The future of Québec’s English-speaking community is, as everyone knows, in peril.

Québec’s Anglos, live in near isolation, a whole 45 minute drive from the biggest and most powerful English-speaking nation on earth where the fragile English language media is drowning in a sea of French media imperialism that leaves them without HBO.

Québec’s 607 165 English-speaking souls, 8,2% of the population, struggle to keep a community and a network of institutions alive with only 25% of Québec’s entire Health-care budget and a mere 50% of the money ear-marked to build two new University hospitals in Montréal.

In Montréal, where  as many as 20% of the population is English-speaking, they have to make do with only 45% of the povince’s higher education budget and 57% of all university professors in the city.

There comes a time, as Angela Mancini, president of the English Montreal School Board said, when Anglos have to start thinking of themselves…

It’s only a small gesture, but maybe, just maybe, by giving up 30% of it’s immigrants to the English-speaking community, Québec can help save English in North America…

Written by angryfrenchguy

December 13, 2009 at 4:51 pm

144 Responses

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  1. I was designated as ‘N’ for non-francophone on my CSQ even though I go to a francophone university. Sure, my French is not great (maybe because nobody here lets me speak it — except my visible minority, immigrant girlfriend. Also, people from France) but it goes to show how skewed the system is.

    NEUmontréal

    December 13, 2009 at 5:24 pm

  2. I would love to emigrate to Montreal from Los Angeles…in fact looking to move my business to Quebec Fate decreed English my first language yet studied french from Jr High thru University.
    Am willing to work and live using the french language.. so if I am part of those stats quoted from Le Devoir then please read in a ‘minus one’ as I would accept services in french at all times.

    Can this influx of anglos of which only 3.5% claim EFL be a loophole to gain entry or to claim historic english status?
    Either way you are right that the citizens of Quebec demand sincerity. It is an existential issue.

    Scott Edwards

    December 13, 2009 at 6:02 pm

  3. “In Montréal, where as many as 20% of the population is English-speaking, they have to make do with only 45% of the povince’s higher education budget and 57% of all university professors in the city.

    There comes a time, as Angela Mancini, president of the English Montreal School Board said, when Anglos have to start thinking of themselves…”

    There is a big difference between English language education at the elementary/high school level and the CEGEP/university level. Due to loi 101, the English Montreal School Board has seen enrollment fall and has closed several schools. I am sure (although I don’t have the figures) that funding at the high school level is much lower than 45%.

    Since English-language higher level education is open to all (not just Anglos) and a good part of funding is based on enrollment, the disproportionate funding figures are due to Francos and Allos attending English language schools. This has been the system for a while and neither the Liberal PQ governments have done anything about this so far.

    But AFG, instead of just complaining, can you shed light on what your solution for this is?

    AM

    December 13, 2009 at 7:46 pm

  4. Due to loi 101, the English Montreal School Board has seen enrollment fall and has closed several schools.

    Boo hoo! Cry me a river. The increasing irrelevance of English is just something you’ll have to come to accept. Its fate will be sealed with the imminent total collapse of the economy south of the border. And the English say they’re the only ones who can run the show – well, look how great things are in the USA!

    Marc

    December 13, 2009 at 10:57 pm

  5. “Boo hoo! Cry me a river. The increasing irrelevance of English is just something you’ll have to come to accept. Its fate will be sealed with the imminent total collapse of the economy south of the border. And the English say they’re the only ones who can run the show – well, look how great things are in the USA!”

    Oh please, look at the numbers..Pour vous, et la francais…regardez a la CDP. Get over yourself, your langauge and your bias.

    ABP

    December 14, 2009 at 1:39 am

  6. Main export partners in Quebec economy:

    United States (72.2%)
    United Kingdom (2.6 %)
    Germany (2.0 %)
    France (1.9 %)
    Netherlands (1.8 %)

    Schadenfreude is a bitch.

    Edward

    December 14, 2009 at 7:23 am

  7. It’s really difficult to speak French in Montréal if you are not francophone. I only hang out with Francophones and they always try to speak English with me even though I have told them on more than one occasion not to. Then they act like I am doing them a disservice by not letting them practice and become bilingual. And it doesn’t help that they think that if you’re not functional in English you are colon.

    But I keep trudging along. What else can one do? I can’t change what they do; I can only change what I do.

    Thomas Dean Nordlum

    December 14, 2009 at 9:04 am

  8. Oh please, look at the numbers..Pour vous, et la francais…regardez a la CDP. Get over yourself, your langauge and your bias.

    The only problem with our CDP is that it’s now being run by the same guy who caused Bell to crash & burn. Not a surprising choice by the Liberals – you know, the party which caters only to the English.

    Main export partners in Quebec economy:

    United States (72.2%)
    United Kingdom (2.6 %)
    Germany (2.0 %)
    France (1.9 %)
    Netherlands (1.8 %)

    Schadenfreude is a bitch.

    So what? You are seriously deluded if you think Québec can’t find other partners and/or become more self-sufficient.

    Marc

    December 14, 2009 at 10:37 am

  9. Though the numbers on trading partners appear accurate and it would be tremendous folly to jeopardize the goose that laid the golden egg that is trade with the Americans, I wonder how many working-age people in Quebec really are directly involved in international commerce to the point of having to know English because they do this type of work?

    I would venture to say that the vast majority of people in Quebec who have to use English at work generally do so because they either work in Quebec with colleagues who cannot or will not speak French with them, or serve clients who are for the most part Quebec residents but demand to be served in English.

    Acajack

    December 14, 2009 at 11:34 am

  10. AFG “It’s only a small gesture, but maybe, just maybe, by giving up 30% of it’s immigrants to the English-speaking community, Québec can help save English in North America…”

    It’s actually more than 30% if you look at the census statistics on language transfers from non-official languages to French or English. More like 40-45%.

    Acajack

    December 14, 2009 at 11:37 am

  11. 350,000,000 people in the world speak French. Over 33 countries claim French as the offical language. So why should anyone care if the French language is protected in North America???? Just a 5 hour flight to France. The same time the English were oppressing the French in the colony of France, your French cousins were brutally killing many African folk and forcing their language and culture upon them. Perhaps it is just Karma. Treat others like crap get treated like crap

    Stop crying AFG. heck i’m sure deep down inside you want to be a part of our Anglo clique. Cross over we will accept you, shhh I won’t tell anyone.

    FYI

    Your numebrs are wrong, around 1 million people in Quebec claim English as the offical language that they most feel associated with.

    Angryphone

    December 14, 2009 at 12:07 pm

  12. Quebec has to be the most stupid place on Earth. They say they want to protect French in a continent of anglophones. But they don’t pass from words to act. They continue to talk, talk, wringe their hands, wringe their hands, be tolerant, be tolerant and so on.

    If Quebec does not put up measures to protect French, such as abolishing English services and instiutions which is a form of segregation; don’t strengthen Bill 101 by extending it to the cégeps and universités; and become independent then they don’t deserve to complain about the erosion of French.

    I am fed up with Quebec. Either put up or shut up.

    Antonio

    December 14, 2009 at 12:28 pm

  13. Antonio,

    Do not underestimate the power of an ingrained, long-standing inferiority complex.

    Acajack

    December 14, 2009 at 12:40 pm

  14. “The only problem with our CDP is that it’s now being run by the same guy who caused Bell to crash & burn. Not a surprising choice by the Liberals – you know, the party which caters only to the English”

    He didn’t come on the scene until after the damage had been done by the former people who poisoned the CDP with toxic debt.

    ABP

    December 14, 2009 at 1:30 pm

  15. I think the French Quebecers should get all dictorship on the Anglos. Afterall that is what they really want to do anyways stop fooling around show your true colours stop pussyfooting. Just come to terms with your own hatered. Pass a law that forbids people to speak English and be English on public and private property in the greatest county in the world Quebec where Enlgish are a bunch of cattle

    Angryphone

    December 14, 2009 at 1:31 pm

  16. “Main export partners in Quebec economy:

    United States (72.2%)
    United Kingdom (2.6 %)
    Germany (2.0 %)
    France (1.9 %)
    Netherlands (1.8 %)”

    I would add to this that Quebec also does a lot of commerce with the ROC and if you consider that, “exports” to English speaking places is even higher

    “I would venture to say that the vast majority of people in Quebec who have to use English at work generally do so because they either work in Quebec with colleagues who cannot or will not speak French with them, or serve clients who are for the most part Quebec residents but demand to be served in English.”

    One other aspect is working for a company with offices/operations/headquarters in the ROC. Then, any time you work with people outside of Quebec, it will be in English. At an old job I had, even though everyone at the office was Francophone as were our clients, since we had to collaborate with the Toronto office, all written documents were in English and client meetings were almost always in English as well.

    Anonymous

    December 14, 2009 at 1:42 pm

  17. Angryphone.

    I don’t understand what you’re saying at all. Where I work (a rather large company siégé on Sherebrooke and Stanley), almost all of the people in high positions are Anglophones (a few Francophones who speak English like an Anglophone). And almost all of the Francophones think that not speaking English equals ”colon”. These draconian laws that everyone thinks exist do not exist at all. The inferiority complex is alive and thriving among Francophones. More and more Anglophones are coming here. You go to this nice little burrito joint on Bishop and Maissonneuve and even though everything is written French, nobody around you is speaking French and the anglos behind the counter have to find their bilingual coworker in the back to serve you if you’re like me and want service in French. Francophones (especially young ones, but also these boomer generation people) are all to happy switching. They think it makes them look smarter (or so I have been told). English is still the first class citizen language here and probably will be for a long time to come.

    So I don’t get your words at all.

    Thomas Dean Nordlum

    December 14, 2009 at 1:51 pm

  18. I know he is generally pro-French and I can understand his frustration but it sounds a bit to me like Antonio is blaming the victim out of sheer exasperation.

    Acajack

    December 14, 2009 at 2:08 pm

  19. Once again, the Quebec government does a shit job of integrating new arrivals and AFG and his fan club manage to turn it into a “historic anglo” bash. What would you guys do without us anglos to pin the blame on for every little thing that goes wrong.

    RoryBellows

    December 14, 2009 at 2:33 pm

  20. Most comapanies in Quebec Speak French, sure there are a few companies left that speak English because they operate in the global market place, they are a minority. If this was the case no one would be leaving this banana province/belle banana country.

    I say shut down all the English schools, don’t allow us anglos to vote, don’t allow English TV or radio cause we are a bunch of Anglo savages. And don’t give us anglos jobs that would be crazy!!! Panic

    Angryphone

    December 14, 2009 at 4:18 pm

  21. RoryBellows

    Here is the Solution don’t allow anyone in Quebec that has any intention of speaking English in. If they do fine them.

    Only allow immigrants from french Speaking countries who have been oppressed and rapped by France for the last 200 years in.

    Angryphone

    December 14, 2009 at 4:22 pm

  22. “The inferiority complex is alive and thriving among Francophones. More and more Anglophones are coming here. You go to this nice little burrito joint on Bishop and Maissonneuve and even though everything is written French, nobody around you is speaking French and the anglos behind the counter have to find their bilingual coworker in the back to serve you if you’re like me and want service in French.”

    So true. It’s awful. Do we all have to move to Trois-Rivières to speak French in Québec?

    NEUmontréal

    December 14, 2009 at 4:52 pm

  23. “More and more Anglophones are coming here. You go to this nice little burrito joint on Bishop and Maissonneuve and even though everything is written French, nobody around you is speaking French and the anglos behind the counter have to find their bilingual coworker in the back to serve you if you’re like me and want service in French.”

    Where do you get the more Anglos coming here? The Montreal downtown core is unique in that you have 2 English universities and 1 CEGEP with thousands of students who speak English -but are not Quebec Anglos- and who largely keep to this area. You might want to try out different parts of the city, there are other cool neighborhoods that are much more Francophone.

    A quick look at the stats shows that over the past 3 years 35,000 more people left Quebec for the ROC than came here. Now it’s possible that all those leaving are Francos and all those coming are Anglos, but that’s unlikely. There probably aren’t significantly more Anglos coming to Quebec to settle here (as opposed to students coming here to study).

    Anonymous

    December 14, 2009 at 5:38 pm

  24. Seriously, you guys spend too much time downtown. I mostly only hang out in the Plateau these days and none of my friends have any trouble being served in French.

    RoryBellows

    December 14, 2009 at 6:42 pm

  25. “There comes a time, as Angela Mancini, president of the English Montreal School Board said, when Anglos have to start thinking of themselves…”

    That’s actually not what she said.

    RoryBellows

    December 14, 2009 at 6:48 pm

  26. “I know he is generally pro-French and I can understand his frustration but it sounds a bit to me like Antonio is blaming the victim out of sheer exasperation.”

    The francophones of Quebec are not the victim. They are in the majority in Quebec and therefore have the power to act. I am on their side and sympathize with their plight: Quebec is a French-speaking society and a unique culture that is 400 years old that is threatened by the overwhelming anglophone presence on the North American continent and in the world. The francophones of Quebec, like I do, want the French language and unique Quebec culture to survive but they have not done anything to fight against this before it is too late. All they do is complain which is very myopic and pathetic which is very hard for me to sympathize with.

    They complain, rightly, about the Supreme Court invaldating Bill 104 and complain about the cases of the past 20 years of Supreme Court rulings that have weakened Bill 101. The only solution to this is independence of Quebec so that it does not have to be subject to the Supreme Court. But Quebec is not independent because not enough francophones are supporting it.

    The francophones, complain, rightly, that immigrants are not being integrated well into Quebec society. And yet, they still give the immigrants the right to use English even if they don’t speak it. They even want to increase the number of immigrants entering Quebec regardless of whether they are francophones or or not. That is stupid and counterproductive.

    The francophones complain, rightly, about the segregation of Quebec or the Two Solitudes and its negative impact on society. Yet, they continue to support English services and instiutions to the hilt including their own superhospital. That is stupid and counterproductive.

    I could go on and on.

    I am simply fed up of the perpetual 40-year old linguistic crisis in Quebec. The anglophones, for once, are not at fault for the current linguistic crisis that is happening in Quebec. The francophones have the power to solve their problems regardless of what the anglophones do or think. But the francophones do not. Therefore they are at fault. They are not the victim.

    Antonio

    December 14, 2009 at 8:19 pm

  27. I agree with Rory.
    I honestly cannot remember the last time someone refused to serve me in French, and I almost never use English in public commercial settings in Quebec.

    Granted I don’t hang out in places filled with Torontonian 20-sometings.

    Rory, if you’re a plateau-nik, do you have any idea what happened to the Sergeant Recruteur?

    Edward

    December 14, 2009 at 8:36 pm

  28. Rory, if you’re a plateau-nik, do you have any idea what happened to the Sergeant Recruteur?

    Although I am not Rory, Le Sergent Recruteur moved a number of years ago kitty-corner to where it used to be. Still at Villeneuve and Saint-Laurent. Don’t worry it ain’t going anywhere. :)

    They even want to increase the number of immigrants entering Quebec regardless of whether they are francophones or or not. That is stupid and counterproductive.

    Correct. It is not up to the English to make it clear as glass that no one, but no one shall live in Québec and not know French.

    Marc

    December 14, 2009 at 10:37 pm

  29. language, english, education, government etc.
    http://www.city-journal.org/2009/19_4_bilingual-education.html

    you’re welcome.

    johnnyonline

    December 14, 2009 at 11:59 pm

  30. In some ways, the French schooling for kids from French speaking families and English schooling for kids from English/allophone families is counterproductive in Québec. The converse should be happening, French kids at English immersion schools and English kids at French immersion schools. It would lead to a truly bilingual population. I’m not quite sure what you’d do with non-indigenous allophone kids, but French immersion would seem to be the way given the societal dominance of English.

    A question I have is what level of instruction in the other language do kids in Québec schools get, given that from what I’m hearing kids can grow up without speaking French in Québec (I assume the converse is also true, although less likely due to the hegemon of English) – that boggles my mind as a gross failure of the education system.

    I have sympathy for what Antonio is saying. Ultimately francophones are masters of their own destiny in Québec. It’s a similar story in Scotland and Ireland. In Scotland, despite efforts to keep Gaelic alive (some Gaelic schooling, radio, a new TV station, cultural activities in Gaelic) Gaelic is still declining. It’s a complete failure of intergenerational transmission – parents aren’t passing the language on to their kids. At the Gaelic medium school in Glascow, a huge number of the kids come from English/allophone households. A study in Edinburgh found the same thing – Gaels aren’t sending their kids to Gaelic schools and often not speaking to them in Gaelic, it’s the English/allophone community that is more behind maintaining the language – which makes language maintenance almost impossible because it doesn’t have a community in which to flourish. Ireland shows somewhat of a similar pattern.

    Notwithstanding centuries of language and social repression, people don’t have any pride in their minority languages or cultures (with some exceptions like Basque). It’s left to outsiders who don’t carry the baggage to try to continue the language. So it seems it’s less a debate about preserving the language as it is about boosting the esteem of an entire people. The former will happen naturally if the latter is addressed.

    One thing I notice in this debate is the intense animosity of monolingual English speakers around the world towards bilingualism and other languages. Whether it be of English Canadians against French, Scots against Gàidhlig, Irish against Gaeilge, Australians against indigenous languages etc, it’s really noticeable – people react as if it’s a rejection or abandonment of English, which they take personally. Anglophone culture is seriously like the Borg from Star Trek.

    Hamish

    December 15, 2009 at 3:17 am


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