“Quebec accused of launching ‘culture war’ on English with strict French language law” Telegraph

Quebec Flag

“Overview as of the 2016 census[edit]

Among the ten provinces of CanadaQuebec is the only one whose majority is francophone. Quebec’s population accounts for 23.9% of the Canadian population, and Quebec’s francophones account for about 90% of Canada’s French-speaking population.” wiki on Quebec language distribution.

” … the province’s anglophone residents say Bill 96, which is expected to come into force in the next year/2022, discriminates against bilinguals and denies them basic freedoms.

The legislation seeks to unilaterally change the Canadian Constitution to affirm Quebec as a nation and French its official language, using a mechanism designed to shield it from constitutional challenges.

The radical bill proposes more than 200 amendments to the province’s landmark 1977 French-language charter, including stricter requirements for businesses to operate in French and tight limits on the number of francophones who can attend English-language colleges.  

Among the most controversial proposals are the extra powers handed to government language inspectors to raid offices and access the computers and phones of any businesses – including media organisations – suspected of violating the new law.

The draconian measures have inflamed the rhetoric around the debate, with prominent Canadian lawyer Anne-France Goldwater comparing the new snooping powers to the “Gestapo”.

Simon Jolin-Barrette, the Quebec minister responsible for the French language, tabled the bill in response to studies by Quebec’s French-language office that indicate the number of people who solely use French at home and work is on the decline.” telegraph

Comment: I am half French-Canadian and a dual national, Canadian-US. I have the greatest respect and reverence for my French ancestors who settled what is now Quebec and a large part of the interior US beginning in 1617 and continuing throughout the first half of the 17th Century. They struggled with; the climate, the Indians, the British and the royal government in Paris who never had much use for them and thought of them as a burden, a burden that it abandoned in the treaty the followed the Seven Years War.

But the truth is that a cultural island cannot be maintained by fiat in the way that is attempted by the present language law reinforced by this monstrosity. Cultural competition is inevitable. pl



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4 Responses to “Quebec accused of launching ‘culture war’ on English with strict French language law” Telegraph

  1. Roland says:

    Ever since the fertility rate fell below replacement level in the 1970’s, Quebec’s gov’t has tried to protect the French-Canadian nation through legislative and regulatory means.

    While I agree it’s an illiberal approach and, in the end, perhaps futile, the restrictive language laws have bought Quebec some time. But they passed the time without solving the basic demographic problem. The difficulties foreseen by the Gendron Commission back in the early ’70’s are now in full play.

    Quebec can be seen as an extreme case of a general phenomenon seen in much of the the developed world. The English-speaking world is so big that its communities can maintain cultural continuity even as the ethnic compostions undergo considerable alteration. For smaller nations, the outlook is less sanguine.

    Cultural survival is above all a matter of households and generations. Of course I don’t think anyone could, or would, return to the days of big families in Quebec. But is the forced assimilation of migrants a viable plan for the future of the Quebecois? Probably not, but it looks like they’re trying it anyway.

  2. d74 says:

    I am mute. The devil is in the details of implementation.
    Silently, I would like a similar law to pass in France.

    We tried with a very poorly done “Toubon law” (law nᵒ 94-665 of August 4, 1994). Did not last long in practice.

    The English language has nice things and therefore worthy of adoption: speed and simplicity in general, Saxon genitive, single gender (except for ships!), agreement of the possessive with the subject, fixed place of the adjective etc… But no, we are only dumbed down with a misunderstood vocabulary diverted from English.
    Not surprisingly, French syntax is so complicated that the teaching of vocabulary is forgotten for lack of time.

    Even small villages in the Massif Central – the heart of eternal France – see fit to become Anglicized. It’s more snobbish. Or, poorly digested English is a mark of superiority towards the people.

    Good luck to French Canadians. Their long history shows that our confidence is well placed.

  3. TV says:

    IIRC, the first wave of French language laws drove a signifiant number of companies fromMontreal to Toronto.
    I remember discussing Quebec libre with English-speaking Francophone college kids in Quebec City in the 90”s.
    Charming kids, but driven totally by emotion which seems to be the driving force for these laws.
    Nationalism – free of logic – can be a powerful force.
    BREXIT comes to mind, even though my brain was with the “remainers,” my heart was with the “leavers.”

  4. TTG says:

    I wonder if les Québécois are taking their cue from their Inuit neighbors to the north in Nunavut. Nunavut has been working hard to preserve and expand the indigenous culture with legislation such as the Inuit Language Protection Act.

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