Quebec’s plan to eradicate English

It’s much worse than anything you’ve heard. Marlene Jennings has best summed up the assault on the Anglo minority in Quebec: she is, she said, a “perfect formula” for “eradication.” she should know The former Liberal MP until recently headed the Quebec Network of Community Groups, spearheading the fight against François Legault’s many-fronted and still-evolving eradication plan.

The numbers don’t lie. Quebecers who have English as their first language make up 8 percent of the population. But what about the ability to attract newcomers to the Anglo-Saxon fold, given the enormous pulling power of the French on the Continent? The proportion of Québecois who use English more than French in their daily lives is only 14 percent. That doesn’t even double the bill. Of course, 44 percent of all Quebecers speak English, as do about 80 percent of Montreal’s French-speaking youth, but that’s no consolation.

Case in point: Quebec’s bigoted immigration policies have only allowed some 90,000 monolingual English-speaking newcomers into the Montreal area in the past three years, since the election of the ruling CAQ, which adds a mere 14 percent. to the white population, so you can see where this is going.

Everyone knows that the CAQ Language Bill, now in force, will crack down on any doctor or nurse who dares to speak English to anyone who is not a member of the “historical Anglo community” – that is, those who attended school in English. The current text of the law tries to hide this fact by stating that French is compulsory “except in health”, and then a specific section criticizes jurists by saying that it does not specifically apply to the general statute on health and social services.

Don’t be fooled by the fact that hospitals in all regions are required by other laws to establish access plans in English and provide services in English to anyone who requests them. In reality, Anglo-Québecers have little recourse other than to rely on the 37 institutions of the English public health network, which barely employs 45 percent of the health workers on the island of Montreal.

Outside of that little cocoon, English-speakers who need medical attention will be lucky to fall into the hands of the paltry proportion of French doctors who actually speak their language: 88 percent. It is clear to anyone following these issues that French-Canadians outside of Quebec would revolt if their access to healthcare in their language were so dire.

It’s even worse, of course, in the job market. Toronto readers know, thanks to Globe and Mail columnist Andrew Coyne, that “the law prohibits the use of any language other than French in workplaces in the province, large or small, public or private.” Specifically, the new law extends to medium-sized businesses, the regulation having existed for 35 years in larger ones.

The damage is already done: In the last census, the proportion of workers in the Montreal area who mainly used English at work dropped to 20 percent, those who use it regularly to 49 percent. Why aren’t all these people fined by the language police?

Corruption, laziness and incompetence, endemic in Quebec as famous reported in Maclean’s magazine, are surely the only explanation for this lack of application, perhaps hidden behind a series of exceptions that allow clients, suppliers, the head office or colleagues to speak any language, as long as French is the “usual and habitual language of work” . Usual and habitual, which are, of course, keywords for intransigence. Now, if someone were foolish enough to impose, say, English as the “usual and customary language of work” in Toronto or Mississauga, all hell would break loose.

In Quebec, only 14 percent of management jobs are held by 8 percent of whites, giving them ridiculously little systemic advantage. Thank goodness for the wayward CEOs of Air Canada, SNC-Lavalin, Laurentian Bank, Canadian National and Couche Tard, proud monolingual Anglo-Saxons, who allow all their senior staff and secretaries to revel in English, regardless of their linguistic background. That is inclusion.

Quebec’s language oppression is particularly offensive in education. René Lévesque’s Bill 101 removed the language option for K-12 for everyone, except for Anglo-Saxons and immigrants who attended English schools before 1977, who retain the right to choose and pass it on to their descendants for all eternity. , and any Anglo-Canadian. of any English-educated background moving to Quebec at any time and their descendants, for all eternity. Appalling.

Of course, 8 percent of whites have access to 17 percent of the places in colleges and 25 percent of universities, with 30 percent of research grants. The new law would actually limit Anglo-Saxon Cegeps to simply doubling the presence of Anglo-Saxons in the population. Not only that. These higher education institutions used to properly bypass lower-scoring Anglo high school students and give their places to French students bright and bilingual enough to enroll there. The anti-Anglo nationalist government now forces these universities to give Anglo students priority in enrollment, forcing the Anglo institutions to degrade themselves by catering to the lesser Anglo. Embarrassing, really.

now for him coup de grace. The inward-looking government of Quebec seems to have in mind that Anglo children should be proficient enough in French to succeed in a work environment where French remains, unfortunately, unavoidable. By law, all white high school students with diplomas in hand are considered bilingual. So why bother asking them, in college, to hone this skill? This idea is so crazy that when the Quebec Liberal Party proposed that Anglo students attend three classes IN French (along with their French colleagues who take ALL classes in English), the scandal was enormous.

The federation of universities announced that a full third of Anglo students would fail. They don’t do badly, but they fail. Pretending that a bilingual person can actually read texts, attend conferences and do work in another language is, of course, nonsense. An Anglo CEGEP director, Christian Corno, hit the nail on the head when he wrote, in French, that this abomination was motivated by a desire to “make Anglo-Saxon students atone for the sins of their ancestors” (who may or may not have oppressed the French). in the past, a debatable claim).

The alternative position has been to increase the number of French classes these poor students should take, from two to five. This, too, jeopardizes your grades. Forcing students to learn the language of the majority of the population where they live and will work is an unacceptable imposition, surely unheard of anywhere else in the world.

Quebec’s relentless attacks on religious and minority rights take a heavy toll on its international reputation and appeal. Last year, only 177,000 temporary workers and foreign students They were in the province. Yes, it is triple the usual and an all-time high. But think of those who did not come.

Foreign investment is repelled by the current intolerant climate. FDI in the Montreal area only increased by 69 percent to a record $3.7 billion last year, but this can only be attributed to Quebec, which boasts a higher recent growth rate than any G7 country, including Canada. The fact that these newcomers and investors came to Quebec after the secularism bill controversy and adoption and during the language bill controversy simply indicates the paucity of information available to them.

Fortunately, for the first time in history, the number of Ontarians moving to Quebec exceeded the number of Quebecers moving to Ontario. It used to be that, each year, between 3,000 and 9,000 more Quebecers left for Ontario than the other way around. But given the new toxic environment, the flow has reversed, and last year almost a network 800 brave Ontarians he crossed the Ottawa River to settle in Quebec. (In all, a staggering 29,000 citizens moved from the rest of Canada to Quebec in 2021.) Not for lower housing prices or better services or job prospects, but simply, surely, to help defeat the eradication plan under way. More will be needed.

Please come in droves! Hurry, before the last English word is spoken in Quebec.

Jean-François Lisée is an author, columnist for Le Devoir, and former director of the Parti Québécois. This text may contain traces of irony. One can find his rants in


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