The Bill 104 decision by the Supreme Court has sparked a new outbreak of language militancy with extremists demanding that CEGEP (junior college) be subject to Bill 101, the law that forces Quebec residents to attend French only schools, (unless one of their parents were educated in English in Canada.)
As it stands now, the law applies to public primary and public secondary education only. Militants are furious that some citizens are using the Bill 104 loophole to gain English school access for their children. As well, the fact that some high school graduates on the French side of the educational system, in an effort to expand their personal horizons, are opting for an English college experience, has militants seeing red. TRAITORS!!!
A second demand, one being tossed around at a Parti Quebecois policy forum, is that preschoolers be subject to the same law, in relation to daycare.
Yup.... two, three and four year olds would not be allowed to attend an "English" daycare, if their parents didn't qualify. This Kafkaesque idea would be hilarious, if not so sad.
So it seems that language militants want to limit free choice from birth right up until college graduation.
What is the effect of all this?
It transforms Quebec Francophones into second class citizens.
Think about it. The only people with free choice are the Anglophones, who can go to any school that they please. It's a bit perverse!
At any rate, restricting access to English CEGEPS won't change anything. By the time students reach college, they are adults and if they are determined to get an English education, they will either get one by going out of the province or by going to a private school. Quebec already registers the highest percentage of students in private schools in all of North America.
Before I continue, let me re-iterate that the idea that French is in trouble in Quebec is ludicrous. It's the classic 'Big Lie" told by nationalist sovereignists to scare up political support for independence.
They trot out all sorts of selective and twisted statistics (many of which are just plain racist) to 'prove' that the language is losing ground, but almost all don't stand up to scrutiny.
In raw numbers, Quebec has never had as many French speakers as exists today. The Anglophone population has plummeted to about 8.5% from a historical high of 25%. Francophones have taken over all the reigns of power, both in business and government. The only French language crisis that exists is in the creatively tortured minds of extremists.
Even if all the proposed restrictive measures are put into place, it won't be enough to stamp out English, a language which is as attractive and addictive as crack cocaine. There will always be a demand, despite the best efforts of enforcers.
So what will the militants do then? What will they do when restrictive measures in CEGEP and daycares fails to eliminate English in Quebec?
No doubt they'll propose even more restrictive measures, it's a logical next step. Demands will be made for even more restrictive language laws which will have the effect to rob citizens freedom of choice from cradle to grave.
What would these restrictions look like? Here's glimpse into the future;
- Francophones would be banned from using English hospitals.
- Francophones would be fined for speaking to Anglophone sales clerks in English.
- Francophones would be banned from buying English books, software or video games. Purchase of these items would be restricted to Anglophones only.
- Non-French Internet sites will be blocked to Francophone Quebeckers. A 'poutine' firewall will be maintained by the OQLF
- English words that have become part of popular French lexicon will be purged from the dictionary. Yessir!!
- The Montreal Canadiens and Allouettes will be forced to cease bi-lingual public address announcements.
- Cable and satellite providers would be forced to monitor household viewing habits. Francophone homes would be restricted to a certain amount of viewing time of English programming.
- Car manufacturers would be forced to eliminate English only dashboards.
- Special theaters for Anglophone audiences would be set up. Everyone else would be forced to watch the dubbed French versions.
- Francophones would be barred from subscribing to English magazines.
- Restaurants would be required to furnish optional English menus on demand only and then only to Anglophones.
- Intermarriage between Francophones and non-Francophones would be allowed only if the couple agreed to speak French in the home and to educate the kids in French as well.
- A 'Naming Commission' would be created to find new appellations for English street names, which would be eliminated all together. As a side line, the commission would find alternatives to politically incorrectly named consumer items including 'English muffins', 'English breakfast tea' and English saddles. Billiard players would be advised that henceforth they'd have to apply 'Francais' to their pool shots.
- Priests in Francophone churches would be barred from offering confessions in English.
- Street beggars would be required to communicate with clients in French only.
- Hawkers at sporting events would no longer have the right to announce their wares bilingually. The 'BIERE FROID/ COLD BEER' chant would be relegated to the scrap heap of history.
- All baby names for Francophone children would have to reflect Francophone roots. No more "Tiffanie Poulins" This rule would apply to nicknames and pets, as well. Toy manufacturers would have to provide Quebecois names for their dolls and toys.
Anglophones could wear a scarlet letter on their clothes, setting them apart as a specially privileged class!
For Francophones, it'll be the back of the bus in terms of personal freedom and individual rights. Anglos to the front!
All this in a province where Francophones are the majority and where they make the rules.