It's a question that is debated on much too regular a basis in the French media, this obsession that Montreal is anglicizing. It remains a staple topic in the never-ending portrayal by language militants of Francophone Quebeckers as victims.
The message, that we anglos are taking over, is something that we brush off as nationalist fantasy, it's something we're used to.
While we have learned to live with that, it was with a measure of sadness, that this week, I read a Montreal Gazette news article and listened to a CBC radio talk show discussing that news article, where a bunch of self-loathing Anglo Quebeckers were re-selling the fiction of oppression and the myth that we are marching across the city, conquering Francophone neighbourhoods, hitherto bastions of language purity.
"First we take Manhattan, then we take Plateau!"
I can't imagine any local community newspaper which caters exclusively to Jewish, Arabic, Italian or Greek Montrealers, debating whether an increase in that community's population would be a good or bad thing for the city. But for the Montreal Gazette and a group of hoity-toity Anglo apologists, buying into the argument that a rise in the use of the English language (and Anglos as a result,) is a bad thing for Quebec, seems to be the intellectual thing to do.
DAVID JOHNSTON entitled More English or less French? (Great Taste, Less Filling?)
Mr Johnston tells us that it is his considered opinion that anglos are spreading across the city and invading traditionally Francophone districts. This statement alone wins him an automatic place of honour on vigile.net.
The 'alarming' prospect is surely sending shock waves throughout francophone boroughs, like the Plateau Mont-Royal (Montreal's snobby, self-declared neighbourhood of cool, bohemian nationalists,) where Luc Ferrandez, the borough mayor, might consider erecting big signs (not billboards) at the entrance to his Utopian kingdom, reminding all who enter, of the district's political philosophy - "No Billboards, No Cars, No Money and No Anglophones"
While it may be hard to argue against Mr. Johnston's 'gut feeling,' not so for his gratuitous and faulty use of statistics.
"I do think Montreal is becoming more English. But it’s not just that there are more anglos around, I added. It’s also because there has been an increase this past decade in the ongoing exodus of francophones from the Island of Montreal to off-island suburbs.Consider: The years 2001 to 2006 saw the Island of Montreal lose 47,650 more people of French mother tongue to off-island suburbs than it gained from those suburbs, compared with a net loss of 6,740 people of English mother tongue and 22,830 people of other mother tongue"
"To be sure, francophones are still a 2-to-1 majority in the metropolitan region as a whole"
Mr Johnston, makes reference to a moronic statistical study written by that paragon of impartiality, separatist and fantasist, Pierre Curzi, entitled "Le grand Montréal s’anglicise" which employs a variety of statistical leaps, to conclude that the sky is falling on French Montreal.
No thinking anglophone should ever reference trash like that.
The 'study' is based on the racist concept of 'mother tongue' which is just code for the no-longer politically correct term "Québécois de souche." It assumes that those who aren't born from 'pure stock' and who can't trace their lineage back to the "filles de roi," cannot be counted as 'real' francophone Quebeckers, even if they live their lives entirely in French.
Comparing it to those plays that I've seen on Broadway, in New York, I can only say that it was a thoroughly disappointing affair, not exactly a 'Miss Saigon,' 'Cats' or 'Phantom of the Opera,' that's for sure. There was no live orchestra, just a canned music track. The staging was