Friday, October 22, 2010
Language Hysteria Grips Quebec
Gauging the depth of the reaction, one could easily imagine that the law provides for the abolition of the French language and the imposition of English as Quebec's national language and listening to the likes of Pierre Curzi, who declared that the law is as dangerous as the War Measures Act, one might assume that the law will have a profound and fundamental change in the language landscape of the Province.
Of course it is all pure hogwash.
To alarmist French language militants, facts are merely an inconvenience and never get in the way of a good narrative.
Mario Beaulieu, head of the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste and someone who never met a fact that he couldn't manipulate, described the recent demonstration protesting the law, that took place in front of Premier Charest's office, as having 5,000 demonstrators. Link
Radio-Canada put the number of demonstrators at 2,000 and then of course there's the Montreal Gazette who pegged the number of demonstrators at 700. Hmm......
It's hard to have any sort of adult conversation about the very real need to protect the French language, when militants, invent, exaggerate and distort reality to the point that any discussion is pointless.
Anglos who choose to remain in Quebec remain sensitive to the need to protect French. Those who went through the English school system over the last forty years are bilingual and almost all of us enjoy speaking French, as long as a gun isn't held to our head.
Stories of arrogant Anglos telling Francophones to "speak white" are so ridiculous that it would be funny if not for the fact that so many Francophones believe and propagate this fiction.
Last week I was shopping in a Costco located in Pointe-Claire, a west-island suburb of Montreal where English is the majority language.
A young shopper, with baby in tow, asked a clerk in French where a certain product was located. The stock boy, of high school student age, answered the woman in perfectly passable, yet accented French. Neither one realized that they were both Anglophones!
My 85 year old mother has no problem speaking French and does so whenever she meets a francophone clerk while shopping.
I have always loved speaking French and like those of you who can speak another language, I am very proud of my bilingualism.
The idea of humiliating someone because of language is too stupid to imagine, yet language militants weave the fiction on a daily basis;
Anglos are cruel...
Anglos are colonizers..
Anglos demand that you address them in English....
Anglos want to take over Quebec...
Anglos seek domination...
Anglos hate Francophones and the French language...
Anglos are snobs and elitists...
The truth of course, is rather different.
Some of us Anglos are rich and some of us are broke. Some of us are struggling and many are doing OK.
Some of us are students, concentrating on graduating and some of us are retirees, trying to live out our days as comfortably as possible.
Some of us are family people battling mortgage payments and juggling a hectic schedule that may include dragging our children to hockey and ballet lessons.
Some of us are young, eager to build a career and trying to find that perfect life partner.
Some of us are white, some of us are black and some of us are brown. Some are straight and some are gay. We are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindi, to name just a few of our religions. Some of us don't believe in God.
Many of us are born in Canada, and many come from countries around the entire world.
We are all different.
We do however, share on thing in common..... We are not colonizers.
We haven't got the time, the desire, the power nor the inclination to colonize anybody.
Anyone who uses the word to describe us, is a blatant racist and unfortunately there are too many of these, among the nationalist movement.
The current hysteria over Bill 115 is just another example of the manipulation of reality by militants who understand that they can only achieve their goals by frightening mainstream francophones.
In the face of so much distortion, let me offer this humble rebuttal and dispel some of the more outrageous myths surrounding Bill 115.
Myth Number 1- The Supreme Court Overturned Bill 104
For language militants it's easier and more convenient to blame the Supreme Court for the Bill 104 mess, (the law that outlawed the concept of bridging schools) than facing the reality that it was the Quebec courts that did the real damage.
Bill 104 was originally challenged in a Quebec lower court where it was deemed illegal by a Quebec judge. The provincial government appealed the decision to the Quebec Court of Appeals, where once again, the law was tossed.
As they say in baseball, zero for two.
The Quebec government could have left things at that and accepted the decision, but it decided, on its own, to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. I'm sure that all these French language militants protesting today, were in favour of the idea of appealing to the Supreme Court, after all they had nothing to lose, they had lost already!!
It's a bit two-faced to complain about the Supreme Court today, but that irony is lost in the hysteria.
To nobody's surprise, the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the lower court.
Nothing new here, the case was a stinker.
Zero for three.
A cynic could be pardoned for concluding that the Quebec government appealed the case to the Supreme Court, to pass the buck. It would be easier to blame the federal government for the debacle, than to admit that it passed a law that was clearly illegal.
But the Supreme Court, sensitive to the need to protect the French language, offered to stay the execution of the law for a year, allowing the Quebec government time to draft a new law that would be compliant with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This was a lot more than the Quebec courts gave the government. If anything, language militants should thank the Supreme Court!
Myth Number 2- The English School System is demographically over-populated
One of the oldest arguments made by French language militants to limit enrollment in the English school system is the one that says English schools have proportionally more students than is demographically justified. They claim that Anglos make up just 8.5% of the general population yet have 12% of the student population in primary and secondary school systems. Statistics Canada, after a thorough study has recently defined the proportion of Anglophones in Quebec as 12.7% Statistics Canada
Myth Number 3- Bill 115, will have a profound effect on Anglophone student population'
Bill 115 is actually more restrictive than the law it replaced. In fact nobody is arguing differently. What French language militants are protesting against, is the idea that there is a path, however restrictive and expensive, to an English education for those ineligible according to Bill 101.
The number of students availing themselves of this path is estimated (by language militants) at less than 1,000 a year. Considering that over 10,000 students who are eligible by law for an English education, voluntarily opt to go to French schools each year, the trade off doesn't seem that prejudicial.
Proportionally, for every one francophone that seeks an English education, there are 100 anglophones seeking a French education!
So much for those damned elitist, anglo colonizers!
Of course, language militants, expert in misinformation, will find a way to repudiate these truths. They will continue to bombard fair-minded citizens with false and misleading facts. They will continue to scream that the sky is falling.
It is the only way to achieve their goals, honesty has clearly failed.
Posted by Editor on 10/22/2010 12:01:00 AM