Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Family, Not School Determines Language Path for Immigrants

The biggest misconception in the Quebec language debate is the idea that sending children of immigrants to French schools will automatically turn them into francophones.

It is the entire basis of the government's francization program, one which is largely supported by militant French language elements who also believe that forcing children of immigrants into a French educational path will ultimately lead them to assimilate.

The only difference between the government's position and that of the militants, is that the latter wants compulsory French education extended from cradle to grave, given that the current situation, of compulsory French grammar school and high school, hasn't seemed to have achieved the hoped for result.

But both the government and the militants have misunderstood the essential element in language choice.

It is the family and not the school that determines whether a child of an immigrant family becomes part of the English or French community. Once an immigrant family has chosen to align themselves on the English side of the equation, all the French school can accomplish is to turn that student into a bilingual Anglo.
The scenario plays itself out over and over again, as students of immigrant parents (who have chosen English for their family) head straight for English Cegep, (junior college) once the language prohibition is lifted. Forcing these students into French Cegeps, as is suggested by French language militants, won't change anything, they are already Anglos.

Leafing through the Quebec Immigration Department's "Tableaux sur l'immigration" we find that almost twenty percent of immigrants arriving in Quebec, in additional to their mother tongue, speak some English and zero French. These include immigrants that hail from, amongst other countries, India, Pakistan, China, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka.

Integrating these people into the French side of the language equation is well nigh impossible, given that the schools are the only tool being used in the assimilation process, one which ignores the parents and attempts to francize the children, alone.

Let's look at a typical example.

Jinny and Freddy Alvaraz along with their infant daughter arrive from Manila to start their new life in Quebec. They arrive in Montreal where Jinny's sister who is already established, takes them in. After a couple of weeks they find their own apartment in the Snowdon area of Montreal. The district is home to most of Montreal's 30,000 Filipinos and the couple quickly and comfortably integrate. Eager to fit in, they mostly give up their native Tagalog and start speaking the common language of the community -English.

While not completely proficient, Jinny and Freddy both have a good working knowledge of the language, having studied it in school, back in the Philippines. The couple joins the local Filipino Baptist Church where English is also the language of devotion.

Through her sister's friend, Jinny finds work quickly as a cleaning lady and works in various homes in the towns of Cote St Luc and Hampstead, where English dominates. It's only one bus ride and the work, while not high paying, is a start.
Freddy finds work through a Filipino community group and starts as a factory worker near the airport. Although the bosses and managers are French, most of the workers are Filipino and orders are given in English. Most of his conversations are with his Filipino co-workers, so English is the common bond.

The couple quickly become 'Canadian.' The biggest form of entertainment is television where the family becomes addicted to American drama and comedy shows. They attend Church activities and visit with friends and relatives in the community, all in English.
Their little daughter, who is being minded by a distant aunt is starting to talk. Her first words are 'Mamma' and 'Dadda.' She watches English cartoon shows with the other kids and is entertained and minded by the caregiver in English.
Within three years the family is completely anglicized, everyone speaks excellent English, including young Evelyn. French is a non-entity, as the couple has little or no contact with francophones. Their Snowdon apartment is located in an almost exclusively immigrant and English community. Shopping, working, recreating all occur in English.

When Evelyn turns five years old, it's time to send her to school, where she is enrolled in French school as required by law.

At first it's difficult for her to adapt, as she mixes up English and French terms. Eventually, it works itself out, kids are dynamic and quick learners. She grasps French quickly, but prefers to speak to her  friends at school in English. Most of her classmates are Filipino or Black and the majority are in the same boat as her, immigrants from anglo backgrounds. Even though teachers discourage this practice, it's hard stop kids from talking English.

Back at home Evelyn continues to speak to her parents in English. At night they watch English television shows together. She develops her own personality, watches Miley Cyrus and is crazy for Justin Bieber. When her parents aren't home, she faithfully tunes in to MTV Canada or Muchmusic.
Her parents encourage her to learn as much English as possible and lend books from the library to build up her English skills, after all it is their dream that one day she'll attend the great McGill University!
The family take a vacation to Toronto, where the Filipino community is even larger and where the family has relatives. They are encouraged by family members to move to Ontario, where English schooling is open to the children and jobs are plentiful. The family considers this option, many of their friends have gone down this path.

Summer arrives and Evelyn is sent to a church day camp- all in English.
When September rolls around, Evelyn and her English friends head back to French school, it's no big deal, she's bilingual.
Jinny becomes pregnant twice more and all the children follow in Evelyn's path. They are anglicized at home and bilingualized in school.

By the time Evelyn (and then her siblings) graduate high school, her English skills are much stronger than her French ones and there's little doubt where her educational path will follow- English Cegep.


This story is not fantasy, a figment of my imagination, it is repeated with variations, over and over again in many immigrant communities, not only the Filipinos.

Watching a performance of Montreal's finest comedian, Sugar Sammy( Indo-Canadian heritage), who does his act in both English and French, there's little doubt that he's a bilingual Anglo, this despite having completed his primary and high school education in French. While his English is perfect, his French is not quite.
Trust me, he didn't learn his perfect English in Cegep, he was anglicized long before.
For many immigrant children, this is the norm, not the exception.

This is the reality that those looking to francize immigrants need to understand. Concentrating on schools as the only device of francization is a recipe doomed to failure.

To paraphrase a great James Carville's barb, first coined during the Clinton presidential campaign against Bush......

......It's the family, stupid.....


  1. And that's the reason why I'm going to talk in English to my children. While my English isn't perfect, I know they're absolutely not going to learn it at school. I know, I went to French schools and the English programs are really bad. I had to move outside Quebec for a few months (immersion) in my early 20s and work really hard (and I'm STILL taking English lessons to fine-tune it) to consider myself bilingual.

    All my life I felt handicaped because I wasn't 100% bilingual. English is EVERYWHERE in the world, not only North America. The French zealots can hide themselves behind their little utopic dream, but the reality is you can't do shit if you don't know English.

    I don't want my children to struggle the way I did. And since I know it's mandatory to send them to French school, they will have to learn English another way especially when you know children are like sponges: they absorb all the knowledges very quickly. I will speak to them in English, my partner will speak to them in French, so even before starting school they'll be bilingual. And, in a perfect world, they would also learn Spanish.


  2. So, based on the example of "Jinny and Freddy" - the solution (to a French-language militant) is simple: ban English TV, ban English in church, and ban immigrants from working as cleaners in Anglo households. Why not ban immigration? Yeah, that should do the trick - just ban everything! The State should have the power -- if it does not, blame the English oppressors in the RoC. That should whip up some more support for sovereignty, or at least a few more votes for the Bloc.

  3. Chénier dit:D'accord, à ce compte pourquoi enseigne-t-on d'autres langues à l'école ?

  4. @Soupdragon

    Notre parti est présentement a la recherche de nouveaux membres et vos idées sont conformes aux nôtres alors pourquoi ne pas vous joindre a nous?Nous venons de bénéficier d'une généreuse subvention d'ottawa,il y a donc possibilité de rémunération si vous accèdez a notre C.A.

  5. "...and ban immigrants from working as cleaners in Anglo households..."

    Yeah right!

  6. @ Soupdragon:

    The bans you mention aren't all that far-fetched.
    Jackass Parizeau himself said that he would like to restrict the number of English radio and TV stations in Quebec. If the Parti Fasciste Quebecois had the power, I have little doubt that they would ban English TV, radio, newspapers, books and magazines.

  7. Its not "family". Its the (correct) perception that English is a more useful language to learn and know then French. The fact that almost all immigrants settle in Montreal, which is close to the border with English-speaking Ontario and is a large city with many non-Francophones is also key. As I have noted before immigration is generally a bad thing for Quebec. The Toronto guy.

  8. "Jackass Parizeau himself said that he would like to restrict the number of English radio and TV stations in Quebec."

    This is part of Pauline Marois's plan to obtain more powers for the province with respect to telecommuniations and broadcasting. If they achieve this they will no doubt put severe restrictions on anglo broadcasters.

    Doubt it will happen but you never know what lilly livered politician in Ottawa might cave in to their demands.

  9. Editor, your article identifies the reason why the nationalist Franco zealots will never win the ‘language war’ even if Quebec separates. Too many people believe that learning English is fundamentally important to their lives. If they can’t learn it in school, they will learn it at home with the family. Once they have learned the English language, they will speak it in public. The language cops can’t restrict that without entering into the world of full blown fascism. If their draconian restrictions ever evolve into attempts to ban the English language, I imagine Quebec’s image would suffer greatly, and many unwelcome consequences would follow. In my opinion, the language zealots blew their chances. They should have vigorously promoted the French language instead of restricting the English language. They should have rallied Quebec Anglos as their natural allies. In so many ways, Quebec Anglos truly enjoy living side by side with their Francophone neighbors and are proud of our cooperative coexistence and accomplishments. As a Montreal Anglos, I understand and feel the need to protect the French language to ensure it endures in North America. Nonetheless, I’m not going to show one second of understanding or support if Francophones diminish Anglos to get what they want. The English in Quebec are not expendable, sacrificial lambs just because there are millions more English in the ROC.

  10. An interesting paper: ''KKK costume at Canadian Legion Halloween party disgusts many in Ontario town'' - Québec libre et ça presse !

  11. @ Geneviève:

    Félicitations, vous vous êtes plantée. Non seulement votre anglais est plutôt ordinaire (one does not TALK but SPEAK a language), mais je suis persuadé que votre français l'est encore plus. N'allez pleurer sur l'épaule de personne lorsque vos enfants, qui ont assurément un nom de famille francophone, ne pourront que baragouiner un français approximatif. Et si vous tenez tant à ce qu'ils apprennent l'anglais convenablement au secondaire, inscrivez-les dans un programme d'anglais intensif maintenant disponible dans la plupart des écoles secondaires québécoises. Oui, madame, vos enfants seront de gros rejets parce qu'ils seront BIEN parler leur langue MATERNELLE. Franchement...

    As for you, my dear blogger, your posts will never cease me to amaze me...and not in the right way.

    "It is the family and not the school that determines whether a child of an immigrant family becomes part of the English or French community." what kind of background do you have in sociolinguistics? child language development? None, I must assume.

    While you may have many anecdotes to tell to support your theory, I also have many to contradict it.

    SCHOOL is where a child/teen/young adult will spend most of his childhood/adolescence, listening to teachers (who embody true linguistic examples), making friends, tackling different subjects and topics, learning about different concepts and sharpening their critical thinking, shaping their own vision of life IN the school's language. So clearly, school will have a tremendous influence on the child's primary linguistic identity. If your reasoning made sense, Montreal's younger Italian/Greek/Polish/Jewish/Portuguese Canadians would still be speaking their parents' or grandparents' language....but they don't (though the Greek community seems to be doing well at keeping the language alive). They have turned into Anglophones (more precisely non-historical Anglophones) BECAUSE they were were sent to English schools. Period. End of story.

    And Anglos are not are one living proof. IF they speak French, they will most likely speak street French only, will struggle in any more formal or professional setting and will be unable to produce a college essay in French. That's not being bilingual, that's knowing enough French to function.

  12. "the latter wants compulsory French education extended from cradle to grave"

    Uuh no it doesn't? Sources please?

    Bill 101 will never get extended to CEGEP and university.

  13. Anon 7:44pm: “ what kind of background do you have in sociolinguistics? child language development? None, I must assume.”

    You have none for sure, yet you still give us a lengthy diatribe on the subject.

    Anon 7:44 reminds me of one separatist who once told me: “we lost you but your kid is up for grabs. After all he will be educated in our schools”. In this, two things are worthy of mentioning: 1. his confidence in his semi-failed educational system and 2. the fact that he clearly implied that some brainwashing will be occurring. There goes the Quebec educational system – instead teaching kids math and sciences, it expends most of its energy on winning over new converts.

    In the end Editor is right – the family will always win over the school. And my kid will come home at the end of the day, where I’ll be on hand to sift through the crap they put in his head, and make sure he’s able to separate the truth from the bullshit.

    Anon 7:44pm: “That's not being bilingual, that's knowing enough French to function.”

    Just curious, how do you know, with such certainty, how much French this person knows? You sound awfully certain about things you have no way of knowing.

  14. Each individual needs to determine if learning french or english or any other language is important to themselves. It really isn't the business of a group, political party, or government to put limits on learning. If anybody thinks that they can control knowledge and how it gets learnt, they are fighting a battle that they cannot win. The walls will be knocked down. And people will learn what they want and how they want. History is full of failed attempts to controlling learning.

    Even God could not keep Adam from biting into the Apple!

  15. @adski

    7:44 s'adresse a Elvis Gratonne,elle peut surement se défendre toute seule.Pas besoin d'un individu comme vous qui,après quelques années chez-nous,a réponse a tout.

    De quoi j'me mêle?

  16. I think the language of the school will become the child's normal language of choice only if the family desires and encourages this.

    This isn't likely to happen if the language of the school is seen as just an ethnic language, the language of a closed, historical community.

    To be effective as an instrument of assimilation, the language of the school has to be universal and inclusive, a language that will connect you to the wider world, and then immigrant families will WANT to embrace it.

    Look at how quickly millions of immigrant families assimilated in the US, for instance.

  17. It is the family and not the school that determines whether a child of an immigrant family becomes part of the English or French community.

    Oh really? Well then why is it that the highest rate of francization of allophone immigrants is attested among those who arrived in Québec before the age of 15, and the lowest rate of francization observed among those who arrived after the age of 15? Why is the francization of allophones highest among the very group that has been subject to compulsory public education in French?

    But Figure 3 shows much more than that. It suggests that Bill 101 and subsequent efforts to promote French as the language of work in the Montreal area have had no appreciable impact on language shift among allophone immigrants who arrived after 1975, aged 15 or more. On the other hand, it shows beyond the shadow of a doubt that compulsory public schooling in French — already partially implemented
    in the mid-1970s by the Bourassa government’s
    Bill 22 — has had a decisive impact on language
    shift among allophones who arrive in Quebec
    at school or pre-school age. Whereas schooling in
    English formerly directed eventual language shift
    among immigrant allophone children much more
    strongly towards English than was the case among
    their parents, the opposite now holds: Allophone
    children who arrived after the schooling provisions of the Charte de la langue française came into full effect are markedly more prone to shift eventually to French than their parents.
    This appears to be Bill 101’s only real success in terms of language shift. A full 80 per cent of the shift among allophones aged less than 15 at time of arrival who immigrated to Quebec over the past 15 years has regularly favoured French, leaving 20 per cent to English. Arguably, this could be considered a fair share: It comes close to the five-to-one ratio between the francophone majority and the anglophone minority in the Montreal region, where 90 per cent of allophone
    immigrants to Quebec choose to settle. But it is
    still below the nine-to-one ratio between francophones and anglophones at the provincial level.

    It must be kept in mind, too, that this success has been attained only among a minority of recent allophone immigrants. Over three quarters of allophone immigrants arrive aged 15 years or more. Figure 3 indicates that the French share of shift among the latter majority has levelled off at below 70 per cent.

    Bref, ça marche pas ton affaire.

  18. Reply to Diane:

    "Look at how quickly millions of immigrants assimilated in the US, for instance."

    I see no obvious connection here Diane. The English-speaking population in the USA was many, many times larger then the French-speaking one is in Quebec. Immigrants to America settled across wide sections of the country, whereas in Quebec just about everybody goes to Montreal. Nor were the English-speakers in America a minority community connected to a much larger different language group as the Quebecois are. By the way two quick additional points, America subtly practiced its own version of Bill 101. For decades no books were avalable in libraries in New York city in any language but English, for instance, to encourage language shift. And America only REALLY began absorbing the children of the Ellis islanders (including the descendents of the 900,000 Quebecois who went to New England) AFTER the immigration restrictionist act of 1924 was passed. The process was only really completed in the 1970's. The Toronto guy.

  19. @Anonymous:

    Vous relirez ma DEUXIÈME phrase où je dis clairement que mon anglais n'est pas parfait.

    En passant, on peut aussi bien dire "talking IN English" et "Speaking English". Autrement, pourquoi auraient-ils des sites dédiés à l'apprentissage de la langue s'appellant, par exemple ? Donc, avant de commencer à tenter de m'insulter, vérifiez de grâce.

    Finalement, avant de me dire quoique ce soit sur mon talent en français, commencez par travailler sur le vôtre. "vos enfants seront de gros rejets parce qu'ils seront BIEN parler leur langue MATERNELLE." Je ne vois pas ce que le verbe "être" vient faire à la fin de cette phrase (on dit SAURONT).


  20. @ Geneviève:

    À vous qui acceptez mal son identité de francophone dans un contexte sociolinguistique minoritaire,

    "Seront'' n'était qu'une simple faute d'inattention, merci de l'avoir relevée. Sauront, donc.

    En ce qui concerne "talk IN English'', ce n'est pas parce que vous le voyez employé sur quelques sites que l'usage est nécessairement correct. Plusieurs anglophones font d'innombrables fautes lorsqu'ils parlent leur langue maternelle (tout comme les francophones en français, les hispanophones en espagnol, les germanophones en allemand, etc.), il faut donc se fier à des sources fiables ou normatives. Une source fiable serait donc le Language Portal of Canada et sa section Gateway to English du gouvernement fédéral, où l'on admet que les différences entre "to talk" and "to speak" sont parfois très subtiles, mais que néanmoins:

    "There are, however, a number of fixed expressions with the verb speak. For example:

    speak a language (e.g. French, English, etc.)


    So to sum up, speak and talk are almost synonymous and are generally interchangeable EXCEPT IN FIXED EXPRESSIONS."


  21. Jacques, the astounding rates of immigrant francisation through primary and secondary schools is probably why the PQ will be pushing for the extension of Bill 101 to Cegeps. Separatist contradiction # 346613.

    The sad truth for Quebec nationalists is that francisation defined in terms of acquisition of French works well for most immigrants, but francisation defined in terms of solidarity and loyalty with the Francophone population, combined with acceptance of certain ideals (Francophones are the hosts - les maitres chez eux) has been a failure.

    Landry admitted (during the recent craze over the issue) the true reason for the planned extension of 101 to Cegeps – which in a nutshell is the last-ditch effort to win over the hearts and minds. He said something along the lines: "Dawson will not put the same emphasis on the beautiful struggles of Leveque and Laurin like Cégep de Saint-Laurent would". I can dig up that video from TagTele, if someone is interested.

  22. The PQ won't push for the extension of Bill 101 to CEGEPs. Period. And I know, I know, both Mr. Curzi and Mr. Landry support the idea but it won't happen. So stop worrying.

  23. @ Geneviève:

    Je m'auto-corrige:

    À vous qui acceptez mal VOTRE identité...

    Je n'ai jamais beaucoup de temps lorsque je consulte ce blog, je dois donc écrire à toute vitesse, relire rapidement, changer quelques trucs sans vraiment faire attention si tout concorde au final. Vous me pardonnerez, j'en suis sûr.

  24. Anon 11:52AM, who said anything about being worried?

    The issue here is the contradiction inherent in suggesting that 101 fell short, while peddling the view that it was a success story. Recently, we have been bombarded with cries for the expansion of 101 to Cegeps, daycares, private schools, workplaces of less than 50 employees, while at the same time hearing the same people try to defend this failed law on merit.

    As for being worried, let them do it. Or not. Who cares. Anything they do from now on will involve redefining despotic and stretching the boundaries of desperate.

  25. adski opines,

    Jacques, the astounding rates of immigrant francisation through primary and secondary schools is probably why the PQ will be pushing for the extension of Bill 101 to Cegeps. Separatist contradiction # 346613....

    [nitpicking blather snipped]

    Speaking of contradictions, your 1st sentence contradicts itself. It's a perfectly logical and viable reading of the data to propose that since francization has worked at the levels of the educational system and in the areas of the workforce where it's compulsory, then extending its compulsory scope will extend its results. Which is why it's not just lay "language militants" who support such extensions of the French Language Charter, but respected experts with years of experience in analyzing and gathering the data such as Charles Castonguay.

    And notice that the data (and not for the 1st time) demonstrate the central thesis of the blogger to be false. Of course there are other claims which are phony as well, such as saying that K through Secondary public ed is the "entire basis of the government's francization program". It isn't; that's why workplace francization was stressed as well, especially since most allophone immigrants arrive here at a typically post-school attending age. The 2 principal milieux available for influencing language transfer are the school and the workplace. Like, duh. And another pillar of francization was Québec's quest for autonomy in immigration, since francophone and "francotrope" immigrants adapt more readily to a francophone workplace. Also publc and commercial signage.

    And btw, don't think that NoDogs' own favourite "language militants" like Maîtres Grey and Tyler are buying for a second the thesis of this blog post. If they did they wouldn't have spent the last few decades trying to fight the Charter and enshrine "freedom of choice" in education for allophone immigrants.

    oh and another canard is that the concept of "mother tongue" is somehow "racist." The concept of "mother tongue" is a cornerstone of sociolinguistics as it pertains to studying situations of language contact and language transfer. All states everywhere seek and expect allophone newcomers to effect a language transfer from mother tongue to the national/public language of the host society. In English Canada this language transfer from "mother tongue" is accomplished by 99% of immigrants.

  26. Jacques: "since francization has worked at the levels of the educational system and in the areas of the workforce where it's compulsory, then extending its compulsory scope will extend its results"

    “Extend its results”... Good one. It sounds nice. What it means is less important, I guess.

    People who spent years under the umbrella of 101 should be EXAMPLES of that result, not subjects to more experimentation. They should be proceeding straight to French Cegeps and French universities without being coerced. They should also be siding with Francophones on major political issues. They should be “integrated” into the fabric of this society not only linguistically, but in heart and mind. That was the aim of 101 and we all know that this is not the case 33 years later.

    The workplace filled with Francophones and “children of bill 101” should not have to come under the policy of francisation. It should be such naturally. How it is in real life, we all know. If you don’t, I invite you to pass by my office downtown. My IT department is filled with immigrants, some educated in French high schools, yet the everyday language here is …you know where I’m going with this…

    Jacques: “And notice that the data (and not for the 1st time) demonstrate the central thesis of the blogger to be false.”

    Does family trump school, or is it the way around? You seem to lean heavily one way based on stats compiled by Castonguay (hang on, why does this name sound so familiar, hmmm….). I, for one, would be much more skeptical, if only for my personal experience. I grew up in a country in its last years of communism, and as a child I was exposed to some propaganda in school. At home, my father was telling me a whole different story. In the end of the 1980’s, I would not believe a communist if he said the earth was round. They were totally discredited at that point, even though they controlled the press, tv, schools, and everything. So a bad system is bound to be questioned and challenged (and eventually toppled) despite all the state effort expended to keep the one “true” story in the spotlight. If it’s based on manipulation, distortions and overhyped historical interpretation, and becomes suffocating and invasive, it will always encounter staunch opposition and eventually demise.

    As for Castonguay's work, it is entitled: “French is on the ropes. Why won’t Ottawa admit it?”. So besides peddling the effectiveness of 101 (with Jacques cheerleading the effort), he’s also admitting that French is…on the ropes.

    So what is the point of this, Jacques? That bill 101 had SOME effect, but not enough effect? Is this the point?

    What would be the satisafactory effect? When we're all lemmings thinking alike about social issues, speaking Quebec French and second-rate Quebecois-accented henglish?

    And what more can you propose to achieve the desired effect? Expanding 101 across the board? Banning English television? Censoring internet? Implanting chips that administer electric shocks when someone utters an English word?

    How much further are you willing to push this before you finally admit: “given our demographic reality, we achieved all we could. Time to chill out.”

    Jacques: "All states everywhere seek and expect allophone newcomers to effect a language transfer from mother tongue to the national/public language of the host society."

    Yes, but in other states, it proceeds rather smoothly and rarely raises any controversy. In Quebec, it's the opposite. Why do you think that is?

  27. So what is the point of this, Jacques? That bill 101 had SOME effect, but not enough effect?.

    That was precisely CC's point. And the data supports it. Where francization is mandatory, it has produced very real results. But there are large areas of the education system and workforce where it wasn't applied, but where it could be, with every reason to think it would produce real results also. No big mystery there adski.

    And ironically, NoDogs says "it's the family stupid" but were the nationalists actually to adopt his bogus thesis and attempt to engineer family life, by say, welding the radio dials to only one station à la nord-coréenne, the first person to be screaming blue murder at them would be...why NoDogs, of course. Along with you and the rest of the amen corner.

    And ironically too, English Canada, which for all its "multicultural" pretensions is in fact one of the most monocultural societies in the world - where immigrants have no choice about which language to learn if they want to work and survive, much less choice than they enjoy here in Québec - assimilates effectively 100% of immigrants to English, and yet never gets cast as a society of robots, programmed clones, communist drones, or the like.

    You could almost summarize English Canada's message to Québec thus : do as we say, and not as we do.

  28. Jacques, what CC is saying is exactly what many Quebec nationalists are saying – and it essentially boils down to this: Bill 101 is the right way to go but since it did to yield all the desired results, it must be pushed further. The problem with this kind of thinking is twofold: First – if something did not yield the desired results (or yielded only partial, incomplete results) after over 3 decades, why can’t we assume that it simply did not work? (how much longer are we to wait?). Second: - Bill 101 has gone far already as far as regulation is concerned. 101 was never a little innocent law that just asked politely for the use French. It was always a rather invasive and imposing law, which at one point in time banned languages other than French from public space completely (1977-1993), which imposed French education on immigrants and Francophones all the way until they are 16, which imposed the French language on a large subsection of the workforce. So in a nutshell, there isn’t that much room left to maneuver. The targets left are: private schools, post secondary education, businesses of less than 50 employees, and deeply rooted English institutions (hospitals, universities), etc… So I think you can appreciate that you might be pushing it too far at this point, and that the things left to go after are heavy weights that you won’t be able to push around as easily as the depanneur clerks that get raided by the language police.


    Re: your second paragraph: I’m not sure what you mean. I don’t suppose that Editor meant “engineering” of family life. Just the opposite, I think all of us here as sick and tired of “engineering”, and we want more of natural. I personally think that governments should stay out of family life, unless some sort of abuse is going on. So no engineering here. I also think that Editor touched on a very important point, namely that family constitutes a bulwark against ideology. This is why all mass movements (like the Quebec nationalist one) aim to decouple individual form his family and any other organization he might be involved with (like religion) in order to make him/her susceptible to the ideology of the new mass movement. This is nothing new, and for those interested, I would recommend Eric Hoffer’s: “The True Believer – Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements”. The book was written in the 1950’s in the wake of the fall of Nazism and the spread of Communism, but it pretty much describes the mechanisms of all mass movements. I read it while keeping Quebec mass movement of the 1960’s/70’s in mind, and the fit was near perfect. One of the things that matches perfectly is how Quebec nationalists swept away the competitor (the Catholic Church), and how they facilitated the break up of family (liberalized divorce, liberalized abortion, promotion of extreme feminist ideology). And in today’s Quebec, with the Catholic Church aside, the Islam is the new target. The French-speaking immigrants from the Maghreb come already attached to an ideology, thus the “laicite” is being drilled in their heads the minute they step off the plane.


    Re: your 3rd paragraph: the RoC is much more linguistically liberal than Quebec. There is no sign law or language law there. A friend of mine recently attended an IBM conference in Richmond Hill, ON, and dined in a Chinese restaurant where the menu was only available in Mandarin/Cantonese. In the RoC, Hindi/Punjabi and Cantonese/Mandarin are frequently added to signs next to English, not because of some law, but because of common sense. So yes, Canada is unilingual with other minor languages popping up occasionally, but it is unilingual in a very natural, secure, unregulated, uncontested, and non-controversial way. In Quebec, whatever happens on the language front involves some decision from the “central command”, and then the imposition of this decision (which might not correlate with reality or people’s free will) through some enforcement agency (like the OQLF). So the difference is huge.

  29. "...Hill, ON, and dined in a Chinese restaurant where the menu was only available in Mandarin/Cantones..."

    Vous devriez aller un peu plus souvent dans le quartier Chinois de Montréal adski.Parfois on y commande des plats au hasard (conseillé aux audacieux seulement).

  30. "Vous devriez aller un peu plus souvent dans le quartier Chinois de Montréal adski.Parfois on y commande des plats au hasard (conseillé aux audacieux seulement)."

    More bigotry from one of our little Quebecois fascists.

    Some years back the OQLF harassed businesses in Montreal's Chinatown because of the size of the Chinese characters on signs, and this was reported by news agencies internationally.

  31. For Soupdragon, way above.

    The vision of doing intervention in English media is not a fiction. Look here, Mouvement Montreal francais is cooking a plan regarding English language on the radio.

    Nous envisageons au Mouvement Montréal français une opération concernant l'écoute radiophonique.

    Nous avons l'impression qu'il y a un glissement vers les stations anglophones dans l'écoute de la radio à Montréal notamment chez les jeunes.

    Avant de réaliser une telle opération nous voulons savoir ce que vous en pensez et si vous avez la même perception que nous ou une perception différente du phénomène à partir de ce qui se passe chez vous, dans votre famille, votre entourage, les lieux publics que vous fréquentez, etc.