The anglophone community that remains, has long given up the ghost that Quebec will ever again be a bilingual province, but that being said, today's anglophones have struck a nice balance in their lives, one where they live comfortably in English towns in the western side of the island of Montreal and where they work and recreate bilingually.
Almost all anglos under forty are completely bilingual, the product of intense French language schooling from kindergarten to the end of high school, where students cannot graduate without being functionally bilingual.
So venturing out into the French reality of the rest of the province is not the scary scenario it once was. The high interaction and intermarriage rate between anglophones and francophones is a testament that the modern anglophone community gets on pretty well with the francophone majority and that the majority of francophones are fine with the Anglos.
What we don't hear often enough, is the boringly good relations that exists between English and French, who aside from language share a common reality.
I myself played in an industrial hockey league for over thirty years, in the west island where the teams naturally filled out with English and French components and communication was decidedly bilingual.
"HOSTIE, PASS LA PUCK!" It was a good natured workout among middle aged talentless hockey aficionados, both French and English, followed by an hour or so of bilingual hockey talk over a 'boc' (pitcher) or two of draft beer in the bar. This is far more representative of the English/French reality than militants would have us believe.
And so young anglos, comfortable in their environment are no longer fleeing the province. The mass immigration of preceding decades is over as the anglo community has now actually stabilized and even made a small recovery.
Ironically this doesn't sit well with hard line French language militants who are disappointed that this exodus has stopped.
On Friday my blog piece referred to a Radio-Canada investigative report that complained about French service being unavailable in some shops in 'English" neighbourhoods in Montreal.
Not surprising, not one of the 'offenders' was an Anglo, they were all visible minorities, most likely immigrants.
The battle to keep Quebec French is no longer about anglos, but rather the effort to get immigrants to assimilate into the French community, not an easy task.
Although French language militants believe there is an active plot by anglos to anglicize Quebec, the real problem lies with the government whose misguided policies have actually hindered the number of immigrants embracing the French side of the language equation.
Up to now, the government has employed a rather simplistic two-pronged plan to facilitate this assimilation, a plan with which few who want to protect the French language would argue with, but one with which they should.
The first phase of this plan is the selection of immigrants who already speak French (as much as possible,) coupled with the compulsory integration of immigrant children into French schools.
That's it, that's the whole plan!
Ah, if it were only as easy as that!
Not surprising, this immigration plan has had limited success. Although the level of French assimilation has risen from a dismal 25% to over 50% presently, it needs to hit at least 80% to maintain linguistic balance.
The current path will never achieve that goal, even if Bill 101 were to be applied to all public and private schools.
Some argue that French can never prevail in this battle as long as Anglos and the English option exists in Quebec and so, the province is doomed to a slow, inexorable process of anglicization.
Perhaps, perhaps not. But that shouldn't stop the government from doing a much better job integrating immigrants.
The policy of leaving it up to the French school system and 'Father Time' to complete the assimilation process is a monumental misjudgment.
Amazingly, nobody in the militant camp is proposing a better assimilation process, so obsessed are they with the idea that imposing Bill 101 on daycare through university is the panacea.
The reality is that schools have marginal success in countering anglicization. It's a fact that is being completely ignored.
Many students from immigrant families go through twelve or thirteen years of French school, yet they still opt for English Cegep. Why?
How is it, that in spite of their entire French educational path, they speak English with enough proficiency to be able to tackle English college?
The reality that is being ignored, is that French schools don't create francophones out of immigrant students. They create bilingual students.
Until the government realizes that the home environment is what decides a child's linguistic future and not the school, they are doomed to failure.
It's a variation on an old theme, like nurture versus nature, or environment versus genetics.
The policy of writing off the family dynamic and counting on the schools to complete the francization process is folly.
Language and culture is learned in the home, not the school. When the government accepts this reality, they can then develop policies that work.
Until then......It's welcome to Quebec and this way to Dawson College......
Tomorrow... It's the family dynamic that sets children on their linguistic course.