|Militants convince Quebecers that they are Dodos|
It is a sad state of affairs that while the French language and francophone culture in Quebec is strong, vibrant and self-sustaining, Quebec militants are selling the fantasy that it is vulnerable and weak.
It is no different from an abusive husband berating his mate mercilessly, subjecting her to cruel psychological abuse, by telling her that she is stupid and worthless, just so he can control her.
Unfortunately this type of abuse, carried out on a long-term basis is usually successful and I am sad to see that Francophone Quebecers have been largely convinced that they are on the road of extinction, just like the Dodo bird.
It's disgusting and shameful.
With this in mind, let us explore some of these myths and distortions that separatists bandy about to convince others (and themselves) that French is in mortal danger, a condition they maintain that can only be reversed through sovereignty.
Quebec is surrounded by a sea of English and with just 2% of the North American population, its francophone culture is in danger of assimilation.
There's no doubt that Quebec is physically surround by Anglophones, but what a school teacher in Anchorage, a car worker in Mexico, or an oil worker in Alberta has to do with anglicization is beyond me. None of these people are going to overrun the border to force the people of Quebec to become English.
English does bear down on Quebec, not because of any physical proximity, rather because the entire globe has adopted it as the lingua franca, a fact that not only affects Quebec, but the entire world.
Even as a metaphor the myth of the 2% is defective, because it purports that in facing the forces of anglicization, Quebec is somehow uniquely threatened, which is false.
Many successful countries, similarly sized to Quebec, face the same forces of anglicization.
Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Israel, Holland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary are just a few examples of small countries (population) with a unique culture and a thinly-spoken national language.
The forces of Anglicization are no stronger or weaker than in Quebec, yet strangly there is no great outcry in these countries over the danger of English and in fact most embrace English as liberating and empowering.
Tiny Denmark is perhaps the very best example of a country that has embraced English without adversely affecting its Danish language or culture.
Somewhere in the neighborhood of 90% of all young Danes speak English, to the point that they are embarrassingly fluent, having had a significant portion of their education taught in English.
Despite the remarkably high rate of fluency in English, both the Danish language and culture flourish, the idea that Danish society is in imminent danger of collapse is laughable.
While countries similar in size and demographics to Quebec embrace English without negative consequences, the myth of the 2% is used to frighten Quebecers by propagating the lie that English barbarians and are set to overrun Quebec.
It is utter hogwash.
What language militants are doing is no different than my mother's warning to me as a lad, that there were wild dogs in the forest behind my house, a lie meant to keep me out of the woods.
Using fear-mongering as a weapon in the independence campaign is what the 2% myth is about, nothing else.
Both Louisana and Manitoba, once large French communities were completely assimilated and Quebec can suffer the same fate.
In French it's referred to as 'louisianisation', the myth that French communities in North America are all subject to assimilation.
Now I'm not going to debunk this myth with facts and figures showing why Quebec is not in the same boat, because readers, the myth is too stupid to debate. None of the elements that contributed to the Louisiana assimilation exists in modern Quebec
Suffice to say that if Quebec hasn't gone down the drain in two hundred years since the Louisiana assimilation, it isn't going to happen at all.
Pretending that Quebec society is fragile and vulnerable is beyond ludicrous considering that the population of Quebec is GREATER THAN HALF the countries in the world.
It's like being exposed to someone with the measles and putting oneself in quarantine for a year, just in case.......ain't gonna happen!!!
Immigration threatens the French language and Quebec culture.
There's no doubt that many Quebecers fear immigration, but sadly, most of this is racism, pure and simple.
To Quebecers who believe they can maintain their society as French, lily-white and Catholic, as it was in the 'good old days,' the sight of so many 'barbus' and 'voilées' is frustrating and unsettling and so it is to be expected that they are portrayed as a danger by those who fear them.
But an examination of the facts indicate that immigration isn't going to upset the language cart, even if we are told that it will, by the you-know-whos.
Each year Quebec nets about 40,000 new immigrants or about ½ of one percent of the population. Of these, half assimilate to the French community and half to the English. Over the last decade, the numbers have been moving upwards toward the French side of the language equation, but let us consider the situation as it is now.
In order to maintain today's linguistic balance (87% French, 13% English) 35,000 out of the 40,000 immigrants need to assimilate to the French side of the language equation, but it doesn't happen.
As it is, a surplus of 14,000 'English' immigrants is created each year.
But this increased percentage of English speakers is almost completely cancelled out by the exodus of about 10,000 English speakers out of the province each year.
An increase of 4,000 English speakers a year isn't going to change the linguistic balance in a province of 8 million people. The only effect of this, is that the English community has finally stabilized, that's all.
Hmmm.....perhaps it is this fact that annoys militants.
Bill 104 and the right to 'bridging schools' is a danger to the French.
You'd think by the hysterical reaction by French language militants to the Supreme Courts decision to allow bridging schools as a path to an English education, the floodgates would open with Ethnics and Francophones exodusing the French educational system on a par with the Jewish slaves fleeing Egypt in the time of the Ten Commandments.
In fact only about 100-150 students a year 'sidestep' their way into English school through this apparent loophole.
Considering that 14,000 Anglo students eligible for English education under Bill 101, choose a French educational path, the loss of these 'cheaters' isn't a big deal.
Again, much ado about nothing, another case of hysterical madness.
The 3 monkeys Syndrome-
|Hear no English, See No English, Speak No English|
In science, theories remain suppositions or educated guesses, unproven until they are validated or rejected through rigorous experimentation.
The theory proposed by French language militants today, is that any contact or public manifestation of English is dangerous and that English bosses, unilingual clerks, English music and English store names, etc. etc. are all dangerously dark forces of anglicization, even in the smallest of doses.
That's the theory.
Unfortunately for militants, the theory has already been disproved.
As I explained Monday, one only has to harken back to the sixties to see that small and large doses of English have proven ineffective tools of anglicization!
To argue that it is, despite the historical evidence to the contrary, is no different than defending the theory that the Earth is flat.
Francophone communities across Canada are disappearing, evidence that French in Quebec is also under threat.
While it is true that French communities are dying a slow death across Canada, the same is true for English communities in rural Quebec.
The reasons for the demise of these communities is easily explained and that explanation and its logical corollary is the reason why French Quebec is in no imminent danger of collapse.
Surprisingly, it also explains why the Quebec English community will survive quite comfortably.
It's called 'Critical Mass' and it will be the subject of Friday's post...
I shall explain as best I can why French is set to expand, not contract.
I shall explain as best I can why the English in Quebec won't disappear.