You never know where interesting comments will come from. A reader in British Columbia agreed with my comments recently on how to protect the French language. As a he is originally from Quebec, he felt that I left out a key reason. He felt I should have mentioned the Quebec culture.
That is deep water for me to get into. I remember many years ago when I went to a few French language films in Quebec only to find that they were American movies that had been dubbed in French. I felt that it would not help me with learning French. I now know of the excellent films made in Quebec that not only win awards for their actors, directors, writers and producers but win at the box office as well.
I have also always been impressed by the growing lists of French language novels and non-fiction books on the bookshelves in Quebec—and also outside of Quebec.
The Quebec music scene has been growing and expanding for many years now in both of Canada’s languages.
The point is that the Quebec politicians don’t have to worry so much about preserving the language. Canadian anglophones are more at risk from Americanisation of their English than Quebec is of losing its French.
I have always puzzled over the conflict in Quebec created by the need for bilingualism in the tourist industry. The province is rich in history, urban mystery, entertainments, winter and summer sports venues, Carnival in Quebec City and scenic vistas. There are more than 300 million potential tourists south of the border and west of the Ottawa River. That is a challenge to be undertaken, not to be rationed.
The Montreal Saint Jean Baptiste parade might lack some of the obvious inclusionary aspects of Toronto’s Caribbean festival and parade but it would be better if it sought tourists. It would go a long way to repair some of the politically motivated harm done to Quebec over the years.
Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry
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