It was the balance that Pierre Trudeau brought to the use of language in Canada that his eldest son betrayed. In Bill C-13’s enactment by parliament in June of this year, Justin Trudeau forgot that his father had declared that the English and French languages were equal. You do not protect one language by downgrading the other. You do not promote one by restricting the other.
Justin Trudeau panders to those pathetic politicians in Quebec City who have to use the “Not Withstanding” clause to cover off their foolish attempts to force Canadians living in Quebec to use only French in their daily lives. There is no need for an additional federal law that encourages that bigotry.
I always found that for every French-Canadian who wanted me to speak French there were probably five francophones who wanted to practice their English on me. All in all, I am sure that if they had tried, I would be fluent in French. As it is, my French makes francophones cringe.
I always think of the Quebec City legislature as the fools who tried to take all the life out of Montreal and chased a quarter million anglophones out of Quebec during the 30 years from 1970 to 2000.
In the 1960s, my oldest brother had taken his family to Quebec to accept a promotion to Alcan’s head office. He became bilingual in that position but on his retirement twenty years later, he and most of his family moved to Ottawa.
What always seemed indicative was that there was also a smaller but companion emigration of francophones to other parts of Canada. While the politicians tried to offset this emigration with immigration from French-speaking countries, they continue to show their rejection of English. For example, by forcing unnecessarily higher fees for English language students from outside Quebec at the few English-language universities and colleges in Quebec.
Somehow this whole business with language in Quebec reminds me of an old adage about taking a horse to water. You still can’t make him drink.
Copyright 2023 © Peter Lowry
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