Many CEOs who have lived in Quebec for many years cannot deliver their speeches in French. Obviously, they require all their senior executives to contact them on a daily basis. in English only. Our Minister of the Economy, Pierre Fitzgibbon, affirms that it would be “unrealistic” to require that they speak French as a condition of access to Quebec public assistance. Ah good ?
A National Bank customer who has accumulated reward points claims a French keyboard for his computer. He is told by the bank that by insisting in this way, he contributes to “nourishing polarization and social fragmentation”. A professor of psychology at McGill University, Martin Drapeau, reports that in his department, at least half of his colleagues do not speak French and that in 20 years, no more than a quarter of its directors or deans could speak in the common language of Quebec.
What is the solution proposed by François Legault? The future of French, he has just repeated, “goes through the working language”. If he judges that by extending Bill 101 to companies with more than 25 employees and to federal companies he will put an end to the decline of French, he immediately publishes the demographic study which supports his argument. This study does not and cannot exist, as the measure will only have a marginal impact. In particular, because in the opposite direction, according to Statistics Canada, the proportion of Montreal businesses where full bilingualism is practiced rose from 9% in 2006 to 25% in 2018. This is the antechamber of the predominance of English.
Francization in the aftermath newcomers, at work or in training, is, of course, an individual success for the minority of New Quebecers who succeed, but in total a resounding historic failure that has been measured many times over.
The only existing study giving us hope is the one in which the Office québécois de la langue française concludes that the obligation of knowledge of French for all immigrants selected by Quebec at the point of entry would slow down considerably (without stopping it completely. ) the decline of French.
This month, the Parti québécois tabled a very simple motion: “Let the National Assembly state that the first criterion for selecting newcomers should be knowledge of French.” The CAQ opposed this essential principle. The PLQ and QS refused to join. But the Legault government is looking for additional measures to increase the number of French speakers at the point of entry. Here are some suggestions.
Challenge employers. Whatever the bosses and the liberals say, immigration is not a solution to the labor shortage. The employer is of course happy to find his welder or his foreign computer scientist, but 50,000 immigrants a year generate almost exactly the same demand for labor – teachers, nurses, welders, additional – which they fill themselves. . However, in the face of the decline of French, the arrival of immigrants who use French as their language of use is undoubtedly part of the solution. Since employers are extraordinarily demanding, let’s create a fast lane. If your future employee is one of the 235 million Terrans for whom French is the main language, go get him!
Repatriate, remove ceilings and extend the PVT program. Each year, young French and Belgian adults come to enrich our tourism industry thanks to the Working Holidays program. In 2019, they were 28,000. As soon as the ticket office is open, places are soaring. Why ? The number of places is capped. All valid applications should be accepted and everything should be done, then, to retain these lovers of Quebec with us.
Make Quebec the world francophone capital of knowledge. Let’s create an international student loan program for any Francophone who has the prerequisites to complete their post-secondary, technical or professional studies in French in Quebec. Once they graduate, let’s keep them in Quebec by wiping out a fifth of the loan for each year they take root with us.
Be serious about the common language. Bill 96 states that francophones and allophones already educated in French who go to anglophone CEGEPs will have to take the uniform French test to obtain their diploma. Normal, since they will then have to fit into an officially French-speaking world of work. But shouldn’t anglophones and other allophones also have to go and work in French?
This is the extraordinary hypocrisy of the situation. If we are serious with the common language, all our graduates must master the tool. This means that at Anglo CEGEP, over a two-year course, a quarter of the first session should be in French, a third of the second and half of the third. The fourth should be done in immersion in a French-speaking CEGEP. All students at English-speaking universities, including foreigners, should receive one-fifth of their courses in French during their entire course.
The decline of French is fueled by two deficits: the deficit of French speakers among the immigrants we welcome; the lack of knowledge of French among graduates of our English-speaking establishments.
Mr. Legault, achieve zero deficit in both of these cases, and you will finally be a credible nationalist.
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