Statistics Canada released new census figures this week, and now the PQ nitwits are falling all over themselves to decry a “lack of bilingualism” in Canada.
“It’s a dream, this vast bilingual country and this dream is not a reality,” Diane Lemieux said at a news conference after the 2001 census figures were unveiled. “This image of Canada being a bilingual country is an image disproven by reality. “It’s not true that French and English coexist as equals throughout Canada.” Lemieux said French would be better protected if Quebec were sovereign.
“The real solution is for Quebec to be a country,” she said.
The census showed Canadian bilingualism is divided along geographic lines, Lemieux suggested.
Of course, to the PQ, everything would be better if Quebec were sovereign.
But that’s not the point here. The point is that while the number of francophones in Canada (excluding Quebec) dropped a tiny bit – 4.4% down from 4.5% in 1996 – the truth is, both French and English-speaking populations dropped as the number of allophones (people with a mother tongue other than French or English) increased sharply. This is a result of increased immigration and multiculturalism, and only the PQ would see it as a BAD thing.
Wasn’t it Louise Beaudoin who was rallying about “rampant” bilingualism just a few short years ago? Of course, in that case she meant Quebec – where 83.1% of people speak French at home, compared to only 8.3% who speak English (down from 8.8% in 1996). Of course, to the PQ, bilingualism is only bad if it’s in Quebec. Their “raison d’être” is to preserve French, and of course there’s nothing wrong with that except when it’s done by criticizing other languages and groups.
Language has always been divided along geographic lines. That’s human nature. People tend to gravitate towards areas and communities where there are others who share their language and culture. In fact, the entire PQ argument for sovereignty is based on the division of language along geographic lines.
The problem is that the PQ has always seen the population of Canada as pieces on a chessboard, which they are free to position and manipulate at will. This was the reasoning behind immigration policies that would see immigrants forced to live in designated (outlying) areas instead of big cities. This was the reasoning behind efforts to shut down English schools and force all immigrants to send their children to French schools, even if they already speak English fluently. This was the same reasoning behind the law forcing all companies with 50 or more employees to conduct their internal business in French – even if all the people working at the company are non-francophone – and to advertise in French even if they’re targeting a mainly non-francophone market.
The PQ wants to hammer out a francophone society – whether the people like it or not. And now the same government that has been so restrictive of its anglophone minority is criticizing the rest of Canada for not being French enough! The difference, of course, is that in the rest of Canada, people are free to speak whatever language they choose. And this is apparently what the PQ finds so offensive. Maybe they ought to start targeting communities out in Alberta for “forced bilingualism” laws. Something tells me they wouldn’t get welcomed with a red carpet.