Quebecers want freedom of choice

05.11.10

Imagine that: People in Quebec want the right to choose the language of their kids’ education:

A new survey of Quebecers’ attitudes on education shows that two out of three prefer to have the right to send their children to any school in the province they choose, public or private.

The poll, conducted for The Gazette by Léger Marketing, asked whether students other than those now allowed, including franco-phones, should have access to English-language schools if they wish.

A total of 66 per cent of a representative sample of Quebecers agreed that they should – including a 61-per-cent clear majority of francophones.

Non-francophones were even more overwhelmingly in favour, at 87 per cent.

It’s about time that the francophone majority realised that they’re the ones getting most hurt by the current policies. After all, their kids will grow up learning French at home regardless, and without a strong foundation in English, their opportunities will be very limited in today’s world. Then, there are the anglo parents who would prefer to send their kids to French school so that they could grow up fluent in French, but opt instead to send them to English school in fear that their children will lose their right to choose.

This poll is long overdue and I hope the provincial parties will actually take notice, rather than resorting to the same rationalizations as the SSJB. The protectionist stance that the Quebec government has taken with schools has not preserved the status of French; it’s impeded the potential of Quebec. Unfortunately, it’s not likely to change anything in the short term. But in the long term, it may demonstrate that there’s a real willingness to embrace change and institute policies that open doors instead of chaining them shut.

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