Legault would have great need of a Gérald Godin

The more François Legault talks about immigration in connection with the “survival” of French in Quebec, the more confusion arises. The Prime Minister casts a very broad net.

He talks about Louisianization, linguistic transfers, language of use, mother tongue, language spoken at home, etc. In short, he juggles with complex concepts which, in fact, come under a sub-discipline of demography called demolinguistics.

However, Mr. Legault, obviously, does not really master this matter. This is expected since only experts can. He nevertheless launched the debate himself.

He did so, to express concern about the future of French, but also, as usual, to further confirm his image as “head of the nation”.

On such a sensitive issue, the resulting confusion all the more feeds the heavy fire against the new law 96 aimed at modernizing law 101.

To newcomers and those who have already been, this confusion also gives the impression that they must bear the burden of having to “save” French in Quebec. Whereas, in fact, this responsibility lies with all Quebec governments, including now his own.

The antennas of the Prime Minister

This is where a big gap stands out. A major player is missing in the government. It lacks a Gérald Godin. For the youngest or those with amnesia, let’s remember this.

Avant-garde poet, journalist, writer and teacher, Gérald Godin, who died of cancer in 1994, was elected in 1976 during the Parti Québécois’ first electoral victory.

In 1980, René Lévesque would appoint him Minister of Immigration and in 1981, Minister of Cultural Communities and Immigration.

Eh yes. Responsibility for immigration would go hand in hand with responsibility for relations with cultural communities. Or, if you prefer, what we would call today Quebecers “from diversity”.

A man of culture and a convinced separatist, Gérald Godin had a marked sensitivity to diversity, in all its forms.

Beyond the disagreements on the national question, his relations with the cultural communities were excellent and mutually respectful. The man was even loved there.

The rare pearl

MNA for Mercier, in the heart of Montreal, Gérald Godin knew the city like the back of his hand. He knew everything that distinguished it from the rest of Quebec and was fascinated by it.

As minister, he had become René Lévesque’s very precious “antennae” within the cultural communities themselves. He gave him the exact facts about what was being expressed there, all languages ​​and origins combined.

To develop public policies capable of responding to Quebec’s growing diversity, Gérald Godin’s contribution was priceless.

He knew how to pay special attention to her. He knew how to listen to and relay the concerns, concerns and aspirations of cultural communities as a full part of Quebec.

However, in the Legault government, elected officials in the metropolitan region are extremely rare. Consequently, there is no minister whose specific mandate would remotely resemble, either closely or remotely, that of Gérald Godin under René Lévesque.

Four months before the elections, it is too late to find and name this rare pearl. For his second term, Mr. Legault would however be wise to see to it.


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