When the leaders of the Anglo-Quebec community bring out the old, worn disc of the pseudo “linguistic peace” that they cherish so much, their petticoat extends far beyond. This false “peace” is, in fact, another way of describing the long periods of linguistic torpor of Francophones, those interminable decades in which they stand still on this front and let the market forces of anglicization act freely.
However, in front of the alarming statistics of the declassification of French in the very heart of Quebec, the hour of awakening has sounded. If francophones have very little control over their minority in Canada as a whole, they can nevertheless slow it down in this part of Canada called Quebec. And every time they want to occupy all the space they deserve in their sandbox, English speakers are terrified. Normal: they got used to living comfortably in houses too big for them and gradually occupying rooms previously reserved for French speakers. Conversely, Francophones outside Quebec must be content to be tolerated in fragile huts on stilts that are condescended to leave them.
French speakers from sea to sea have known for a long time that the deal Canadian is in fact a fool’s bargain based on consent to their gradual but constant minorization in the great whole of Canada. Going from 40% of the country’s total population around 1850 to less than 23% by 2021, depending on the main official language spoken, is not an insignificant detail or an accident of history.
When Russell Copeman, Executive Director of the Association of Anglophone Colleges of Quebec, advised the government, during hearings on Bill 96, to maintain the permanent right to English schools for the children of temporary foreign workers to preserve “linguistic peace”, he complained with a full stomach.
No, Mr. Copeman, sorry: for the second time since 1977, the French-Canadian sheep of Quebec will disturb your precious linguistic peace because they are not ready to disappear just to protect your peace of mind. But don’t worry: at the end of the process, be convinced that you will have even more privileges than francophones outside Quebec, on an equal footing with other Quebecers.
But until then, in order not to prevent us from trying to slow down the decline of French, you will have to put more water in your wine than you would have thought.