Something always struck me as interesting about bill 101, and I am all for special measures to protect the French language, but if the Quebec people are so eager to protect French to the extreme as stipulated by the bill, then why do you have to make it illegal for a Francophone or an out of province individual from attending English school? I mean shouldn’t it be natural that Francophone’s will send their children to French school if they indeed think that is the only measure to preserve their language and culture? The truth is, it is not.
The main threat to the separatist cause as I see it, is globalization and the sobering reality that Quebecer’s for the most part, just as much as any other group of people, want prosperity. English is the global language of prosperity, there is no refuting this. Bill 101 simply puts barriers up to prosperity – think, there are over 340 millions English speakers in North America and it has become the global language of business and bill 101 forces people to not learn it. How could this possibly be a good thing? This is reminiscent of the same kind of oppression that the Catholic church exerted on the Quebec people for over 400 years.
Proof that English is the global language of business? I am not really sure I need to provide any, it is obvious. But here are some recent statistics and facts:
– English is now the lingua franca of the European Union, with over 2/3 of individuals speaking it.
– Quote from an article in abc.net entitled “English is the Language of the Asian Century” by Benjamin Herscovitch, Research Fellow, Foreign Policy Program:
English is set to consolidate this dominant position in the coming decades.
Nearly one-third of the world’s population is studying English, and it is predicted that by 2050, half of the world’s population will be largely proficient in it. Added to this, four of the six most populous countries in the world in 2050 (India, the United States, Nigeria and Pakistan) will have English as an official language.
– And read this quote from an article entitled “Countries with Better English have Better Economies” by the the Harvard Business Review:
It’s not just income that improves either. So does the quality of life. We also found a correlation between English proficiency and the Human Development Index, a measure of education, life expectancy, literacy, and standards of living.
Does all this mean that I want to see French disappear in Quebec. Not at all, in fact I help protect the language each day by speaking it every chance I have possible. There are all kinds of ways of protecting French without actually having to resort to the draconian measures taken with bill 101 by the bill’s framer Camile Laurin (even René Levesque found these measures extreme). In fact, Camile Laurin was on the right track to find ways to help protect the language, but his approach is wrong and he has done a disservice to Quebec.
So in short, Quebec has been robbed of their right to do everything to encourage and promote prosperity. They have been robbed of their right to learn the worlds most important language. How about learning both languages and we can work together to keep French as the common language of Quebec, but remove barriers to the English language to encourage business investment in the province? How about we stop destroying French by turning it into a political tool?
As far as the values charter goes, I know we have heard so much about this, so it is getting tired, but simply put, it limits the rights of individuals and targets ethnic minorities, especially Muslims. The chorus of individuals and institutions that are against it is rising. Now even Gilles Duceppe thinks that the measure is too extreme. Over the months that have gone by, it is evident that the values charter is a failure of epic proportions. Imagine, not only have many Burroughs of Montreal spoken against it, but Montreal itself. Denis Coderre has come out and said “I’ll fight it” – bravo Mr. Coderre. Cote St-Luc mayor has called it “racist” and “odious”. The University of Sherbrooke has renounced it and said it “cannot function”. The University Of Montreal has said “it doesn’t respond to our needs”. In this is only in the last couple of weeks. The charter is in fact so ridiculous, that is should be completely ignored.
So why do these Quebec politicians insist on violating human rights ? My guesses are that it is a genuine, albeit misguided attempt to protect French culture and language, but unfortunately, it is also likely that they are trying to win a war that they already lost on the Plains Of Abraham – just like wars, the policies are irrational.