In the States, it isn’t widely known that, at the federal level, we don’t have an official language. Which is a good thing – you know, for promoting our multi-cultural stamp. Naturally, with large influxes of immigration, our agenda also tends to esteem highly bilingualism. Most high schools and colleges require at least some education in foreign languages in order to support this bilingual agenda.
However, how many of us are actually benefitting from it? Who’s to say that our teaching methods are actually working? I don’t think they are, in most cases. That’s why Rosetta Stone, and similar language learning programs, is making a killing. It seems like our neighbors in Canada are having the same problem. But things are a little different up there. For starters, Canada is a bilingual country… On paper.
“Get ready for tougher language laws if the Parti Québécois wins a majority in the next provincial election,” the minister responsible for Quebec’s French Language Charter said Monday.
Speaking to business leaders, Diane De Courcy vowed to halt Quebec’s “unacceptable slide” into institutional bilingualism — in Montreal and across the province.
“Montreal is not a bilingual city. Quebec is not a bilingual Quebec,” De Courcy said to reporters after her speech.
Employees who deal with the public must be able to address customers correctly in French, “not like what we have right now in downtown Montreal, and not only in Montreal, which is ‘Bonjour-Hi,’ ” De Courcy said.
De Courcy said she thinks it’s great if individuals want to learn different languages like English, Spanish, Mandarin or Arabic in their private lives, but institutions and businesses must function strictly in French.
A PQ majority government would make it a priority to bring back Bill 14 and to stamp out examples of creeping bilingualism like sales staff who greet customers with “Bonjour-Hi,” De Courcy said at a day-long conference on francization programs held by the Conseil du patronat.
Despite the fact that Montreal and Quebec are not bilingual cities, French speakers in Canada are a minority. And, unfortunately, the current trend seems to suggest that that minority will continue to dwindle. Especially as the dominate language is infecting Canada’s famously monolingual – one must wonder if the PQ are fighting a losing battle.