Monday, December 30, 2013

Why Québec has a language policy

The precariousness of the French fact in Canada and North America

The main reason Québec governments have taken steps to protect the French language in Québec is their observation that the French language, a minority language in North America and Canada, is too precarious to develop without state support. Although francophones are the majority in Québec, their language's power of attraction is weak. English, the continent's usual and predominant language, the language of both commerce and culture, vies constantly with French to be the language of business and communications. The French fact in North America is precarious for several reasons: (1) the Conquest of 1760, which put an end to French colonization in North America; (2) the progressive assimilation of francophones outside Québec and the inadequacy of language rights; and (3) the delicate balance of the French fact in Québec because of the lower birthrate and the contribution that immigration continues to make to Québec's demography.

Unforeseen consequences of the Conquest of 1760

It was decisive for the future of French in North America and probably for the French language in general when the colony of New France fell into the hands of the English in 1760. The final ceding of New France to the British crown in 1763 put an end to a century and a half of French settlement in North America. Sixty thousand French colonists suddenly found themselves a conquered people, subject to a foreign language, religion and legal system. After the Seven Years' War, it could have been expected that New France would suffer the same fate as the former Dutch and Swedish colonies on the American east coast. As historian Michel Brunet noted:

The evolution of this new British colony, it was felt, would be similar to that of New York, first settled by Dutch colonists, and of New Jersey, which had been founded by Swedes. In less than a century, these two distinctive collectivities had melted away. The British conquerors of the St. Lawrence Valley sincerely believed that a similar fate awaited the Canadiens.

England quickly exercised its rights as a conqueror. British subjects came by the thousands to settle in the new colony called the Province of Quebec. In 1791, London divided the colony in two, reserving one part, Upper Canada, for some 10 000 of its colonists, and the other, Lower Canada, for the 150 000 Canadiens living in the St. Lawrence Valley. Although they were granted a legislative assembly with limited powers, the Canadiens were still in a position of economic and social inferiority. The predictions of foreign observers on their chances for cultural survival were not very optimistic. Benjamin Franklin predicted:

In less than a half century, because of the mass of Englishmen who are settling around and among them, they are destined to mix with and become part of our people in both language and mores…

Alexis de Tocqueville, the acclaimed author of Democracy in America, visited Lower Canada in 1831. He wrote:
But it is easy to see that the French are a conquered people. The rich classes belong for the most part to the English race. While French is spoken almost universally, most newspapers, signs and even French merchants' signs are in English. Commercial enterprises are nearly all in (English) hands.

In 1837-1838, ideas about democracy and a republican government stirred Lower Canada. The Patriote party of Louis-Joseph Papineau headed a protest movement against the hold London had on its colony's affairs. London's refusal to bring in a truly constitutional and responsible government gave rise to an insurrection in the colony that was quickly put down. London concluded from this popular uprising that it should force the assimilation of Canadiens of French extraction by uniting the two colonies. In 1840, it decreed this union and imposed equality of representation for the former Upper Canada and the former Lower Canada in the single parliament, even though the Canadiens, who numbered 650 000, were the majority, Upper Canada's population being 450 000. Because of massive immigration by colonists from the British Isles, the population of British extraction grew larger than that of the French Canadians. When the Dominion of Canada was created in 1867, French Canadians comprised only one-third of the population of the new quasi federation.

By obtaining a legislative assembly, a province and local autonomy in 1867, French Canadians recovered the little collective freedom they had had before 1840. A minority condemned to assimilation, they thought they had acceded to the status of a founding people, equal as of right to English Canada. With the confederative pact, this minority people hoped to preserve their language, their culture and their civil institutions.

Thanks to a birthrate unparalleled in the West, the population of French extraction managed to increase in the 19th century. History belied Franklin's and de Tocqueville's pessimistic predictions. Between 1881 and 1961, the population of French origin maintained its weight - about 30% - in the country's total population, despite the creation and addition of new provinces and the colonization of new territories by immigrants from around the world.

The proportion was maintained, but at a price. The federal government pursued a policy of massive immigration at the turn of the century in order to develop the country's economy and settle its vast territories. Between 1896 and 1914, Canada welcomed more than three million British, American and Eastern European immigrants. A large number settled in Western Canada. Many poor and unschooled French Canadians may have wanted to emigrate there, too. But with little encouragement to locate in the West, about 450 000 crossed south over the Canadian-American border between 1890 and 1920.

The progressive assimilation of francophones outside Québec and deficiencies in language rights

French seems destined for marginal status outside Québec. It took a long time for francophone minorities to get recognition for their situation as imperilled minorities and to get the rather lukewarm support of governments. Having long been deprived of public services in French, they had to integrate into milieus where French met with indifference, even hostility.

Figures on the rapid assimilation of these minorities speak for themselves. In 1931, 7.2% of the population of Canada outside Québec had French as a mother-tongue. This proportion dropped to less than 5.0% in 1991. If you look at language of use rather than mother-tongue, the proportion of francophones outside Québec declined from 4.4% to 3.2% between 1971 and 1991. Rapid assimilation seems to be running unabated in some provinces. The proportion of Ontarians for whom French is the usual language fell from 4.6% to 3.2% between 1971 and 1991. In Manitoba, it slipped from 4.0% to 2.4% in the same period, and in Saskatchewan, from 1.7% to 0.7%. Only the Acadians of New Brunswick seem to be resisting assimilation, their share in the province's population having stabilized at about 31%.

This assimilation reveals the inadequacy of the legal and constitutional provisions introduced to protect francophone minorities since 1867. Manitoba declared itself a unilingual English province in 1890, even though its constituent law had prescribed bilingualism for legislation and the courts and guaranteed Franco-Catholic schools provincial government support. In 1896, the Manitoba government had to concede to its francophone minority the right to instruction in French; this was withdrawn in 1916, however, and French disappeared from Manitoba schools. In 1897, Ontario made English the only language of the justice system. In 1913, it severely reduced the teaching of French in Catholic confessional schools (Regulation 17), to the great displeasure of Franco-Ontarians who saw this as the sign of a deliberate policy of assimilation.

Manitoba and Ontario have since restored some of their minorities' rights, but only several decades after the introduction of linguistic unification measures. It may have been too late. As William Tetley, former Liberal minister in the Bourassa government and McGill University law professor, observed in 1982, the Constitution of Canada and the courts have done little to protect the language and culture of francophone minorities:

It is clear that the Canadian Constitution has done very little to promote or protect Canada's two great languages which should have been - and should be today - a great national asset. The British North America Act, 1867, failed to protect the French language and culture which were violated in such judgements as Ottawa's Separate Schools Trustees v. MacKell or such legislative action as Manitoba's Official Language Act, 1890, and Regulation 17 of Ontario. The Constitution as interpreted by the courts should have provided a high standard of conduct, a spirit of natural justice, and a tradition of fair play. Instead, there was often harshness and no apparent legal recourse. It was only in the 1960's that political action in Quebec, beginning with the Quiet Revolution, brought about change.

The realization that francophone minorities in Canada are slowly but perhaps inexorably being assimilated has contributed to making the need to support the French language in Québec more acute.

How the French language has fared in Québec

Threatened, losing momentum outside Québec, the French language seems to have had more stability in Québec. The percentage of Quebecers with French as their mother-tongue remained constant from 1951 to 1991, decreasing from 82.5% to 80.7% from 1951 to 1971 and increasing to 82.1% in 1991. In the same period, the percentage of anglophones decreased from 13.8% to 9.6% and the percentage of allophones - those whose mother-tongue is neither French nor English - increased from 3.7% to 8.3%. French as the language of everyday use stayed at the level of 83% of the population.

If these statistics speak to the vitality of the French language in Québec, they should not let us forget the immediate reasons for its precariousness. Québec's demographic weight within Canada has declined progressively since 1931, from 27.7% to 25.8% in 1986 and to 25% today. Between 1875 and 1965, Québec's fertility rate was higher than those of other North American regions. Beginning in the 1960s, however, Quebecers, setting aside the Catholic Church's support for a high birth rate and espousing more modern mores, began to produce fewer offspring. The outcome was that their birth rate became one of the lowest in the Western world. From 1956 to 1961, French-speaking Québec women had a fertility rate of 4.2 (4.2 births per woman of childbearing age). The rate dropped to 2.3 for 1966-1971 and then to 1.5 for 1981-1986 before rising to 1.6 in 1990, which is barely enough to replace the population, the rate of 2.1 being required to ensure replacement. Québec anglophones also experienced a less dramatic decline in their fertility rate which is now about on a par with that of francophones. The low fertility rate worries many Quebecers who fear that Québec's demographic weight is continuing to decline and that the proportion of francophones in Québec is being eroded.

On top of this is the fear that immigrants who have settled in Québec in large numbers since the turn of the century prefer English to French as the language of communication and culture. The proportion of Quebecers of other than French or British extraction was 1.6% in 1871 and 8.6% in 1961. As long as their exceptional fertility compensated for the arrival of immigrants, the francophone majority did not feel threatened. When their fertility began to decline, however, Québec's linguistic balance became shaky. This realization was heightened in the 1960s, a time when immigrants were free to choose their schools and laissez-faire was the practise for commercial signs. Over 85% of immigrants opted for English-language schools in the late 1960s. Statistics show that more and more ethnic minorities adopted English at the expense of French. While 48% of these minorities in Québec were drawn to English in 1931, the proportion had risen to 69.6% by 1961.

The will the majority of Quebecers have affirmed since the 1960s to take control of their social, economic and cultural life and to make French the common and usual language of Quebec

The precariousness of French in North America does not explain everything. The assimilation of francophones in Canada must cease being a hidden reality and governments must find a remedy for it. Although Québec had every reason to be concerned about the future of French culture and language, Québec governments did not choose to legislate between 1867 and 1964. Laissez-faire took the place of policy. What changed in the early 1960s was the perception Quebecers had of themselves and what they could achieve through their political institutions. Since the Conquest of 1760, French-speaking Quebecers had grown accustomed to living under the authoritative power of the Catholic Church which attended to preserving the language and the religion of the faithful. Quebecers saw themselves as belonging to a French-Canadian, minority and agrarian people, with religion and tradition serving as a bulwark against assimilation. Beginning in the nineteenth century, however, they experienced the industrialization of the economy, and in the early twentieth century, they asserted themselves as an urban people who, after World War Two, discovered the consumer society and modernism.

From the 1960s on, Québec society was swept by the winds of change that transformed it profoundly. Many of the ideas that had been talked about in Québec for decades were translated into political reforms. Quebecers urged their provincial government to raise the general level of education and to provide the population with public services worthy of a modern society. Many also discovered that although francophones were the majority in Québec and in Montréal, English was the language of prestige, business and public signs and that many company doors were closed to them. This was noted by two government commissions of enquiry on the status of French. In Montréal, immigrants' enthusiasm for English-language schools aroused fears among francophones and fueled heated debates. Francophones saw this tendency as a sign that if nothing was done, French would continue to decline in Montréal, as Marc V. Levine, a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee specialist in urban issues, wrote:

By the 1960s, the Anglicization of the city's school clientele seemed to portend a Montreal in which the children of immigrants would become Anglophones and French-speakers would ultimately become a demographic minority. Thus, for important segments of the Francophone community, the individual right of parents to choose their children's language of schooling, historically respected in Quebec, now clashed with the 'collective right' of Francophones to survive and prosper as Francophones. In the eyes of Montreal's rising Francophone elite, the new middle class of teachers, journalists and policy professionals who had displaced traditional church elites as the leading force in French-Canadian society, Francophone minorisation in Montreal would spell ultimate doom for a living French language and culture throughout Quebec.

The slogan Maîtres chez nous (masters in our own house) used by the Liberals of Jean Lesage during the 1964 electoral campaign captures the spirit of the times, enamoured of change and progress. Opening careers in the public service and in companies to francophones, expanding the means of the Québec State, giving it the stature and structure of a modern government, separating Church and State more appropriately, reforming education, nationalizing electricity, providing Québec with a universal pension plan and more - that was the program and the ambition of the governments of the time, driven by the people's impatience and expectations. Quebecers then discovered a springboard for their economic and social progress in their democratic institutions, as Premier René Lévesque wrote in 1979:

The central fact of language makes Quebec the one Canadian province out of ten which is radically (in the root sense of the word) different from the rest of Canada. It makes Québec the home base, the homeland, of a compact, very deeply rooted, and rapidly evolving cultural group - there should be no mistake - which sees itself as a national group. Democratic control of provincial institutions in Quebec supplies the Quebec people with a powerful springboard for self-affirmation and self-determination.

This was also a time when francophones, having long defined themselves by their religious affiliation and their French origin, began to identify themselves in terms of language and the Québec territory. Quebecers stopped seeing themselves as a linguistic minority and learned to think of themselves as a political majority. They also began to demand protective measures for the French language from Québec and federal legislators.

Two commissions of enquiry blazed the trail for the language legislation we now have. In 1963, the federal government of Lester B. Pearson created a royal commission of enquiry - the Laurendeau-Dunton Commission - whose mandate was to review the existing "state of bilingualism and biculturalism in Canada" and to "recommend what steps should be taken to develop the Canadian Confederation on the basis of an equal partnership between the two founding races." After holding hearings across the country, the commissioners concluded in their preliminary report in 1965 that Canada "without being full conscious of the fact, is passing through the greatest crisis in its history." The Commission noted how deeply dissatisfied francophones were, convinced they were victims of unacceptable inequalities. The Commission's work demonstrated that francophones were not playing a role in the economy that was proportional to their real weight. It was shown that Anglo-Canadians of British origin dominated the economy; they held the most influential and best paid positions. In Québec, the French Canadian had an income 35% lower than the Anglo-Quebecer. And even bilingual Quebecers earned less than unilingual Anglo-Quebecers. The commission consequently recommended that "in the private sector in Québec, governments and industry adopt the objective that French become the principal language of work at all levels."

Seeing Québec as a model of an officially bilingual society, the Commission recommended that French and English become the official languages of Canada and that New Brunswick and Ontario make them so at the provincial level. Finally, it proposed the creation of "bilingual districts" where French and English would be used currently in educational and municipal institutions when the minority reached ten percent of the population. In the opinion of Jean-Claude Corbeil, former linguist at the Office de la langue française: can say that the Commission made it obvious to Quebecers that the rules of the game on the use of French and English in Québec, especially in the work world, had to change and gave rise to the idea of setting by law the conditions for using one or the other language in order to guarantee a better status for the French language in all areas and more favourable conditions for its development, its growth and its advancement.

The provincial Gendron Commission was created in December 1968 to "enquire into and report on the status of French as a language of use in Québec." Its report was tabled in 1972. Like the Laurendeau-Dunton Commission, the Gendron Commission noted the domination of the English language in Québec's work world. Numerous inequalities separated francophones from anglophones: francophones earned less in general, held less important positions, benefited little from their bilingualism and often worked in English, in a proportion that did not reflect the high number of francophone workers. The Commission recommended that a series of measures be adopted to make French the common language of Quebecers. The commissioners summarized the reasons as follows:

In America, French is a fringe language. As such, its use is restricted even in areas where it is spoken by a majority of the population. This situation requires a clear policy: French can survive and flourish on the North American continent only with a maximum of opportunity and protection throughout Québec; and this can be accomplished only by making it a useful communication instrument for all the people of this area.(...) In the vast economic areas made up of Canada and the United States, French is defenceless in the struggle to impose its utility. This situation is not about to change. Thus in Québec, the vigour and dynamism of French can be ensured only through government support. Failing this, the odds in the match between French and English will remain too one-sided. This government action should aim at establishing French as the common language of Quebecers by making it useful and necessary for everyone in work communication.

The Commission recommended that the National Assembly declare French the official language of Québec, and English and French the national languages; that the government take steps to make French the language of internal communications in Québec in the work place and the language of communications in the government, professional corporations and parastatal institutions; that the right of the francophone consumer to be served in his language be recognized and that commercial signs be regulated in order to make the use of French mandatory.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Bilingual Montreal - Montréal Bilingue

Montreal is the most bilingual city in North America... OK, I didn't actually look that up but it's probably true. The statistics are pretty impressive. Over half of the population can have a conversation in French or English and quite often a third language as well. In fact, Quebec is the most bilingual province of Canada with 42% of the population comfortable in two or more languages. Visitors to Montreal are often amazed at how people seem to be able to switch from one language to another or have conversations where one person is speaking French and the other is speaking English. Bilingualism is great! Everyone loves it! OK, maybe not Howard Galganov... but everyone else agrees that bilingualism is great so we can all hold hands on this issue and walk into the sunset together, right? Not quite. You see, there is a difference of opinion as to what exactly is keeping the precarious balancing act between French and English going and what is threatening it. Some say that the threat comes from francophone language zealots who want to eradicate all English from Quebec. In fact, you'll often hear that Quebec's language laws (Bill 101) are unnecessary now since so many Montrealers are bilingual. They feel that Montreal should be officially recognized as a bilingual city and that English should be recognized as an official language.

But what exactly made Montreal so bilingual and what effect did Bill 101 really have on the city and its inhabitants?

Montreal before Bill 101

Ste-Catherine Street in the 1960's

Before bill 101 there was no bilingual Montreal. It was as Jane Jacobs and many others observed: “An English city containing many French-speaking workers and inhabitants”. 

Before bill 101 there was virtually no French in the workplace, there was no French in the boardrooms and there was little or no French in the shops downtown. Before Bill 101 the Canadian National Railway and the big banks could have their headquarters in Montreal and not have to hire a single French-speaking person above the second floor.

Before Bill 101, the median income of English-speaking households was between 20 and 30 per cent above the provincial average. That's changed today, wealth is spread more evenly among all established cultural groups. Head offices still operate mostly in English, of course, but as often as not, it's a francophone speaking English in the corner office. 

Before Bill 101, the rich and powerful English-speaking minority was the dominant group; bilingualism was a one-sided burden for Francophones who needed to understand what their bosses were saying, and immigrants were assimilating massively into English. Imposing French as the common public language has eliminated the old linguistic and cultural ghettos in Montreal.

Before Bill 101, 90% of all immigrants' children registered into an English-language school board. Now, 90% study in French. They have become a new breed: the children of Bill 101 - a multi-ethnic, French-speaking melting pot. That's the most striking consequence of the law, and the new cultural mix that has resulted is often considered its greatest achievement. 

And finally, Bill 101 has spawned another new breed, very rare elsewhere: the bilingual Anglo. Sixty-six per cent of those who stayed in Quebec after the election of the PQ in 1976, or have migrated there since, can speak French. More than half of all those whose mother tongue was neither French nor English can now converse in these two languages; 73 % are able to sustain a conversation in French.

Conclusion: Bill 101 made Bilingual Montreal

Bill 101 greatly increased bilingualism in Montreal. Not only did it increase bilingualism but it helped put an end to the old social inequalities between francophones and anglophones that had existed in Quebec since the conquest. Let's face it, English and French are not equals in the North American context. By protecting and promoting French, Bill 101 levels the playing field and makes a truly bilingual city possible. Pretending that this is killing bilingualism is simply denying reality. There was a lot of hysteria and gnashing of teeth by anglophones when Bill 101 was introduced in 1977 but many have come to realize that, in the end, it was a good thing. Bill 101 offers real solutions to realities on the ground which puts it in stark contrast to the Trudeauist, Canadian approach to bilingualism which has utterly failed. 

Trudeau's Political bilingualism 

Must kill French!
As noted in the 1960's by the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, a country is bilingual not because its inhabitants speak both languages, but because different languages ​​are spoken in different regions of the country. That's how Switzerland and Belgium understand their linguistic diversity. Without completely embracing this territorial model, the two commissioners, Laurendeau and Dunton, made it a cornerstone of the reforms they proposed. The important thing was to consider the status and strength of English and French on a territorial basis while taking into account the minority population. In this model, there is no need for everyone to be bilingual. Rather, it is to ensure the sustainability of languages ​​on a regional basis.

This concept of bilingualism did not go over well with Trudeau. He had made hostility to Quebec nationalism his trademark. Bilingualism for Trudeau was to be used as way for him to counter the claims of Quebec nationalists. The territorial approach to bilingualism would implicitly recognize the existence of two nations within Canada. So Trudeau decided to make language entirely a matter of individual choice. Canadians should be able to live in the language of their choice from coast to coast (wherever numbers warrant).

This vision had the advantage of denying any kind of special status for Quebec. Having French too linked to Quebec might encourage independence. It was therefore important to establish this model of bilingualism across the country and to ensure that all provinces are equal. It was hoped that in the end, francophones would cease to feel an attachment to Quebec because they could choose to live in French in Calgary just as well as in Saguenay.

To ensure that this feat of social engineering would succeed, it was essential to make services bilingual, both at federal and provincial levels, hence the importance of enshrining in the Constitution the so-called human right to attend public school in English or French even if education is an exclusive provincial jurisdiction. Trudeau also wanted millions of Canadians proficient in both languages. It simply required that they make the effort and that the federal government spend hundreds of millions of dollars.

Linguistic failure but political success

This project failed for obvious reasons. First, there is no practical use for almost everyone to speak two languages. It's just easier and more convenient to operate in a single language. One may even wonder to what extent it is the responsibility of the state to spend huge sums of money to bilingualize its population. Furthermore, francophones are a tiny minority in most of English Canada. This reality means that anglophones have neither the need nor the opportunity to speak French. Learning a language that you will never use is basically a waste of time for most people.

Even in Ottawa, Trudeau's bilingualism project is not working. Even though there are far more francophones working in government than ever before, they mainly use English at work. To overcome this situation, the Laurendeau-Dunton Commission had proposed the establishment of unilingual administrative units. Like army regiments, some divisions of the public service would work in English and others in French. But this approach was the antithesis of the bilingual civilization Trudeau had imagined. He quickly put aside this proposal.

In the face of such a failure, why is this policy never questioned? Well, almost never... The answer lies in its political usefulness. It denies Quebec's distinctiveness. In this model, Quebec is just a province. A bilingual province in a bilingual country like all the other provinces. This is the vision of Canada that inspired the 1982 constitution and it's the vision that caused the failure of the Meech Lake Accord. The premise underlying Canada's approach to bilingualism is based on political considerations to the detriment of the historical and sociological realities. 

In fact it's worse than that. Trudeau's Constitution and Charter are based on the historical fraud and conceit that the situation of French Canadians outside Quebec – underprivileged in education and income, suffering rampant language attrition, lacking public institutions which function in their language and thus the means to maintain their culture, etc – is somehow “analogous” to the situation of English Canadians in Quebec, where none of these historical indices of oppression were present. The rights of French Canadians to their language was supposed to be protected under the preceding constitution, the BNA, so Trudeau’s “innovation” in this area wasn't as novel as advertised, and came about a century too late, decades after the horse of cultural genocide directed at French Canadians had left the barn and run its mission.

Language policy in Canada has always been a contentious matter; there are no simple solutions. However, in a truly honest approach to bilingualism, Ottawa would conduct a dispassionate discourse on language that admits the demographic realities and the genuine threats to the survival of French. Such a discourse would require that Ottawa acknowledge that as a first language, French is on the ropes outside Quebec and – most importantly – in the Montreal metropolitan area, and cease pretending that the situation of English-speaking Quebec is comparable to that of the French-speaking minorities in the rest of Canada. More specifically, it would require that Ottawa legitimize and promote application of the “territorial principle” within Quebec, and actively support the francization of allophones in the key Montreal area.

Such an unpoliticized and practical approach to bilingualism from the federal government does not seem likely. Ottawa continues, for example, to subsidize English-language pressure group like Alliance Quebec or its successor the QCGN on the grounds that they are formally equivalent to organizations representing francophone minorities elsewhere. Thereby, Ottawa in effect finances a Trojan horse. The goal of these groups is straightforward enough: wall-to-wall application of the “personality principle”. From this point of view, the Quebec government should treat English and French identically; it should not “discriminate” on behalf of either. Such a policy condemns Quebec francophones to a demographic fate similar to that which has befallen francophones elsewhere.

Many Quebecers have come to the conclusion that the current Canadian language regime is inherently assimilationist. In fact, if it were to endure in its present form, Ottawa’s language policy could well turn out, in the long run, to be no more than a subtle manner of securing the slow but sure anglicization of French Canada so firmly recommended by Lord Durham.

The perverse effect

The federal government, since Trudeau, has convinced Canadians that its expensive and largely useless approach to bilingualism is what Quebecers want. In reality, it isn't what we want and never has been. But poor old Billy, who works for Canada post in Saskatoon and had to learn French in order to be ready if one day a francophone wants to buy stamps in French, believes that he did this to please Quebecers. He doesn't understand why we aren't grateful. He also finds it hypocritical that Quebec insists on Canada being bilingual but at the same time only promotes French in Quebec. When the National Post rails against Quebec for whatever reason, Billy tends to nod his head in agreement because he's had enough of those darn Quebecers!

Meanwhile, back in the real world, Quebec's approach to language has produced a more bilingual society. The rates of bilingualism in Quebec have increased since Bill 101 and continue to increase whereas they have stagnated and declined in the rest of Canada. English dominates this continent and Bill 101 does nothing to reduce its importance. It's only by making French present and necessary in people's lives that we get a bilingual population. Institutionalized bilingualism for Quebec in general and Montreal specifically, would simply make French optional and for a minority society like ours that accepts a lot of immigrants, that means making French basically irrelevant. Learning two languages is difficult and few people will do it just for fun. They do it because it's necessary.

I can understand why someone like Howard Galganov hates Bill 101. He's not interested in French or bilingualism. He believes that it is his right as a Canadian to never have to speak any other language than English anywhere in Canada. But for someone who ostensibly advocates bilingualism to portray Bill 101 and Quebec's approach to language as the enemy of bilingualism is a sign of either being utterly clueless on the matter or intentionally deceitful. Quebecers routinely get lectured about the benefits of bilingualism by people like this as if we were the ones holding it back... It's a bit like if whites in the US were to lecture blacks about the value of racial equality while depicting Affirmative Action as an unacceptable form of discrimination against white people...