Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Vigilance Essential For French

Montreal Skyline

From The Toronto Star:

Raising young children in Toronto in the early eighties, we hooked them on Passe-Partout, Télé-Québec's popular preschool program, and restricted television access to the length of the half-hour daily episodes.

The only language spoken at home was French, and both kids were home-schooled to read in their mother tongue long before they could decipher a word of English. That was part and parcel of bulletproofing our kids for the inevitable day when they ventured into the largely English-speaking Ontario world.

Read more ....

My Comment: As readers of this blog know, I have lived in Montreal for 49 years .... I have a perspective that Chantal Hebert does not have. After over 30 years of discrimination, humiliation, fines and law enforcement against non-francophone business institutions, propaganda and fear mongering, forcing parents with their children to go to schools that they do not want to go to, terrorism through extremist groups like the FLQ, being banned from government occupations or work in professional fields like medicine due to inadequate french language skills .... etc. etc. etc. .... what we have to show for it is the slow death of the French Quebecois language and culture in Montreal.

The reason why is simple, French Quebecers gave up having large families a long time ago .... and demographically they are losing ground. The hope has always been that by forcing immigrant children to go to French educational institutions will stop this decline. It has not. As a child of immigrant parents I was exposed at an early age the French Quebecois xenophobia towards outsiders .... and this still continues.

As more and more of Montreal French schools become filled with the children of immigrants from Haiti, Latin America, and Arab countries, we are now having the phenomenon of French flight from Montreal into the suburbs (that are almost all French Quebecois) off the island. Ste-Therese and Blainville have boomed in the past 5 years as a result of this mass movement of peoples.

Chantal Hebert may be proud that her children speak both languages, but I wager that their children or their grandchildren will end up talking only in English.

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