If an election were held in Quebec today, polls show that a group headed by former pequiste Francois Legault would win.  Legault  has promised not to hold a separation referendum for at least 10 years.  He is now fleshing out his group’s platform.

For openers, Legault believes the French language needs more support and protection, particularly in the Montreal area.  He is urging a crackdown by the province’s language police on Montreal merchants who fail to speak French to their clients.  “Each Quebecer has the responsibility to ensure that the language of commerce is French.”

The head of a Montreal business group disagrees.  Peter Siozis says businesses should serve their customers in the language of their choice.  “Cracking down  by using language inspectors is  showboating and outdated.”

Does the French language need more protection?

What do you think?


  1. 1
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    “Language” is a prohibited base of discrimination under thr Quebec charter of rights. So Quebec shouldn’t be allowed to legislate in favour of one language.

    Indeed, because French and English have official language status, they both should be at the bottom of the list of the over 300 languages spoken in Canada when it comes to protecting a language by government.

    Quebec only gets away with this crap because they have so successful in blackmailing Canada for the past 45 years.

  2. 2

    The French language is as protected as it can be. The “means” are already bordering on the illegal.
    While it’s true that Quebec has done a good job blackmailing the rest of Canada, some intervention was needed 45 years ago.
    I think the concept of “pur laine” is over- How distasteful was that? Reminissent of the arian race goal…
    Once again, the PQ party is imploding, and Legault can only serve to split that separation vote.
    What we need here is business, lots & lots of business! Keep them all busy & they won’t have time to day dream the impossible, improbable and stupid.

  3. 3
    Neil McKenty Says:

    Protection for the French language has absolutely nothing to do with blackmail. The French are one of the two founding nations of Canada. There were no Italians, Portugese or Spaniards around at that time. Hence the specil status and protection of the French language. Elementary for anyone who has the slightest knowledge of Canadian history.

  4. 4
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    Neil: Being a founding people doesn’t justify abusing human rights in your language group’s favour. All you get for being a founfing people is official language status which is restricted to government services only.

    Patti: French was never in danger even 45 years ago. But even if it was, why abuse rights to prop it up? Languages aren’t people; it is speech. Languages come and go; mutate; increase and decrease their numbers of speakers.

    If French speakers are concerned about their numbers, let them freely associate privately outside the influence of government and work towards preserving and promoting their special interests, just like others do. It is simply not the state’s business to legislate in favour of one ethnic group and I no longer wish to live in a country that puts up with such xenophobia and racism. Better such a country end and new arrangements made (hencse my book “Why Canada must end”).

  5. 5

    “The French are one of the two founding nations of Canada. There were no Italians, Portugese or Spaniards around at that time.”

    But there were Iriquois, Micmacs, Wyandot, Algonquin, Blackfoot, Cree, Salish, Haida, Tlingit, Anashinabe, and dozens of others, so how come their languages aren’t protected?

    And what’s this “founding” bullshit? Nobody “found” Canada — it wasn’t lost! And it was already populated!

  6. 6
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    Thank you, Lady Janus, for your breath of common sense.

    Neil, to even HINT that the French language is some how in danger or needs protection in light of the situation of Canada’s aboriginal languages implies an underlying, ugly racism: it’s okay to legislate and spend taxpayers’ money on White European languages but let’s ignore the lesser, inferior savages.

    There are 55 aboriginal languages spiken in Canada. Some have a few hundred speakers left, pthers a fee dozen, some one or two. Only Cree, Mohawk, and Ojibway are considered NOT on the verge of extinction.

    To have you and the other language fascists suggest that French, with over 6 million speakers in Quebec, official language status, educational, health, and justice systems available in French, is simply downright racist. And to support human rights-violating legislation on top of it — as you do– makes it doubly outrageous.

    Neil, it’s been over 34 years that you have been on the wrong side of the issue in your support of the race law/hate law Bill101. And you’re getting on in years. Don’t you think it’s about time you rethought your position on this?

  7. 7

    French certainly was in danger 45+ years ago. English money controlled all of big business. Of course that was not the “fault” of the English. The RC church contributed to the problem, in rural Quebec, by promoting religion & baby-making instead of education.
    Neil: I think that Quebec politics & blackmail are synonymous- language, government, business etc. etc. Look where that got us! We’ve gone from a have to have-not Province. We have separatists in high Federal gov’t positions!
    LJ: You are right about the founding people. What a mess we’ve made of that, & I don’t think that their many languages were the biggest loss.
    Tony, some of what you say is true. I don’t like the words “fascists”, “race law/hate law Bill101”. And I wouldn’t go so far as to suggest that Neil should rethink his position. His position is his opinion.
    and PS: The French may have been a founding nation but survived only by the grace of the British.

  8. 8

    Excuse me, but does anyone remember the Battle on the Plains of Abraham? The French LOST their claim! To the English.

  9. 9

    Exactly! Thank you.

  10. 10
    pennypup Says:

    Hmm… I think the “language police” should be done away with. Frankly, there are MANY areas in Quebec which are French only.

    I live in Quebec, and my French isn’t great, but I make an effort. I wish I spoke it fluently and I’m trying. Most often, if you make an effort, many are happy to help you out.

    I hope the French continue to speak French in Quebec, I just think Quebec should be required to provide English as well as French like the rest of Canada must.

  11. 11
    Neil McKenty Says:

    The French lost on the Plains of Abraham. True.

    Does that mean the French should be slaves or second class citizens. Even you anti-French people would scartcely claim that. Would you?
    The fact of the matter is that without the French and Quebec, Canada would not be Canada. Probably only a question of tim e till we become an appendage of the U.S. So gird your loins and accept the facts. Quebec and the Quebecois are here to stay. Most Canadians will drink to that.

  12. 12
    Neil McKenty Says:


    Great to hear from you.

    You suggest that Quebec should provide English the way the rest of Canada provides French. Do you seriously think a French Quebecer could easily get served in French in the rest of Canada. Not very likely.

  13. 13

    No, the British allowed the French to flourish, but they have certainly turned Anglos into second class citizens. As a matter of fact, the PQ turned some French families into 2nd class by revoking their parental rights to choose the schooling for their children.
    I agree that the French played a sterling role in the development of Canada, as did all other immigrants and the Native people.
    I am French Canadian (but apparently not pur laine enough). I love Quebec, but the politics are tiring and worn out.
    I don’t agree that we will become an appendage of the US. (What does that mean?) As though they would want our politics to deal with!
    Good repartee!

  14. 14

    RE: both Official Languages, there are schools across Canada-teaching a sub-standard English/French. Especially, here in Quebec, we could easily strive for perfect bilingualism. That’s not the case in either public school board.
    Of course the kids are the ones who suffer. Those who are perfectly bilingual are at a distinct advantage in the job market.
    Children in other countries are learning 3-4-5 languages, and here we are, still bogged down with 1 or 2. (re: tiring and worn out-politics) above.
    On the subject of “serving”…be nice. It’s called “service” for a reason.

  15. 15
    Trev Says:

    There are parts of Quebec where an english canadian can get service in english easily, as an example Pointe-Claire. Just as there are parts of the rest of Canada where the Quebecois would get service in french, for instance in the acadian parts of New Brunswick. Or even in Ontario where you are served in french first in many places, such as Hawkesbury. I even went into a gas station in PEI and the main language was french.

  16. 16
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    Neil: the francophones of Moncton, New Brunswick have way more rights and services in French than do the anglophones in English in Blanc Sanlon, Quebec.

  17. 17

    New Brunswick is officially bi-lingual and their French schools are quite avant guard. BTW-I love Moncton. Very nice city!
    I am frequently served in English in Quebec. If they have difficulty, I switch to French. I think they are catching on, that they are at a disadvantage, and often remark that they need more practice etc.
    Quebec City-Total service en Anglais-they understand tourism!

  18. 18
    jim Says:

    Who’s on first? Giovanni Caboto. He sailed into the St Lawrence in 1497, 7 years before Jake Carter. GC was an Italian Navigator who was in the employ of Henry VII. And of course there was Leif Ericsen 500 years before them.

    Who’s on second? Why, “je me souviens” of course.
    Why oh why did the Prov.of Que pick this chestnut to put on our license plates. To complete the motto, “I remember/ That born under the lily/ I grow under the rose”

    Who’s on third? Only rabble rousers. We must remember that only 2% of the Russian Citizenry were communists.They made so much noise that some thought they were all communists. Somewhat the same here. Maybe only 20 % of French Canadians want to be totally separated from Canada. But they are afraid to ask that direct question in a referendum because the agitators know it won’t pass.
    I notice that over the last few decades separatist leaders have all been pulvarized by their own kind.

    About home plate – Try this for a reverberation “a la pur laine”. A dimwit in the States who also made a lot of noise, did a lot of damage to his country when he said “When I was coming up, it was a dangerous world, and we knew exactly who the ‘they’ were. It was us versus ‘them’, and it was clear who ‘them’ was. Today, we are not so sure who the ‘they’ are, but we know ‘they’re’ there.
    You may notice that he said when he was “coming up” rather than “growing up”, he was perfectly correct in his Freudian self-assessment – he never did grow up.

    BTW – I venture to say that the number of pur laine in Quebec is less than 5% of the population. Now, if one counts the French King’s hookers he sent over, it might go as high as 25%. The biggest block today are Irish Linens. Next down, is mixed Indian/French.

    Don’t labour too much tomorrow, maudit anglais.

  19. 19

    Right on my man!

  20. 20
    Walli Says:

    I am have lived many years in Quebec, came from Europe in 1981, learned the languages English/French and speak additionally German. I am sick and tired of those separatist babies! The world has REAL issues, and language is not one of them. I have also lived in Spain, Switzerland, Luxembourg and did not see any issues there. In fact, they speak three to four languages in Switzerland! When you go to Europe people speak a minimum of four languages! When I was in the West Island, there and MTL, the majority of languages where from Allophones and Anglophones, with a few lost souls- French separatists-and that is why, boys and girls, Quebec has not yet separated, and have lost much support. Now I am living in a small town called Hawkesbury Ontario, where 89% speak French and there are on a majority only jobs for French BORN natives, who refuse to speak English when being served, or who do not speak English, because they can get jobs but the non-French can’t. It boggles my mind how it is possible on the Ontario side? At this point they have nothing to be proud of because the poverty levels are the second poorest next to East Cornwall in Ontario. So why are they still bitching? They should slip over the border to Quebec where they belong. Maybe they should learn English, get a haircut and get a REAL job.

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