It is high time that Quebecers wake up. Let’s stop playing the ostrich and let’s be honest: French is in free fall and is on the way to being marginalized in Montreal.
The recently released 2021 census data on language is telling. If the trend continues, French will be a minority in Greater Montreal within 20 years and in all of Quebec within 50 years. In Canada as a whole, the language of Molière is literally on the verge of extinction.
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This trend is not new. By far the most alarming fact is the increase in the number of unilingual Anglophones. In Greater Montreal, their number has exploded, going from 286,275 to 346,425 in just 5 years! Moreover, the decline of our language is not just a Montreal affair: it is increasingly spreading to Laval and Gatineau.
People from Quebec are often accused of being “closed” when they want to protect their language. But who is closed-minded? The French-speaking (often bilingual) Montrealer who simply wishes to protect French in the North American context, or the unilingual English-speaking who has an allergic reaction to the idea of speaking French, even if he has lived here for a long time?
A big mistake
Some francophones don’t give a damn about French and have no problem with Montreal becoming anglicized. I believe they are seriously mistaken. The French language is a real wealth for Quebec.
Even though French is far behind English and Spanish in North America, this language has around 300 million speakers worldwide. It is therefore a language that has a very great cultural richness and Quebec would be making a serious mistake to turn its back on French.
Moreover, it is our marker of identity as a people, the cement that unites all Quebecers, regardless of their ethnic origin. Why should it be like the rest of North America? There is nothing original and exotic about speaking English on this continent. It’s the opposite for French, that’s what makes us so unique. Without French, Montreal would be no different from Toronto, Philadelphia or Detroit.
I’m 20 years old
I am 20 years old and I refuse to live with the disappearance of French in Montreal during my life. If we really want to save our beautiful language, we have to fight this fight ourselves. We can’t wait for the government to do it for us. No, it is not François Legault who will save the French. Every time a francophone tolerates being served in english only in a business, it sends the message that French is not a necessity. If we give up now, it’s already too late.
René Lévesque would have been 100 years old on August 24th. With the current French situation, he must be turning in his grave. Meanwhile, Lord Durham is celebrating.
20 years old, law student at Laval University, Quebec