Québec society crumbling

For the relatively young countries of North America, the province of Québec provides a unique and exotic escape from our traditional, modern surroundings. With a European sensibility, Québec often gains extensive tourism, but their increasingly damaging policies, laws and behaviour is garnering them widespread international criticism.

Québec’s newly proposed language law, Bill 101, which seeks to legislate the French language by ensuring it is protected from outside influences, is a perfectly understandable initiative. Naturally, Québec would feel inclined to protect their language and the culture it flourishes in. What the government of Québec seems oblivious to however, is the complete state of turmoil these attempts to protect their culture has ignited.

Some of the bill’s unjustified restrictions include minimizing how many English-speakers can work at a business and punishing any bilingual municipalities if their Anglophones out number their Francophones.

The bill also takes aim at Québec’s youth as it will restrict stationed Canadian soldiers from educating their children in English while also having the right to withhold a student’s high school or college diploma if the student isn’t deemed fit enough to actively participate in Québec’s society.

This seems highly unnecessary as a place like Montreal is by nature, a duel-language city. With tensions surrounding the government’s series of bills intended to protect the French language, it seems by doing so, they are consequently only working to restrict English.

Thousands of English-speaking Québec residents have spoken out against the bill for its infringement on their rights as Canadian citizens. Similarly, many English protestors feel they are subject to an unfair prejudice from Premier Pauline Marois of the Parti Québecois government (PQ).

With criticism over Bill 101, otherwise known as Québec’s Charter of the French Language (QCFL), it should be apparent to the PQ that they are not only upsetting English-Speaking Canadians, but their very own residents who now feel unwelcome in their native province.

Despite the controversy of the bill, it is apparent that the primary origin of Québec’s deteriorating social and political system rests in the hands of the PQ, who are narrowly focused on “protecting” French culture until the point of complete and utter ridiculousness.

Significant media attention has been given to what is now being called “Pasta-gate” in which an Italian restaurant in Québec was investigated, and later reprimanded for not having enough French dishes and names on its menu.

Apparently, the word “pasta” violated several language laws. It is almost completely impossible to defend such absurd actions. It is one thing to carry an agenda with meaning, but something completely different to do so until the point of international ridicule.

With education related riots, deteriorating infrastructure, government corruption and now, communist-like politics, it is apparent that Québec is crumbling. English speaking Canadians have long been taught to feel not only guilty, but responsible for what their ancestors did to restrict French culture.

I understand there is a legacy of bias or injustice, but at some point our nation needs to stop concentrating on past issues. It is our ancestral shame that provides this kind of opportunity which takes advantage of non-francophone citizens.

With a province that has been investigated for the mafia influence in the Montreal government as well as dangerously subpar infrastructure, it is a relief to see a more critical eye now being placed on the state of Québec.

If Québec wants to protect the integrity of their French culture, perhaps it’s time to focus their energy on fixing their infrastructure and political structure before worrying about what types of words are used to describe Italian cuisine.


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