Monday, October 26, 2009

Bill 104: ambivalence toward bilingualism is a problem for Canada

I have a new post up at Global Comment

image Canada was originally divided into Upper and Lower Canada. This division was based upon linguistics and culture and to this day, there continues to be a lack of harmony between Anglophones and Francophonie. Amidst all of this tension, Quebec has been very adamant about persevering French culture. Education in Canada is under provincial control and this has allowed the Quebec government to ensure that the majority of the students receive a French language education.

The population of Quebec is declining and the province has created the most liberal social benefits to encourage childbirth. This includes a largely government funded day care system, as well as a bonus to each woman that gives birth to a child. Even with these wonderful social benefits, Quebec is particularly dependent upon immigration to retain its population density.

New immigrants to Quebec are not necessarily invested in the maintenance of either the French language or culture. This is further problematized by the fact that English has become the universal language of commerce. Parents wishing to ensure that their children are able to compete for jobs globally have been spring-boarding their children into English schools. Seven years ago, Bill 104 was specifically designed to disallow those attending private English institutions for a few years from claiming Anglophone status and entering English public schools in Quebec.

Finish reading here