[lg policy] Quebec: Stop targeting =?windows-1252?Q?=91the_other=92_?=in language talk, Immigration Minister Kathleen Weil says
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Fri Apr 20 14:40:06 UTC 2012
Stop targeting ‘the other’ in language talk, Immigration Minister
Kathleen Weil says
Bill 101 must be rewritten, says Parti Québécois’s Yves-François Blanchet
By Kevin Dougherty, GAZETTE QUEBEC BUREAU April 20, 2012 6:57 AM
QUEBEC — Kathleen Weil, Quebec’s immigration minister, and herself the
daughter of a doctor who immigrated to Montreal from the United
States, has had enough of constant suggestions by Yves-François
Blanchet, the Parti Québécois language and immigration critic, that
newcomers embracing English threaten Quebec’s French character.
“I find it really destructive to constantly target the other, the
person that has come here,” Weil said after Blanchet released a leaked
draft of a declaration the Charest government wants participants at a
language summit next Friday in Montreal to endorse.
Blanchet, who like other PQ members and some media commentators,
expresses concern Montreal is “anglicizing,” meaning that immigrants
are choosing English over French, told reporters when he saw the draft
that his first thought was that the Liberal government was shifting
“180 degrees,” adopting “a solid language policy.”
“But my little celebration was short-lived, since they did exactly the
same thing in 2008,” Blanchet said, recalling the 2008 provincial
election, and suggesting the government is in electioneering mode.
The draft states eight principles the participants would agree to:
* Promote French as the common language and an instrument of social cohesion.
* Pay constant attention to the quality of the French language.
* Reinforce the use of French as the language of the public
administration, work, greetings and service, signs, shopping, business
* Reinforce the knowledge and mastery of French by immigrants and
communicate with them in French to favour their integration into
* Facilitate the full participation, by all, in French in the
democratic, economic, social and cultural life of Quebec.
* Consolidate the identity of Montreal as a francophone metropolis,
cosmopolitan, diversified and inclusive.
* Ensure respect for the Charter of the French Language.
* Build together our future in French.
“I think the government wants to score a few points with
French-speaking voters,” Blanchet said. “And I am also convinced that
the population of Quebec will not be so naive as to believe that this
is anything more than a smokescreen.”
Blanchet said the language charter, also known as Bill 101, is 35
years old this year and must be rewritten, to eliminate bilingual
signs and linguistic transfers.
“We have to ensure that all immigrants who come to Quebec participate
in French training,” he said.
This point appeared to rankle Weil, who noted that the Liberals
recruit immigrants who already speech French or who are disposed to
learning French, starting them off with online French courses and
Alliance Française courses.
“You just speak to any immigrant,” Weil told reporters, at a separate
“I’ve been in this position forever because I’ve grown up in
Montreal,” she said.
“Immigrants know that the common language is French,” the minister
added. “Of course there is a presence of English, but it doesn’t mean
that they don’t understand that the common language (is French).”
Quebec chooses immigrants who are skilled, Weil said, often professionals.
“So if it’s an engineer, if it’s an accountant, if it’s a lawyer, if
it’s a doctor, obviously they need to master French, frankly. They
need to have a knowledge of French,” she said.
“We have always integrated people. We have integrated people well.”
Weil said Blanchet sees immigrants as “a bit of a threat,” a view she
does not share.
“We need immigrants and we need to give them the right level of
services and that’s what we do,” she said.
Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Stop+targeting+other+language+talk+Immigration+Minister+Kathleen+Weil+says/6486131/story.html#ixzz1sak5RT6K
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