Here’s my proof – a study prepared by Jack Jedwab of the Association for Canadian Studies for a local non-profit organization (page 4, 1st paragraph).
I have a bad habit of getting into endless conversations with close-minded separatists on Reddit, and a few had been badgering me to back up the title of this post. I was arguing, among other things, the merits of bilingualism and why PQ education minister Malavoy’s plans to limit Anglo education was both counter-intuitive and counter-productive. As you might imagine this leads some people to claim I’m a Westmount Rhodesian who wishes to force everyone to bend to his will and speak English. I argued that with a 90% bilingualism rate, Québec’s anglophones were no threat to the French language, and that French’s solidity in Québec was entirely unquestioned. Admittedly, I was mistaken when I had alleged the percentage was this high amongst the working population, but I knew I had read a credible study when preparing a university paper many moons ago that backed up my assertion.
Of note, this study was commissioned in 2001, and found that 90% of the 18-24 age demographic of Anglo-Québécois were able to hold a conversation in French. That was eleven years ago and the trend has increased steadily ever since among that and lower-aged cohorts. The student population of 2001 is in their early thirties today, and are now part of the workforce. They’re having kids and raising them bilingually too.
The general Anglo population level of bilingualism right now is 70%, but Anglo in this case refers to people who have English as a mother-tongue, 607,000 people in Québec as of 2006 (chart on page 11) or 8.2% of the population.
The Anglo-Québécois population was highest in 1971 at 788,000 people (13.2%) and declined straight until 2001, and has since increased by roughly 20,000 people.
Of note – the percentage of children under the age of 18 with one parent from each language group has increased to 44% in 2006 from 27% in 1971 (page 22)
1. Bilingualism among Québec Anglophones is on the rise
2. Amongst Anglo-Québécois children and youth, it was 90% eleven years ago, so we can presume it’s nearly the same for twenty and thirty-somethings today as well.
3. Unilingual Anglophones are increasingly of retirement age.
4. Bill 101 has been in effect since 1977 and has made French a fundamental necessity for life in Québec, not to mention gaining decent employment in this province
So what does this mean?
I think it says that whatever the Anglo Québécois community was thirty years ago, it has fundamentally changed and we’re better for it today. I think it also means that bilingualism in English and French is something anyone can accomplish and it is something our community is well on its way to accomplishing just this.
And we’re doing so by integrating. And would you believe neither our culture nor our language has disappeared?
Amazing isn’t it?
So why do we take politicians seriously when they allege the English-language is a pervasive disorder threatening the sanctity of the French fact in Québec?
Why is it alleged that we can’t speak French, that we force others to speak English, and that we simply refuse to integrate when precisely the opposite has been the case for over forty years?
It’s starting to get a little ridiculous…non?