Bill 101 is not a failure

I hesitated a lot before talking to you about Frederic Lacroix’s book Why Bill 101 is a failure, Because in my opinion it is not so much an article as a disastrous booklet.

Personally, I always thought Bill 101 wasn’t a failure, even if it could be improved upon. The author agrees, without giving too many details: Since 1977, the rate of immigrants choosing French has increased from 15% to 55% – nearly four times. In terms of social engineering, it is successful. But Frederick Lacroix directs all of his rhetoric toward the fact that the rate of immigrants choosing English has only dropped from 85% to 45% (not even half). The typical case of a glass is half full or half empty, perspective depends on the septum, a mathematical reality that the author, a physicist, understands well – and accepts it.

However, reading this book is essential. D’abord parce que ce serait le livre de chevet du ministre Simon Jolin-Barrette, qui prépare une réforme majeure de la loi 101. Et aussi parce que, malgré son titre, le cœur de l’ouvrage est «la dynamique linguistique québécoise dans Higher education. ”This is the most urgent part.

Frédéric Lacroix explains that the policy of free language choice in higher education plus various forms of support from two levels of government inappropriately favor CEGEPs and English-speaking universities – and weaken the French-speaking part. The same logic applies to the health system.

Supporting tables and figures, the demonstration is harsh: English speakers, who make up 8% of the population, will look for over 25% of places and funding in higher education for all of Quebec. For Montreal, it is roughly 50%. This overcapacity and overfunding reduce the resources available in the francophone side accordingly. The surprise of scale: In 2000, it was François Legault, Minister of Education at the time, who created the current system of university funding, which had the effect of greatly favoring English-speaking universities and increasing the demand for English-speaking CEGEPs.

According to the theory of “institutional completeness” proposed by sociologist Raymond Britton of the University of Toronto, the more institutions a society develops, the less inclination its members are to assimilate into surrounding groups. This theory explains why the Anglo-Quebec minority, which benefits from overfunded educational and health institutions, performs better than any other Canadian minority. So much so, that it is still a carrying power in Quebec itself. Frédéric Lacroix puts his finger on a large sore when he appears to be a French-speaking Quebec resident Which was adopted English It doubled suddenly between the 2011 and 2016 censuses, It rises to 23,000.

Like Frederick Lacroix, I agree with the idea that Bell 101 should be rewritten. For me, the real revelation of this book was the knowledge that the authors of Bell 101 sold the bear’s skin before it was killed. In fact, our current Bill 101 is designed to be applied in an independent context of Quebec where French is the language of the national majority and where English is the language of Quebec’s minority. However, there was no independence. After two referendums, the French-speaking majority remains a Canadian national minority and the English-speaking minority in Quebec is still a Canadian majority.

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This unexpected referendum, which would in itself justify reforming the law, is just the first in a series of developments that no one expected. For example, globalization and new technologies, which lead to a new form of direct consumption of cultural products in the English language; The end of the mass emigration of the English-speaking population of Quebec; Deep bilingualism in Quebec society; The major influence of CEGEPs on graduation. In short, there are many reasons for revising Bill 101.

After the flowers, pot

But among the changes in society, the most important one in my opinion is the one which Frederick Lacroix is ​​very wary of. This is the transformative effect of Bell 101. It is also at this point that Frederick Lacroix is ​​the weakest one in my opinion.

This is evident in the absence of a clear definition in the book of terms such as “French speakers” and “language of use.” This gives the impression that the author is taking his readers in suitcases. Take the assertion over and over again that the demographic weight of French speakers has fallen below 80% (to 78%), the first since 1871. In the context of 1871, this term specifically refers to the “French Canadian” ethnic group. However, Bill 101 has overturned this ethnic concept because its aim is to absorb immigrants. What francophone are we talking about when it comes to the decline of the French language? This lack of clarity is the most disturbing part of the book.

Likewise, the demonstration that a large group of French speakers graduated from English-speaking universities and colleges is a Trojan horse for the decline of the French language away from persuasion. I can introduce Frédéric Lacroix to a whole chain of French speakers trained in English who teach at the university in French, even if their language at home is not French. I know enough of them and meet with them so often that I wonder which stats category would suit them.

The truth is that Quebec has become multicultural, and we feel that the author has great difficulty reconciling this change with his own discourse of identity. It comes everywhere. When he does not tarnish the reputation of bilingualism, which is presented as a foreign body, he is offended by the fact that more and more “non-French speakers” are settling in Laval or Longueuil. But Bell 101 was never intended to create ghettos and prevent people from moving around. If Montreal and its environs become arrogant, it is also because “French-speaking” (meaning “French Canadians”) depart for Granby, Saint-Sauveur or Vaudreuil.

Nevertheless, even if I have a natural dislike for the kind of reluctance of identity that represents the subtext of the action, we must recognize in Frederick Lacroix’s book the advantage of the apparent emphasis on the need to reinforce Bill 101 with a series of actions outside of this law. . As the author has said several times, Bill 101’s best reinforcement came from the power Quebec gave itself in selecting immigrants.

This illustrates the challenges that Secretary Jolene Barrett will face. Because he would not be able to undertake a major overhaul of Bill 101 without taking over several ministries, starting with his colleagues McCann (Higher Education), Girolt (Immigration, French and Integration), Leble (government administration), Fitzgibbon (economics) and Bollet (labor) – among other things.

In comparison, his law on state secularism was a little beer.

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