Sunday, June 23, 2024

Can we at least talk about cultural sovereignty?

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Tony Vaughn
Tony Vaughn
"Total creator. Evil zombie fan. Food evangelist. Alcohol practitioner. Web aficionado. Passionate beer advocate."

Since the figures for the decline of French in Quebec and across Canada were revealed by Statistics Canada a few weeks ago, protest has been observed everywhere. Some advocated strengthening language-specific legislation (Law 96), others for better selection of immigrants.

Posted yesterday at 12:00 PM.

Mark Tremblay

Mark Tremblay

The decline of the French language envisioned by the Federal Authority also depends on other headwinds that take the form of a veritable cultural hurricane: new technologies and GAFAM. duty Last Thursday we learned that, according to NETendances, “only 64% of Quebec internet users primarily use Tremblay, which is a 12% decrease compared to 2020”.

Such a rapid fall of the French language on the web is absolutely amazing. He adds to this, which is noticeable in the cultural field in general, where the status of French cinema and television continues to decrease in favor of American platforms such as Netflix, Disney and Amazon, especially among young people. As for Quebec music, it is simply under artificial respiration.

According to the Institut de la statistique du Québec, only 9% of the music that Quebecers listened to on the web came from artists in the province in 2021.

So the French must now fight on all fronts. As a language of use and a working language over an increasingly large part of the territory (Montreal and Gatineau in particular), as a language of integration for immigrants, but also as a language of communication and even as a language of recreation. The situation is such that the question must be asked: What is the future of a people, in all aspects of its existence, moving away from its fibrous, French identity, and from its own culture, people who fantasize and dream less and less in their own language?

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forgotten idea

In failing to achieve political sovereignty that the majority of Quebecers rejected, we must at least return to this old, now-forgotten idea that even the Federalists once defended: cultural sovereignty. This is based on a number of initiatives such as strengthening language laws, better selection of immigrants, but also a real cultural policy with real means to promote French and Quebec culture. But such a policy would fail without the input of the federal government.

Here lies the problem. Because without the GAFAM framework expected from the Canadian government (taxes, taxation, contribution to the creation of French-language products, etc.), and without initiatives such as the CRTC mandate review (expected soon in Ottawa) and perhaps even Radio Canada’s efforts, Quebec’s efforts would be a blow in the water. Not to mention that the Canadian Supreme Court may soon mean Bill 96 which aims to better protect this language we say we cherish, but increasingly ignore.

See for yourself. Aside from the PQ and some milk shots from the prime minister, who talks about cultural supremacy during this Quebec campaign when inflation and tax cuts monopolized the attention of the parties? Because, of course, the survival of the only French-speaking community in America has absolutely nothing to do with the proverbial “real business”…

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