The public controversy, for several weeks, rekindled an ancestral fear of many French speakers: to see the relative weight of the French gradually diminish in Canada, to the point that the very vitality of the Francophonie would be called into question.
This fear is sometimes used to justify populist actions which, while harmful to living together, ultimately do little to improve the vitality of the French.
Denouncing these measures does not mean that the fear behind them is illegitimate. On the contrary, there are a thousand and one way to completely transform this commendable concern for the sustainability of the French language into concrete, constructive and promising demands.
I spoke about it with Alain Dupuis, Director General of the Federation of Francophone Communities and Academics of Canada (FCFA) – the national voice of the 2.7 million francophones living in minority status in the other nine provinces and three territories. For decades now, the US Soccer Federation has been fighting for the government of Canada to increase the proportion of French-speaking immigrants that are received outside Quebec.
At the 2001 census, the proportion of French speakers in minority circles was 4.4%. In 2003, Ottawa pledged to 4.4% of immigrants who arrived in Canada are French-speakingso that at least the French-Canadian and Acadian communities could sustain themselves over the years.
Note that the definitions of “Francophones” used here are more comprehensive than those used in Quebec. The FCFA defines Francophones as anyone who speaks French – period. As for the Canadian Immigration Department, for its part, it includes in its definition of a Francophone immigrant any person who speaks French as an official language. So it is not necessarily a mother tongue issue.
Has this 4.4% target already been reached? no never. Even in 20 years, Ottawa has recruited more than 2% of French-speaking new permanent residents just twice: in 2019 and 2020.
Alain Dupuis explains, “Importantly, these delays. It represents a loss of vitality, a weakening of institutions, and of course a significant shortage of labour. Francophone societies are thus less diverse than the general Canadian population” because the federal government does not allow communities to benefit from immigration and all its advantages.” .
The result is that the proportion of French speakers in minority circles is decreasing year by year. From 4.4% of the population in 2001, these communities represented only 3.8% of the population in 2016. The FCFA is eagerly awaiting data from the 2020 census, and anticipates that if the situation is not rectified, it will not represent More than 3.1% of Canada ‘outside Quebec’ by 2036.
So it is true, for the time being, that Ottawa’s immigration policies play a role in the demographic decline of Francophonie – in the other nine provinces and three territories. This is why the FCFA deplores the situation, and is asking the federal government to make things right.
This winter, I ordered the organization demographic study Determine what goal to ask. To maintain the current proportion of so-called “outside Quebec” Francophones, he calculates that Immigration Canada must accept 8% of Francophone immigrants. If we are to repair the damage caused by Ottawa’s false promises, we need a more ambitious goal.
The FCFA would like the federal government to commit to accepting 12% of French speakers by 2024, and to increase this target to 20% in 2036. One in five immigrants within 14 years: this is the goal not only to preserve Francophone communities, but to put them back on the path of growth. In absolute numbers, this means that 40,000 French-speaking immigrants will be accepted out of Quebec by 2024.
To do this, the FCFA would like Ottawa’s immigration policy to set detailed targets in each immigration category, for each region, based on the specific needs of the communities. “The shortage of teachers, for example, is very important for French language schools, Mr. Dubuis regrets. There is also a shortage of early childhood employment, health and public service, and many companies are struggling to hire Francophone employees.”
Some work is currently being done on the federal side on this issue. Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said he wants to reach the historic target of 4.4% by next year. The proposed reform of the Official Languages Act states that Ottawa will henceforth be obligated to adopt a more comprehensive policy on Francophone immigration. However, no one at the federal level has yet commented on the targets required by the FCFA.
It seems to me that there is an opportunity here for Kibbers to show solidarity with the French-speaking communities across the country. There is no doubt that the charters of rights and liberties are abused or wary of diversity in order to protect the French. exactly the contrary. It is a matter of welcoming more economic migrants and their family members, more foreign students, and more asylum seekers and refugees from sub-Saharan Africa, the Maghreb and France. And this is for the benefit of the whole society, the economy as well as the linguistic balance.
The vast majority of Quebecers can easily rally behind the goals proposed by the FCFA and support the organization in its efforts. Nothing says that immigration cannot be a tool for the development of Canadian Francophonie. If we’re in the mood for a fight with Ottawa, I’ll give us that fight.
Let’s see in the video
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