« $2,1 billions from Quebec taxpayers have been used to fund English courses for French-speaking immigrants. » Similar terms were used to introduce a study published by la Presse Canadienne. According to that study, Quebec is anglicizing its French-speaking immigrants in order to prepare them to the realities of the work market.
Viewpoint of a francophone immigrant anglicized in Quebec
Personally, I did not benefit from these free English lessons payed for immigrants. However, my first years of higher education were spent in an Anglophone university, McGill College (tuition paid for by my parents).
At first, I have desperately tried to improve my English in order to be « cool ». While in high school, most students would speak English during the lunch break (a bit ironic when you are attending a school named Le Collège Français). I have started to think that English was a language for cool people.
From that moment on, English became a real obsession for me. Outside the Anglo-Saxon culture, speaking English has allowed me to discover many other cultures that are unknown to the French-speaking world.
It may sound unimportant but some foreign movies are being subtitled in English more often than in French. Being fond of Asian movies, I would have been frustrated if I did not understand English.
When it comes to academics, English also rules. Whether it be for research on web architecture, advertising or marketing, there are many more recent information resources in English.
Professionally speaking it’s only have my first summer jobs that I realized how much English is crucial.
And yet, irony of the fate, some of my Anglo friends feel inferior because their French is broken. They feel victim of discrimination because they find that French-speaking job seekers have more opportunities. Bottom line is that the best of both world would be made of bilingual people.
A purely linguistic matter or cultural too?
If you ask me to choose between French and English, I would refuse. I am proud f being bilingual. I love Montreal because in some areas, you find yourselves talking to stranger and you never know in advance in what language the conversation will be held. I also find it great that immigrants make the effort to take English courses or any other courses after their arrival in Canada.
The only hitch is that French is losing ground. I feel it many facets of my life and I am so disappointed. At the same time I agree with the journalist of the article Henry Aubin: Don’t blame anglos for French decline when she says that French-speaking people should not blame the Anglos. Us, French-speaking people, need to ponder over the way we can preserve our beautiful language and the cultures that enrich French-speaking communities. And that is a whole different chapter…