Updates from November, 2023 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 20:11 on 2023-11-04 Permalink | Reply  

    Thousands marched downtown Saturday to press Canada to call for a ceasefire in Gaza. It was part of a worldwide action for Palestine. Photos from the Journal.

    • Kate 10:55 on 2023-11-04 Permalink | Reply  

      The tuition hikes at anglo universities may doom McGill’s Schulich music school, according to the university’s principal.

      The Gazette has an op-ed about how anglo institutions should not be valued – and should not value themselves – chiefly on how well they sustain and defend the French language. The writer doesn’t say in so many words that if defending French is the main point of all education here, the most valuable thing anglophone universities can do is self‑immolation, but it’s the logical conclusion.

      Luckily they won’t have to do that, as they’re having it done for them – and that will continue, whether the CAQ is re‑elected, or the PQ sweeps back into power again next time.

      In any case, is French really in decline?

      • Chris 17:31 on 2023-11-04 Permalink

        “It’s true that the number of Quebecers with French as their mother tongue is in decline”. Well, that’s the
        number one predictor of language endangerment.

      • Kate 17:49 on 2023-11-04 Permalink

        If this was about a language on the verge of dying out, I might see it. French is not endangered. Millions speak it around the world. Montreal’s remaining anglo institutions do not need to be destroyed in the service of keeping French alive.

        If the Quebec government wants to have more people who speak French at home – if it isn’t enough for us to speak French at work and at the store and at the doctor’s and in the street – they simply need to get francophone women, women who speak French at home, to have more babies.

      • DeWolf 18:28 on 2023-11-04 Permalink

        Mother tongue is a silly way to measure language use because nobody can change their mother tongue, but they can certainly change the language they speak most often. Even francophone immigrants from countries like Senegal and Haiti have another language they speak with their families.

        Percentage of people who speak only French at home:

        2006: 81%
        2021: 77%

        2006: 53%
        2021: 48%

        But If you look at how many people are speaking French at home on a daily basis, it suggests that it’s not in decline, in fact just the opposite.

        Percentage of people who speak French at home, including those who mix it with another language:

        2006: 83%
        2021: 86%

        2006: 56%
        2021: 65%

        So French is only in decline if you believe in complete linguistic purity. Which is an absurd concept in the 21st century.

      • Kate 19:48 on 2023-11-04 Permalink

        Purity is probably the ideal.

        People have gone to great lengths in trying to achieve purity of one sort or another.

      • Chris 19:50 on 2023-11-04 Permalink

        Kate, I don’t believe anyone is arguing French is approaching extinction (which obviously it isn’t). But that doesn’t mean it’s not declining. Something like 50% of languages are in danger of extinction today. Pessimistic estimates are that 90% will be gone in a century.

        DeWolf where are those stats from? What does ‘speaking French at home, including mixing it with another language’ mean exactly? If you throw in a few words per day, do you fall in this category?

      • JP 20:59 on 2023-11-04 Permalink

        I really doubt that French is among the languages at risk of extinction any time soon.

      • Kate 21:16 on 2023-11-04 Permalink

        Chris: at a guess, this often means families where the kids go to school in French, but their parents speak their language of origin at home, although able to speak French at work and outside the house, and any grandparents speak mostly the language of origin. It’s not easy to define these shadings of usage.

      • Uatu 22:16 on 2023-11-04 Permalink

        French is the official language of diplomacy and is used regularly at the United Nations. You can ask any question in French to the UN tour guides and they can answer in kind. At least they did when I visited.

      • DeWolf 23:19 on 2023-11-04 Permalink

        @Chris These numbers are from the census.

        I’d wager a significant number of immigrant families mix languages at home. Parents speak to their kids in their native language, the kids reply in French. Or you have people from Morocco or Congo or Senegal where it’s already common to code switch between French and Arabic, Wolof or Lingala. Just for example.

        Of course there’s no point in denying there hasn’t been a decline in French in some areas, particularly the workplace. I definitely get the sense that it’s impossible to be served in French in many more businesses than before, but ironically this is the result of the CAQ restricting immigration while facilitating TFWs who have no means or opportunity to learn French.

        But the overall picture is complicated and saying French is in decline across the board is simply inaccurate.

      • Meezly 11:41 on 2023-11-05 Permalink

        Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a search function here anymore, but I remember the 2021 census results being discussed here and how the CAQ is twisting the facts to suit their agenda of how “pure” French is in decline.

        StatCan: French was the first official language spoken by more than 7.8 million Canadians in 2021, up from 7.7 million in 2016. However, since this growth (+1.6%) was slower than the growth of the population overall (+5.2%), the proportion of the Canadian population whose first official language spoken is French decreased.

      • Joey 15:48 on 2023-11-05 Permalink

        We can pick nits all day long about the best way to measure the health or vitality of French in Quebec. But doing so causes us to miss the bigger picture. For 25 years, following Parizeau’s “quiet part loud” moment on the night of the referendum, the nationalist movement in Quebec has sought to woo the province’s “cultural communities.” Remember Lucien Bouchard’s speech at the Centaur? Or the constant reminder that Quebec anglos are the “best treated minority in the world”? The CAQ/Legault has had enough, and has decided that its ability to translate a small plurality of votes into a supermajority of seats on the National Assembly means it can stop the charade; in other words, they’re decided that it’s enough already of this diversity nonsense – Quebec should be French-speaking and white, point final.

        No close reading of language use statistics will change that. An electoral trouncing might, but not if the PQ re-emerges victorious…

      • Orr 16:14 on 2023-11-05 Permalink

        Lots of effort in the last 25 years to erase historical traces of english heritage outside of Montreal also. Changing town names to delete the english part (ie most towns that were xxx Mills), Valleyfield region now Beauharnois-Salaberry, Huntingdon country became MRC Haut-St-Laurent and now its regional tourism has deleted the names of villages and hamlets leaving only the more generic regional municipality name. The list goes on. There’s a political science or history PhD here for anyone who wants to pursue it.

      • Kate 18:11 on 2023-11-05 Permalink

        How did we keep City Councillors and Bridge Street, then?

      • Kate 20:11 on 2023-11-05 Permalink

        Meezly wrote: Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a search function here anymore…

        I’m sorry about that, Meezly. But having an open search box was causing technical problems – I’m not sure why, but it attracted a lot of hits and was bogging down the server. So I had to remove it.

      • steph 20:16 on 2023-11-05 Permalink

        @Meezly, from what I recall you’re right. If DeWolf could repost his statistics in terms of population instead of percent, it would read with a different shock value.

      • JP 21:13 on 2023-11-05 Permalink

        @Kate I have no doubt that they will eventually aim to revise street names including Bridge, City Councillors, Monkland, Overdale, Royalmount, Devonshire, Crescent, MacKay, etc.

      • JaneyB 11:25 on 2023-11-06 Permalink

        @Meezly – you can still search this blog using Google.
        Example: REM site:https://mtlcityweblog.com will yield all the REM mentions.

      • carswell 20:04 on 2023-11-06 Permalink

        @Joey Clearly and succinctly put and I couldn’t agree more. That said, I expect that in Legault’s (and thus the CAQ’s) case, the threatened and actual attacks on the English-language institutions is also driven by a deep-rooted anti-anglo bias.

        These days, I often find myself thinking of a passage from a 2018 Policy Magazine article quoted by Don Macpherson: “Despite his business background, there was always a harsh nationalist streak to Legault’s politics. At his very first political speech, when he was nominated as a star PQ candidate in 1998, he told his riding association members that he had been raised in Montreal’s West Island among the English, ‘and I hate them as much as you do.’ It was an ugly revelation that I have never forgotten.”


      • carswell 20:29 on 2023-11-06 Permalink

        Botched edit removed the attribution of the quote to Graham Fraser.

    • Kate 10:33 on 2023-11-04 Permalink | Reply  

      Dr David Mulder, who’s been a doctor to the Montreal Canadiens since 1969 and head physician since 1999, has just retired, and talks to the CBC about some of his experiences.

      • Uatu 10:37 on 2023-11-04 Permalink

        He’s genuinely a great guy. He’s like a celebrity and everytime I see him at the MUHC he’s talking to some random person about the Canadiens.

      • MtlWeb 15:14 on 2023-11-04 Permalink

        Dr. D is the Jean Beliveau of physicians – classy, caring man

      • JP 21:02 on 2023-11-04 Permalink

        Hmmm….he came to study at McGill from Saskatchewan….interesting. I guess we’re trying to get rid of that kind of movement now.

        It’s nice to hear that he’s a great person and physician. 🙂

    • Kate 09:11 on 2023-11-04 Permalink | Reply  

      The Bonaventure autoroute is to become a boulevard. This isn’t a Projet plan, but a decision from the federal government, which controls the bridges linked by the road.

      • Orr 11:11 on 2023-11-04 Permalink

        yes, but in our lifetime? Can’t see this as a real federal-government spending priority in the near-term.
        It’s been a “plan” for a very long time already.

      • Kate 11:51 on 2023-11-04 Permalink

        It has. I was a little surprised to see it announced like a new project.

      • Faiz Imam 18:44 on 2023-11-04 Permalink

        I’ve heard it be talked about for a decade now, I recall richard bergeron speaking at length about it years ago.

        Good to see its actually moving forward, its a good idea.

    • Kate 08:57 on 2023-11-04 Permalink | Reply  

      CBC’s got a useful potted history of Quebec’s public sector unions, how they arose and why they’re striking Monday.

      I was hoping Joe Bongiorno would do a paragraph or two about how the Essential Services act undermines union power, but he doesn’t get into it.

      • Meezly 11:08 on 2023-11-04 Permalink

        Over half a million potential voters if the CAQ can only meet their demands. Oh but wait, the CAQ doesn’t like to invest too much money in “socialist” infrastructure and prefer to go for low-hanging fruit instead. I kind of hope that they will screw this up. If there are enough disgruntled union workers maybe this will help vote the CAQ out.

      • Tim S. 11:51 on 2023-11-04 Permalink

        I’m in a slightly less aggrieved wing of the common front, and I’m only slowly realizing how much more determined everyone else is. It’ll be a bit of a ride, I think.

      • Uatu 14:36 on 2023-11-04 Permalink

        They’ve done it to themselves. During our meeting people voted yes just because of the 30% raise mnas gave themselves.

      • Ian 12:19 on 2023-11-05 Permalink

        .. and immediately, not over 5 years like the utterly ridiculous raise they put on the table for the unions, which doesn’t even match the cost of living.

    • Kate 08:46 on 2023-11-04 Permalink | Reply  

      Just as cold weather approaches, services for the homeless are dwindling from lack of staff. Quebec has added nearly $10 million to the budget of the CIUSSS Centre-Sud to provide shelter this winter.

      • Kate 08:32 on 2023-11-04 Permalink | Reply  

        The consul from Benin has addressed the matter of the woman dumped on the sidewalk by police, because she is originally from his country. He’s very diplomatic about it.

        Compose new post
        Next post/Next comment
        Previous post/Previous comment
        Show/Hide comments
        Go to top
        Go to login
        Show/Hide help
        shift + esc