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(Some of) my fellow Quebecers are obsessive idiots

June 9, 2010

Apparently, to many (mercifully, they seem to be a minority) of them, there’s nothing wrong with only thirty-or-so percent of Quebecers speaking English, “because look what the percentage of people who speak French in Toronto and the Rest of Canada is.”

What have Toronto and the ROC got to do with anything?!

Some of them, apparently, still have this slavish fascination with reducing everything, every complex question, every issue that need solved to a pathetic little staring contest over the Ottawa river. Quebecers are not bilingual enough? Doesn’t matter, Canada isn’t as bilingual as we are. Environment? Doesn’t matter, we’re doing more than Canada, and would do even more if Ottawa wasn’t holding us back. So on.

I hate to break it to these people , but we’re in a global world, these days, and in the global picture, as things stands, Canada is not exactly an important consideration (regardless of the qualities it has). Some might even say it’s trivial (so trivial that the federal government build a fake lake in the middle of a congress center to try and impress people). If you, as a Quebecer, do things, or refuse to do things, because of how the other Canadians do things, then it might be time to wake up to the real world.

When it comes to deciding whether or not to learn a second language, the question of “How well does the majority in my country master my language?” Shouldn’t even come into the picture. The only consideration that matters is the benefit you can expect to have from more people mastering that second language.

In that respect, it’s very clear, in the modern world, you know, the reality we live in, that mastering English is extremely useful. It opens job opportunities, it opens a wide array of resources (social, cultural, educative and others) on the Internet- and it is, in fact, without any possible comparison, the single most useful language to master these days. (And no, Spanish and Mandarin are not even close to getting there. Spanish is spoken in many countries, but the most important of them are no more important than Canada in the global picture. Mandarin is spoken by more people, and is spoken in a superpower, but it’s hardly spoken at all anywhere else. They don’t even begin to coming close to comparing with English). English, by comparison, is the language of by far the most powerful nation in the world, is spoken in several others, and is spoken as a second language by more than half the population in several countries that actually matters (Germany, etc).

Denying that young Quebecers need to be given better access to learning English (as a second language, of course – French is, and should remain, the language of Québec) based on how few English Canadians master French is simply a self-centered, delusional position based on nothing but false premises.

There are times where I feel that independence really would be a good thing, if only because it would deprive some people of their favorite boogeyman, and finally force them to confront what Quebec should be doing, instead of lazing around and shifting the blame for their laziness on the rest of Canada.

Then again, these people are (Thank God) a minority, so probably not.

(PS to assorted Quebecers: if you want to learn English but don’t want to appear to be kowtowing to Canadians, learn American English. Honestly, given some reactions I’ve had from Canadians, I think they would rather deal with Quebecers who are unilingual French-speakers than bilingual Quebec French/American English speakers…)

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