First of all, allow me to wish you a happy new year 2023 in French. I could have just as easily written it to you in Spanish, English or even Lithuanian, but out of respect for our Quebecois and Francophone history, and out of respect for your own communal responsibilities, I will stick to our beautiful language, our common, that of our beautiful city of Montreal, the only French-speaking city in North America.
As you were re-elected, as the first woman to hold office, and as you proudly bear our city’s image, I take this time of wishes and good intentions to remind you that two years ago you formed a committee to look into the French edition in Montreal. May 2023 brings us the results of this body’s work, which we await with a mixture of impatience and hope.
The Place of French in Montreal
Because in the meantime, dealing with French in Montreal will test our patience and spirit.
Now, in Montreal, we don’t say “hello-hello” anymore, we say “hello-hello.”
In the meantime, the shop windows in Montreal are plastered only with the language of Shakespeare.
Thousands of French people now come to Montreal to learn English.
Meanwhile, immigrants still don’t have free French classes.
Meanwhile, there are fewer and fewer services in French in Montreal’s hospitals.
Meanwhile, Montreal’s business leaders continue to ignore our language.
Meanwhile, at COP 15 in Montreal, all the posters in the Palais des Congrès were in English. Need we remind you that the dominant language at the UN is French?
Meanwhile, allophones with French as a second language are finding it increasingly difficult to find a good job that does not require English-French bilingualism.
Meanwhile, those most disadvantaged who do not have easy access to learning a second language face increasing difficulties in finding a job or advancing in their careers.
Montreal banks are now increasingly serving their customers in English.
In the meantime, we, the Mouvement Québec français, will continue to give awards to citizens who are committed to defending our language, the French language, in their daily lives.
I therefore reiterate our impatience and hope to see the common and official language of Quebec shine in Montreal and ask you, Madam Mayor, to accept the expression of my appreciation.
sophie stanke, Chair of the Montreal Section of the French Quebec Movement