Overhaul of Official Languages: A Professor Wants to Recognize Quebec’s ‘Central Role’

Overhaul of Official Languages: A Professor Wants to Recognize Quebec’s ‘Central Role’

As Ottawa refines its bill to preserve French’s place in Canada, one professor suggests the government should include in the text acknowledging Quebec’s “central role” to that end.

Minister Ginette Petitpas-Taylor’s C-13 bill specifically aims to officially recognize that French is the official language of Quebec, a first in the country’s history.

If C-13’s goal is commendable in the eyes of Mario Polèse, professor emeritus at the National Institute for Scientific Research (INRS), the government could go even further by making some important changes, including recognition of the “role center” of Quebec in the preservation of French.

“If, as we must hope, we are able to prevent French from declining below a politically unsustainable threshold, it will be thanks to the continued strength of French in Quebec. This is the first condition to ensure the survival of bilingualism, without which the second – maintaining viable francophone communities outside of Quebec – will become impossible,” Mr Polèse explained in a paper published Wednesday on behalf of the Canadian Federation’s Center of Excellence has been published .

Likewise, Mr. Polèse hopes the government can recognize the “special” role that Acadie plays in the preservation of French in Canada.

“Several avenues are possible, starting with the designation of a ‘Francophone priority zone’, which will be defined in collaboration with the provincial governments and the Acadian municipalities,” he stressed.

The concept of “regions with a high proportion of French speakers” contained in the draft law should also be improved to include a provision requiring municipalities where more than half of the population is French speakers to be obliged to speak French, the common language at the Work.