French Decline Bad News For Quebec, Group Says

French decline bad news for Quebec, group says

Jason Magder,
The Gazette
Published: Tuesday, December 04

The latest census figures are bad news for French both within Canada and Quebec, says a French-language rights group.

Jean Dorion, the president of Soci St. Jean Baptiste said he is disheartened that French speakers in this province are losing ground both to immigrants and English speakers, in figures released this morning by
Statistics Canada.

In Montreal, for example, the number of francophones fell to below half of the overall population.

“We're not going in the right direction,” Dorion said. “The numbers seem to confirm some trends we have seen in daily life in Montreal, where more English is being spoken. In the workforce in particular, we have seen a lot of young people who were obliged to go to school in French are attending CEGEP in English.”

Dorion said while most of the decline of the French language in Quebec is due to immigration, he said the Quebec government can have a policy of opening its doors to immigrants while increasing the French profile. He
said Quebec should make it compulsory for those attending French high school to attend a French CEGEP.

“Immigration could play in the favour of the French language,” Dorion said.

“But the legislation in place doesn't help.”

Dorion said he's also concerned with the census figures that show that French-speakers have once again declined in comparison to the overall Canadian population. That decline has been steady since the 1950s. However,

Dorion said the numbers released today are particularly alarming.

“The decrease is constant,” he said.

“When I was a child, the first time I took note of Census, francophones made up 32 per cent of the Canadian population, now it's 22.1 per cent. That means the political weight of francophones will eventually become insignificant. We will soon fall below 20 per cent, that's a psychological barrier.”