For the purpose of this post, the characters in the dialogues have fictional names.
At the store with my friend Roxane (conversation happening in French, English translation in parenthesis)
Roxane : Bonjour (hello)
Clerk: Buonjour (heavy English accent)
Roxane: Combien coûte ce pantalon? (how much are these pants?)
Clerk: ?? Escouzez mouai je pas comprend bien (Sorry, me no understand good)
Roxane to me: NON MAIS FRANCHEMENT ON EST AU QUEBEC ICITTE PIS ELLE PARLe MÊME PAS FRANÇAIS (we are in Quebec here and she doesn’t even speak French)
Me: Ce n’est pas un probleme Roxane tu parles très bien anglais. (this is not a problem, you speak very well English.)
Roxane: Oui c’est un problème, quand je magazine chez moi, je veux être servie dans MA langue. (Yes it’s a problem, when I go shopping in MY province I want to be served in MY language.)
At the fast food restaurant counter with my Shawn.
Shawn: Hello, I would like a cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato and mayo please.
The waitress: Esciouse me, I don’t understand, repeat please?
Shawn in a louder voice: CHEESEBUUUUGER, LEEEETTTUUUUCE, TOMAAATO, MAYONNAISE.
The waitress sweating:Hamburger and mustard?
Shawn getting very upset: cAN YOU GET SOMEONE WHO SPEAKS ENGLISH TO SERVE ME?
The waitress: Me not understanding good. Minute please. Me get help.
Me: Why don’t you simply order in French, you obviously speak better French than she speaks English?
Shawn: Canada is an English country and Quebec is my home. I’m outraged that people here don’t speak English. This is unacceptable. When I order food in my own country I want toxbe served in my own language.
As you can see the language issue is very serious here in Quebec. We are a French nation recognised by the law living in an English country.
“The Official Language Act of 1974 (French Loi sur la langue officielle), also known as Bill 22, was an act of the National Assembly of Quebec, commissioned by Premier Robert Bourassa, which madeFrench the sole official language of Quebec, Canada. Provincial desire for the Official Language Act came after the repeal of Bill 63. It was ultimately supplanted by the Charter of the French Language (also known as Bill 101) in 1977, which imposed French as the only language for advertising and education (with many exceptions).The legislation was drafted in an attempt to follow the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry on the Situation of the French Language and Linguistic Rights in Quebec. The act made French the official language in a number of areas:Language of services (must be primarily offered in French)Language of commercial signing (the use of French was required)Language of labour relations and business (businesses wanting to deal with the state had to apply for francization programs)Language of instruction (English language public school was restricted to children who had a “sufficient” knowledge of this language)Language of legislation and justice (priority was given to French texts in case of ambiguity)”
According to the law, the official language in my province (Quebec, Canada) is French. My ancestors worked really hard not to be assimilated by the British after they lost the war in the 1700’s. This is miraculous in itself that the defeated, outnumbered and abandoned nation was mentally strong enough not to loose it’s identity and culture. This is one of the reasons why I’m so proud to be French Canadian, I believe my people to be amazingly strong.
However, historically, the French and the English cohabitated peacefully in Quebec long before the French lost the war to the British. Still today we live in that language and culture duality. French just as much as English here feel very strongly about their respective language and culture.
Personally I believe it’s time to put aside our differences and love each other. After all we are all part of the human race. We all contributed to the culture we live in today. Both parties should come together and try to understand each other better instead of continuing to fight a war that has been over for so many years. I am extremely proud that my son carries both cultures in his heart. This will make him a better man, a better citizen and it will open up twice as many opportunities for success in his future.
My prayer for Quebec is that God gives my nation peace, that He heals the past hurts and that He blesses Quebec.