Bill 101 was designed to protect the French language and the French culture. Since its inception, the French language has thrived and usurped English as the dominant business language in Québec. Bill 101 however, has created tiered classes of citizens and caused a steady exodus of young English speakers.
The first class of Québecois are bilingual francophones. In a French-only work environment, bilingual francophones are at ease with the language demands and are also heralded for their bilingualism. Bilingualism is universally perceived as a desirable trait – in fact, the more languages one speaks the better. It is the bilingual francophones that “rule” Québec business and opportunities to learn English are highly sought by francophone parents hoping to give their children the best future.
The second class of Québecois are the bilingual anglophones. Much as they try, bilingual anglophones are not on parallel footing as bilingual francophones – bilingual anglophones are not as comfortable in French work environments as bilingual francphones and are often shunned by their perceived threat. Not to worry, bilingual francophones! There is a glass ceiling in Québec business and it’s firmly parked at “Mother tongue: English”
The third class of Québecois are unilingual francophones. Unable to rise in the ranks due to their lack of English, unilingual francophones are viewed as lesser citizens than the bilinguals of the province, but are still in better status than the unilingual anglophones.
Unilingual anglophones are the worst off of all Québecois. Unilingual anglophones are unable to rise to higher echelons at work (if they are able to find a job at all) and often live in English-only ghettos where they can maintain a level of dignity that is lost when they are required to interact in a French speaking world. Unilingual anglophones are often unable to get service in stores, get transit information or even to access an English-speaking doctor.
Anglophones in this province have a few choices. For one, they can settle and live a stubborn English-only existence. Two, they can learn French, get a job and try to rise to the glass ceiling. Three, they can abandon Québec and move to another Canadian province.
Although option three takes the most courage, it is often the most rewarding. Anglophones in English-speaking provinces are not treated as lesser class citizens and bilingual anglophones in English-speaking provinces are very much in demand.
The steady level of emigration from Québec to the other provinces of Canada can be ascribed to Bill 101: Parents looking for more opportunities for their children’s futures, semi-bilingual francophones looking to perfect their French and anglophones that are tired of being treated as less than equal by the government and the francophone population of Québec.
This blog is not for the abolition of Bill 101, but rather, to help explain to people how the province has gotten so divided and why we need to fight for English rights. We have just as much reason to be here as francophones and the steady exodus of anglophones from Québec shows that we feel uncomfortable enough here that we have been giving up and leaving. Stop giving up! Sign our petition, participate in the forums and fight for your rights!