Exactly my point

I just read the front page of the TJ where someone is calling for language-based ‘quotas’ for immigration. She says if 30% of NBers are Francophones then so should 30% of immigrants.

This kind of thing is exactly representative of my problem. It is why I wrote several blogs on the issue.

We can’t get immigrants to move and stay here. Period.

Now we are going to try and enforce language quotas?

Look. There are 35 persons from France that are living in Moncton. 35. There are a few hundred from Quebec. A handful from French North Africa and the Middle East. They are just not moving here. Why? You tell me but it might be because the Feds and Quebec are telling any and all potential French speaking immigrants about Quebec. Only.

It would be crazy to try and enforce language quotas on immigration. Crazy.

I have said this before and I will say it again. If you want bilingualism to thrive. If you want to preserve, protect and support the development of the French language in Moncton and in New Brunswick you have to – not in a heavy handed way – make it real for Anglophone New Brunswick (and immigrants that speak a third language).

In New Brunswick, we have built walls. We need to tear those walls down.

Bilingualism in New Brunswick means French newspapers and English newspapers. It means French media and English media. French schools and English schools. French hospitals and English hospitals. French workplaces and English workplaces.

Acadians and other French speaking people are almost fully exposed to English because that’s the nature of the beast. English is pervasive. Turn on the TV. Go to Chapters. Try and watch movie in French. Nada.

So the problem isn’t more integration of French speaking people into English (as some whackos have suggested).

The issue is integrating more Anglos into French. Making it real. Socializing it into the culture.

Why can’t all movies in Moncton have French subtitles? Why can’t the Times & Transcript have a couple of pages in French? Why can’t English French Immersion kids share homework with French kids? Why can’t we push for more bilingual workplaces? Why aren’t we trying to attract more language influenced jobs?

Why are we spending tens of millions to ensure that technical documents are translated and you can’t get free French language training anywhere in Moncton?

There was a guy who complained in the media recently that he wasn’t served at the A&W in French. He was livid. I relayed this before but it’s worth saying again.

That’s because the bilingual kids are working up the food chain. It’s hard to find bilingual workers for A&W.

Now, if we had a sensible policy of bilingualism in this community, the front line staff at A&W would have access to free training in French. Not Phds. Not advanced French. But enough training to be able to interact with a customer in French. Six months, three nights a week. Bingo. Able to take an order and have a basic conversation in French.

So, I don’t want to offend but the more we demand ‘rights’ and ‘quotas’ and all this other stuff, the more alienation between the two groups.

What we need is a sensible effort to embed the French language in our communities. Anglos need to be less hard headed about it. Someone said “why must I be made to learn French? I resent it”. I said “do you resent having to learn math? Or social studies? Or how to read and write?”

In New Brunswick, French (and English by default) should be embedded in the culture. When we go to movies. When we go to shows. When we interact with each others.

Now, back to immigration. 2/3 of the migrants to Greater Moncton have been Anglophone. If we try and cut that off or force Parisians to move here, we will be screwed.

It would be far better to make sure these Anglophones moving in understand our community. Understand our deep and abiding desire to foster a bilingual community. Encourage them to study French. Put their kids in Immersion. Make an effort.

That, in my opinion, is a far better recipe for success than trying to build parallel but completely separate social structures in New Brunswick – and particularly Moncton where this thing comes to a head.