display | more...
1969 Loi pour promouvoir la langue française au Quebec (law to promote the French language in Quebec) which was passed by the Union Nationale government of Jean-Jacques Bertrand.

In typical political fashion, what this bill proposes is effectively the opposite of what it reads as: the law "promote"s French by allowing non-francophone parents in Quebec to choose whether their children will attend a francophone or an anglophone school. The francophone majority of Quebecois felt that most children (all children whose mother tongue was not English) should take class in the language of the province they lived in rather than the language of the surrounding provinces.

The bill wasn't entirely antagonistic to la langue francaise - it made French classes more available to immigrants and ensured a baseline French presence (a couple of hours every other day) in the English schools, but those were mild consoliatory gestures in the face of a legal guarantee of an always-chosen English alternative for future generations of immigrant children (an essential factor given Quebec's nigh lowest-in-industrialized-world birthrate).

Long-term effects of this and similar laws and bills were "to accelerate the rate of integration of the rapidly increasing population of allophones to the anglophone group and, thus, to potentially threaten the position of dominance of French in Quebec," or so asserts Claude Bélanger, History professor at Marianopolis College.

The people of Quebec felt so betrayed by the passing of this bill that it has been described as instrumental in the Union Nationale's 1970 defeat in the polls and subsequent eradication from political life. Other ripples following this bill's splash included

    * the appointment of the Gendron Commission to study the status of the French language in Quebec
    * the passing of the Loi sur la langue officielle (Bill 22) in 1974
    * and perhaps even over-reaction in the direction of the much-maligned "Language Police" in modern-day Quebec.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.