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  1. La mondialisation est un énorme rouleau compresseur qui uniformise les villes de la planète. Partout, les mêmes McDo, Starbucks et chaînes hôtelières. Et pourtant, ce qui rend les villes intéressantes et attrayantes, c’est leur singularité, leurs différences, leur identité… C’est ce que nous rappelle de façon magistrale Daniel A. Bell, professeur de philosophie mondialement reconnue rattaché à l’Université Tsinghua de Beijing, dans son dernier livre The Spirit of Cities : Why the Identity of a City Matters in a Global Age. Cosigné avec le professeur Avner de-Shalit, cet ouvrage est un tour du monde des identités, en neuf villes bien circonscrites : Jérusalem et la religion, Paris et le romantisme, Berlin et la tolérance, New York et l’ambition… Montréal et ses deux langues! danielbellClichés, tout ça? Au contraire, il s’agit chaque fois d’une incursion en profondeur dans ce qui définit véritablement ces villes. Une véritable psychothérapie, en fait, réalisée par deux auteurs qui ont foulé les lieux dont ils parlent (en soi, c’est déjà beaucoup…). Les 21 pages sur Montréal sont un pur délice. Parce que Bell est né à Montréal et connaît très bien cette ville, mais surtout parce qu’il l’aime, parce qu’il l’a percée, parce qu’il l’a comprise dans ses plus intimes détails historiques et complexités culturelles. Ce qu’il doit fort probablement à la distance qu’il entretient aujourd’hui avec Montréal. Sa conclusion : la métropole québécoise est riche de ses deux communautés linguistiques qui forment, ensemble, son identité… Ce propos en fera probablement sursauter plusieurs pour qui cette dualité est plutôt une menace. Mais au contraire, il s’agit d’un atout qui, aujourd’hui, mérite d’être célébré, comme le souligne Bell avec justesse. Le français, langue officielle au Québec autant que dans sa métropole, est certes menacé par l’anglais dans certaines institutions. Les raisons sociales des entreprises constituent un réel problème. Et la vigilance est plus que nécessaire pour éviter des dérapages comme ceux de la Caisse et du CHUM. Mais rien de tout cela n’a à voir avec la cohabitation des Francos-Montréalais et des Anglos-Montréalais, sur laquelle s’est fondé Montréal à travers le temps. Rien de tout cela ne mine les relations harmonieuses qu’entretiennent généralement les deux communautés linguistiques. Rien de tout cela ne fait de «nos» Anglos une menace au français, peu importe s’ils regardent ou pas «notre» télé et «notre» cinéma. Et rien de tout cela n’efface les énormes progrès qu’ont accompli, de gré ou de force, les anglophones au cours des années. Bell rappelle qu’une majorité d’entre eux parlent français, alors qu’ils étaient à peine 3% à en faire autant en 1956… Aujourd’hui, ajoute-t-il, les francophones aisés sont attirés par NDG, les Anglos progressistes se font une fierté d’habiter le Plateau et les deux communautés sont de plus en plus interreliées. Phénomène, d’ailleurs, que soulignait L’actualité récemment : 80 % des Anglos se disent suffisamment bilingues pour soutenir une conversation en français, 83% veulent que leurs enfants soient bilingues et presque la moitié des Anglos choisissent un partenaire chez les Francos… «Bref, souligne Bell, les guerres de langues ont laissé place à des attitudes beaucoup plus relaxes (…) Il y a toujours certaines tensions, mais les relations entre les communautés francophone et anglophone n’ont jamais été aussi naturelles qu’aujourd’hui.» Un fait qu’il est important de se faire rappeler au moment où l’on sent croître certaines inquiétudes linguistiques. http://blogues.cyberpresse.ca/avenirmtl/2012/04/13/l%E2%80%99identite-de-montreal-ses-deux-langues%E2%80%A6/
  2. Earth to anglos: This is Quebec. Bus drivers speak French BY NICHOLAS ROBINSON, THE GAZETTE JANUARY 7, 2014 I’m an expat American whose family transferred here (my father worked for ICAO) in 1976. In 1988, after having gone to college and graduated in California, I moved to Japan and spent five years there, teaching English. When I returned, my parents had relocated to California, but left their condo here unrented and unoccupied. Naturally, I chose to resettle here instead of California, and I’ve been here ever since. I spoke French before I came to Montreal, having learned it in francophone African countries, so I had no problems getting around Montreal. Except in my lengthy absence, Bill 101 had been passed, and many anglos were hightailing it out on the 401. It was strange coming back to a Montreal that had language issues; I’d never had the Eaton-fat-lady experience while I had been here in the 1970s and had never had any problems back then. And at first, actually, for over a decade, I resented the ridiculous sign law that made English two-thirds smaller than French on signs, plus all the “tongue-trooper” shenanigans over the years. But then my mind started changing, and today I’m pretty much the polar opposite to what I was in 1994. I now teach Japanese to individuals in Montreal, having enthusiastically learned it from scratch while in Japan. Most of my students are francophone, but we usually end up having the class with a mixture of all three languages. Now when I hear about people “not getting service” in English in such institutions as hospitals, or not being responded to in English by bus drivers, my stance is: tough luck. When I moved to Japan, I quickly discovered that almost nobody spoke English, and that in order to function, I would have to learn Japanese — and fast, which I did. And now I feel maybe Bill 101 should have gone farther and made all signs only in French. After all, we are living in a French-speaking province that just happens to be in the middle of a vast country called Canada. Any anglos who have been here for any length of time — over a year or so — should at least be able to carry out basic living functions in French and learn how to read signs in French. The wheedle-factor here is enormous. To my mind, the French speakers of Quebec have been incredibly tolerant of the anglophone “community,” and a vast swath of them have gone to the immense trouble of learning English — when they don’t have to at all. Yet they do, happily and willingly and without a single murmur of protest. Why then, can’t the so-called “anglophone community,” knowingly residing in a province that has every right in the world to make everything in French, not do a better job of learning French? Earth to anglos: this is Quebec. In Quebec most people speak French. Bus drivers have every right in the world to respond to you in French, even when you speak to them in English. And my suggestion to these besieged individuals is simply: learn how to speak French. There are literally hundreds of places where you can learn it absolutely free. Or take some of my classes and move to Japan, where there is a severe shortage of English teachers; I promise there are no French speakers there to hound you. Nicholas Robinson teaches Japanese in Montreal. © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette
  3. http://voir.ca/societe/2013/04/11/dossier-anglos-artistes-anglos-made-au-quebec/ Dossier Anglos 11 AVRIL 2013 par SIMON JODOIN C’est dans l’air du temps. Le débat sur le renforcement de la loi 101 semble vouloir reprendre de plus belle, entraînant avec lui des discussions parfois acerbes entre les anglos et les francos, les premiers craignant de ne pas trouver leur place au sein de la culture québécoise, les seconds souhaitant tout faire pour éviter de voir leur langue disparaître au profit de l’hégémonie anglo-saxonne. Encore cette semaine, ces discussions faisaient la manchette. «Grogne chez les anglos», titrait Louise Leduc dans le quotidien La Presse en rapportant les tensions entre le ministre Jean-François Lisée et des membres de la communauté anglophone. On pourrait croire que nous entrons dans une nouvelle ère d’animosité. Peut-être… Et peut-être pas! Dans tout ce brouhaha bourré de scènes déjà vues à propos des affiches dans le centre-ville de Montréal, des marques de commerce des multinationales et mettant en vedette la langue d’enseignement (un film dans lequel nous avons joué des centaines de fois), certaines initiatives permettent d’entrevoir le rapport anglos/francos sous un nouveau jour et de dégager de nouvelles pistes de solution. Avec le site web Made au Québec lancé le 22 mars dernier, l’English-Language Arts Network (ELAN) propose d’ouvrir une fenêtre virtuelle – et pourtant bien réelle – sur le travail des artistes anglophones montréalais. L’objectif? Rassembler au sein d’un agrégateur toutes les nouvelles concernant les artistes anglophones de toutes les disciplines. Car si certains groupes de musique sont bien en vue depuis quelques années, on ne saurait en dire autant des écrivains, cinéastes ou artistes en arts visuels qui œuvrent dans la langue de Cohen. Le site made-au-quebec.ca, qui s’affiche par défaut en français, permet ainsi de suivre l’actualité de créateurs d’ici et, dans la plupart des cas pour les francophones, de fréquenter leur travail pour la toute première fois. Pour Guy Rodgers, directeur général d’ELAN: «Depuis vingt ans, le nombre d’artistes anglophones qui choisissent de vivre au Québec a augmenté en flèche.» Un choix qui, selon lui, repose entre autres sur l’attirance pour la langue française et un désir de prendre part à la culture québécoise. Une participation qui demeure parfois assez difficile, il faut en convenir. Car bien souvent, l’artiste anglo d’ici se retrouve dans une quête similaire à celle du Canadien errant, banni de ses foyers à parcourir des pays étrangers. Inconnus de leurs concitoyens qui les confondent volontiers avec n’importe quel Torontois, ils sont pris en sandwich entre la culture francophone et les best-sellers américains ou les blockbusters hollywoodiens. «Beaucoup de revendications ne font pas l’unanimité, selon Guy Rodgers, mais il y a un point sur lequel tous les anglophones sont d’accord: ils ne veulent pas servir de bouc émissaire pour l’ancien empire british ou la dominance économique actuelle de l’empire américain.» Le problème que doivent affronter les anglos est donc double: aller à la rencontre de leurs concitoyens francophones, plutôt habitués à fréquenter les standards de la culture francophone, tout en se distinguant dans leur promotion pour faire valoir leurs racines montréalaises et québécoises. Il s’agit sans doute là, aussi, d’une réponse au déclin des médias anglos. Il y a un an, le Hour et le Mirror fermaient leurs portes, faute de revenus. À la même époque, The Gazette annonçait des suppressions de postes draconiennes à la rédaction. Peu à peu, la culture anglophone montréalaise se retrouve sans voix médiatique. Une situation un peu inquiétante quand on sait que les hebdos culturels gratuits étaient lus aussi, et pour beaucoup, par des francophones. Pas question de s’apitoyer, cependant. «Nous avons créé le site Made au Québec à des fins autant émotives que pragmatiques, résume Rodgers, autant pour promouvoir les artistes que pour stimuler un dialogue entre voisins qui pourraient se connaître mieux.» Made au Québec s’inscrit ainsi dans la lignée du projet Recognizing Artists: Enfin visibles aussi lancé par ELAN en 2010, qui offrait sur le web des portraits d’artistes anglophones bien souvent anonymes et inconnus de leurs concitoyens. Il s’agit maintenant de les suivre au fil de l’actualité et d’allumer un esprit de dialogue entre les deux solitudes, qui sont de moins en moins isolées et éloignées.
  4. Here to stay: the hip anglo By David Johnston, The GazetteJanuary 31, 2009 1:01 PM Ask a couple of twentysomething anglophones like Ryan Bedic and Brian Abraham how many of their friends have left Quebec and you are likely to draw a long pause. It isn’t that they need time to count up all of those who have left. It’s that they have trouble coming up with the name of anyone in their largely English-speaking entourage in Montreal who has left. Bedic, 23, and Abraham, 27, are students at the Pearson Electrotechnology Centre in western Lachine. In the 1970s, it was Bishop Whelan High School, an English-speaking Catholic school where students studied two hours of rudimentary French a week. Like anglo high-school students everywhere in Montreal in those days, the Bishop Whelan kids ended up graduating and finding out that Quebec politics was about to pull the rug out from under their feet. Today, the old Bishop Whelan has been reincarnated as Pearson Electrotech, a vocational-education facility with dual electricity and telecommunication streams – as well as a four-year-waiting list for specialized trade instruction in English. Most students, like Bedic and Abraham, are totally at ease in French, and counting on building careers in Montreal. Bedic says he knows one guy, an engineer, who has left for Saskatchewan. But that, he says, was because someone in his family, who owns a company there, had offered him a job. For his part, Abraham says he can also give one example of a friend who has left Quebec. “But maybe she doesn’t count,” he says, “because she always wanted to travel. She left for Vancouver. Now she’s in Dubai working for an airline.” To stay or not to stay; that has been the question for young anglophones in Quebec, across all education levels, through these past four decades of political change in Quebec. But after 35 years of uninterrupted population decline, the latest census data made public in December 2007 showed a 5.5-per-cent increase in the anglophone community from 2001 to 2006. It was the first census-to-census, five-year growth in the English-speaking community since 1971. Overall, the number of anglos who came to Quebec from other provinces and countries, or who were born here between 2001 and 2006, exceeded the number who left, or who died during these same five years. Within Canada itself, there was still a net loss of anglos to other provinces. But the average annual net loss of 1,700 anglos from 2001 to 2006 was roughly equal to the average loss in just one month in the late 1970s, or one season in the late 1990s. When the new census data came out, anglophone community leaders could hardly believe the statistical evidence of a turnaround. They didn’t know whether to trust the data. Since then, however, there has been a slow acceptance that something relatively encouraging has been happening within the English-speaking community. “It’s still too early to say that we are on a positive track for the foreseeable future,” says Jack Jedwab, executive director of the Association for Canadian Studies. “But there are definitely encouraging signs. Identity is built on events that shape you – and clearly, the dominant event for the anglophone community over time has been the migration phenomenon, and the profoundly negative psychological impact that that has had.” From 1971 to 2001, Quebec’s anglophone population – defined as those who speak primarily English in the home, no matter their ethnic background or mother tongue – declined by 15.9 per cent, from 887,875 to 746,890. During these same 30 years, Quebec’s population rose by 18.2 per cent and Canada’s 39.1 per cent. Ever since the 2006 census, Statcan has reported a new uptick in departures from Quebec. But Statcan analyst Hubert Denis says the rise hasn’t been unique to Quebec. There’s been a corresponding rise in migrations out of Ontario, he says. In fact, Ontario has begun losing more people to other provinces than Quebec is losing – something not seen since the recession of the early 1990s. “There’s something special going on there,” says Denis, citing the decline of traditional manufacturing industries in eastern Canada, as opposed to political or economic uncertainty unique to Quebec. In the case of both Ontario and Quebec, he says, people drifted to Alberta. Both La Presse and Le Journal de Montréal, Montreal’s two largest French-language newspapers, have reported over the past 18 months on a new wave of francophone migration to Fort McMurray and other oil-patch communities in Alberta. By contrast, there has been no anecdotal evidence of a new anglo exodus. Mary Deskin, a real-estate agent with Royal LePage in Pointe Claire, says 2007 was the first year since she started working in the industry in 1990 that she didn’t have a single anglo client who listed a home for sale in order to leave Quebec for another province. It was the same story last year, she says. “My listings have been all upgrades or divorces,” she says. Tom Filgiano, president of Meldrum the Mover, in Notre Dame de Grâce, has also found anglo Montreal to be all quiet on exodus front. “In fact, there is no exodus at all anymore,” he says. “It’s more of a balanced flow now.” Bedic of Pearson Electrotech, who is the son of an anglophone mother from Verdun and an immigrant father from Croatia, says he’s staying put. “I’m pretty confident about finding work in Montreal and building a life here,” he says. Abraham, the son of immigrant parents from Grenada, feels the same way. “French isn’t a problem for me,” he says. “And I like the low cost of living in Montreal.” Richard Bourhis, a professor of psychology at the Université du Québec à Montréal who has studied the anglophone community closely, says the low cost of living in Montreal has been an important driver of new anglo population growth. Bourhis isn’t the only demographer who has noticed that the 2006 census showed most of the anglo population growth was concentrated in the age 15 to 24 category. Bourhis says this suggests to him that a lot of young anglos from the rest of Canada have been migrating to Montreal to attend school or just have a good time – sort of like Canadian backpackers going to Europe a generation ago. For some out-of-province students, the cost of university tuition in Quebec is now cheaper than it is in their home provinces. For example, tuition this year is $6,155 at the University of New Brunswick, versus fees of $5,378 that Quebec charges its own out-of-province students (compared with $1,868 for Quebec residents). Many kids from small-town Canada who leave home to go to university have discovered that the cost of off-campus housing and public transit in Montreal are a bargain by Canadian standards. Bourhis says tuition, rent control and heavy taxpayer subsidization of transit have combined to create winning conditions for an influx of young anglos. For young Americans facing even more onerous tuition fees at home, the financial allures of Montreal are that much greater. In 2001, one of these young Americans who drifted up to Montreal was a 21-year-old man from Houston, Tex., named Win Butler, who came up through a Boston prep school to study religion at McGill University. A musician, he created a new band, called Arcade Fire, with a Concordia student from Toronto, and other anglo migrants from Ottawa, Guelph and Vancouver. They were joined in the band by a francophone woman of Haitian origin from the Montreal suburbs. Butler ended up marrying that woman, Régine Chassagne. Today, Arcade Fire is an international sensation. And with other new English-language indie bands like The Dears and The Stills, they have become symbols of a radically new anglo chic. It all came to a sociological climax in February of 2005, when Spin magazine, and then the New York Times, anointed Montreal the next big thing in music, the new Seattle. For anyone who remembers the acute morosity in the English-speaking community after the 1995 referendum, the proposition that Montreal would soon have international resonance because of its English cultural vibrancy would have been preposterous. But Montreal’s essence is still undeniably French, not to mention alluring for anyone who grew up admiring the city from a distance. Tamera Burnett, 22, a third-year McGill University political-science student from Kamloops, B.C., came to Montreal thinking it was a very special place. She first came to Quebec when she was 16, to study French in Jonquière. She’s continuing to improve her French today at McGill, and hopes to study law in Montreal or at the bilingual University of Ottawa. “I’d love to end up in Montreal,” she says. Bourhis, the UQAM professor, is also director of the Centre d’études ethniques des universités montréalaises, a research organization with offices at the Université de Montreal. He and Jedwab are on opposite sides of the spectrum, when it comes to interpreting the 2006 census results. Bourhis thinks the 5.5-per-cent increase is a blip that will wash out over time if the cost of living in Montreal rises to national averages for large Canadian cities, and fewer anglos come to Montreal from other provinces. But Jedwab says the main reason why the English-speaking community is growing isn’t this new influx of young anglos from the rest of Canada. The main reason is that young anglos born and bred in Quebec aren’t leaving anymore, at least not in the numbers that they did a generation ago. The reasons for that, he says, go beyond mere cost-of-living considerations. And they reflect a major shift in perception within the anglophone community, he adds. “This psychology, this sense of persistent losses, has been broken,” says Jedwab. Anglo community leaders aren’t so sure. They’re not comfortable with the notion of a renaissance. Their worry, as Jedwab sees it, is that governments will respond to the census findings of growth by reducing financial support to all the different little anglophone community groups in Quebec. “That’s the concern some people have,” Jedwab says. “And so the good news, in a perverse sort of way, is really bad news. People are afraid that governments will say, “Well, the anglophones are doing very well, thank you very much. What kind of support do they really need anymore?’ ” Robert Donnelly, president of the Quebec Community Groups Network, the main umbrella group for all the anglophone community organizations in Quebec, says the census results need to be interpreted with caution. In almost every region of Quebec outside of Montreal, says Donnelly, anglophone populations are continuing to shrink – and shrink fast. Without strong government financial and moral support, he says, English schools, old-age homes, community newspapers and health services in the regions will be severely threatened. “While the numbers are up overall, they mask serious declines outside of Montreal,” says Donnelly, a native of Quebec City, which has a 2 per cent anglo population, down from 40 per cent a century ago. But Donnelly admits that something encouraging does appear to be going on with young anglos in Montreal. “Are we finally moving on beyond Bill 101 and the after-effects of that? Maybe there’s a stabilizing factor that has kicked in,” he says. “We’re hearing less and less about people leaving.” Bill 101 chased away a lot of anglos at first. But over time, the demands of the language law also created the conditions for the rise of a new generation of anglophones more at ease in French than their Bishop Whelan forefathers were in the 1970s. And that has helped make it easier for young anglos today to stay. [email protected] © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette
  5. Young anglos complain of un plafond de verre Conference. Must have higher level of fluency in second language, English-speakers say HUBERT BAUCH, The Gazette Published: 23 hours ago The burden of bilingualism chafes on young anglos in Quebec. Many feel that even speaking both languages, they are still second-class citizens. A consultation with 300 young anglophones from all parts of the province conducted by the Quebec Community Groups Network found most are eager to integrate with the francophone milieu, but encounter frustration, either because their school-taught French isn't good enough, or because franco- phones are unwelcoming. A perverse finding was that for young anglos, bilingualism is a greater asset outside Quebec than at home. Most shared the view that outside Quebec, any ability to speak French gives job applicants a competitive advantage, whereas less than total French fluency puts you at a disadvantage if you're anglo in Quebec. It suggests that rather than slowing the exodus of young anglos from Quebec, bilingualism is aggravating it. A common view was that on the provincial job market, francophones qualify as bilingual with far lower second-language skill than is demanded of anglophones. "Most youth expressed the frustration they feel at attempting to integrate into the job market," says the summary report of the consultation. "In addition to the language barrier, many feel that English speakers face discrimination in accessing jobs or upward mobility." The survey suggests young anglos find their school system is doing an inadequate job teaching them French, and while overall language tensions have significantly abated in Quebec in recent years, English-French relations remain tenuous on the ground. "While some said they feel shy about participating in French language activities, others reported feelings of social segregation, being unwelcome and a lack of belonging," the report says. On the upside, it was found that a great many young anglos feel positively about their communities and would prefer to make their lives there. For all the frustrations, "quality of life" was widely cited as good reason for staying. "In rural Quebec the quality of life cited included access to the outdoors, the proximity of family and friends and a strong sense of community. In Montreal, it was cited more in reference to the low cost of living, vibrant artistic community and range of activities." There also appears to be a willingness to confront the frustrations and reach across the linguistic divide. "A desire for frank discussion and projects to directly address English-French tensions in their regions was expressed." The consultation results were presented at a weekend conference organized by the QCGN at Concordia University and attended by about 100 young anglos from all parts of the province. In a plenary discussion, some spoke of personal experiences that reflected the report's conclusions. Jonathan Immoff, who attends university in Rimouski, praised the quality of life in his native Gaspé. "The region is gorgeous. It's home. It's where our family is and we don't want to leave." But he said job opportunities are scarce for anglos who don't speak perfect French. "You have to speak very well to be considered bilingual, while francophones aren't held to nearly the same standard in English." Marilyn Dickson, from the Magdalen Islands, said bilingualism is "the big issue" for the small local anglo community of about 500. "Those who aren't have no choice but to leave. It's the way it is." A delegate from the North Shore said anglo efforts to be bilingual tend not to be reciprocated by francophones. "They're not willing to speak any English. If you're English, it's screw you. The lack of communications cuts all ties right there." A franco-Ontarian delegate who moved to Quebec said she finds anglo Quebecers are treated like francophones are in her native Ottawa. The situation presents challenges for the greater Quebec anglophone community, but there is also an encouraging will to confront and overcome what problems and frustrations there are, said QCGN president Robert Donnelly. "You expressed a desire to move forward, to leave the issue of language in the past, to increase intercultural activities and to have frank, open discussion with your francophone counterparts," he said in his welcoming speech. "You stated you wish to remain in Quebec and to contribute to Quebec society." The consultation and the conference are the groundwork for a three-to-five-year strategic plan for English-speaking youth being developed by the QCGN, an umbrella group for anglo organizations throughout the province. "Youth are saying now that they want to stay," said Brent Platt, co-chairperson of the QCGN youth committee. "I think French people on the whole are more willing now to work with us, to make things better for both communities. We have to do things together if we're going to get anywhere." [email protected] thegazette.canwest.com
  6. MONTREAL — Monday’s CBC-Ekos poll found that 42 per cent of 1,001 Quebec anglophone respondents have considered leaving the province following last September’s Parti Québécois election victory. Promising them anonymity, I asked two anglos who are exceptionally familiar with this attitude for their thoughts. One of them, a natural-resources executive, is himself leaving Quebec this month. This born-and-bread Montrealer earns $300,000 to $500,000 most years, which puts him in top one per cent of income earners. He’s the sort of person whom students wearing the red square regard with suspicion while demanding that he pay higher taxes to help finance their entitlements. But they won’t get his help any more. His furniture is being shipped next week. Several months ago — after the PQ victory — he turned down an offer to become president of a natural-resources company working in Labrador. The reason: “The owners wanted me to live in Montreal.” What’s wrong with that? Primarily the taxes, he says. The fiscal crunch was bad enough when the Liberals were in power — Quebec in 2012 ranked second in Canada (after Newfoundland and Labrador) for combined local, provincial and federal taxes. When he earned half a million dollars in stock options several years ago, Quebec took 39 per cent in taxes. Ontario would have taken 30 per cent. So that’s where he’s moving — eastern Ontario. He’ll wave goodbye to the sovereignty threat and the income-tax hike that the Marois government imposed on Jan. 1. (It brings the rate for people earning $100,000 or more to 25.75 per cent from 24 per cent.) Was language also factor? No and yes, he says. No because he’s fluently bilingual — he’s a fan of French TV. “The anglos who left Quebec for language left a generation ago,” he says. “The rest of us learned French.” But, yes, the linguistic climate is still aggravating. The vigorous 60-year-old owns a modest natural-resources firm in Africa, and hates having to communicate to the Quebec government on corporate matters in French. What also rankles is how ordinary people — a cable technician visiting his West Island home, for example, or a security scanner at Trudeau — sometimes refuse to speak in English. “I feel like a foreigner in my own country.” Also weighing in his decision to leave is the PQ’s hesitation to push forward quickly with Plan Nord. His company’s employees are in Africa, not here, so no one is losing a job. But this most indebted of provinces is losing his considerable tax revenue — and that of others whom, he says, are likewise trickling into Ontario or into northern New York State. His parting thoughts. “The government needs to cut expenditures, cut tax rates and mean it when it says it is open for business.” It also has to grasp that the Internet makes for mobility. “Members of my board of directors live on different continents, and I hold board meeting from my home on Skype. Nothing keeps me in Quebec.” Moral: “The government has to make people want to live here.” Now there’s a radical thought. Sharing it is my second interviewee. He’s a partner in the Montreal office of a headhunting firm with operations in dozens of countries. This veteran recruiter of executive talent for local companies says, “Montreal has a shallow talent pool, and it’s become shallower since the PQ’s election. “The problem is not just that anglos are leaving Quebec — they’ve been leaving for years and years. The problem is also that we’ve built a great big fence around Quebec that effectively keeps outside talent out. Any dynamic economy has to cross-fertilize with other cities and bring in new talent.” The election has made that tougher. He estimates that 20 to 30 per cent of Americans whom his firm approaches now consider the city, at least at first view. Yet only 10 per cent of Canadians from other provinces do. Why the difference? “Canadians are more aware of conditions here.” He sighs: “I try to put a positive spin on coming here — I talk about the opportunity to learn French and the joie de vivre.” But the barriers to entry are imposing. Like the Ontario-bound executive, he says that, despite the low cost of living here, taxes are the No. 1 deterrent. No. 2 is Bill 101’s restriction on access to English schools. Other handicaps: the difficulty in obtaining social services in English, the shrinking size of the English community (which reduces the options on where some newcomers want to live) and, not least, the problems that two-income families encounter. Many executives’ spouses are lawyers, doctors, accountants or dentists, for example, and they cannot pursue their careers without passing French-proficiency tests. To be sure, these problems existed before the election. “But,” he says, “before the vote we had a government that at least was pro-business and sought political stability. Now we have a government that’s pro-socialism and is in effect pro-instability.” The bottom line: “Quebec is being starved for intellectual capital.” It’s a vicious circle: As Quebec loses talent it becomes more difficult to attract talent, and so more businesses leave and there is less demand for talent. It’s déjà vu: We saw far more intense versions of this scenario after the 1976 election of the PQ and the 1995 referendum. And if that history is any guide, we know that PQ sees the starvation of that capital as a worthwhile price to pay when pushing for sovereignty. Expect no relief. Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Henry+Aubin+Taxes+Bill+drive+people+away/7981947/story.html#ixzz2LMmH4Xdi
  7. C'est ce que j'adore de Montréal, et de sa communauté anglophone: cette façon d'être elle-même vraiment distincte du ROC et des USA. Ça paraît dans la langue utilisée. Cette particularité est pour moi une richesse indéniable de notre ville et du Québec en entier. Même une grande source de fierté! http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Montreal+English+true+sais+quoi/6941480/story.html
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