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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."

 

hbauch@ thegazette.canwest.com

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replace anglo with immigrant and that article would still be factual. Problems in the workplace aren't only affecting anglos but anyone with bad or no french.

 

anyone born in this province or who came when he was young and does not speak french or bad french ( do not confuse bad french with bad french accent) it is his probleme.

 

I knew some immigrants who used to say it out loud that it has been 18 yrs that they did not go east of St-Laurent. My boss did not send his kids to french school. When I asked him why not he said that we live in a bilingual province so we can learn or speak whatever language we want - his kids do not speak french at all. I think some ppl use bilingualism as an excuse to remain unilangual. My bro came here when he was 17 yrs - now 35 yrs old - and did not want to learn french, yet today he complains that he is not getting promoted because of racisim as he does not speak french. I always tell him: get the hell out of here. Nobody forces to stay in here then, but he is still here.

 

There are a good amount of ppl like that and they use french descrimination against them as an excuse. I am not saying that there is no descrimination, but there is also a reverse descrimination from non-speaking montrealers ( anglos and immigrants) vs french

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My boss did not send his kids to french school. When I asked him why not he said that we live in a bilingual province so we can learn or speak whatever language we want - his kids do not speak french at all.

 

We don't. La seule langue officielle de la province c'est le français. S'il est pas content, Ontario is a land of opportunities.

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J'ai vu un reportage à la TV hier soir(je crois que c'était CTV News). En tout cas, ils disaient que plusieurs jeunes anglos réclament des meilleurs cours de Français. Ils se plaignent que leurs cours de français ne sont pas très utile pour le Québec(ils apprennent le français de France). Ils aimeraient avoir plus de cours à un plus jeune age.

 

Je trouve que c'est une excellent idée, et on devrait les supporter dans leurs demandes. Je suis prêt à investir dans l'apprentissage du français à n'importe qui qui en fait la demande.

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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.

 

Quand ta clientèle est à 80% francophone, c'est normal que tu cherche des employés qui ont plus de facilité dans ta majorité de client.

Je suis dans l'ouest de l'ile mais ma clientèle est 50/50, donc je n'engage aucun unilingue, mon personnel qui ont contact avec les clients doivent être 40/60 peut importe de quel côté (60% anglo / 40 % franco ou vice versa). Des employés de production ne sont pas obligé d'être bilingue. Ja,i quelques Sri Lankais qui parle à peine l'anglais. Le salaire n'est pas le même et ils le savent.

 

J'ai 50 employés, et de ça, 35-40 sont parfait bilingue et c'est très important pour moi.

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Quand ta clientèle est à 80% francophone, c'est normal que tu cherche des employés qui ont plus de facilité dans ta majorité de client.

Je suis dans l'ouest de l'ile mais ma clientèle est 50/50, donc je n'engage aucun unilingue, mon personnel qui ont contact avec les clients doivent être 40/60 peut importe de quel côté (60% anglo / 40 % franco ou vice versa). Des employés de production ne sont pas obligé d'être bilingue. Ja,i quelques Sri Lankais qui parle à peine l'anglais. Le salaire n'est pas le même et ils le savent.

 

J'ai 50 employés, et de ça, 35-40 sont parfait bilingue et c'est très important pour moi.

 

Bravo!:highfive::applause: :applause:

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