I think there has been much already said about Bill 14. I will not expand on it much, but there are a few key points which I believe have not yet been touched upon and slice across the tribal lines that the PQ is trying to yet again inflame for murky political objectives:
1. Closing one’s mind off to the outside world does not help preserve and much less strengthen your culture. Ask the North Koreans.
2. If this bill is intended to strengthen the cause of French in Canada, then the PQ needs to remember that there is a substantial population of French speaking Canadians in the other provinces. They may not be Québecois, but they are still proudly francophone. I was only dimly aware of these groups when I grew up in Quebec. Once I had the opportunity to travel, see the rest of Canada, and work alongside people from all provinces and territories, I became acutely aware that there is a strong french culture that can be found outside the borders of the belle province. Perhaps becoming a little more worldly would help the PQ and its fervent supporter base to see the beauty which lies just beyond their foreshortened horizons.
3. Point 2 inevitably leads to the question of follow-on effects generated by the decision to excise bilingual services from any community which is less than 50% anglophone in Quebec. This policy point has since been altered following a public outcry, but for it to have been seriously considered suggests that little thought is given to long term consequences of such decisions, much less to the consequences outside of Quebec. Such a rule would invariably carry high chances of being reciprocated in other provinces, but against francophone sub-communities. In addition to proud french folk outside of Quebec, there are many anglophones who do indeed see very little use to bilingual services in their provinces. They are seen as a drain of resources for a small minority. This bill would provide the perfect excuse to mobilize other provinces to cut services to francophones, since there are few, if any, communities outside of Quebec that can claim to be 50% or more bilingual.
This suggests that the PQ is thinking purely of their microcosm, and when they claim to be defending the rights of French people, as well as trying to strengthen the French culture, they mean only in Quebec. This sadly is extremely short sighted, smacks of an ideological agenda unwilling to consider facts, and ultimately would weaken the overall position of French in Canada. This would also harm Canada as a whole, taking away an important part of its identity, and forcing it to fall silent.
I am not surprised by this proposal, as I had been fed carefully-crafted myths in school from a young age seeking to create a state of martyrdom for the French people, rather than allowing it to embrace its unique nature and be empowered by it to become nationally and internationally extroverted, and grow to attain its full potential as a wonderful synergistic complement to Canada.
As a proud French-Canadian and Canadian, I believe we would be better served by exporting what makes our language wonderful and our culture memorable. I think most would prefer to be motivated by a carrot rather than a stick.
PQ: Je vous implore, trouvez une autre façon de faire resplendir notre belle province et notre superbe peuple.