Gouvernement du Québec: en évaluant la loi 14, considérez que le bilinguisme nous renforce et non nous affaiblit

Un récent article de la Presse contient un peu de données scientifiques sur les effets du bilinguisme.

« Le plus tôt est le mieux », affirme Fred Genesee, chercheur au département de psychologie de l’Université McGill qui a fait des enfants élevés en milieu bilingue sa spécialité. « Le cerveau de l’enfant est plus flexible et est à l’aise avec tout ce qui arrive. Plus l’enfant vieillit, plus il peut être difficile d’introduire une nouvelle langue dans la famille parce que ça change le pattern. »

Selon les experts, le plus tôt que nous apprenons une langue, mieux seront nos chances de l’assimiler. Il y aurait peut être même des avantages cognitifs associés à la capacité de maîtriser plusieurs langues. La question que nous devons donc nous poser est si nous voulons un Québec fort et sain, est il mieux de suivre des idéalogies qui ont un attrait émotif, mais qui ne sont pas basées sur des données empiriques, ou sommes-nous mieux servis en prennant des mesures qui sont fondées sur la réalité prouvée scientifiquement?

Choisissez avec soin, chers membres du gouvernement, car nous risquons d’être pris longtemps sur le parcours que vous nous tracez avec la loi 14.

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What makes Montreal drivers so special?

Only in Montreal

Only in Montreal

I took this downtown Montreal a few years ago. The exposure was just right to catch both the red and green lights on while a driver simultaneously coasts through the intersection. It is a wonderful metaphor for the conditions that allow the city to foster its special breed of driver.

More Quebec gas price strangeness

On April 1st, 2013, Revenu Quebec (link) posted a gas tax increase. Strangely enough the price today (April 3rd) has dropped two cents.

As I’ve written earlier (link), this price drop comes after having jumped ten cents in a single day in February, and then flat lining at $138,4 for several weeks. The price dropped for the first time since February today, two days after the tax increase, and now sits at $136,4.

Fascinating.

The circles I work in for my alternate-desk-jockey-reality like to say that credibility is everything.

I can’t help but think that this pokes all kinds of holes in Big Oil’s credibility and certainly makes me wonder about many things besides their dubious pricing schemes.

 

Helicopter used in jailbreak? Sure! Just another day in Quebec.

I love living in Quebec! If I am ever caught short for a story idea, I just need to wait a day or two, and something will come up.

This weekend, individuals hijacked a helicopter at gunpoint, and forced it to fly to a prison where they lifted away two inmates…dangling from the helicopter by climbing rope!

It’s well worth your time to watch the entire news report: CTV News: Helicopter used in prison escape was hijacked at gunpoint

You can’t make this stuff up! Brilliant! Sounds like Grand Theft Auto VI: San Jerome was released a little early.

Of course, crime doesn’t pay, and the lot of the thugs were caught shortly thereafter, which really makes you think about the value of the concept of busting out of prison in the first place. Even if it ain’t Dredd, the law is coming for you, crooks. Be patient, serve your time, then think about going for sessions of aerial tourism. Or better yet, don’t break the law and you can earn frequent flyer miles like the rest of us.

Having said this, I bet Hollywood is taking notes and coming up with a way to jam the concept into the next Bruce Willis mega blockbuster, Die Hard: Die Hardest Another Day: Resurrection.

If they aren’t, I’ve call dibs on the storyline!

PQ: pensez plus loin que votre nez! – OR – Shortsighted language law will harm everyone

PQ: pensez plus loin que votre nez! – OR – Shortsighted language law will harm everyone

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.