There has been an outcry since Statistics Canada unveiled figures on the decline in French in Quebec and across Canada a few weeks ago. Some argue for tightening language legislation (Law 96), others for better selection of immigrants.
Posted at 12:00 p.m
The decline of French as portrayed by the federal agency is also dependent on another headwind, taking the form of a veritable cultural tornado: new technologies and GAFAM. The duty We learned last Thursday that according to NETendances, “Only 64% of Quebec internet users primarily use the Tremblay language, a 12% decrease compared to 2020.”
Such a precipitous decline in French on the Internet is quite astounding. It comes on top of what can be observed in the cultural sphere in general, where the importance of cinema and television in French continues to decline in favor of American platforms such as Netflix, Disney and Amazon, especially among young people. The music from Quebec is simply artificially ventilated.
According to the Institut de la statistique du Québec, in 2021, just 9% of the music Quebecers listened to online came from provincial artists.
That is why the French now have to fight on all fronts. As a language of use and work in an increasingly large part of the territory (Montreal and Gatineau in particular), as an integration language for immigrants, but also as a language of communication and even as a language of leisure and entertainment. The situation is such that the question must be asked: What does the future look like for a people who, in all aspects of their existence, are moving away from their fiber identity, French, and their specific culture, people who imagine and dream less and less in your own language?
A forgotten idea
If we don’t achieve political sovereignty that the majority of Quebecers reject, we should at least return to that old, now-forgotten idea that even federalists once defended: cultural sovereignty. This is based on a series of initiatives such as strengthening language laws, better immigrant selection, but also a real cultural policy with real means to promote French and Quebec culture. But such a policy will fail without the contribution of the federal government.
Here’s the problem. Because without the framework of GAFAM (taxation, taxation, contribution to the creation of French-language products, etc.) expected from the Canadian government and without initiatives such as the review of the mandate of the CRTC (expected shortly in Ottawa) and perhaps even the efforts of Radio-Canada , Quebec, will be a hit. And not to mention that the Supreme Court of Canada may soon butcher Bill 96, which is designed to better protect this language we say we value but increasingly neglect.
See for yourself. Aside from the PQ and a few milk shots from the PM, who’s talking about cultural sovereignty during this campaign in Quebec when inflation and tax cuts monopolize the parties’ attention? Because of course the survival of the only French-speaking society in America has absolutely nothing to do with the proverbial “real business”…
Avid beer trailblazer. Friendly student. Tv geek. Coffee junkie. Total writer. Hipster-friendly internet practitioner. Pop culture fanatic.