“French will continue to grow, I’m not worried about that,” says a Liberal candidate

André A. Morin, PLQ contestant at the Montreal Riding of L’Acadie (Photo: Official PLQ Photo)

A Liberal candidate, unlike its leader, Dominique Anglade, is unconcerned about the future of French in Quebec and Montreal.

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According to André A. Morin, the PLQ candidate in L’Acadie’s Montréal, French in Quebec will continue to grow, even as recent data from Statistics Canada shows a decline. However, he later corrected the shot.

“It’s a living language that will continue to grow, I’m not worried about that,” Mr Morin reiterated in a press frenzy at the end of the PLQ’s first rally of Sunday’s campaign in the city.

“French will never disappear in Montreal, will not disappear from Quebec,” he stressed.

Mr Morin added that “we need to promote French” but there are “already a very large number of measures to protect French and there is no need to add more”.

On his Twitter account, the Liberal candidate nevertheless made it a priority to rectify the situation: “The current situation deserves sustained attention and I undertake to continue my actions in this direction if I am elected in L’Acadie,” he said in written form.

Prior to entering politics, Mr. Morin was Chief Attorney at the Canadian Prosecutor’s Office for the Quebec region.

Anglade’s concern

That same morning, at her first press crush of the campaign, Ms Anglade spoke of her “fear” and “concern” about the fate of the French, particularly in downtown Montreal.

“The question of French will always be a fundamental question, we are 2% of French speakers in North America. We will always defend the French. It will always be an issue.”

She recalled that the PLQ had proposed 27 measures to protect French in Quebec.

According to data released by Statistics Canada in mid-August, the percentage of Quebecers who primarily speak French at home has risen from 79% to 77.5% since the last census in 2016.

The proportion of Quebecers who only speak French as their first official language decreased by 1.5 percentage points from 83.7% to 82.2% from 2016 to 2021.

The proportion of people whose first official language is French has decreased in all regions of Quebec except Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine.

The decline is stronger in North-du-Québec (−3.6 percentage points), Laval (−3.0 percentage points), Montreal (−2.4 percentage points) and Outaouais (−2.4 percentage points).

By Patrice Bergeron

Darren Pena

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