Explaining Quebec to the Americans

QuebecOn November 13, The New York Times carried a story by Martin Patriquin, Macleans bureau chief in Montreal, under the heading “Quebec’s Tea Party Moment,” in which he wrote, among other things:

“…We are rightfully protective of the French language. In 1977, the [PQ] party legislated the language’s primacy in business and government. It also fought (and lost) two referendums, in 1980 and 1995, on independence from Canada.

“But while language laws (and Quebec’s French identity) endure, the separatist fever has broken. Year after year, polls show support for independence stuck in the mid-30s. For the Parti Québécois, which rose to power largely because of the previous government’s problems with corruption, it must be torture to be brought in by voters who are largely indifferent to its end game.

“Part of the indifference is that English is no longer seen as a tool of the conquering British, but simply the language of commerce. (Today, English Quebecers are overwhelmingly bilingual.)”


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