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Montreal, immigration and young people behind the decline of French, says Quebec

Photo: Graham Hughes La Presse canadienne Le ministre de la Langue française, Jean-François Roberge

Despite a relative maintenance of the use of the language in the public space, the decline of French continues, accelerated by immigration, by the consumption habits of young Quebecers and by the situation in Montreal, analyzes the Minister of French language, Jean-François Roberge.

“I would like to say to you: “yes, yes, it’s settled!” This is not the case yet,” said the CAQ elected official, as he left the Salon Bleu on Wednesday, a short hour after having tabled in the Chamber the most recent Report on the evolution of the linguistic situation of the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF).

Made public every five years, this document provides a multidisciplinary review of the use of the language of Molière in Quebec. We learn in particular that French in the public space – a statistic on which the French language commissioner, Benoît Dubreuil, based in a report in September – declined very slightly from 2007 (79.1%) to 2022 (78.7%).

It is also noted that the proportion of people working mainly in French increased from 81.8% in 2001 to 79.9%. twenty years later, in 2021.

Accused by the parliamentary press on Wednesday, Minister Roberge made a point of recalling that “there are several indicators to monitor”. “All the better if there are sectors where we are falling less, where we have reached a certain plateau, but the fact remains that we have not yet stopped the decline,” he said.

The elected CAQ member identifies “three issues in particular” in the French file, including the “regional divide” that exists between Montreal, Gatineau and the rest of Quebec. According to the OQLF, 59.5% of Montrealers spoke French when they were outside the home in 2022. This figure rose to 63% in Gatineau.

“We see that Montreal and Gatineau are regions where there is a very, very large gap compared to the rest of Quebec,” raised Mr. Roberge on Wednesday.

The minister also has an eye on immigration. “There are one in three people among temporary foreign workers, asylum seekers, who are not even able to carry on a conversation in French. “It’s another fault line,” he said.

The latest “fracture” is “generational,” according to Mr. Roberge. According to an OQLF study cited in its report, 55% of young people who use social networks say they publish their content “either as much in French as in English, or mainly in English”.

Further details will follow.

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116