Sunday, June 07, 2009
There are a few articles in French on this, and here's one. The demonstrators are from a movement called the Mouvement Montréal Français (MMF, site here), and they want a strengthening of Law 101 (the Charter of the French Language) in Montreal, French to be the only spoken language in federal public office in Quebec, and more services in French for new arrivals to the province. The last point is the one I most agree on, because giving the impression that English alone is enough to live in Montreal is probably a bad idea. It's good to remember that immigrants are usually very interested in learning new languages (especially major ones like French) and enjoy the opportunity to do so, so it's actually in their interest as well.
It's been noted before that in places where English is widely spoken, even those that go out of their way to try to learn the language often get a reply in English anyway. This is why the third point is the most important. It might even be more effective to mount a campaign directed towards speakers of French to convince them to stick with French when talking with someone using it as a foreign tongue, even if their French is horrible and the conversation could potentially go a lot faster by resorting to English.