Many english quebeckers say that this language thing is an absurd waste of time.
I guess that you are saying something like : « This language thing hurts Québec’s economy and since we live in Québec, it is our economy too. Montreal could and should be in a better position that it is now. »
And when you are saying this, we hear something like : « Your language is worthed nothing and your society is a failure. »
One would say that we seem not to speak the same language…
A unheard rational argument
And the argument that our linguistic laws hurt our economy by driving anglophones and businesses out of Québec is a rational argument. Yet, francophones do not seem to care. Isn’t it strange? Why is that so?
I see two tentative explanations.
First, we tend to see our history as the history of our people as french quebeckers, more than, let’s say the history of Montreal or of the territory. We see our history like this : we lived in the country, more and more of us moved to cities, we were second class citizens in the then english Montreal ; thanks to the quiet revolution, we got more educated, we improved our situation and we closed the historical gap between english and french. That Montreal of the 50s was economicaly thriving, we don’t really care since french canadians were not economicaly thriving.We see that our situation as a social group has improved over the decades. English Montrealers care a little more about the past economic thrive of Montreal because it was the thrive of their own social group.
Second, we tend not to see the exodus of anglophones as a catastrophy. (Please, take a deep breath and let me explain a little more…) We became the majority on our territory because of a high birth rate and because of the departure of scores of anglophones gone populating the newly developping Ontario (19th century).
The division of the province of Québec in Lower and Upper Canada made us a majority on our territory. For decades, we raised money to buy land from english quebeckers leaving for Upper Canada (and later to Ontario). Since there was then a will to assimilate us by massive english immigration (a plan that failed, because, among other things, settlers preferred the warmer southern lands, geography again…), we tend to see the historical english migration to Ontario as a good thing. We reconquered our lands without a single gun shot.
Also, one can see the rest of North America working like a safety valve. If, let’s say, all North America spoke spanish and that english quebeckers could then not so easily leave Québec to settle eslewhere, one could think that our fights could be a lot meaner.