It’s been a long road for the English-speaking community of Quebec since Bill 22 made French the official language of the province in 1974. Bill 101, two independence referendums and countless other events soon followed. The socio-linguistic context that has emerged has changed the English-speaking community of Quebec irrevocably.
Close to half a million anglophones have left the province, many of the community’s institutions have been assimilated or transformed, and the struggles with a host of socio-economic problems, ranging from adequate care for seniors to high rates of youth unemployment, have devitalized many communities.
I am among the many English-speaking Quebecers who understand that it was necessary to protect, preserve and promote the French language in Quebec, surrounded as it is by a sea of North American English. I just didn’t think that the English-speaking community in Quebec — my community — would end up paying such a steep price for that commitment.