I am a francophone who in his youth, was raised in the United States for ten years. Back in 1965, when I was one year old, my parents left Sherbrooke, Quebec, and moved to the city of Pawtucket, Rhode Island. At that time, nobody in our family spoke English, but we all became bilingual in very little time. Throughout those ten years, by and large, the Americans we met were warm and welcoming. When we moved back to Quebec in 1975, it was with great sadness because we left so many friends behind.
During our ten years in the United States, as a francophone learning English, I was never teased no matter what language I spoke, whether it was French, or my broken English. Furthermore, there were certain people that liked the fact I spoke French, and even asked me to do so. By contrast, when I moved back to Quebec, I was called nasty names like “Frog” by Anglophones, or “square head” by Francophones. I cannot even begin to imagine what immigrants experience, especially ever since the infamous Charter of Quebec Values was proposed by the Parti Quebecois.
I am proud of my bilingualism, but I’ve never hidden the fact that I’m against separation, and the PQ. I am also against the OQLF, when everyone is afraid to speak their language of choice with friends or clients, whether they are at work or not. As long as employees are able to communicate with their clients, the heck with what the government says. Even here in Quebec, we are all protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, it is time that we force the Quebec Government to respect this fact.
Imagine if the OQLF continues to expand their mandate, and requires all merchants to no longer say “Hi” to their potential customers. Do you really want to pay more and more taxes to allow the OQLF to monitor us all so rigorously? Or would you prefer that the government improve our economy? Especially if we want to attract companies and tourists to our beautiful province, do you really believe that we can do this using only the French language?
I do not want my beautiful little girl to live in the paranoiac world the PQ have created, and proposes to intensify. I want Quebec to become a welcoming place for all people, of all religions. As a family, with love and respect towards all our unique members, that is the only way we can rebuild our economy.