A colleague is an English Quebecer who speaks accentless French-Canadain. As a long-time resident of Aylmer, she has no incentive to leave the Quebec side, but for one thing: she reports increasing public hostility to the use of English at all, anywhere.
Okay, so N=1. Well, today, N=2. A Quebec IGA franchisee wanted her staff to speak only French in the the lunch room. Justification?
When she announced she was leaving, the employee, Meaghan Moran, recorded a conversation with her two superiors in which they explained the French-only rule.
“If we permit languages other than French to be spoken, what will happen in the employees’ room?” a woman is heard asking in the recording. “We’ll have a ghetto. We’ll have a small group of Spanish, a small group of English.”
Ms. Moran is told the rules reflect the wishes of the franchise owner, Louise Ménard: “Mme. Ménard is a French-Canadian, she signs the pay cheque. What she asks is that within these walls, people speak the language of the workplace, which is the language of Quebec. It’s the law.”
Actually, it is not the law (101) that people are required to speak French at work among employees, but according to my informants who live on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River, there is growing public intolerance – audible, visible rudeness- towards people not speaking French in Quebec in every situation.
The day of reckoning is not far off. I think English Canadians will soon snap. If not this year, within a decade. Something is going to bring home to even the Globe and Mail that this farce has carried on too long.