Survey showing growth of English in Montreal workplaces has Quebec lawmakers worried
MONTREAL -- Go anywhere in downtown Montreal these days and you’ll hear a lot of English—good news, as long as you’re a tourist.
“From my point of view as an Ontarian, I must say it is a good thing,” said Florin Largeanu, one tourist in town this week who said he was “pleasantly surprised” to realize everyone spoke English.
But a recent survey about language has the CAQ government worried and vowing to launch a new effort to bolster French.
The Office Québécois de la langue francaise found that a high percentage of Montreal’s employers either request or prefer that their staff speak English.
The survey found that almost 63 per cent of Montreal area businesses, and half of Montreal's boroughs, prefer some level of English proficiency.
And more than 41 percent of Montreal area businesses request that employees communicate internally, amongst staff, in English.
“It’s very worrying,” said Quebec Premier François Legault in remarks Tuesday.
He said the survey’s findings are unacceptable. The minister currently in charge of the language file, Simon Jolin-Barrette, issued a statement saying the same.
It added that Quebecers have a fundamental right to live their lives within Quebec in French.
Politicians from other parties, however, also said they were uneasy about the results.
“It's a concern that we have at the Quebec Liberal Party, to make sure that people understand that language is the official language everywhere—including the office,” said Liberal MNA Marway Rizqy, who represents Saint-Laurent.
The Parti Québécois said that despite the CAQ’s reaction, the current government bears some responsibility for the problem.
“It's been two years since the CAQ [has done] nothing about the law,” said Rene-Levesque MNA Martin Ouellet. “They said they will do something and if you look at the numbers, the situation has decreased—in Montreal and Quebec too.”
The government says it’s working on an action plan to address the survey’s findings.