Posted by: Patrick Allen Foster | March 11, 2013

Links About Canada

Canada Wins GOLD!

Canadians at a hockey game. Of course.

1. At Marginal Revolution, Tyler Cowen has a short post about projected demographic changes in Canada, drawing on a book by Darrell Bricker and John Ibbitson, The Big Shift: The Seismic Change In Canadian Politics , Business, And Culture And What It Means For Our Future (Amazon). Interesting fact: according to some projections, by 2031, 63% of the population of Toronto will be foreign born, as will 59% of the population of Vancouver.

2. Steve Saideman on some aggressive pro-French-language legislation in Quebec. Bill 14 would implement such policies as, for example, requiring businesses with 26 or more employees to make French the everyday work language. Prof. Saideman (emphasis added): “How does any of this protect French? Oh, making it harder for Francophones to learn English in CEGEPs (the free colleges in between high school and university) will make it harder to compete in the world economy, but will it do anything else? … This is just stupid on a stick. But it probably plays well to the PQ’s non-Montreal base. Have I said lately how glad I am to have left Quebec?”

3. Jonathan McLeod at the League has a post specifically on another provision of Bill 14, which “would remove the exemption for children of francophone members of the Armed Services that currently allows them to attend English-language schools.” McLeod provides some background, which, hopefully with the author’s gracious indulgence, I will quote in extensio:

Bill 101 [i.e., the principal language law, which Bill 14 would modify] was passed decades ago and is the source of Quebec’s language laws. One part of the law dictates what language of instruction children in Quebec may receive. If you are who attended a Canadian English-language school, your children may attend an English-language school. If you did not attend a Canadian English-language school, your children must attend a francophone school in Quebec. If you were not raised in Canada, your children must attend a francophone school, regardless of the language you and your children speak or the language you were schooled in.

It is one of the most xenophobic laws in Canada, yet it still receives much support within Quebec.

There has been an exemption, however. A francophone member of the Canadian Forces can choose to send their child to an English school. The reasoning being that soldiers are regularly moved to various areas of the country, and it would be unfair for the children to be shuffled between French-language and English-language schools.

Undoubtedly, this is true. However, what this stance ignores is the inherent injustice of forcing the children of non-military families into francophone schools, regardless of their mother tongue or the preferences of their parents. It ignores the fact that non-military families are regularly forced to move for the sake of work, or that forcing English-speaking immigrants into francophone schools can create an equal amount of stress and injustice.

Please do read the whole thing.

4. McLeod also has a post about the “privileged position” of Roman Catholic schools within the Canadian educational system (especially in Franophone areas).

5. A Canadian expat spouse talks about culture shock: “Who would have thought that adjusting to a Western culture would be more difficult than adjusting to an Asian one?”

Image Credit: Photo by “s.yume,” Gastown, Vancouver, BC, Canada, February 28, 2010, during the men’s gold-medal USA vs. Canada game at the 2010 Winter Olympics. (Canada won in overtime, incidentally.) Used under a Creative Commons CC BY 2.0 license. Source: Flickr.

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