Québec or Quebec? The language conflict in Canada


We may not find any difference in these two words but this is what separates Quebec from the rest of Canada. The neighbours- France and England are once again at war with each other but in a different geographical location and in a different era. Quebec is a territory in the east Canada which, as they say, culturally are closer to the USA than to Canada itself.

( Quebec region colored in its own flag, differentiating it from the rest of Canada)

Quebec was a French colony which was handed to the British after a series of wars and battles. The predominant population of Quebec is French-speaking unlike the rest of Canada. The official data estimates the number of French Speakers in Quebec to be more than 70 percent. Since lingual differences are most noticeable in different cultures, Quebec has been time and again advocating about its separate statehood.

Lingual cold wars are also being fought in the second most populated province of Canada. Several cases of imposing language homogeneity have been brought to light. In one such case, an Italian restaurant in Montreal was fined for using Italian terms like pasta in their menu card and other outlets were asked to look for French substitutes for English terms like W.C and fish and chips.

Not just on the streets but the Quebec population has also taken constitutional paths to impose the French language on the immigrants and Anglophones. The predecessor of Bill 21, Bill 63 was introduced in 1963 to uplift French knowledge across all sections but was denounced by the French conservatives as mild in approach and not living to their expectations. In order to fulfill the former’s lingual appetite, Bill 21 came into action in 1974 which clearly bestowed hitherto supremacy to the French language in Quebec.

Another reason for the Quebec to draw lines with Canada is their economic exploitation. Quebecers suggest that Canadian government is deaf to their needs and use their taxes unevenly for their own development. They emphasize on the decision of the Canadian government to refuse to lend money for setting up a power station in Quebec but didn’t mind giving it some other province for the same task.

Unlike the Catalonia crisis, where unarguably that region appears wealthy, Quebec’s economic stature is debatable. Pro-Canadians refer to it as a poor region benefiting from its union with Canada while separatists claim that Canada is sucking the region’s monetary as well as natural reserves and using it in a biased way to spurt its own growth.

Resistance is slowly growing in this territory and now even saying “I love Canada” or “Canada is my home” is considered a taboo. The future of this state now depends on the actions of the Canadian government. But before actions, if it requires inspiration, it can duly draw it from India. Arguably the most diverse nation quenched this problem in the late 20th Century by taking flexible steps rather than rigid tone. Hindi, the predominant language was popularised but not imposed. The same is required for Quebec and Canada.