Do you remember what happened on November 16, 1987?
The City of Montreal has announced that Dorchester Boulevard will be renamed René-Lévesque Boulevard.
“BRINGING ANGLOS AND FRANCOS TOGETHER”
Why did you decide to give Dorchester Boulevard the name of PQ’s former Prime Minister who had died just two weeks earlier?
Why not another prestigious artery?
For three reasons.
Firstly, because the former prime minister had worked as a journalist for Radio-Canada (which sits on Dorchester Boulevard).
Second, because he had worked for the nationalization of hydroelectric power (Hydro-Québec’s headquarters were on Dorchester Boulevard).
And thirdly, because, in the words of Councilor Kathleen Verdon, “it seemed desirable that the street identified should run in an east-west direction to underline the rapprochement between the French-speaking and English-speaking communities”…
In short, the choice was logical.
And then, just between us, there was something symbolic about putting the name of the PQ’s founder on a boulevard paying homage to the second governor of the “province of Quebec”.
A way to write in concrete and asphalt that Quebec is a French speaking province.
END OF NON-RECEIPT
However, this decision by the City of Montreal was taken as a genuine insult by Westmount Anglophones.
Result: The capital of the old Anglophone bourgeoisie chose not to follow the city of Montreal and keep the old name Dorchester for the part of the boulevard west of Atwater.
As if Westmount wasn’t part of Montreal or Quebec.
Keep in mind that Montreal East also refused to change Dorchester Boulevard’s name, but it wasn’t for political or “epidermal” reasons.
Rather through what one might call bureaucratic laziness. And because it was possible to distinguish Montreal East from Montreal.
When we look at what’s happening in Montreal’s English-speaking communities today, we feel like we’re playing along Back to the Future.
As if the last 35 years were just one big bracket.
We continue the game from where we left off.
However, it cannot be said that Law 96 is particularly strict.
If English-speaking CEGEP students are all perfectly bilingual, as we’ve been told for years, what’s the problem if they have to take three courses in (or in) French?
You should be doing all of these courses with your fingers up your nose, right?
They’re more bilingual than French-speaking students, we’re told!
Well no. This timid law is perceived at best as a provocation, at worst as a racist attack aimed at violating the “inalienable right” of allophones who choose to settle in Quebec and assimilate into the English-speaking community.
As you can see Anglophones are a minority in Canada. You have to help them to Anglicize the newcomers, otherwise their culture and their language will disappear, the poor…
The reality is that English speakers have never digested Bill 101.
And that it only takes a little jerk for the bile to rise in their throats.