A call for greater tolerance, not blaming

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Jean-Claude Carisse’s letter to the editor titled “Anglophones are being assimilated?,” in the April 23 issue of the Journal responds to Allyson Beauregard’s editorial calling for a more accommodating approach to English language policies in Quebec.

Jean-Claude Carisse’s letter to the editor titled “Anglophones are being assimilated?,” in the April 23 issue of the Journal responds to Allyson Beauregard’s editorial calling for a more accommodating approach to English language policies in Quebec.
He accuses Mrs. Beauregard of   backing her point that “assimilation is      suppression,” by blaming “the wicked Francophones of Quebec” (his words not hers) and using examples that are blown out of proportion. I read her      editorial and nowhere did she disparage Francophones. What the editorial called for was greater tolerance. Her point is that the survival and protection of the French language and culture is not served well by suppressing the English language and culture.
I am a good example of this. When I was young and growing up in Alymer     I experienced many situations where I was made to feel humiliated and   unwelcome because I did not speak French – my youthful and regrettable response was to refuse to learn the     language.
It’s something I regret every day. I am fully aware of the history of the English in Quebec and that what              I experienced is similar, in reverse and often worse, to what many Francophones had to live through when English was the language of power in parts of Quebec.
I left the province for many years but when I came back in my thirties, my wife and I tried to ensure our children spoke French. My daughter went through the French school system, is perfectly bilingual, and greatly benefits from her access to Quebec culture. My sons started in the French system and were moved to the English system      primarily due to intolerance of the school’s board of directors who felt that having Anglophones “tainted” the French language spoken in the school.
They moved to the English system and gradually their interest in Quebec culture has diminished instead of being immersed and having a balanced       perspective of Quebec politics and    culture. What they hear about is the type of story Mrs. Beauregard profiled where their language is suppressed through the application of archaic      language laws.
I agree completely with Mrs. Beauregard’s assessment that this       situation breeds dissent. It is too late for me but I really believe that respecting the different heritages, languages and cultures of all Quebec citizens is a     better path to creating a Quebec we can all feel welcome in and proud of. In that Quebec, the French language will be strong because everyone will want to learn it.
Kevin Brady
LUSKVILLE