April 27, 2018
The Language Law Published in 1977
Protected Quebec’s Identity Efficiently
Quebec is the largest province in Canada, and it is almost three times larger than France. In 1974 Quebec’s output of goods and services represented 23.7% of Canada’s overall gross national product. In the same year 32.3% of Canadian shipments of pulp and paper, Canada’s major single source of foreign exchange earnings were from Quebec. (Harbron) Because more and more trade happened between Quebec and other provinces, plenty of English Canadians moved into Quebec, and brought English language and culture to the land. The interaction of two languages inevitably leads to a certain amount of borrowing between them. It was largely one-sided, the English language remained largely unaffected. This situation resulted from the fact that Quebec’s relationship with France was cut off during the beginning of the 20th century. (Quebec History) At this time, the French culture in Quebec was decreasing. Publishing the language law in 1977 is a great step towards protecting Quebec's identity. Quebec’s importance for Canada made the law’s publishing a huge event. Undoubtedly, from the French Quebecers’ perspective, this was so exciting. They had a strong wish to keep their own culture and carry it forward on their land. In the meantime, as a bilingual country, this compulsive policy brought a lot of inconvenience to English Canadians, caused Quebec’s outmigration’s number had a huge increase, continued for quite a few years. In addition, the language law's long-time impact is still affecting Quebecers nowadays; it has not just passed as a part of history.
The language law, also called Bill 101, made French the official language of government in the province of Quebec, and made it mandatory in education, communication, business and instruction. French must be the only visible language in Quebec. It forced all the contracts, commercial signs and road signs to be in French. That means if you want to live in Quebec, learning French would be the basic requirement, including immigrants. All immigration and Canadians from other provinces had to be educated in French as well as English. The license plate seen in Appendix A is a primary resource recorded during the 1970s (Nationalism and French Canada, 31). The license plate in the photo is a typical Quebec one, with a French sentence on it, which means “I remember.” This sentence is the official motto of Quebec. It could be paraphrased as, “We do not forget, and will never forget, our ancient lineage, traditions and memories of all the past" (Staff). This could be their motto because Quebecers love their own culture and tradition and were working hard to protect it. That is the main reason their government published the language law. Along with more and more Canadians learning English as their native language, their French tradition culture is diminishing. So, the government started tak...