Expository Essay - The French Language Charter In 1977, the French Language Charter (Bill 101) was introduced to the residents of Quebec by the Parti Quebecois . It made French the official language in the province. Bill 101 suggested that posters, signs and advertising of products and services must be in the French language. French became the language of communication and instructions. Whether it was at school, at the workplace or in a store, it was enforced that conversations were to be carried out in French. Bill 101 was unjust to the English-speaking minority who lived in Quebec, along with the immigrants that came to Quebec from other parts of the world. Some of the French-speaking population was affected by Bill 101 as well. One part of the French Language Charter imposed that the students of Quebec were to be taught in French, with the exception of children whose parents attended English schools.1 This meant that these students had less access to Anglophone schools and to the English language.2 This influenced all of the students in Quebec. To the Anglophones, it meant losing some of their English culture because of the Anglophone students being taught in French. The immigrants had to send their children to Francophone schools. They did not have the option to send their children to Anglophone schools .3 Also, the children learning only French would have less opportunities to explore in the workfields of the English- speaking regions of Canada. There were also language requirements for the members of the professional corporations. Doctors, nurses, engineers and people of the professional associations had to show that they were capable of conversing in French to get the permission to practise.4 If an Anglophone did not know enough French, he would be driven out of the business. English
and the immigrants did not have much of an advantage regarding this section of the Charter. The businesses of the Francophones were affected as well. Practises using French meant that their businesses were limited to the French-speaking territory of Quebec. It also meant less opportunities for doing businesses with the rest of Canada. Since Bill 101 required Quebeckers to use French at work, tensions grew as the English-speaking and the French-speaking employees competed for the highest job status.5 The French and the English employees were not treated as equally. This was very unfair because the English and the other minorities would not be promoted as easily as the French. They had less probability of getting a top position.6 By the same token, some of the immigrants did not have much chances for finding a job because they did not know a lot of French. The French workers demanded that French be spoken but the others insisted that they had the right to speak English or their own language. Bill 101 caused arguments and problems among the English and the French workers. Anglophone children had to attend Francophone schools. Francophone children had less opportunities in exploring the English-speaking sectors of Canada. People in Quebec were required to be able to communicate in French in some businesses. The English and the immigrants had to work much harder to get a higher position in a company. The French Language Charter was an unjust bill. It influenced the lifestyles and the rights of all the inhabitants of Quebec. Also, because of all the regulations of Bill 101, the "average Canadian" would not choose to become a long-term resident of Quebec. Knowing about Bill 101 would make people think twice before deciding to move to Quebec, because if Quebec separates from Canada, these issues and problems would surely come up again.