Don Macpherson has a good column in today's Gazette, discussing how the PQ is playing up the latest numbers about language and Montreal to distract from, well, that it is falling apart. The new stats show that the number of "true Francophones" is declining in Montreal because they are moving to less expensive (and perhaps more infrastructurally sound) suburbs. This is hardly a crisis as they are not being replaced by those nasty Anglophones (that would be me) but Allophones (immigrants) who speak multiple languages and increasingly use French at home.
So, what is going on?
Blanchet's proposal ... Its real purpose is political. It's to prevent François Legault's new nationalist party from outflanking the PQ in the defence of the French-speaking majority against the minorities.* The PQ learned its lesson in 2007, when it conceded that defence to Mario Dumont's Action démocratique du Québec and temporarily fell to third-party status as a result. Two weeks ago, Legault presented a discussion paper on identity in which most of the proposals were considerably weaker than what the PQ had already proposed in its new program.outbidding going on here, with the old, fractious nationalists competing with the new kids on the block to be the best nationalists after the new kids had initially appeared to be putting this stuff behind them. Of course they did not--playing with identity, in this case it is language, is too damned convenient.
But what caught attention was a possibly coded appeal to xenophobia that the PQ hadn't thought of: a temporary, symbolic reduction in annual immigration targets. Now the PQ has quickly matched Legault's proposal with a similar one of its own. The proposal is also intended to distract attention toward the identity question and away from the PQ's current problems.
Can I be disappointed without being surprised?