Whether it’s because they feel Quebec has been left out of the Canadian mainstream, or because they prefer the direct democratic process of language referendums, a small but vocal minority in the province are calling for the official language to be made the same equal as French in law.
Ever since making the first in a series of decisions allowing French the same status in Quebec law as English, about 150 self-described “reasonable accommodation” advocates have called for their demands to be enjoined. But whether one favors the status quo or the status quo with an asterisk, the French-language issue is a far cry from the imminent threat of apocalyptic language war in the provincial capital of Ottawa. If war between French-speakers and English-speakers has become a cliché in English-speaking Canada over the past few decades, it is in Quebec nothing less than existential.
In fact, according to a recent report from the Union des Arts Politiques et diplomas (UAP), the problem of French language-enforcing requirements in Quebec are so great that it constitutes a linguistic emergency in the province. A lack of clarity, it appears, has contributed to the threat of a language war becoming a critical reality. While the 1793 declaration of the existence of the French language in Quebec is still honored by elected officials, official expressions of concern about this issue have been lacking. French-language advocacy and organizational bodies in Quebec have been less than concerned about the decimation of the French language that has caused since 1970, when the Quebec government introduced laws that made French the official language of law and public life.