LES ANGLO-QUÉBÉCOIS BOUDENT LE QUÉBEC FRANÇAIS

LES ANGLO-QUéBéCOIS BOUDENT LE QUéBEC FRANçAIS
Québec – Très peu d’anglophones fréquentent les universités francophones du
Québec.

Selon The Gazette, les anglophones refusent de reconnaître que le Québec est
français. à peine 1 % et 2 % des étudiants de l’Université du Québec à
Montréal et de l’Université de Montréal sont anglophones. Quant à elle, la
proportion des étudiants francophones fréquentant les universités
anglophones McGill et Concordia s’établit à près de 20 %.

Le texte suivant en anglais est extrait du journal The Gazette

English universities draw Francophones
But Anglophones slower to learn the value of higher education in second
language

MATHIEU PERREAULT

Montreal Gazette

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

GAZETTE
Jeanne Lafortune of Gatineau is studying economics at McGill University. She
recalls that her father "panicked" when she chose an English school.

When Jeanne Lafortune started studying finance at McGill University, her
family reacted nervously.

Her brother, with whom she was sharing an apartment near Université de
Montréal, insisted on teaching her correct French words for mathematical
terms. And her father made her promise that she’d always speak to him in
French.

"I didn’t understand why he panicked," the 22-year-old student from Gatineau
said, sitting in a Sherbrooke St. coffee shop. "I have the impression that
Quebecers have made so much effort to keep their language and their culture
that looking for something different can be synonymous with treason."

During her years at McGill, Lafortune, who’ll go to Toronto for her master’s
degree, always tried to speak and do her schoolwork in English.

"I only once submitted a paper in French, because the session before I had
had a bad experience with a very strict professor."

(Students at McGill and Concordia universities can submit work and write
exams in either language.)

Even though she’s not a separatist, Lafortune says her experience at McGill
strengthened her nationalist feelings.

"Many McGill students aren’t from Quebec and don’t have access to French.
They’d ask me about immigrants being forced to go to French school. It made
me sharpen my arguments in favour of French schooling."

More than one in five McGill students is francophone. The proportion is a
little lower at Concordia, though it is increasing. Both universities’
francophone population peaked in the middle of the 1980s – McGill’s reached
one in four students in 1986.

The popularity of anglophone universities among francophones is particularly
striking when the numbers are compared with the number of anglophones at
Université du Québec à Montréal and Université de Montréal. Anglophones make
up 1 per cent and 2 per cent, respectively, of the student bodies at those
universities.

Danielle Morin studied mathematics at Université de Montréal at the
undergraduate and master’s level. For her PhD, she switched to McGill. She
now teaches statistics at Concordia.

Five years ago, she started Faire le Grand Saut, an intensive two-week
summer English-language course for Concordia’s francophone business
students.

"I felt such a course would have helped me at McGill," Morin said. "Each
morning, we do a little grammar. In the afternoon, we apply what we’ve
learned."

Morin appreciates the fact that more than 40 per cent of Concordia students
don’t have English as their mother tongue. "Concordia is a mix of
minorities. There is more respect among the communities. Everybody is at
least bilingual. Even anglophones try to speak in French to francophones who
have difficulty in English."

At McGill, the large number of francophone students has prompted an increase
in French signs. Still, more than 30 years after the "McGill Français"
demonstrations against the unilingual culture of the university, some
francophone students are asking the anglo universities to become more
bilingual.

This past year, Gabriel Anctil and Anne-Marie Rollin edited the French
student newspapers of Concordia and McGill respectively. Both have publicly
denounced the lack of French in their universities. McGill and Concordia,
they argue, should have more links to the francophone culture of Montreal.

Anctil, who’s just finished communications undergrad studies, founded
Concordia’s first French newspaper, Le Concordia Français.

"When our first issue went out, in January, the Link and the Concordian (the
university’s two English-language student papers) sent reporters to
interview me," he said, sitting in a St. Denis St. bar. "They only spoke
English, so they couldn’t read my newspaper. It was discouraging."

Rollin, who was the publisher of the venerable Délit Français at McGill, is
less bitter than Anctil. But she feels McGill should become bilingual.

"It’s a pity a francophone professor can’t say, ‘I speak English and French’
at the beginning of a course. I like the model of the law faculty, which has
courses in both languages. McGill should also make sure its employees are
bilingual."

Despite their dearth of anglophone students, the French universities have
done little to target this potential market.

UQàM is only beginning to think about anglophones, spokesman Francine
Jacques says: "We set up a committee on the matter."

The école des Hautes études Commerciales, connected with the Université de
Montréal, does target anglophones directly. But it isn’t looking for anglo
students eager to learn French: three years ago, it created two MBA groups
in which all the classes are in English.

"More than half the students come from outside Canada, and the rest are
mostly from Montreal," said Catherine Grant, a recruitment manager at HEC.

"We target people who are interested in our product, but find it difficult
to learn French in one year.

"The growth of the English MBA program has been phenomenal – 40 per cent
last year. There are already the same number of students in the English and
the French programs."

Montreal anglophone Daniel Conti did his undergrad studies at HEC. "When I
decided to study in French, all my friends told me it wasn’t necessary," he
said. "They’ve all gone to McGill or Concordia.

"Now some of them are jealous of my experience. I’ve done an exchange
program in Milan. The placement office found me a job in a brokerage firm. A
lot of companies are looking for bilingual employees. If you’ve studied in
Concordia, you’re not completely bilingual."

– Mathieu Perreault’s E-mail address is
mathieu.perreault@lapresse.ca