August 17, 2017 11:24 pm

Statistics Canada releases revised numbers on Quebec anglophones

StatsCan published revised Census numbers after a computer glitch caused roughly 61,000 Canadians who listed their mother tongue as French to be counted as English speakers.

Sean Kilpatrick/CP/File
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Statistics Canada has published revised Census numbers after admitting an error in language stats for Quebec.

“For Quebecers waking up this morning, they’ll learn there are 55,000 less anglophones than what Statistics Canada reported last week,” Jack Jedwab, the president of the Association for Canadian Studies, said.

Statistics Canada released numbers earlier this month that showed a massive spike of anglophones in Quebec.

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READ MORE: Anglophone population in Quebec rising despite language laws: 2016 census

The government agency said a computer glitch caused roughly 61,000 Canadians who listed their mother tongue as French to be counted as English speakers.

That led to Statistics Canada mistakenly reporting that English speakers in Quebec had increased by 55,000.

In fact, the number of English speakers saw a very slight increase in Quebec since 2011.

“I think it’s more in line with the reality in terms of the numbers relative to 2011,” Jedwab told Global News.

The agency admitted the mistake after English-language groups and other experts questioned the figures.

READ MORE: Skepticism, ‘shock’ surrounds 2016 census language findings in Quebec

Jedwab was among those who sent an email to the agency outlining the unlikelihood of its findings.

“It misled people in what is a very emotionally charged debate in Quebec, with significant policy consequences had those numbers been accurate.”

The original numbers had the Parti Quebecois calling for tighter language laws.

The Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) says the revised data proves anglophones are not a threat to French in Quebec.

“If there is such a threat, it is coming from a complex mix of elements that has nothing to do with the community,” said QCGN director general Sylvia Martin-Laforge.

“The data will allow us to make evidence-based requests to both levels of government in terms of the funding.”

Statistics Canada officials say they are reviewing all their processes to prevent similar errors in the future.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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