April 18, 2018 9:08 pm

Michel C Auger examines “Myths” about Quebec language, politics

Global News/Karol Dahl

Nothing like a good old language debate to get the political juices flowing or get to pundits, politicians and a series of onlookers into a local bookstore for an event.

On Tuesday, Political analyst and broadcaster Michel C. Auger held a book signing at the Librairie Gaillard for his new book “25 mythes à déboulonner en politique québécoise”.

Auger’s book touches on the various Quebec narratives that have played out in society and in the headlines for decades.

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A lot of the book is a riff off of Myth number 1: that the French language is on the decline in Quebec.

Auger says not only is that not the case, he cites numbers from the last census that say that 94.5% of Quebecers speak some form of French, adding that he believes Bill 101 the language law, worked.

” Most Quebecers know enough French to get by; they may not be able to write a PhD thesis, but most speak fluently and that is different from 40 years ago,” said Auger.

As for the bonjour-hi debate that dominated the political narrative for several weeks last year, Auger says it is a myth that the bilingual greeting is a sign of encroching English.

At the event Tuesday, both supporters and critics showed up for the book signing.

Former Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe was on hand and scoffed at the idea that bonjour-hi is merely a benign greeting.

“You won’t hear it anywhere else. Not in Ontario, Not in the United States. I’m pretty sure that the English understand Bonjour, and if they don’t then that means that it is not 95% that speak French,” Duceppe told Global News.

While Duceppe concedes that French isn’t currently in danger he insists that “if we don’t do something then in 30 or 40 years we will be in trouble. I think it is a danger, but all Quebecers French and English can protect French and live in harmony with our neighbours” said Duceppe.

Auger says it has been a rough few days on social media with some calling him a “traitor” for publishing his book.
Auger says he expected a bit of controversy but hopes it will foster debate.

” I hope it is a discussion and that we look at the facts and see what is really going on as we move forward.”

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