Saturday, November 26, 2005

Front page article in this morning's Gazette:

More young anglos choosing to stay

I doubt the link will last more than a day or two, so I will paste the relevant text. Sorry about the copyright, etc.

Young anglophones are less likely to leave Quebec than a decade ago, a migration study issued yesterday reveals.

Moreover, four out of 10 respondents in the 2004-'05 survey indicated they consider themselves as much a part of the francophone community as Quebec's anglophone minority.

...The survey suggests that Quebec anglophones are more attached to their origins than previously believed, said Madeleine Gauthier of the Institut national de la recherche scientifique.

...It also appears the one-way drain of anglophones from the province can be reversed, Gauthier said following a news conference to unveil the study.

My personal experience bears out this trend. The flood of refugees to Toronto and parts westward has slowed if not stopped; the last time I remember a personal friend leaving was 1997.
(How do I know? Her son was in the same class as mine, and they left when he graduated Elementary School.)

In fact (to my unending glee) both children of another wayward friend have chosen to attend McGill instead of any local (to them) Toronto university.

You can check out but you can never leave.

My own two sons, now in their 20s, have shown no interest whatsoever in relocating, even the one whose French is less than fluent. The other, who went through French Immersion, is off and running in a Francophone workplace.
I can't think of any friends of theirs who are leaving, either. Quite different from my own situation at their age.

I stayed, against the flow, because my life was here, my job was here, my parents were here, and I married a man (also Anglophone) whose life was here. There was no serious question of leaving, even through the turmoil of the 80s and 90s, because my husband was only licensed to practice his profession in Quebec and for reasons known only to him, refused to try to obtain licenses anywhere else.

So the trend has indeed reversed but the article doesn't really address WHY.

I can think of a couple of reasons:

The ones who were going to leave, have already done so.
The children of the ones who stayed were brought up with a different attitude. They learned French and were thus able to participate in a broader range of community activities and be exposed to a broader range of cultural influences.
They feel more at home.

There has also been a lull in the political noise at least up until the news of the Sponsorship Scandal broke. House prices went up, for sale and for rent sightings eased to reasonable levels, the Quebec Liberals were elected, and, it can be argued, our heads became nestled comfortably in the sand.

I would expect perhaps to see a smaller new wave of emigration if things proceed as I envision now; the separatist cause gains some vigour, the PQ are reelected in due course, the whole thing starts up over again; but nothing like the furor of the 60s and 70s.

On the whole, I'm glad to have remained in Quebec. I love Montreal and can't think of anywhere in North America I'd rather live (climate aside). Sometimes I think of how nice it must be to open one's mouth in public and not have it be a political statement no matter what the context, but when measured against other social ills, that one doesn't really stand up.

While I'm not vowing to stay forever and become a citizen of Quebec the country, I'm not vowing not to either. Life will take care of those decisions for me, I expect.

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