Avec votre permission (by Kate Hardin)

This week’s blog post includes a linked audio file. Just click on the link below if you would like to hear the post read aloud. Scroll down to read the text.

Do you ever get that feeling where you know you’ve done something wrong, but you can’t for the life of you tell what it is or how you’re supposed to know? I’ve felt that way a lot as I move through different places and different communities within them. For instance, I’ve noticed that when I run up against a social norm in Canada, people generally won’t tell me directly like they might back home. Instead, I’ve learned to notice what I call the “Canadian huff”—an almost imperceptible sigh that shows that a boundary has been crossed but is not worth addressing. That’s how I learned not to ride my bike across a crosswalk in Nova Scotia and how I learned not to wear my shoes indoors in Québec.  

Depending on how you feel about it, you could parse the Canadian huff as passivity, politeness, or passive aggression. But whatever you choose to call it, I’ve noticed that that tendency for subtlety is not confined to etiquette, but keys into broader patterns of how information is sometimes conveyed in Canada—or at least in Quebec—compared to other places I’ve spent time.  

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Hors-série: Day-by-day Viewer’s Digest of Bill 96 Hearings (by Andréanne Langevin)

BILD thanks Andréanne Langevin for preparing the nine one-hour video digests linked below. We are indebted to Marina Koutsis and Elizabeth MacDougall for their work on the English summaries. Note that each video digest starts with an identical one-minute introduction by Andréanne.

Dear BILD community,

Andréanne Langevin

My name is Andréanne Langevin. I am a Ph.D. student at McGill University, in the Department of Integrated Studies in the Faculty of Education. I am also a born and raised Quebecker. My research focuses on provincial language policies, where I study parents’ opinions regarding the language of instruction legislation in force in the Quebec school system.

Throughout my years studying policy while teaching French immersion and being in close contact with Quebec parents, I have witnessed the confusion around some of the intricacies found in the provincial language policy provisions contained in the Charter for the French Language (or Bill 101). My research accounts for the impacts such complex legal ramifications can have on these parents’ ability to make an informed choice in terms of the language of instruction they want and can access for their children.

Policy disinformation is not, however, limited to parents. Academics can also, at times, corroborate some of the more persistent misconceptions regarding these laws. Such misconstructions can prevent the various stakeholders from fully understanding how a policy impacts them and whether they could or should call upon decision-makers to improve their situation. Therefore, one of my goals in academia is to provide clear language policy content, accessible to all stakeholders. In doing so, I hope to contribute to a fairer representation of the plurality of opinions eligible for consideration during the policy-making process.

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Quebec’s Education Inequity: Speaking Up for the Language Majority (by Dairn Alexandre)


Dairn Alexandre (a pseudonym) is a regular BILD guest blogger; for more information about Dairn, and to read his earlier posts, click here. Dairn has taught in Quebec and now works as a teacher in Alberta, where he lives with his wife, two kids, and dog. For specialized editorial input on this week’s Quebec-themed piece, he would like to thank Andréanne Langevin. Dairn’s post also serves by way of introduction and complement to Andréanne’s forthcoming January 26, 2022 “Hors Série” BILD post, in which BILD will make available links to a series of one-hour video digests Andréanne has created of the September/October 2021 hearings at Quebec’s provincial legislative body, l’Assemblée nationale, around Quebec’s proposed Bill 96.

To understand the slow erosion of anglophone, allophone, and francophone rights over time in Quebec, one would only need to focus on the school systems and the laws that regulate and protect language in the province (Tamilia, 2007). The latest statistics show that 80.6% of Quebec’s population predominantly speaks French at home. But this may not have been the case if the Quebec government had not decided to intervene and implement legislation to promote and protect the French language in the province.

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Quebec: A Rediscovery of Language Issues (by Dairn Alexandre)

We welcome Dairn Alexandre back as a guest blogger this week. Dairn (a pseudonym) works as a teacher in Alberta. He has a Diplôme d’Études Collégiales in Illustration & Design at Dawson College, a Bachelor of Education degree from McGill University, and is currently finishing up a Master of Education degree at Bishop’s University while also continuing to work as an illustrator. Dairn has two paintings on exhibition at the Avmor permanent collection in Montreal; has been a presenter and guest-lecturer at McGill University and at the University of Calgary; and has hosted sessions for Alberta’s Fine Arts Council. He lives with his wife, two kids, and dog.

Original work of art by the author

My wife and I never thought that we would move back to Quebec. For years, we both spoke of leaving Calgary in hypothetical terms. But that was it.

It was only after my wife miscarried a few days before Christmas seven years ago – likely brought on by the stress of working at a high-needs and under-resourced school – that we both started discussing the likelihood of moving back to the province that we were both born and raised in; the place we once called our home. 

After giving up our full-time teaching positions in Calgary in June, 2015, we packed up whatever we were unable to sell and headed back east, hoping for a simpler, better life. When we arrived that August, the town that I grew up in seemed somehow strangely foreign to us. So much had changed since we had left over eight years ago that we couldn’t help but feel homesick for a place that no longer existed.

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