Skip to content

Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Headlines / À la une : 2007.09.20

Read more articles by

À la une est une selection hebdomadaire de nouvelles concernant l’espace publique de Montréal. Il paraîtra tous les mercredis.

Headlines is a weekly selection of news stories about public space in Montreal. It will appear every Wednesday.





Do you have a story to share with us? Let us know!

Pour encore plus de nouvelles montréalaises, visitez le Montreal City Weblog de Kate McDonnell.


  1. I am a member of Montreal’s Anglo minority and just read “Anglo Survival in Peril” in the Montreal Gazette. Although I was born in this city and spent my entire life here, I feel like I never had a home. Most store employees and other service providers speak no English or refuse to do so on purpose. I can’t even count on police officers and firefighters to speak enough English to communicate with me. Many of the French people treat Anglos like second class citizens and make them feel like trespassers. The animosity between Anglos and the French majority is upsetting and even frightening.

    People planning to move to this province have to realize that they won’t be able to get jobs or even carry out day-to-day tasks like shopping unless they know French. They can always change their minds if they feel they can’t meet the language requirements. But it’s unfair to force French on people like me, who were born here before the French nationalist movement started and counted on Quebec to be a democratic province where their rights as Anglos would be respected.

    I have a neurological disorder that affects my ability to learn certain skills like foreign languages. Trying to master French is a frustrating exercise in futility. Thanks to that same condition, I don’t have the means to relocate and am stuck here. I feel violated and trampled on by the French majority.

    Over the years I watched a number of activists and organizations fight for Anglo rights, only to realize they were fighting a losing battle, give up and even leave the province. I am also let down by the wimpy politicians who do nothing but make fools of themselves instead of standing up for us. We need people who can put up a solid fight and stick with it until they win us back the rights we lost.

    Marla Comm

  2. I really don’t know what to say, Marla, because my experience is very different. Although I am fairly fluent in French, my girlfriend isn’t, but she hasn’t had any problems with being served in English.

    You say that “most store employees and other service providers speak no English” but I don’t find this to be the case. I am curious to know where you live. In most of central Montreal, I find that English is not only widely available, it actually predominates in many areas. On Park Avenue, where I live, most store employees speak more English than French.

    Even though I’m bilingual, I nonetheless spend 90% of my life in English. I’ve never had problems speaking with police officers, firefighters, Hydro-Quebec employees, etc. in English. In fact, the last time firefighters came to my place, after the fire alarm in the building next door went off, they didn’t even speak French to me… they started off in English!

  3. Christopher, you are just lucky. Many people I know, including my father, complained of the same problem when he went to stores like Loblaws and even the IGA in the Cote St. Luc mall near him.

    I also live in Cote St. Luc but travel to various parts of the island to do food shopping because the shopping in my area is very limited.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *