November 20, 1978 (30th Parliament, 4th Session)


Donald James Johnston


Mr. Johnston (Westmount):

In fact, Mr. Speaker, the Westmount riding represents the Canada of tomorrow, where learning and speaking both official languages will be considered an opportunity and not an obligation.
At present, Mr. Speaker, we are observing in the West-mount riding a profound change in the attitude of the Englishspeaking population which is willingly taking part in the francization of Quebec. Anglophones, for example, are seeking opportunities to communicate and speak French with their fellow citizens, and it is astonishing to see, Mr. Speaker, that most of my Anglophone friends' children are attending either French schools or French immersion schools where both languages are taught. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, despite the Parti Quebecois' efforts to create an attitude of confrontation between Anglophones and Francophones, exactly the opposite is happening today.
Mr. Speaker, since the conquest, Canadian history has taught us that the division between French and English in the province of Quebec is based on religious rather than language differences. Up until now these religious differences have almost separated the two societies or prevented their integration. In my view, the ease with which English-speaking Irish Catholics have integrated themselves into the French community, for example, is proof of this theory. I believe, Mr. Speaker, that is why today we Find Francophones with names like Burns, O'Neill and Johnson, even in the Parti Quebecois.
As we know, Mr. Speaker, these religious barriers have nearly disappeared. This is a very great change in Quebec. In my opinion, relations have never been as friendly and as positive. I believe that far from being confirmed, these two solitudes, of which Hugh MacLellan wrote, are rapidly getting closer together. We, English-speaking Canadians, who have not the slightest intention of leaving the province of Quebec, see in all this the potential for a multicultural society.

Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Full View