Tory MP under fire for language comments about Quebecers
A backbench Tory MP from Quebec City has landed himself in hot water after describing Quebecers as a bunch of "illiterates" when it comes to the English language.
"Whether in elementary or secondary (school), English is practically swept under the rug (in Quebec)," Petit, 60, said last week at the House of Commons official languages committee. "At the university level, it's even worse. We have illiterates of the second language."
But Petit's remarks contradict recent statistics which revealed that French-speaking Quebecers were more likely to be bilingual than their English-speaking counterparts in the rest of Canada. A new research analysis by the Association for Canadian Studies concluded that many francophones are getting enough exposure to their second language in school to propel them to excel in bilingualism in their mid-teen years and after they hit the workforce.
"Whatever (francophones) have learned, however uneven or insufficient their learning is, it seems be enough to push them into a very significant degree of bilingualism, once they've finished school," said Jack Jedwab, executive director of the association, in an interview. "Anglophones in the rest of the country, don't seem to have the opportunity or excitement . . . about learning the other language."
Critics quickly pounced on the gaffe from the Tory MP who has developed a reputation for stirring up controversy.
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