Quebec city mayor pleads for more bilingualism

Regis Labeaume
Angelica Montgomery/CJAD

Quebec city's mayor Regis Labeaume says a lack of bilingualism in his municipality is causing headaches for employers, and he says the education system is not doing a proper job.

The mayor says "all" businesses are telling him there are not enough bilingual people in the provincial capital.

"I would say all of them. Any employer that does exportation, they will tell you that they try to find some bilingual people and it's tough," he says.

18% of employers say a lack of bilingualism is the biggest problem they face when it comes to the city's workforce, according to 2013 a survey done by the Quebec city chamber of commerce.

And Labeaume says the language skills of the younger generation are still not up to par. "The youth are more bilingual than we were, but it's still a very big problem here."

Everyone who graduates from high school should be bilingual, says the city's mayor. He also says the issue is a matter of social equality.

"Because people who have money in their pockets, like me, I send my kids to camp. They get English lessons others don't get. It's completely unfair."

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  • 17
  1. joeN posted on 06/16/2014 03:20 PM
    Hey Mayor Labomb, you can thank the liberals and the PQ for the years of perpetuating the myth of the disappearing french language and culture. The last 40 years of language harassment essentially sealed the deal on investments and major companies not returning to this run down province.
  2. truthseeker posted on 06/16/2014 03:53 PM
    Finally a fine example of an unchangeable fact: Language is not about cultural identity alone. Good communication and ensuring that practical everyday living goes well for everyone is what needs to be 'protected' more than anything else.
  3. Paul posted on 06/16/2014 03:55 PM
    Looks like reality is starting to sink in. We like to commit economic suicide with regressive and offensive language laws. Time to wake up and smell the coffee. You can have a French society in North America without demonizing English. What a concept eh?
  4. Lynne Marton posted on 06/16/2014 04:02 PM
    BRAVO Mayor Regis Labeaume!

    Now this is a Quebec mayor with common sense!! He knows the only way for businesses here, and ultimately this great province, to prosper, is to be bilingual. And it has to start with better English language education in the French elementary schools - the way the English students have been learning French for eons. It will be easier for the students to learn the younger they start.
  5. Go tell it on the mountain posted on 06/16/2014 05:25 PM
    Ici on parles French... Right?
    1. Joanne posted on 06/17/2014 01:17 PM
      @Go tell it on the mountain Pas si on veut être EN AFFAIRES avec le reste du Canada, les Etats-Unis et le monde ! Ça prends l'anglais ... c'est ce qu'on essaie de vous faire comprendre depuis des DÉCENNIES !
  6. debra posted on 06/16/2014 05:55 PM
    you can't get a job in montreal unless your french,not bilingualism, sorry but it's the truth,i've been at the same job for 34 1/2 yrs, the kids now a days want to much money just for starting in the job ,with no experience, they have to earn it.
  7. Kari posted on 06/16/2014 06:34 PM
    A politician making sense? I'm amazed!
  8. SStM posted on 06/16/2014 08:29 PM
    Merely more repercussions of Dr. Laurin's psychiatric malpractice which Quebec has encouraged to flourish with impunity. I doubt if anybody will call Quebec mayor Regis Labeaume a Quebec basher despite the fact that this label is bestowed upon "non pure" Quebecers for more innocuous comments re. the Quebec government restrictions on the use of minority languages.
  9. Pierre-Luc Arseneau posted on 06/17/2014 03:50 AM
    It is true that in Quebec City there's a lack about the english. The huge issue is that many citizens believe that they don't need to speak english there, ''because it's not Montreal''. We receive a lot of students coming from the rest of Canada where I work and I received so many times the following comment : ''it's the first place we can see bilinguals employees''. Of course, my english is not perfect, but that's definitely something that we need to have. Mayor Labeaume is definitely right on this one. Either if his party, the PQ (tried to be candidate for them in 1998), will disagree with him.
  10. Scott Sigurdson posted on 06/17/2014 01:59 PM
    Guess that's what you get for persecuting the english for as long as you have and for electing governments whose mandate was the alienation of the english.

    This is what you call Karma. Hope you are enjoying it! BRAVO!!!
  11. Richard posted on 06/17/2014 08:33 PM
    I always liked this guy
    How can we get him to come to Montreal and be our mayor
  12. Joe posted on 06/17/2014 09:52 PM
    Mario Beaulieu are you really listening to what Quebec wants, thank you Regis for telling him.
  13. ssm posted on 06/18/2014 12:40 AM
    Montreal certainly must separate from the yoke of the provincial regions in order to flourish in the modern world as a cosmopolitan city. Perhaps Quebec City would like to as well. The provincialism of the nationalist's restrictions on culture must be left behind by the any forward thinking metropolis. Maybe Quebec City is ready as well.
  14. Juge posted on 06/18/2014 09:05 AM
    Kudos to Mayor Labomb for having the moxy for stating the obvious. I hope his words will be listened to, unlike the many tens of thousands who have screamed loud for the past few generations, only to be ignored and trampled on.
    We now know he can talk the talk but will he have the backbone & leadership strength to walk the walk and fight to bilingualize his city's signs? It's a starting point. Come on M. Labomb, show us the way. I for one, certainly hope he will.
  15. Murray posted on 06/19/2014 07:29 AM
    Who is "Mayor Lacomb"?The story mentions "Mayor Labeaume".

    We arrived in Quebec City Wednesday afternoon from La Malbaie. Wow! What culture shock. Most employees here speak better English that we do! If you want French immersion go to La Malbaie. Meanwhile when we hiked (Parc des Grands Jardins) we came across a large school group and they were French speaking teens all speaking English (from Quebec City).
  16. chuck posted on 06/21/2014 10:18 AM
    As much as this mayor thinks its a good idea to have bilingual staff in various capacities the retards will quickly denounce him as a "vendu". He is the uncle tom of quebec for wanting to have more English spoken in tourism, government, the service industry etc. While i applaud him for seeing reality those that wish to have their heads still in the sand will demand his head. This province truly is a backward place, in language, in economics and everything.
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