Useless Govt Ad Campaigns Try To Halt Decline of French In Quebec

CBC ran a story in October of last year on Quebec's Bonjour campaign:
A new Quebec-funded ad campaign that encourages people to speak more French is getting bad reviews from some English-speaking Montrealers.

The $1.5-million "Bonjour" campaign urges Quebecers to greet each other in French.

The radio version tells listeners that "Bonjour is the best beginning" for every conversation.

Montrealers don't need to hear that, especially when the province has bigger problems at hand, said Ted Duskes, who runs a technology equipment business.

"Don't spend all these kinds of money when you don't have the money to spend," he told CBC News. "You have people lining up in the halls in the emergency rooms, and you haven't got nurses. It's frustrating."

The campaign comes after months of public debate over the vitality of French in Montreal.

Recent provincial studies suggest French is losing favour as the main language of commerce on the island of Montreal, especially among small businesses.

The majority of Quebec francophones feel the French language is threatened in Quebec, but the ad campaign misses the mark, said Jack Jedwab, executive director of the Association for Canadian Studies.

"In terms of outcomes, in terms of the degree to which non-francophones are going to say 'bonjour' more, or use more French in retail outlets of downtown Montreal, I doubt this will have any meaningful impact," he said.

Government officials wouldn't comment on the campaign.

But Quebec's Office de la langue francaise, the province's language watchdog, said it expects similar campaigns to be rolled out soon.


Snake Oil Baron said...

Someone in Montreal should make T-shirts saying "Bonjour is the most expensive beginning for every conversation." and print the budget for the French language police beneath the slogan.

Unfrench Frenchman said...

Great idea!

Edward J. Cunningham said...

It's been a while since this site has had a new story. Found something that might be interesting although it does not involve French. (There is a comment about Francophone Africa buried in it, though.) If this has already been posted here, please forgive me:

The Global Spread of English is a Seismic Event