Santa parade does little to welcome English-speakers
November 24, 2014
Events, Language, Montreal
Bill 101, Charter of the French Language, Christmas, language respect, Santa Claus Parade
Montreal’s Santa Clause Parade 2014 – A unilingual event (Photo credit: Destination Centre Ville)
What a terrific, festive Montreal experience I had with my son on Saturday. It was the first time my five year boy experienced such a major event. And right out of the mouths of babes he asks: Why is everything in French, daddy?
It really is quite incredible – and not in a very positive way – that the reality that is multicultural and multilingual Montreal is totally ignored by the organizers of this annual sensational parade. Barely a word was uttered in English. Hardly a song was played in English. Nary a sign was displayed in English.
Yet there was a huge crowd of non-francophones present: Anglos, multicultural communities, tourists and so on.
Is the downtown merchant association that funds this wonderful event so disconnected from their customers and the demographics of Montreal? The near complete absence of English in the parade was startling.
Let me be clear. I understood just about everything that was displayed in French and have no issue with all signage and announcements being in French. But why not in English as well? The evident lack of respect for English-speaking people and Montreal’s English-speaking community was astounding. Not quite the message of joy and generosity of the holiday season that I was expecting.
Santa Claus was perhaps the only one wishing all a Merry Christmas in English and French