KW francophones find a lack of community

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Many English Canadians might think that French is only kept alive in Quebec and on the backside of government documents. 

However, according to Statistics Canada, 1,126,535 Canadians outside of Quebec report spoke French at home and 1,074,985 Canadians considered French their mother tongue outside of Quebec in 2016. 

Of that million, 550,600 people in the province of Ontario alone (around 4.1 per cent of the province) considered French their first language.  

To discover more about the francophone experience outside of Quebec, Imprint interviewed francophones about their experiences. 

Marie-Claude Duffernense moved to Ontario from Quebec when she was eight-years-old.

Currently, she works as a translator and lives in the Kitchener-Waterloo region. 

She noted that when  her family first moved to Ontario, there was not much of a cultural shock, but the real difficulty was the language barrier. 

Duffernense and her family moved to Ontario without knowing any English, and then moving into an area in where only English was spoken proved to be challenging for her and her siblings, as well as her mother. 

When asked about French services in the province of Ontario she said, “I think it is inadequate.”

Now however, she saids that she doesn’t speak French with any of her family other than with her father. 

Duffernense  mentions that she’s not particularly invested in preserving the French language. Although she does think it’s important, it is simply not much of a concern for her. 

Duffernense studied French translation at the University of Ottawa, and said that the reason she studied that field was because she already spoke the language, and because she believed that working in French was always going to be in demand. 

However,  when asked about the French language ability of some politicians, she said that “It is disappointing”, and she later said that “French is a bit of an afterthought” when it comes to Canada.

Suzanne Dansereau, who was born in Montreal, lived in the Kitchener-Waterloo region for more than 30 years. 

But despite being well established in Ontario, she’s still attached to Quebec along with the French language. 

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