Parlez-vous why can’t we attract French immigrants and investment?

I see Saint John is in France trying to woo immigrants to the port city. One of my little curiosities in life relates to how we can spend tens of millions of dollars each year to promote bilingualism, embed it in our education, government, health and civil society…

…and then do very little to take advantage of it.

New Brunswick had 45 immigrants from France in 2006 that had settled in the province since 2001. Of the 17,185 that settled in Canada, 45 in the officially bilingual province. Alberta and British Columbia had hundreds more French immigrants. Even Nova Scotia and Manitoba had more.

The officially bilingual province.

And don’t get me started about the lack of French business investment into New Brunswick.

I am sure there must be a well thought out and researched answer to this question. I can’t be the only person that is bewildered about this.

Maybe Saint John will be able to crack that nut.

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0 Responses to Parlez-vous why can’t we attract French immigrants and investment?

  1. Anonymous says:

    What bilingual province? Isn’t your occupation require reality?
    Do you not read the quantity of people who become or are bilingual in NB?
    Why are Quebec’s brought into NB to fill the so called bilingual delegated jobs?
    Is it not true,that the percentage of bilingual people in NB has not changed in 40 years?
    Give me facts .Not the fantasy.
    I reiterate again,the people of NB should have been looked after,because thats all your going to get,and it WAS plenty.Many VERY smart hard workers left this place.The lady who was great at the CIBC in Fredericton,now head accountant for Fort Mcmurray.Daughter in law of friend I talk to today,getting a raise after six months,unasked for ,also financial smart for company in the Fort,while her husband made 180,000 last year.And My own,finishing up a construction,bought a 68,000 dollar truck in Alberta,from this years work,who will never take a NB government contract again.And on and on.And don’t think Alberta will be ending.nope.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I really can’t grasp the value of selling NB as a bilingual province. The NB francophone population is just over 200,000, which is less than any mid-size francophone city in the world. And the functional literacy levels among the francophone population are unfortunately among the lowest in the country (which is partly reflected by the fact that the average annual income of NB francophones is below $20,000). And how many New Brunswickers are actually functionally bilingual? What we have is not a bilingual province, but a province with two official languages. And these are two completely different things.

  3. Rob says:

    “And how many New Brunswickers are actually functionally bilingual? “

    Most Acadians are not bilingual by choice, but simply by necessity. The literacy scores mentioned have more to do with rural v. urban divides than anything.

    For an example of bilingualism in action, you only need to look at retail establishments in Moncton, where it is good business sense to have bilingual staff. Removing all official languages legislation would have no effect on this.

  4. Anonymous says:

    New Brunswick is still and obscure province, we always seem to be the one province that canadians don’t know much about. So yes, we should promote our strenghts, the things that make us stand out, and the fact that we are a bilingual province is certainly one of them.
    Not sure what the latest stats are, but over 40% for sure are bilingual, not perfect but good enough to use as a selling point. In response to previous comments,the average income in Dieppe is among the highest in the province, a city where up to 85% are bilingual. We don’t even have a million people living in this province, both language groups are quite small on their own, therefore we should be working together.

  5. Anonymous says:

    “Removing all official languages legislation would have no effect on this.”

    No but having never allowed NB to be used as the pacification province,would have never created the language split,and the education joke, and the population and economic situation of Moncton,and other cities would be closer to double and rising not as is and falling.(Saint John)
    And quebecers would not now be running (exploiting) the province.
    Imagine buying our milk from a quebec company,building our roads,maintenance contract for 25 years,and on and on,while our families are in the west.It was just a year ago on a nice sunday as I was out christmas shopping that a french rcmp took me for 180$ and points for rolling thru a lonely stop sign.The U.S has received a lot of my spending since then.Including this year.(internet)

  6. Anonymous says:

    Rob, you didn’t get my point. What I am questioning is the real value proposition of New Brunswick as a bilingual province. You can find more functionally bilingual people in any major Canadian city. Just to put things in context, Alberta has more than 200,000 francophones (StatCan 2001 census), and that puts it still only in fifth place in Canada.

    I am sorry, but I don’t think that the example of retail business in Moncton is a good reference for what would have real impact in the provincial economy, i.e. FDI and productivity improvement.

    Finally, you say that “Most Acadians are not bilingual by choice, but simply by necessity.” Well, what can I say? Welcome to the 21st century! That is the case anywhere in the world. (disclosure: English is not my first language either)

  7. Rob says:

    “It was just a year ago on a nice sunday as I was out christmas shopping that a french rcmp took me for 180$ and points for rolling thru a lonely stop sign.”

    And an English-speaking RCMP officer would have let you violate traffic laws due to your common language? Please.

    What I am questioning is the real value proposition of New Brunswick as a bilingual province. You can find more functionally bilingual people in any major Canadian city.

    To the second anonymous: we won't be able to attract people & investment to NB based on bilingualism alone. However, we can pitch our low cost of living, small town lifestyle, AND the benefits of a bilingual and educated workforce. I don't think we can win by betting the farm on a single feature.

    I also think this sales pitch will help in urban areas of Europe. There will always be people looking to flee the big cities. We should be advertising ourselves as an option. The fact we speak two languages in this province may make us more attractive to Europeans who are used to multilingual environments.

  8. David Campbell says:

    Just to clear up a few facts. One, New Brunswick has four times as many Francophones as Alberta. There are 222,885 Albertans that claim to speak French but only 61,000 Francophones. The rest must be Anglos/others that learned French.

    Mother Tongue French:
    Quebec 5,877,660
    Ontario 488,815
    New Brunswick 232,980
    Alberta 61,225
    British Columbia 54,740
    Manitoba 43,960
    Nova Scotia 32,540
    Saskatchewan 16,055
    Prince Edward Island 5,345
    Newfoundland and Labrador 1,885
    Yukon Territory 1,105
    Northwest Territories 970
    Nunavut 370

    Second, official bilingualism is a fact in New Brunswick. I am just saying that we should attempt to use it to a broader advantage like for economic development.

  9. Anonymous says:

    David, I thought that the discussion was about bilingualism, not about linguistic duality (Bilingual: A person who uses or is able to use two languages, especially with equal fluency).

    My point is that I have serious doubts about whether there are more benefits than costs in increasing this duality.

    And as for Rob's point, I entirely agree that we won't be able to attract people & investment to NB based on bilingualism alone. Unfortunately, without a truly educated workforce, success in these efforts will be limited to call centers. And that's exactly the role that governments should play, i.e. to invest in upgrading its factors of production (human capital is one of them) to increase the absorptive capacity of the regional economy. That's what I mean by value proposition. Otherwise, we are just putting the coach before the horses.

  10. mikel says:

    The devil is in the details. Let’s say you were proposing legislation, w hat would it look like? New Brunswick already has ‘official bilingualism’ as a mean selling point, it is featured on virtually every tourism and industry related website,etc., there is.

    But it does come down to industry, no matter what culture you come from, nobody is going to settle where they have no job. If you are francophone are you going to live in NB or Quebec? There is plenty of ‘rural’ places in Quebec. And legislation for rural Quebec is far better than New Brunswick. For rural people New Brunswick is about the last province to live in, just look at the set up of factory farms, mining legislation, poor educational facilities and on and on.

    Bilingualism is ‘part of the mix’, as for the question, why not NB, I think the answer is that same as why immigration is low for ALL cultural groups to NB. People don’t move just based on a line in an ad “hey, we’re bilingual”, its all the things that are encompassed by that, and of course the recent educational changes don’t help, they had lots of established people packing up and leaving.

  11. Anonymous says:

    “they had lots of established people packing up and leaving.”

    Where is the stats on this falsehood?
    And if you could produce them,so what? Who worried about the English people leaving because of the bilingual implementation,by two people,Hatfield mckenna and mulroney,nearly makes two.
    Yes where are the solid statistics?
    With the amount of money disappearing into the CPF regime ,with no accountability,why have they no factual stats.
    And for those who like to remind all that NB is officially bilingual and will stay that way,I say fine,just quit talking about a self sufficient province with a highly educated work force,cause its not about to happen.
    Once implementation of societal policy is taken from the citizen its the beginning of the end.So just enjoy it.

  12. mikel says:

    It’s hardly falsehood, David recounts the stats yearly, the province has had a regular pattern of outmigration. Many professionals were posting on facebook and myspace and even in editorials that they were planning on leaving during the education ‘debacle’ (which was a good example of public policy NOT done by citizens).

    Public policy in New Brunswick, or Canada, has never been done by ‘citizens’, so its a ‘falsehood’ to talk about it being taken away from them.

    Nobody knows the future, but few here will voluntarily stop talking about self sufficiency just because New Brunswick is officially bilingual. As I’ve posted several times, with only slight changes in taxation policies New Brunswick would be self sufficient NOW.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Professionals posting on something called facebook or myspace!!
    Like Winston said “some Professional”,hic,lol

    Just find ONE !
    Notice that Carrier agrees with me.
    If its not usable,get rid of it.
    Or does some one have favorable? stats. (besides facebook)!
    Or use the money for Atlantica (jobs),to hire french language gendarmes to force french on NB,lol