Today, Quebec politicians gathered in Montreal to announce and celebrate the forthcoming opening of three British companies in the city.

But it was the mode in which Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante delivered her speech that overshadowed the event.

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TL;DR Plante gave a speech today entirely in English, prompting criticism from both the media and public.

According to TVA and le Journal de Montréal, the mayor decided to give her remarks entirely in English.

The choice sparked instant debate, especially in a moment of contentious discussion about the French language in Canada. 

Francis Halin made exactly this point for the Journal de Montreal. "At a time when a challenge to the French language shakes Ontario, the mayor of the largest Francophone city in North America [...] did not think it appropriate to speak French," he wrote.

Halin is referring, of course, to the decision of the Ford government in Ontario to cut some Francophone services.

Montreal residents took to Twitter to voice their disapproval of the mayor's English speech. Some responses have been condensed in translation and some words have been added in brackets to best convey in English the original sentiment in French.

"I'm ashamed of Valérie Plante."

"It seems to me that Valérie Plante is looking for a post in the party of Doug Ford in the neighbouring province..."

"Valérie Plante, the mayor of Montreal, suffering from selective amnesia brought on by stress, forgets her mother tongue and expresses herself only in English." 

"I really regret voting for her."

"Really, Valérie Plante? Do you think that Anne Hidalgo [mayor of Paris] addresses her constituents in English? Huge lack of respect."

The speech is sure to further provoke debate in Quebec and across Canada about the security of the French language.

This news comes on the same day that the Legault government announced it is following through on its promise to reduce immigration to the province, particularly for non-French speakers.

Stay tuned.



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