Grothman used part of his half-hour speech to discuss "why nations fail," saying, "I never felt Canada was quite as successful as America [...] because to a degree their elections pitted the French speakers against the English speakers."
Cue the Québecois fury in 3...2...1.
"In these countries that fail, the elections are a contest of one ethnic group against another," continued the congressman.
In one fell swoop, Grothman dissed Canadians AND Quebecers which is quite an impressive feat — regardless of whether or not you agree with the Wisconsin Republican.
The language debate was one of the hot-button issues in the recent Canadian federal election. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who declared himself as a "proud Quebecer" on several occasions and who is fluently bilingual, might take exception to Grothman's comments.
Then again, Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet didn't help ease those assumptions about Canada when tweeting about how "examples of contempt against the French language continue to multiply," on Thursday.
But, hey, while there is indeed a polarizing language debate in this country, at least no one's attempted to storm Parliament over an ideological cause.
It also answers what's likely to be the first question that comes to mind: which of the two groups drinks more?
According to Éduc'alcool's data for 2021, Montreal francophones drink more — but not by much.
Here are some of the poll's findings, based on the responses of those surveyed:
Eighty-eight percent of francophones say they drank during the last year, compared to 79% of anglophones.
Sixty-eight percent of francophones say they drink alcohol once a week or more, compared to 54% of anglophones.
Anglophone drinkers say they have 1.7 drinks per week, but francophone drinkers have 2.5 drinks per week.
Forty-six percent of francophones say they exceed recommended limits once a month or more while 39% of anglophones say the same.
When it comes to drinking and driving, 45% of francophone respondents believed they may be stopped by police at a roadside sobriety checkpoint, compared to 55% of anglophones.
Éduc'alcool says francophones in Montreal drink more than those elsewhere in Quebec but, overall, Montreal is pretty on par with the province's averages, particularly when it comes to drinks per month and per week.
The exception is when it comes to the negative impact of alcohol on Montrealers' lives. According to this survey, the percentage of Montreal drinkers who think alcohol negatively affects their social lives, family lives and physical health is higher than Quebec's average.
In total, Éduc'alcool surveyed 1,200 people (500 francophones and 400 anglophones) in the Montreal region, for a total of 7,600 respondents across Quebec.
"We live in a francophone province in a francophone city from a legislative perspective, but the reality of Montreal is far different," the leader of Mouvement Montréal said in an interview with MTL Blog.
"So, for us, it was important to re-establish the identity of Montreal, which is one that is inclusive."
"This is not a contested question," Holness said, citing a survey showing most Montrealers believe the city is bilingual. "We all know Montreal is bilingual and multicultural and it is something that we should embrace and recognize."
"Moreover, Montreal beyond that is even trilingual," he continued. "There are people from all over the world who speak Mandarin, Cantonese, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian. And all of these languages make up the diversity of Montreal, and it enriches us all."
Rather than contributing to the decline of French in Montreal, Holness said his language policies would help preserve it by offering non-francophones incentives to learn.
"The fact that we are going to incentivize and ameliorate the chances of anglophones to work in the City of Montreal means they'll be able to learn French through their employment activity," he said. "We're going to be increasing la francisation des anglophones."
"Right now, what's happening is that we're excluding anglophones," he continued. "They're moving to demerged cities such as Westmount, such as Côte Saint-Luc, such as Kirkland. They're not being incorporated into the reality and to the economic life of Montreal, and we're just pushing them all away."
Holness wants more jobs for people with spotty French
If elected, Mouvement Montréal would work to create a more inclusive municipal workforce because it's currently falling short in terms of ethnic and linguistic diversity, he said.
Of the city's roughly 25,000 municipal employees, "only about 2% of those in management positions are visible minorities and even less of those are anglophone," Holness claimed.
To change that he plans to lower the French language requirements for municipal jobs.
"Right now, when you go in for a [municipal] job, there is an evaluation based on your capacity to speak French," he said.
"So, we want to create assessments and evaluations of language that are less severe to allow individuals to get into the workforce. And then they can learn French, once they are on the job, through their interactions with their coworkers and with the public."
"The idea is that anglophones, especially those that are visible minorities, should have an easier time getting into the workforce," he continued.
'They don't want to be inclusive'
On November 7 people will vote to elect a mayor as well as 46 members of Montreal's City Council.
The current mayor, Projet Montréal's Valérie Plante, is seeking re-election and her main challenger is the previous mayor, Ensemble Montréal's Denis Coderre.
As Plante recently introduced an "action plan" to promote the French language in Montreal and Coderre is reportedly open to provincial government-led language reform, Holness accused his opponents of trying to impose provincial ideas on the metropolis.
"Valérie Plante is from Rouyn-Noranda, Denis Coderre is from Joliette," he continued. "And there's this whole idea that the regions are imposing on Montreal their vision for Montreal. And the question is, what do Montrealers want for their city?"
"Many people across the region say Montreal is the only francophone city in North America, and they're right, but Montreal also has a bilingual multicultural reality," he said. "So you have Quebec City trying to impose an identity on Montreal does not meet reality, which is multilingual and multicultural."
"We need a multilingual and multicultural policy and beyond that, a political party that reflects that diversity through and through," he added.
Projet Montréal does not reflect that diversity, he concluded, explaining how he helped organize a grassroots anti-racism movement, which he says prompted the city's public consultation agency to hold a series of hearings on systemic discrimination in 2019.
As a result, Plante created a commissioner on systemic discrimination and promised to hire more minorities for municipal jobs. But Holness had sharp words for the mayor, saying she only took those steps out of "obligation."
"The reason why there was a public consultation on systemic racism and discrimination is because the administration had an all-white French executive committee when they were elected in 2017. Period. That's their vision of Montreal," he said.
"They don't want to be inclusive," he said. "Mouvement Montréal, my political party, is by its very nature, authentically diverse. We've done in two months what it took them nearly two decades to do, which is have a diverse team."