Decades after Bill 101 catalyzed a mass exodus of Anglophones out of Quebec, the province wants all those English-speakers back.
That is, at least, the sentiment put forward by Quebec premiere Philippe Couillard when giving a speech at a Quebec Liberal Party youth wing policy convention over the weekend.
"Your presence is necessary, desired," said Couillard, according to reports. "We need you for a better future for all Quebecers."
“The English language is part of who we are, it’s part of our history," Couillard also said, seemingly pushing for increased bilingualism in Quebec.
Couillard also called on Quebecers not to "sneer" at anyone in the streets for speaking English, even though the same type of thing used to happened to Quebecers.
This plea for Anglophones to come back to Quebec comes at a strange time.
At the same convention Couillard made his speech, the Quebec Liberal Youth wing rejected a pilot project that would have gone toward aiding the province's suffering English school boards.
The pilot project would have allowed Francophones students to register at English schools to boost enrolment-rates.
And only a few days ago, Quebec political leaders, particularly Parti Quebecois Leader Jean-Francois Liséee, said Anglophones shouldn't be able to immigrate to Quebec.
Liséee's statement was a reaction to 2016 census data suggesting that more Anglophones were living in Quebec towns and cities, even more remote areas.
The data put forward by the StatsCan census, however, is likely inflated. Some are even calling it straight-up wrong.
Either way, despite what the premiere of Quebec may say, it doesn't look like all French-speakers in the province are pleased with the idea of bringing in more Anglophones.
Couillard even said that Bill 101 isn't going anywhere. But when it came to the potential softening of Quebec language laws, the premiere did say “let’s see what we can do.”
Obviously, that kind of vague statement doesn't amount to much. Still, though, the province's head political leader seems to be on-board with increasing the amount of Anglophones living in Quebec, who would need to learn French and become bilingual, of course.
That's quite a shift from what we're used to, so maybe Couillard's remarks will herald a push for increased bilingualism in our fair province.