Lynnda Proulx: Keeping French “Bien Vivant” in Canada

Lynnda is a “migrant” from a tiny village, St. Clément, near Rivière du Loup in Quebec who I became friends with in the mid-90s.

We have both worked in English-speaking Africa, enjoy some outdoor sports together and both have a love of languages. Lynnda has taken that a step further through her professional career. She is a professor at Cité Collegiale’s Department
of Education, where she teaches courses in Learning, Teaching and Evaluation, Business Communications and Theatre in French.

Her students say they enjoy her courses and her enthusiastic teaching style.

Lynnda, who not only speaks French and English,but is also fluent in Portuguese and is now learning Spanish, is passionate about trying to ensure the French language’s survival in Canada.

As you can appreciate, this takes a LOT of passion, in Ottawa, where
English predominates, and where there is a tendency even for new
French-speaking immigrants to this region to integrate in English.

According to the 2006 national census, the Ottawa region has 7% of Ontario’s population and is home to 25% of the province’s Francophones. Yet Francophones make up only 18% of the Ottawa region.

Statistics of the region

Population (2006)

Ottawa

Ontario

Total population

756,745

11,354,360

Francophone population 1

137,020

 557,070

%  Francophone population

18 %

5 %

Also, youth, either French or English-speaking, are caught up in the
neo-language of texting, techno-speak and other variations of standard language.

Lynnda is also a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Education, where her thesis topic is:  “The Process of Social Integration and Academic Integration for 1st Year Immigrants Studying in French Colleges in a Minority Situation.”

Lynnda is looking at how minorities (immigrants) integrate within an additional layer of being a minority – i.e. being French-speakers in a majority-English speaking community.  Lynnda’s study is breaking new ground in
researching an important area that has not been examined at in the
Canadian context, but will have critical value for the future of Canada.  Her work will be followed in FutureShapers.

Lynnda recently was one of the four winners of a French Literary Essay
Competition held by the Jean-Robert Gauthier Foundation.  Open to all
students in all Canadian post-secondary institutions, the topic was:
“How can governments and members of civil society use social media
networks to better serve Francophone communities in this country?”

The prize was presented by Ottawa-Vanier MP, Mauril Bélanger at the
Richelieu Gala de la Francophonie on Friday, March 4, 2012.  The essay in French will be available in this blog shortly.

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About futureshaperscanada

Based in Ottawa, Canada I am a communicator by profession, with a specialization in international development.Originally from Scotland, I have also spent time living and working in Southern and West Africa. As a "femme d'un certain age" I think a lot about what has gone before, and what lies ahead. We so often hear that the future belongs to today's youth, but I think we all have a role in contributing and "value-adding" to the world in which we live. I try to do that - sharing this blog is just one way - and many of my personal circles, of all ages, also do so. I call us "Future Shapers" and welcome input, comments and most of all, encourage your own actions in building a better world.
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