- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 23, 2001

Jeffrey T. Kuhner´s June 21 Op-Ed column, “Puerto Rico, 51st state?” which deals with the merits of statehood for Puerto Rico presented some interesting arguments that should be seriously considered by the Bush administration and by American conservatives in general.

But one of his points about the Canadian province of Quebec appears to be the result of opinion being passed off as fact. Mr. Kuhner states that “unlike most French-speaking Quebecers, most Puerto Ricans want to learn English as a second language.”

The implication about the wishes of most French Quebecers to remain unilingually French may have applied to Quebec in the early 1970´s, but it by no means applies today. The vast majority of Francophone Quebecers have come to the realization that learning English as a second language has become a necessity in today´s communication- and information-based economy. Most want to learn English, and a huge proportion of them do so, especially in the metropolitan area of Montreal.

Former Quebec Premier Jacques Parizeau, himself a strident separatist, once described the separatist movement as “an unending trip to the dentist” for all of Canada. He was right about that, of course, but the reality that Mr. Kuhner appears not to grasp is that the separatist problem in Quebec is no longer an issue based on language differences. Rather, it is simply a battle for political power between competing governments.


Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada

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