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Updated: Thu, 27 Feb 2014 05:30:17 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Half of Quebec's anglophones feel they can succeed in the province



Christine Kostecki has a nursing degree but can't work in Quebec because she never passed her French exam. CBC

Christine Kostecki has a nursing degree but can't work in Quebec because she never passed her French exam. CBC

The number of anglophones who feel they or their children can succeed in Quebec has sharply declined over the past year, a poll suggests.

In a CBC-commissioned Ekos poll, about half of anglophone respondents — 53 per cent — said they feel they can achieve success living in the province.

That's down from 65 per cent one year ago, when CBC carried out a poll for its Living English series.

When asked about their children, 48 per cent of anglophones said they feel their children can succeed in Quebec — down from 61 per cent a year ago.

For allophones living in Quebec, 55 per cent said they feel they can be successful here, and 56 per cent said they think their children can succeed as well.

The results are a stark contrast with francophones who were polled, more than 80 per cent of whom feel they and their children can attain success in the province.

As part of an exclusive two-week series, CBC Montreal will look at what is pushing people to consider relocating out of Quebec, what is keeping them in the province and what hopes they have for their future in Quebec.

A total of 2,020 Quebec residents were interviewed by phone between Feb. 10 and 18, 2014, with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. 

Career roadblock

Saint-Bruno resident Christine Kostecki feels she's hit a roadblock in her career path.

Kostecki completed a bachelor's degree at McGill University in nursing, but can't work because she didn't pass the oral section of the mandatory French exam.

"I keep trying and trying. I take French classes, I've had a private tutor … I'm doing what it takes to do it and it just makes me feel so dejected," Kostecki said.

For now, she's a stay-at-home mom, but Kostecki said she'd like to enter the workforce.

"I felt I wanted to do something for the community. Something that was bigger and better and I felt I had the inclination and the drive and the will — but I've been stopped."

Kostecki has two children and encourages them to learn French, but she doesn't know if they'll ultimately stay in the province.

"They need to learn French, but then it's their choice. If they want to stay, they stay. They decide where they want to go.… I feel horrible because Montreal is a wonderful city and it has so much to offer, but we are losing people and it's sad. "

Kostecki's daughter Rebecca Newton, 17, plans to study nursing. She says she may leave Quebec for better job opportunities.

"Yeah, I have thought of it because nurses here don't get paid very much, and if you look in the States they can double their salaries. As much as this is my home it leads you to want to go to other places because you are getting more," Newton said.

Feeling welcome

The Ekos findings also suggest that slightly fewer anglophones feel welcome in the province than they did last year.

In the recent poll, 52 per cent said they feel welcome in Quebec and integrated in Quebec society, while in 2013 roughly 58 per cent of anglophones shared that view.

Newton said she can relate to those figures.

"We are English, but we are also Quebecers. Just because we are English, it doesn't mean we don't belong. It just creates the feeling sometimes.… We don't feel as accepted." Newton said.

Most allophones, 68 per cent, said they feel welcome in the province.

Meanwhile, 91 per cent of francophones said they feel welcome and integrated into society.

When asked whether relations are strained between Quebec's anglophone and francophone communities, roughly 30 per cent of anglophones and allophones said they think relations are difficult. Only 10 per cent of francophone respondents agreed.

About the survey

A total of 2,020 Quebec residents were interviewed by phone between Feb. 10 and 18, 2014, as part of this CBC-commissioned Ekos study. The margin of error for a sample of 2,020 is plus or minus 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Those surveyed included 782 anglophones (with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points 95 per cent of the time), 1,009 francophones (with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points 95 per cent of the time) and 223 allophones (with a margin of error of plus or minus 6.5 percentage points 95 per cent of the time).

Anglophones are respondents who identified their mother tongue as English; francophones are people who identified their mother tongue as French; and allophones identified their mother tongue as "other."

Percentages for total respondents have been weighted to reflect linguistic population make-up of Quebec.

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