Parti Québécois language critic Pierre Curzi, appearing on the Tele-Quebec program Les Frans-tireurs on September 8, stated that it was “not by chance” that there were so many English-speaking players on the NHL team.
"The people who are federalists and the people who don't wish Quebec to become a country, who don't wish French to flourish, they know very well that you must take over a certain number of symbols of identity. And me, I believe there's been a taking possession by the federal power over the Canadiens club,” the Montreal Gazette
quoted him as saying.
He stated that Quebecers want an NHL team in Quebec City so that that would reflect them.
On Wednesday, he said he didn’t think the fact that the majority of players speak English was a federalist plot but that it did change the identity of the team.
reported that Pauline Marois, leader of the Parti Québécois, said the hockey team was “a symbol of our pride to succeed in this sport, and I think the Quebecers would like to have more francophones in this team."
She said the team does not reflect the reality in the province, and the fact that it does not have a Quebec identity serves the federalist cause.
A spokesperson for the Montreal Canadiens said the club has more French-speaking players than any other NHL team, and that the reason they are there is because of talent- not language.
Curzi previously complained about Paul McCartney singing in English on the Plains of Abraham, saying he shouldn't be singing in English on the site of a battle between British and French troops – which the English won.
He has also said he thought there were too many people on the island of Montreal whose mother tongue was not French, and suggested children of immigrants should not be allowed to attend English language day cares.