Nick Suzuki showed off his French and Quebec politicians are still complaining

After Suzuki was named captain on Monday, the premier and other party leaders — in full campaign mode — began piling on about his lack of fluency in French.

Yesterday Nick Suzuki was named captain of the Montreal Canadiens, a momentous occasion for the star centre and a historical moment for the team. The Habs, who made the announcement at their annual golf tournament, posted a message from Suzuki in French.

“Bonjour, bon matin. C’est un honneur devenir capitaine de Canadiens de Montréal.”

Nick Suzuki showed off his French and Quebec politicians are still complaining

The 23-year-old London, Ontario-born player took an online French course over the summer, in keeping with a statement by the team’s communications VP Chantal Macchabée that she would push for the team’s non-French-speakers to learn to speak the language. He also noted in during a press conference yesterday that he studied French in school and can read it fairly well.

But that did not stop Premier François Legault and Parti Québécois leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon from expressing disappointment. Quebec Liberal Party leader Dominique Anglade and Québec Solidaire leader Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois have joined the chorus to call on Suzuki to learn French — something he is in the midst of doing, while being the youngest captain in the history of what is probably the NHL’s most scrutinized team, with the most passionate fanbase. That’s a lot of pressure.

“First of all, I think it’s an excellent choice. Nick Suzuki, he’s the best player along with Cole Caufield. I think we agree there. I think it’s an excellent choice, Nick Suzuki. However, he will have to learn French.”

—François Legault

In a CTV News interview on Tuesday night, Legault specified that Suzuki should have a grace period of one or two years to learn the language.

“To be the captain of the Canadiens is to create a link with the whole population that has been supporting this club unconditionally for generations. What does it cost to take French classes?”

—Paul St-Pierre Plamondon

The Premier and heads of the Parti Québécois, Liberal Party and Québec Solidaire stated that new Habs captain Nick Suzuki must learn French.

This is hardly the first time politicians have raised concern about the Montreal Canadiens not speaking French. Just last April, a federal Bloc Québécois MP called out Carey Price for not speaking French (which he does, a bit).

This article was originally published on Sept. 13 and updated on Sept. 14, 2022.

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