MONTREAL - Former Formula 1 champion Jacques Villeneuve said he left Quebec because of the province’s language laws, business climate and the general “morose ambiance.”
In an exclusive interview with QMI Agency, Villeneuve, who works as an F1 analyst on French and Italian television, said he “no longer felt at home” in Quebec.
He recently sold his luxurious home in one of Montreal’s wealthiest neighbourhoods and is now living in Andorra, a microstate that is known as a tax haven, located in the Pyreneese mountains between France and Spain.
“My leaving had nothing to do with taxes,” Villeneuve said. Rather, he said he didn’t appreciate Quebec’s “evolution,” which he said reminded him of France.
“Everything bad about France was transferred to Quebec,” he said. “The social ills, the student protests ... The climate is such that people hesitate before investing in Quebec.”
He blamed government regulations for scaring off investors, and said he didn’t want his three children to live in the “morose ambiance” in Quebec that “blocks its future.”
In particular, Villeneuve targeted the province’s language laws, which legislate the use of the French language. He said it’s up to parents to teach their children how to speak French.
The former F-1 driver will be in Montreal in two weeks for the Canadian Grand Prix where he’ll likely draw criticism for his recent remarks on Quebec.
Villeneuve also received the wrath from student movement leaders last spring when he invited striking students to “stop protesting and go back to school.”
Quebec's evolution led to departure