Eric Little of Ottawa Ontario on French Language Services in Ontario – March 8, 2012

Eric Little of Ottawa Ontario on French Language Services in Ontario – March 8, 2012

When a business has a new product or wants to expand a market, they have meetings, roll out timelines and marketing campaigns, but usually have a net gain for taxpayers. Special interest groups probably have meetings and they know small steps towards a goal works, but will usually cost taxpayers something.  Governments will decide on a need, depending on ideology, will have meetings, assign a ministry or acquire talent for a lead role. This lead will then start a department that directs their mandate unto others. Over time, the ideology and social engineering has worked, and the goal posts get moved. This will cost money!

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One hundred years ago in 1912, Ontario regulation 17 forbids French instruction after the first year of school and bans French instruction after year 4. This of course is draconian by today’s multi-cultural standards and is one anniversary that few will celebrate. Promotion of the French language has come a long way since hiring a Language Coordinator in 1970 and the constant resources, human and financial, never will return us to that 1912 regulation.

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This generation is seeing effects from both the federal Official Languages Act and Ontario’s French Language Services Act. The Commissioner responsible for enforcement of the Act, has a mission statement to strongly encourage ministries and agencies to proactively design policies and programs that are adapted to their Francophone clientele, but that is far reaching.  All this is admirable of taxpayers to ensure a very few people are getting needed services and is quite the opposite of what Quebec is doing for its minorities.

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Can we afford this anymore? Have we reached a level of sufficient services and policies to help, but is discriminating against the majority yet?  I think we have!  25 French language designated zones (with over 40 French Language Coordinator positions) covering 85% of the Ontario geography, now needs only 10% of an area to be Francophone or 5,000 in an urban area, of course the definition of Francophone was changed in 2009 to increase numbers.

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217 designated agencies, the SD&G legal clinic, Cornwall Community Hospital and Glengarry Hospital are just a few among them, however I would be very surprised if there was not some sort of funding included in exchange for accepting a  designation under this Act.  As we see in Eastern Ontario now, municipalities can provide funding for projects like the Cornwall Community Hospital construction which also receives money provincially and federally. So, each tax dollar we give federally, provincially and locally sees so much administration (3 levels of government plus agencies) eating away at it during the journey, well, that is another story.

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Meanwhile, 4.8% (only 2.5% report speaking French at home) of the Ontario population being Francophone today, is seeing special treatment at a great cost to employers, employees and taxpayers to increase those numbers by tomorrow. All taxpayers should be demanding a moratorium on new acts, policies and regulations, until we have a fair, honest and open discussion on the true need and level of funding.  The safety nets will not disappear that some people require, however, going from helping French only, to helping bilingual and then allowing people to work and be managed in language of THEIR choice, is not customer (taxpayer) centric in an Ontario with 200 languages. Laws and regulations have been changed and altered before; we can do it again and would be reducing the debt and deficit.

Eric Little Ottawa Ontario

(Comments and opinions of Editorials, Letters to the Editor, and comments from readers are purely their own and don’t necessarily reflect those of the owners of this site, their staff, or sponsors.)

 

 

Best Western Cornwall

33 Responses to "Eric Little of Ottawa Ontario on French Language Services in Ontario – March 8, 2012"

  1. Reg Coffey   March 8, 2012 at 4:00 PM

    Politicians created this situation and politicians can change it. The 1990 French Language Services Act should be revoked or changed to include the rights of all languages, in proportion. It was created to address an inequality perceived by the public at that time. The public is now perceiving a new inequality that was created by a flawed language act. It’s time for a change to today’s reality, to address today’s inequality.

    But then again maybe politicians should stop their social engineering experiments and let society evolve on it’s own.

  2. Mr. K Burditt   March 8, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    Canada needs english as a common denominator language that is fair to all. In New Brunswick official bilingualism is very costly, divisive and unfair. NB is broke while there is always plenty of tax payer funds for official bilingualism. Both in Canada and NB official languages was brought in without a referendum, and if you are against it you are very often labeled an extremist, bigot or racist which is certainly not the truth. Why are other minorities are not protected with legislation or promoted with tax dollars. All minority languages should be promoted equally and fairly, why is putting one above the others not considered racist.

  3. Pete Dick   March 8, 2012 at 8:12 PM

    I boggles my mind that so many people can be so easily sidetracked by this insane “language rights” BS at the same time that we are learning that our last federal election was highjacked by two-bit robo-call criminals. We need to get a few priorities established.

  4. Reg Coffey   March 8, 2012 at 11:06 PM

    Well Peter Dick, a person can be outraged by more than one thing. Federally, the robo-call issue boils my blood and provincially it’s the language inequalities. If one gets ignored then the jackasses in power will take that as acceptance.

  5. Greg   March 8, 2012 at 11:11 PM

    I find Ontario provincial language policy is emulating federal Official Languages Act, which as it stands today (after several profound amendments) is in itself an extreme piece of legislation, designed to shift power from majority to minority. That is never a good thing as seen all around the world.

  6. Tom   March 9, 2012 at 12:02 AM

    Madam Meilleur’s francophone affairs ministry is playing focus-pocus with demographic numbers.
    The supposed 4.8 % francophones today is the fidget of their malade imagination.

    According to Statistics Canada, mother tongue francophones in Ontario are only 3.7% (Census 2006).
    Allophones, however, are 25%!

    Total mother tongue – 12,160,280
    English – 8,634,265
    French – 452,720

    http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2006/dp-pd/tbt/Rp-eng.cfm?TABID=1&LANG=E&APATH=3&DETAIL=0&DIM=0&FL=A&FREE=0&GC=0&GID=841788&GK=0&GRP=1&PID=89264&PRID=0&PTYPE=88971,97154&S=0&SHOWALL=0&SUB=0&Temporal=2006&THEME=70&VID=0&VNAMEE=&VNAMEF=&D1=0&D2=0&D3=0&D4=0&D5=0&D6=0

  7. Lulu   March 9, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    I believe there are two official languages of Canada English and French.. I do believe a hospital on he border of QC and Ontario absolutely should have bilingual staff.. Nurses in particular..
    Coming from QC and being an Anglo-phone I can see why the French did what they did to protect their language and culture.. They must be reading the news here and thinking ha,,
    Is it so hard to take a simple French class or a few of them.. Language enriches our lives it does not hurt it.. Hospitals get Provincial, Federal and local funding so I think these poor complaining souls need to pick up a book or a computer or a newspaper and read a bit of French… It is easy to learn.
    When I was a beneficiary attendant in QC I spoke English to my English clients and French to my French ones and it was a pleasure to do so.. Why on earth would a nurse working in a hospital not expect to serve her/his patient in French if that is the case..why?

  8. Hailey Brown   March 9, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    The hospital has now and always has bilingual staff.

    But let me re post my questions. Where does it say anyplace in the official language act that we MUST speak both languages. You will find it merely states it is recognised as.

    Secondly if all incoming immigrants need to learn english, how come the french do not have the same requirements?

    Now back to the topic, as it is presented it is descrimination not a language issue. I would most definitely take offence if they said must be male.

  9. Wow!   March 9, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    I suggest that we all boycott Perkin’s Rona Hardware since Roy is on the franco bandwagon and blaming the province. Just thought of that but I have to go one more time for matching SICO paint supplies. We should also boycott the LCBO where Mrs. Periard’s husband worked. That won’t work for me either cause I like the odd drink. So we can boycott the Ontario Teacher’s Pension Fund where Mrs. Periard get’s her generous pension which allows her the luxury of holding board positions for fun and frolic and defending the FLSA. That’s no good either cause they sold the Leafs and all my favourite retired teachers collect these swank pensions. We can boycott Wilson Funeral Homes now that Allan’s in their running things but we need a place to lay out our dearly departed. And those I mentioned are all well-intentioned folks who care about the city so we might as well leave them alone.
    .
    Withholding donations is the only thing that will work. The original board chose to follow the FLSA in their founding charter as a conscious choice. Likely lost some fine board members over that. The board and corporation are legal persons which could at any time amend their living charter to prevent discrimination against the vast majority in Cornwall who are english speaking. At that time we would see how it would all shake out legally. Just hope the city doesn’t get involved or it will cost millions with those clowns downtown writing cheques.

  10. admin   March 9, 2012 at 2:29 PM

    Personally I don’t think Boycotts are the best way to resolve things. I’ve watched now people pushing boycotts on CFN and intimidating our sponsors. All that does is really create a lot of bad blood.

    I do find it odd that Wilson Funeral Home tries to push the “Local” angle while refusing to even talk with the only “local” media corporation.

    That’s kinda hypocritical if you ask me…

  11. Lulu   March 9, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    @ Haley if this is so then why the protest.. all the staff that deal with public are bilingual? and Haley here is a link that goes into detail… Mind you it is Federal not Provincial.. however I think there is a link for provincial also.. I just think things would work a lot better if the hospital was bilingual.. A border town with Alexandria, Hawksbury, there are a lot of francophones around… Ottawa I would say is very bilingual..

  12. Mike Bedard   March 9, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    Re: Wow!.

    Roy Perkins is a past Citizen of the year and I personally only wish I could be as well admired and respected as he his in our community! He is also one of only a few who has the guts to stand up to City Council (on your behalf) and say “Hey, our taxes are already too high and we need to reduce them!”

    This isn’t about business its about language even though the protestors claim it isn’t! The anglohpone community is angry that bilingual candidates are considered to have an asset that they don’t…….but “Hello, McFly!” they do! Should you need to be bilingual NO! Should it be considered an asset YES! Should we always have a bilingual staff member on hand YES! If there is not enough bilingual staff currently on payroll then guess what?…..The hospital will need to hire a bilingual candidate………WOW!

    P.S. – I hope you liked the Back to the Future Reference!

  13. Florence Nightinggale   March 9, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    Lulu, You have obviously not listened or informed yourself any better than Dave or Mike.
    The issue at the hospital is and has always been that senior nurses and other staff from other departments have been looked over for full time not just once or twice but up to 17 times and more. Staff that have been taking language lessons to improve only to be told by the Federal Asssessor that they will never be good enough! French speaking that live in Quebec and lived there most of their lives also were told they were not french enough ( fluent) French. English and french is spoken by most of the staff already to cover a demographic of 5% french only. A nurse that speaks french is always on the floor to provide for that 1-2 people that are not able to be understood. The problem with all of those who are fighting is that they work full-time hours part-time, call ins, sick calls make up their fuller hours. They are dedicated health care providers that also take care of the deaf, the mute, Mohawk, Pakistani, Dutch, Polish and many other languages; patients that are more of a percentage than the french populaces. Nursing and Personal care givers are trained in medical assessment. Head to toe and chart review, blood work, test reports and alert the doctor of signs of imminent danger, ie stroke heart attack, skin deterioration, incontinence positioning risk for falling, low blood sugar and the list goes on and on and on. They deserve job stability! Firemen, police, and other public workers are hired full time off the street and I am sure the new fireman will be too in our City. This issue has never been about french and english. The FLSA and to zealots for the french speaking in which I am sure that you and a few others are a party to. I have been complimented on my care of the french speaking I have cared for and I also have personally asked family to ask their loved one to check when I am not in the room to be sure they are feeling safe and taken care of and if I wasn’t measuring up I wanted to know to better my care. I am first a nurse with the concern for the patients I care for all my patients the same. For any person to say that this issue is about french I would have to say. You are ignorant of all the facts and need to educate yourself. Hendersons Theory. Look it up! It is what we as nurses go by. For you who push this french issue We all have to account for our actions. If not in this life then in the next.

  14. Reg Coffey   March 9, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    I have asked this question before and I think I will continue asking it until I get an answer. If a functionally bilingual nurse doesn’t pass the Official French test are they considered anglophones?

  15. Pete Dick   March 9, 2012 at 6:26 PM

    Just as an aside… Had Jean Chrétien (prime minister of Canada for ten years) been a nurse, and had to pass an English and French test, he would have failed both.
    Carry on.

  16. Lulu   March 9, 2012 at 8:31 PM

    @ Florence Nightinggale OK I was a union president for 10 years.. it seems to me if unfairness has fallen upon the nurses and other personnel where is your union on this what say they? If they are not sticking up for you there must be a reason…also it is not about the other languages that patients speak… and I just read again it is a Federal assessor. who is not accepting this…WHY SHOULD THE FRENCH have to understand English like you are saying there is always 1 or 2 around for the ones who cannot understand..Quoting you.. You cannot break a law that has been in place for years… and how do other hospitals in Ontario get around this? or why do they not have the same problems… I have called Cornwall Hospital and the lady who does the Outgoing message even speaks broken French .. I do not mind… I am English and I was the only anglophone working in a Senior’s residence where there were anglophones who were not served in their language. .I guess this is why I feel very passionate about the need for both languages being a border city like Cornwall is…. For the most part I got my services in English at my local hospital there…

    http://www.ocol-clo.gc.ca/html/stu_etu_imm_022002_p4_e.php

    is the link I forgot to post in my previous post

    and @ Pete Dick Mr Chretien would have passed… how rude to think otherwise..He also had a physical handicap.. Is this why you are sneering at him?
    There are lots of things not so perfect in this city.. I agree taxes is one of them.. I am totally horrified at the taxes people have to to pay on their homes and they keep going up..
    @ Reg: depends on whether she is an anglophone or a francophone.. .both can speak both languages but it doe not change their mother tongue..

  17. Laura Lee   March 9, 2012 at 9:23 PM

    Ike wouldn’t have made it in Canada

    Given his failure to learn spoken French, a Canadian Eisenhower would have been ineligible for top military and government jobs, writes Dan Gardner

    By Dan Gardner, Ottawa Citizen March 9, 2012

    Read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/life/wouldn+have+made+Canada/6274640/story.html#ixzz1og1Inhfr

  18. Pete Dick   March 10, 2012 at 8:03 AM

    @Lulu. Not “sneering” at Chrétien at all. In fact I quite admire the man.
    I’m saying that he could butcher both our official languages, and still be a competent PM for ten years.

  19. Reg Coffey   March 10, 2012 at 10:08 AM

    Lulu you are missing my point as you seemed to have missed everyone’s point. The hospital states a lot of statistics about how many anglophones they have had to hire to justify advertising “French as a requirement”. If someone who is functionally bilingual, but cannot pass the Official French language test, counted as an anglophone in the hospitals statistics. If it is true then they are misrepresenting the numbers intentionally to justify their actions.

    By the way this would not be the first time a union sold out a section of their membership for the sake of political correctness, or to curry favour with their favorite cause.

  20. Wow!   March 10, 2012 at 12:04 PM

    @Mike Bedard
    .
    I’m joking about boycotting people, son. Read it again. I know all those people. I will need PH booster this year and won’t boycott your store because you didn’t get the joke. Everyone is getting too uppity about this. Take a deep breath and don’t donate until the mess is addressed. That rhymes.
    .

  21. Lulu   March 10, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    Reg: i have never heard this question asked like this either I have chemo fog or I just do not get this

    quoting you
    “The hospital states a lot of statistics about how many anglophones they have had to hire to justify advertising “French as a requirement”. If someone who is functionally bilingual, but cannot pass the Official French language test, counted as an anglophone in the hospitals statistics. If it is true then they are misrepresenting the numbers intentionally to justify their actions.”
    My understanding of this is if I am English I am an Anglophone… If I was French I would be a Francophone.. however if I am an Anglophone who speaks two languages I am still an Anglophone who is bilingual.. .what am I missing here?? Maybe I am missing points.. Enlighten me I am willing to learn.. You are more clear than some others.. I do not want to hear percentages etc.. as it really is not about all that it is about serving patients in either official language..

    I hear you on unions but they are paying dues..

  22. Frenchy   March 10, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    Yes that’s a good slogan for the hopital: “Address the Mess”

  23. Mike Bedard   March 10, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    Re: Wow! Sorry, I will get “Doc” Brown to take the Delorean out of retirement and make sure that joke doesn’t fly over my head….lol!

  24. Reg Coffey   March 10, 2012 at 7:32 PM

    @ Lulu, if English is your primary language then definitely you are an anglophone but if your primary language is French and you cannot pass the Official French language test then does the hospital classify you as an anglophone? You don’t see any mention about how many functionally bilingual applicants that failed the test and are hired anyway as part time. All we hear about is how many anglophones were hired i.e. not able to pass the French test. Does that mean the hospital is calling these real life bilingual applicants, whose mother tongue is French, anglophones because they can’t pass the Official French Test?

    Does that make sense?

  25. Lulu   March 10, 2012 at 11:22 PM

    @Reg.. I cannot imagine a Francophone even having to pass the French test.. and no they should not be classed as Anglophones… (we are talking people with education here).. people who have gone to school etc.. not street people etc who can neither really speak well French or English due to misfortunes or other reasons.. Do the French people have to take this French test?

  26. Reg Coffey   March 11, 2012 at 9:34 AM

    We have had posters that claim just that. They had to prove they were french enough and failed to meet the official expectations. I don’t know what kind of measure they were using as the hospital will not make the test public but it would appear that Cornwall French is not good enough.

  27. Grace   March 11, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    Why do we not expect the same level of english proficiency? The expectations of the level of proficiency are anything but equal. I often find it difficult to understand some government & hospital employees, as they struggle just as much with their english as some anglophones do with french. Why is only french proficiency so harshly criticized? Equality …… imagine?!

  28. Stan   March 11, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    I wonder if it’s the Office de la langue francais who made up the test? I hope we’re not letting Quebec influence our hospitals! Why is it that doctors do not need to be bilingual? How can the unilingual french patient understand what the doctor is saying? I guess there are laws for the elite and other laws for the unwashed masses, french-speaking or otherwise.

  29. Lulu   March 11, 2012 at 8:26 PM

    @Stan According to Florence Nighing-gale on here it is a Federal thing.. (read her post Federal Assessor.. I have no idea.. don’t blame it on QC.. .QC would never have any influence on Ontario… I am wondering if it just a local thing or does Ottawa face the same thing.. I think from what I read it just does not make any sense any way you look at it.. I always thoughts that Nurses and other staff including Drs had to have a working knowledge of French …..Is it for real or is it just a few who have not passed the test who are griping.. I am not sure about here or at the hospital but I know full time jobs are hard to get… Why.. the company does not have to pay the benefits etc.. Saves them money not sure if this could be an issue here or not.. there is not much talk about it anywhere except on here… strange…

  30. Eric   March 12, 2012 at 7:33 AM

    It is easy to see the frustration of this topic and how it spills from the main issue to one of fairness for all. The provincial government is not helping Canadian Francophones either to remember their history when they changed the Francophone definition. I maintain the only reason was to make the numbers higher.
    By allowing someone from Vietnam, whose mother tongue is Vietnamese, but who has lived in Brussels and who speaks French to be considered a Francophone, does not respect the Canadian Francophone heritage.
    Don’t take my word for it – http://www.ofa.gov.on.ca/en/news-090604-faq.html

  31. Lulu   March 12, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    @Eric.. thanks for this… Does not make sense..

  32. Anglo   March 12, 2012 at 11:45 PM

    How Stats Canada knows that a Vietnamese lived in Brussels? There are no such questions in the census – only place of birth and current address. A Vietnamese may have studied core French at school, but that does not qualify as “speaking French”.

    Of course, the new definition was designed to boost francophones dwindling numbers in order to demand more French services. Under the new definition, they pushed their numbers up a whooping one percent (to 4.8%), when in reality they slipped further down – to 3.7%. That calls desperation and CHEATING. That will end SOON, however.

  33. James Wolfe   March 14, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    Remember one thing folks – The liberals brought in a lot of this expensive nonsense, bilingualism (forced french), multiculturalism, the charter, rights this, rights that…but the Conservatives have done nothing to repeal any of this crap. ??? Liberal, Tory same old story.

    The Conservatives have allowed all of these liberal polices to remain??? How come?

    The simple facts are as more francophone’s get hired for all government positions less and less English speakers are working for their own governments across the country. Don’t believe me; Go check the stats for yourself. Francophone’s are over-represented in all levels of government including hospitals, law, policing…etc. No fairness, no representation by population. They call it bilingualism, yet the term is never defined on purpose and believe me it doesn’t mean fluency in 2 languages in Canada, at least to the French it doesn’t. No political party will speak for the English speaking majority in this province and country. Practical bilingualism, where numbers warrant… is never defined on purpose. In Ontario, NB it now means segregation. The French (they are actually metis, a mixed race, not french) are demanding French only facilities all over the province, not bilingual, French only. $ Bilingualism is really nothing more then a hiring quota for francophone’s and that is a fact…just ask yourself, why are francophone’s over-represented in all government jobs and how come more and more positions are being designated bilingual all the time? And just as important, how come they are NOT fluently bilingual? Some can barely speak English!

    See whats really going on here?

    So while Quebec bans the English language (bill 22, bill 178, bill 101…), wipes out its real BNA, UEL history, while ethnic language cleansing is going on in Quebec, the rest of the country is forced to fund whatever the French (metis) demand. This is going on in every province. Go check.

    “First Quebec, then we take over the rest of the country, one step at a time…through bilingualism…” PT, “How to take over a country through bilingualism…” SD. How ? First comes the right to communicate with gov’t in a minority language (ie French),then comes bilingualism, then comes the right to work in the language of choice(ie French), then comes a bilingual boss,(ie French) then comes a exclusively French department and on it goes until its all French. Its happening all over the country, Ontario, New Brunswick…That’s what’s really going on.

    Go learn our proud, real BNA and UEL history. These were the builders of our country since 1763. Not this phony, revisionist lie, this bilingual, multicultural, 2 founding nations, linguistic duality lie, propaganda, spin that we’ve been living with since Trudeau, and kebec forced this upon the nation. We’ve been part of the British Empire since 1763 and officially an English speaking country for over 200 years…just a fact.

    Until the charter and all the bs (bilingual, multicultural, phony rights…crap) connected to it gets repealed, we will continue to self destruct as we have for the last 5 decades. Until bill 8 in Ontario is repealed the french will continue to take over and wipe out our real BNA, UEL history. They have been bragging about it for decades and the Conservatives have allowed this to happen.

    “My roll as Secretary of State of Canada is first and foremost to ensure that my French compatriots in Canada feel with deep conviction, as I do, that this is their country and that it reflects their image”. “I too had some difficult years as a politician; I’m still having them, in fact, because everything we undertake and everything we are doing to make Canada a French state is part of a venture I have shared for many years with a number of people”. “You know the idea, the challenge, the ambition of making Canada a French country both inside and outside Quebec — an idea some people consider a bit crazy, is something a little beyond the ordinary imagination”. – Serge Joyal, Secretary of State – Page 2 ‘ENOUGH’ by J.V. Andrew. – Serge Joyal – Now in the Senate.

    “First Quebec, then the whole country, one step at a time…”

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