Letter to the Editor – RN Debbie Cameron of Cornwall Ontario: AEFO Vote Tainted – April 9, 2012

Mid-March 200 delegates of the AEFO-Association des enseignantes et des enseignantes franco-ontariens(Franco-Ontario Teachers’ Association) voted unanimously in favor of & expressed solidarity with the Francophone groups in Cornwall, over the controversal CCH bilingual hiring policy.
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I take great insult to this vote on many levels.Firstly, Mr. Benoit Mercier ,President of the AEFO, mislead the delegates prior to the vote in that he said ” 1 English & 1 French Hospital amalgamated to create Cornwall Community Hospital”.
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I think he needs a history lesson-it is common knowledge that 2 English Hospitals amalgamated to create CCH- 1 public & 1 Catholic.
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Secondly-why does this organization need to vote on this issue???Has Upper Canada District School Board had the inclination to “choose sides” on this issue???
I contacted the AEFO :
“Hello,my name is Debbie Cameron & I am an RN at Cornwall Community Hospital.I am writing to you today to tell you how disappointed I am that your president Mr.Benoit Mercier asked your 200 members to vote for or against CCH hiring policy.
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First of all I would like to say I believe it is inappropriate for such a vote to have even occurred.What did he mean to accomplish doing this,perhaps increasing the tensions between French & English.
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Secondly,to have such a vote using incorrect information to sway the teachers vote is highly unethical & I believe he should publicly apologize & set the record straight;2 English Hospitals merged in Cornwall-1 public(Cornwall General) & 1 Catholic(Hotel Dieu),not 1 English & 1 French.
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I suggest in the future Mr.Mercier do his homework & research his information appropriately. I Graduated from St.Lawrence College in 1994 with Honors with a Registered Nurse Diploma & I trained at both Hospitals.Being I am AnglophoneI can assure you both Hospitals have ALWAYS functioned in 100% English.Thank-you for your prompt attention to this matter.”

 

Mr.Mercier’s response:
“Ms Cameron,

 

Thank you for voicing your concerns. As a French-language labour organization representing 10 000 members in Ontario, the Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens believes it is of the utmost importance for the Francophone population to have access to French-language health services. That is why AEFO supports the current hiring policy of the Cornwall Community Hospital.

 

Best regards,

 

Benoit Mercier

President

Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens “

There seems to be a common theme of ignoring the question,remember 2 + 2 = blue & Mrs Periad….

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Common decency would suggest a simple public apology,however,when it comes to common decency many in favor of CCH unfair hiring practices seem to fail the grade.
Sincerely,
Debbie Cameron RN – Cornwall Ontario

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Cornwall Free News

13 Responses to "Letter to the Editor – RN Debbie Cameron of Cornwall Ontario: AEFO Vote Tainted – April 9, 2012"

  1. Judy   April 9, 2012 at 7:56 AM

    If language is really the issue here, who is available at the hospital to speak to the Asian, Indian or other nationalities living in our city? I know they visit the hospital too. How are they represented? Does the hospital hire nurses who speak those languages? I think not.

    It would seem to me that the “powers that be” would ask current staff if anyone speaks Mandarin or French or Greek or whatever. This is getting so ridiculous!

  2. John Lister   April 9, 2012 at 8:07 AM

    I’ve shared this story before. There are French-only clinics scattered around Eastern Ontario. I was once living in rural Eastern Ontario and had a minor injury involving a chain saw. Since my partner was a French Canadian, and the clinic was much closer than the hospital, we stopped at the French Clinic. She spoke on my behalf, explaining that I had a minor injury. They told her (while giving me what I felt were dirty looks) that they only serve the French community and that I had no business being there. We were asked to leave. The nurse on duty did understand English, but she said (in French) that she was forbidden to speak English on the job and that was why they cannot or will not treat English people.

    It took 20 more minutes until we reached the local hospital that would serve English and French taxpayers where they bandaged my wound and treated me.

    I can only imagine what would happen if the tables were turned and an English speaking clinic was to refuse to tend to an injured Francophone.

    To further clarify, I have many French-Canadian friends and want to make it clear that I am very open and curious about the French language. However, I was born and raised in an English part of the province, and never took any French in school, so I don’t know how to speak or understand French at all. I am certainly not ‘Anti-French’ in any way, but feel that with the French-only clinics, paid for by French and English taxpayers alike, the French already have more health care facilities than we do. As for the hospital, I don’t feel a language policy needs to be in effect, as there are many French speaking staff members who could always be asked to interpret, should the rare need arise. Most local Francophones do speak English, so it would be a rare time when an interpreter would actually be required.

  3. Reg Coffey   April 9, 2012 at 8:53 AM

    Mr. Mercier appears to be another petty bureaucratic attempting to rise in power on the unintentional interpretation of the FLSA. The franco-biased interpretation of this law is drawing the battle lines between Anglophones and Francophones and will widen the cultural gap even further. The quiet majority of anglophones in this province are starting to realize what we have given away and are waking up to the marginalization of English both in government and in health care. We want to recover our right of access to good paying full time jobs.

    I believe the provincial government should repeal the FLSA as well as rationalize the numerous school boards that drain the provincial coffers.

  4. Mare   April 9, 2012 at 9:01 AM

    While trying to explain, this past weekend, to an African American friend (who lives in New York) that English speaking Canadians in our community are not allowed at medical clinics that only serve Canadians who can speak French; that Canadian children can be punished for speaking English in certain schools and may be banned from school buses that allow only Canadians who can speak French; that Canadian nurses who speak English cannot necessarily get jobs in our local hospital; and that Canadians who speak English can not work for the government, she didn’t at first believe me. She knows what segregation is. She lived it. Finally she asked me: So what does it mean to be Canadian? I’m still trying to think of a cogent answer.

  5. Lolochuck   April 9, 2012 at 9:29 AM

    Excellent letter Debbie. It is a shame what is happening here in Cornwall. So many people(the majority) agree but are too lazy to stand up. If they don’t soon get off of their rear ends, this steamrolling effect is going to take over all of Ontario. What the heck is wrong with this situation here. We need a national vote on this bilingualism malarky. Too much has been spend already in a time where there are many people in need, high unemployment etc etc. SHAME on the city, the hospital, our government and Mr. Mercier. PEOPLE STAND UP!!!!!!

  6. Eric   April 9, 2012 at 9:41 AM

    The Ontario Teachers Federation (indirectly by taxpayers then)helps pay for this group (Association des enseignantes et des enseignantes franco-ontariens) how do Teachers feel about that?

  7. CityBS   April 9, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    Hey, where is the English monument in town? come on people, place it next or near the French one down by Cornwall’s large elephant named the Complex! and what about an English only clinic to boot? English people in this town your too pasive.

  8. concerned citizen   April 9, 2012 at 9:58 AM

    Mr .McGuinty why would the liberal party implement french services language act for 4% of the Ontario population -shame on you for freezing welfare and yet FLSA budget and bilingualism budget not touched .
    Your party would rather take food off the table of the disadvantaged then reduce the enormous bill that enforces the FLSA as well as bilingualism.
    I find it appalling that a party that prides itself in social justice and commonality does nothing of the such to prove this .
    With the Liberal government continuing to fund the FLSA at the expense of the disadvantaged ,tell me what does the Liberal government “stand for”.bilingualisam cost 621,000,0000 thats a lot of food on the tables.

  9. Cory Cameron   April 9, 2012 at 10:27 AM

    Why hasn’t anyone here posted why the “Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens” is commenting on a bilingual hiring policy in the first place?

    Take a look:

    Ms Cameron,

    Thank you for voicing your concerns. As a French-language labour organization representing 10 000 members in Ontario, the Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens believes it is of the utmost importance for the Francophone population to have access to French-language health services. That is why AEFO supports the current hiring policy of the Cornwall Community Hospital.

    Best regards,

    Benoit Mercier

    President

    Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens ”

    Why is a French language organization supporting a bilingual hiring policy? By his own admission, Mr. Mercier conceeds, “As a French-language labour organization representing 10 000 members in Ontario, the Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens believes it is of the utmost importance for the Francophone population to have access to French-language health services. That is why AEFO supports the current hiring policy of the Cornwall Community Hospital.

    So, Mr. Mercier, are you saying your AEFO supports a so-called ‘bilingual’ hiring policy of the CCH or are you admitting to an unfair CCH hiring policy that caters to Francophone workers? I mean, your words here are tantamount and suggestive as to your motives. Hymm, once again, in your own words sir, “As a French-language labour organization representing 10 000 members…”

    So I guess your AEFO has a new mandate to support a ‘bilingual’ hiring policy and not just a French hiring policy? Or, does your concience consider the definition of a ‘biligual’ hiring policy much the same in wording as a French hiring policy in at least the province of Ontario?

    One more thing. In your own words, “…the Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens believes it is of the utmost importance for the Francophone population to have access to French-language health services.” Maybe what you forgot to mention is that there are already plenty of bilingual staff employed at the CCH ready to serve the Francophone population.

    Well Mr. Mercier, I guess too that you forgot that there already is a French only health clinic that the Francophone population has access to. Maybe, having the “Centre de sante communautaire de l’Estrie” in Cornwall is not having access to French-language health services? I don’t know?

  10. puzzled   April 9, 2012 at 10:44 PM

    When did we as a society become accepting of carefully crafted replies in lieu of an adequate response?

  11. Kim Lian Khoo   April 16, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    It is quite disgraceful for Mr. Mercier to misrepresent the situation so badly. There has NEVER been a suggestion that French language services be withdrawn or even reduced – why do you need to keep repeating that and continue to lie to your members? Right from the get-go, the suggestion was to stop advertising for nurses with the requirement for applicants to be able to function in French as the first and most important requirement. MERIT and EXPERIENCE should always be the first requirement in any job, NOT the ability to work in a minority language. Bilingualism as an ASSET after those two requirements are met, is quite reasonable.

  12. Dave Windsor   April 20, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    Questions of Linguistic Equalities?

    On another note here in lies the problem between the french and the English……the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    The french believe that equal rights means 50% of everything, all jobs, 50/50, all printed material, 50/50, all linguistic services 50/50…all this and more except of course within the province of Quebec where it is 100% of everything.

    On the other hand the English believe 50/50 with all written materials yet only where numbers warrant on linguistic and on job matters.

    P.M. Harper and others please take note and re-legislate the Charter of Rights so all of us can sleep at night.

    Basically neither believes in the same message of equality as expressed in the Charter.

    Now we know why.

    Dave Windsor
    Cornwall

  13. Eric   April 20, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    Dave Windsor, the Charter was designed to protect minorities at the expense of the majority. It mentions race, ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age and disability but nothing about language.

    We need to suspend the Official Languages Act and the Ontario French Languages Services Act untill a full discussion and vote on actual needs (not wants) is performed.

    Why don’t more English speakers see what is going on and stand up like the Mr. Cameron’s of the world?

    New Brunswick has a fight as well –
    http://www.asnb.ca/index.php?module=pagemaster&PAGE_user_op=view_page&PAGE_id=30&MMN_position=43:43

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