Letter to the Editor – Chris Cameron of Cornwall Ontario : Discrimination through political correctness

Friends,

My name is Christopher Cameron & I am Registered Nurse employed full-time at The Ottawa Hospital & casual at Cornwall Community Hospital. On two separate occasions I was denied full-time employment at CCH because I did not speak advanced French. In addition, I had over seven years of experience and certification in the specialty. The nurses who were awarded the positions spoke advanced French; however had no training or experience in the specialty. The Hospital spent approximately $12,000 to $15,000 on each separate occasion to train both nurses in the specialty.

Please take the time to view my You-Tube video:

Over the past several months, since Dr. Tombler wrote his infamous Letter to the Editor “Loss of Good Nurses” (Standard Freeholder-Feb.2, 2012)-exposing CCH discriminatory hiring practices, I have been protesting in front of the Hospital.

On March 3, 2012 a rally was called & over 200 people came out to support Equality for All.

Many Hospital staff, over the last few months, have expressed their own stories of discrimination & the stories of others who are too afraid to speak up. One staff member was so distraught about the bullying & abuse she has encountered from administration that she broke down in tears.  How does a public entity condone bullying behaviour towards staff whose main objective is to care for others?

Since this peaceful protest started I have meet many wonderful & supportive people in our community, but it’s not all good. Hospital Administration have called the police three times, complaining about me stopping traffic at the Hospital entrance. When in fact, I was called over by drivers to sign our petition asking for the Provincial Government to assess CCH’s discriminatory hiring practices.

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I have been called many things, including- bigot, hillbilly, thug, KKK & Anglo-Saxon extremist ….I have gotten many honks & a few “birds”. One retired nurse protester’s life was even threatened by a group of young men. Local media groups have even been approached by some groups to stop printing “Hospital Protest” stories. Furthermore, Francophone interest groups & associations have decided to get involved & divide our community.

The fact of the matter is all this never had to happen if CCH administration had really cared about the community it serves. When the two English Hospitals- Cornwall General & Hotel Dieu amalgamated in 2004, CCH applied for the FLSA (French Language Service Act). Since the FLSA’s implementation countless people have been discriminated against either because they did not speak French or did not speak French well enough. The Administration has the ability to change the French requirement from mandatory to asset, but is unwilling to budge. This does not serve our community or our patients’ best interest when language trumps education & experience.

Christopher Cameron – Cornwall Ontario

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Cornwall Free News

27 Responses to "Letter to the Editor – Chris Cameron of Cornwall Ontario : Discrimination through political correctness"

  1. Eric   April 16, 2012 at 7:06 AM

    It would appear the common thread is government involvement, which comes off as an idealogy getting in the way of people living living and working together.

    There are more supporters for you than “bird” wavers, Thank you.

  2. Reg Coffey   April 16, 2012 at 9:33 AM

    Fight the good fight Chris, the silent majority live vicariously through your actions. If only we could get a portion of them to speak up for themselves.

  3. Cornwall Harry   April 16, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    Speaking up for myself, I think that we should get rid of the french administration and appoint people from French, English and Iroquois backgrounds. Let’s have equality for once!

  4. Wow!   April 16, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    Amen

  5. ohsotiredofitall   April 16, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    Well said Chris. It is too bad that more people don’t come out and support you. Fear of job security is a strong deterrent but being that you are unionized that shouldn’t be a concern. Fear can also make a person stronger and I think people should swallow their fear and get out and support Chris and the rest of them. Keep it!!!

  6. Eric   April 17, 2012 at 6:38 AM

    Bang on ohsotiredofitall, we have become a politically correct bunch that is allowing government to provide what we need increasingly from cradle to grave.
    We have forgotren how or have replaced what is best for my community/province/country with what is in it for me.

    People need to be encouraged to take a chance and even more so when it is the right thing to do! This news media and Chris are helping that thinking.

    I was at the rally in early March and ready anytime for the next one!

  7. left-or-right   April 17, 2012 at 9:08 AM

    Recently, there was a meeting held between administration/human resources and some workers who had sent a letter to the administration and the board protesting apparent unfair hiring practices in their department. The letter was about part time and casual workers with sufficient understanding and use of French to do their job being passed over for less experienced workers who were able to pass the Advanced French test. Remember, the ones being passed over have been and are still doing the same job effectively; they just cannot advance to part-time or full-time status because they may only have Intermediate Level French. As a matter of fact, at least one of these employees even has a French Language Certificate as part of their high school diploma which apparently is not worth anything.

    Among other contentious issues brought up was how and why the hospital has this French Language Services Act designation which has caused these problems when there were no serious problems with language services before. The administration/board insists that it was mandated to become officially bilingual and adhere to the FLSA by the ministry as one of the conditions which would allow the two English city hospitals to amalgamate, which could be true. Although the Ontario Hospital Association has pointed out that currently hospitals are not considered “government agencies “as defined by the FLSA and, therefore, are not inherently subject to the act. Of course the administration’s response to that was a flat, “The Ontario Hospital Association has nothing to do with this!” Interestingly, during the years while the hospital was actively seeking and applying for the designation, many of the employees were led to believe that this designation was one of the recommendations submitted to the hospital boards by the consultants hired to work out the logistics and future funding of the amalgamated hospitals. Many employees understood that the FLSA designation was important as a funding tool and therefore the cooperation of employees in achieving the designation was paramount to the hospital’s working capital. Now it seems the administration/board is telling the public that any extra funding received is only to compensate for bilingual signage and that the hospital boards had absolutely no choice in the matter, but to accept the FLSA designation. Curious?

  8. left-or-right   April 17, 2012 at 9:16 AM

    Oh, one last point, when asked who decides the language requirements or percentage of their specific department,the administration/board laid the decision squarely on the department manager, explaining it was up to each manager to work that out. Interesting?

  9. Dave Windsor   April 17, 2012 at 9:16 PM

    French vs. English
    Here in lies the problem between the French and the English……the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    The first part references our conscience will guide us, but here it is folks, 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 have long aquiest to now believe 50/50 with all written materials yet only where numbers warrant on linguistic and on job matters. This of course means if 95% regional population are English vs. 5% are French….well, you get the picture.

    P.M. Stephen Harper and crew, please take note and re-legislate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms reflect an appropriate law that will guide all of us so all of us can sleep at night.

    Also, the courts were NOT elected, you were. Therefore the courts should not be determining the interpretations of this 30 year old mockery.

    Where is the fairness gone. Now we know where and why.

    Dave Windsor
    Cornwall

  10. left-or-right   April 18, 2012 at 6:59 AM

    I agree with Mr. Windsor, but haven’t seen any political party yet, including our current federal government, with the political will and collective gonads to take the bull by the horns and set this right. Rather, the opposite seems to be taking place as the French language becomes more entrenched in every corner of Canada, where numbers warrant or not. The next question is, what do we do for the ever growing Asian population? When does Chinese, fast out pacing the French outside Quebec, become our official second language and what do we do with the French then?

  11. Eric   April 24, 2012 at 6:55 AM

    left or right, no party will touch the language issues untill we get a group together and push it, they are supposed to work for us, it is time the majority remind them of that.
    Contact the languagefairness.net group and email every one.

    More people should look into the constant push by a few people to drasticall increase use of French, however we should be just helping the fewer number of French only speakers to services.

  12. Earl Bowes   April 30, 2012 at 7:21 AM

    Your efforts are to be admired Chris. Keep at it. Mr. Windsors April letter explains the situation quite well.

  13. jules   May 1, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    I had such a good laugh about Chris Cameron wanting to take this fight to the United Nations. The UN doesn’t do anything about such things and Chris Cameron would be the laughing stock that would continue to put Cornwall on the map of corruption besides the smuggling and Willie Wise’s grand theft (bankster – investment) but instead of investing for others he stole it all. I was speaking to my husband about this and we both said and support full bilingualism. One thing that my husband said yesterday was the the former Hotel Dieu was more French than English and I worked at both hospitals when I was a teenager volunteering there back in the 1960’s and did that for 5 years. We live in Ottawa and Chris commutes to Ottawa for a full time job and he is very fortunate to have a job especially a full time job. I would say to Chris stop complaining or you will put your dinner table at risk. Be very happy that you have a job. Bilingualism and even other languages is a great asset and I do see some people here in Ottawa who speak many languages – the more you know the better you are. The Vietnamese use mostly French more than English and other countries do as well. Young people today know both English and French from other countries (the vast majority do) because of the education that they have today. Cornwall has always been very racist and the English against the French something awful and my husband and I have experienced this while living in Cornwall. Chris is making himself look more like a biggot and racist and making Cornwall look more like that – its reputation is continuing the tradition. The UN has much bigger fish to fry so Chris stop making yourself look like an idiot and a biggot. You would be the laughing stock of the UN (the world).

  14. Eric   May 1, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    I believe most people support bilingulism Jules. The majority just want some control on costs and jobs. I also believe people have a right to stand up for what they see as unfair. Marketing is used everyday to sell or promote a product to create interest, and if South Stormont withholding funding or Chris Cameron commenting about the United Nations is what it takes, so be it.

    Ignoring facts of this fight or using words like biggot is not helpful to your case.

  15. concerned citizen   May 1, 2012 at 10:59 PM

    Jules -you are misinformed ,infact with quebec’s bill 101 -this issue was brought to UN and Canada defended Quebec’s unjust Language law and LOST .
    therefore the bill was amended to include other languages not just french….so the jokes on you .
    HAVE A NICE DAY

  16. concerned citizen   May 1, 2012 at 11:44 PM

    Jules on second comment-chris is standing up for his rights!! -“Chris is making himself to look more like a biggot and racist” ” Chris stop making youself look like a idiot and a biggot”.
    Well jules now who’s the biggot here?
    Your very judgmental ,so you think that someone that stands up
    for their rights should be spoken to that way ?
    would you prefer to him to be subjugated?
    YOU are what gives francophone a bad name,I am thankfull
    my francophone friends and family don’t have your BIGGOT views!!!

  17. Frenchy   May 2, 2012 at 7:41 AM

    citoyen concerne: mange de la merde, c’est toi qui est “bigot”.

  18. concerned citizen   May 2, 2012 at 9:44 AM

    Frenchy you said it all -eat shit really ?Come on, you fell the need to dergade the conversation as such -what not an intelligent comment to be had ?Surprise when one feels that they right that justifies the disgusting comments -another well thought person here folks !!

  19. Eric   May 2, 2012 at 10:39 AM

    That was helpful Frenchy, it does nothing for others to understand your reasoning or to be swayed away from a point of view.

    Jules comment “I would say to Chris stop complaining or you will put your dinner table at risk.” can easily be looked at as a threat and is also not helpful or ?

    Is this what Quebec’s Duplessis meant when he used the motto ” cooperation allways, assimilation never” ?

  20. concerned citizen   May 2, 2012 at 11:18 AM

    Well said Eric -Now who’s to assimilate here? Now is one to believe because Chris speaks up against injustice that he would be threatened .
    I ponder this if It was a reversal of situation we would have riots in the streets and could you imagine the verbal responses,but hey Mr.Cameron you should just shut up!!! Its the law!!

  21. reality check   May 2, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    You have often heard it said that if people could they would park in the aisles of Walmart nobody today wants to walk the distance or wait. This whole fiasco is nothing more than a very few fluently bilingual French people who would like to walk in to the local hospital walked up to the person at the desk and say can you tell me if so and so is here and what room are they in in french . If that person they address first is English and right next to them is sitting a fully bilingual staff member on the phone which has been the goal of the ministration of the former hospitals for years to have in place the fortunaely very rare french person in this case Cannot wait until the other person is off the phone in a minute they need immediate attention even though they can speak English fluently .
    (Air canada vs the canada dry vrs sprite issue lawsuit )
    The level of bilingual staff to be found through out the former hospital for years meant that in the very extreme cases yes extreme if a person could not communicate to a nurse , a doctor, a technologist or even a cleaning staff in seconds or only or a few minutes a staff member was right there to take over . yes not immediately but not life threating.

    In talking to many employees that have been passed over that have spoken French within their families for years but have not passed the exam there seems to be a problem with the exam not the intent to make sure that everybody can receive attention in both languages. The big question is waiting 1 to 2 min. in most simple situations a true danger to our health REALLY GIVE ME A BREAK .
    You have to remember if you come in fully unconscious to emergency and no one knows your name the extremely well-trained personnel will still be able to save your life even though you cannot talk. To medical personnel the human body talks to them in a different language that is universal.

    So the problem has nothing to do with language it has to do with a group of people that demand immediate gratification and for many brings out the bigotry that lays within them. It’s amazing how many truly bilingual people understand the issue and would like to go back to the days before the French language services act where the hospital hired based on expertise and when all things equal French language as an asset guaranteed you a job however it did not play as the the only reason for promotion. they understand the issue that their very own kids bilingual might not get a job as a nurse for the sake of exam created in ottawa by a phd in french languge and has never spoke the french language of Cornwall or surrounding area passe moi la screw driver or something like that.

    So let’s call a spade a spade this is all about him here now I want service now now now now

  22. concerned citizen   May 2, 2012 at 8:15 PM

    Reality check -wow you said it!now if the rest of the people could read this -it truly puts it into prospective .since the FLSA has got involved as well as interest groups (richeleau) club -this has put up a division within our community that had not been there prior !! the policy as well as these interest groups have divided the community -what used to be called the” friendly city”-well thanks to theses folks that’s no more!
    The richeleau club and its Questionable leader Gerard Sampson is very cozy with Bernadine Clemont as well as the hospital board and we mean very cozy.
    This puts into question the city hall meeting with regards to the city having nothing to do with the hospital and the hiring policies of the hospital-is this another covered corruption .
    Once again this city stinks -its not Domtar but the corruption within

  23. mariah   May 3, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    Stay strong Chris,we are behind you, many bigots like Jules who put their foot in their mouth everytime they open it,better to close your mouth Jules & just look like an isiot than to open your mouth & prove, HDH was never a French hospital,as long as I have worked there….never,however, always accommodated all languages!!!!

  24. Eric   May 3, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    Jules, did you speak out when La ligue québécoise contre la francophobie canadienne (Quebec league against Canadian Francophopia) was planning to contact the United Nations Human Righs Council over in Russell Township April 2010?

  25. concerned citizen   May 12, 2012 at 8:31 AM

    Come out & support Equality for All-Protest Rally May 26 1 pm in front of Cornwall Community Hospital.The time is now for change!!!This blatant discrimination needs to end!!Everyone who cares about this issue needs to get off their bottom & make an effort to show our politicians we won’t be The Silent Majority” any longer!!!!

  26. jules   May 12, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    This is for Chris. Chris you are very fortunate to have a job and that is any job at all. Things are going into the greatest economic depression in history and we haven’t seen anything yet. Yes I understand very well your concerns and my French is much better than my English and yet my mother tongue is English – I make a muck of my own language. Here in Ottawa they are going to lay off staff in the hospitals and it isn’t going to do you much good fighting over language rights. Even in Parliament there was some conservative minister wanting more French spoken in that “band of thieves” department. You also have a specialty that not many would want to work in. In a way you may be unique and maybe they can squeeze you in somehow. French was always an asset in Cornwall even way back in the 50’s era. I do know of a nurse at the former HDH if she still works there and she was unilingual English and had only basic French. In order to communicate you have to have advanced French and there is no way in haties that a person with basic French can get by. I helped this particular girl in high school to get through her tests to get out and become a nurse since the basic French had very little value. At CCVS where I went for a short while I had a European teacher who got so mighty upset with me giving the answers to the students and the teacher threw a brush at me for doing so. LOL LOL. My supervisor in the Federal Government had to go for French training on Carson Road here in Ottawa and had a heart attack over it and couldn’t master the language. Her supervisor made an exception for her since she was the first person to make a word processing unit and was a good supervisor as well as her age. Maybe they can do something for you who knows but and I mean but the French language is an asset especially nowadays and I will tell you why Chris. Many immigrant come over and they have to have either English or French and some have neither and neither is the big problem. Those with only French have to have someone there to understand them. This is when French comes in as a necessity. As a nurse you know very well about confidentiality and all and you can’t have others going to the bedside and have every word translated to you. People come over with Parisian French and it is bad enough trying to understand Canadian French called “la juale” let alone someone who can’t speak it at all.

    Eric I didn’t hear anything at all about that issue back in 2010 at all and this is new to me. I do know that the people of Québec want to keep their language (which is very unique) as well as their culture and you can’t blame them one bit because most of Canada is Anglophone and the US is Anglophone. Go and see the US (mainly the south) and tons of Mexicans and all you hear is Spanish and Americans wonder what country that they are living in. Go on youtube.com and type in “Aztlan” and you will see the fighting and discrimination down there. The Mexicans want the southwest back and call the Americans “immigrants” and all kinds of dirty names.

    I feel for everyone who has to travel the long distance to Ottawa every day and back because I couldn’t handle it nor any member of my family. Kilger had a chance a few years ago when OC Transpo wanted to build rail tracks from Cornwall to Ottawa and put in the Go Train. Kilger refused and the people of Cornwall are complaining about the 138 highway and yes it is a big danger for so many cars and trucks but in the meantime people have to slow down and just leave early and to raise hell at Kilger for refusing that system. OC Transpo was also going to include the bus system here at no extra cost – I guess at certain rates for the people of Cornwall. Take that one up with Kilger. Kilger is a lost cause and so is council except for one and that one is André Rivette. I know what Chris is going through as a discrimination – I know it all too well and in my case it had nothing to do with language but because I didn’t belong to a certain family who could pull me in there was no hope so we left years ago when I was young. I went through many jobs of unemployment and I know the disappointment and the frustration but it is much worse when you have homes to pay for and so many people are going through just that.

    As for McGuinty what a joke he is and he got that job just like those of Domtar – grandfathered. His father was an Ontario MPP and his brother David is an MP in Parliament representing my area of Alta Vista. Back in 2008 my daughter had viral pneumonia and we took her to the General Hospital here in Ottawa at 1:00 a.m. since she was sick for a couple of weeks and we couldn’t get in to see our family physician. She had to wear a yellow paper mask for 10 hours in the ER before being able to see a doctor. I fought with the nurses and other staff something awful and some were coming in with hardly anything. The head nurse told me to contact McGuinty that is how frustrated she was and I laughed saying what a loser that man is – he does nothing. Now he is cutting on the nurses who are the most important – all the health care team is important. Instead he should cut on the lazy buggers of the teachers and let them go. Kids come out of school these days not even able to read and write and do simple math. My husband and I were talking about just that this evening.

    Chris if you want to try the UN go ahead and try. I don’t know how far you will get but maybe it is worth a try. I will say this that knowing French and other languages is a major asset. I have worked mighty hard in school to get the language and I was up at 2 and 3 a.m. pacing the floor memorizing poetry and even catechism in French. I went through a great deal as a child and was discriminated against by the gang but I also came ahead of them in some subjects because of my hard work. I haven’t regretted it one bit. There are English people that we know who live in Montreal and speak fluent French and one has parents from England and they love Québec and he also has a practice here in Ottawa, Kingston, and Toronto.

    Chris your job is very hard indeed and many have to commute even from Peterborough to Toronto and elsewhere to work and it is a hell doing that. One thing good Chris is at least you have a job now. The future looks very bleak. Be careful not to upset the apple cart as they say – a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

  27. jules   May 12, 2012 at 7:56 PM

    Chris and everyone do you mean that Cornwall has adopted Ottawa’s technique of communication giving the bird. LOL LOL. Ottawa is well known for that that is for sure. Maybe they were Ottawa drivers who knows or adopted by Ottawa. LOL LOL. It is very hard when the administration is very hard to work for. I know all too well what bad supervisors and bad administration is like. My own previous supervisor that I spoke about was a real mean boss and I was working in another unit at the time and I along with others were sent up to her to work there instead and we all wondered what we did wrong to deserve such punishment. LOL LOL. That lady had a heart attack over being mean. I got to respect and like this lady very much and knew the hell she went through in her life.

    The HDH was run by the nuns in the past and maybe they just kept their own ways right up till today. There were Anglophone nurses who worked there in the past but many were Francophones. There was this woman that I worked with in Cornwall back in the 70’s era and her husband was an accountant there and both died young. I often think of that lady and she died here in Ottawa of heart problems at the Civic.

    People don’t realize the asset that having French is and I am very happy to have it. Even those here in Ottawa who work in the call centres have to have French – not all but the majority. There are some openings at Chase on Walkey Road near St. Laurent Blvd. and I think that they are bilingual – call centre. Those looking for work from Cornwall and you want to inquire about it give them a call.

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