The Politics of Language by Craig Carter Edwards – June 17, 2012

CFN – Do your kids go to kindergarten?  Do you like or dislike sushi?  Have you ever rendez-vous’d with anyone, or enjoyed a bit of schadenfreude?  Congratulations – you’re more of a polyglot than you probably realized.  Those words, common enough in the English language, aren’t traditional English words at all.  For that matter, neither are assassinate, critic or bump, all words artificially inseminated into English usage by William Shakespeare.  Have you ever googled something or texted a friend?  If you asked your great grandparents to do either of those things, they wouldn’t have had a clue what you were talking about.

While we like to think of language as being a static thing, it really isn’t.  Pure laine French, for instance, is a derivative of Latin; a thousand years from now, we’ll be calling it something else entirely.  By the same token, opponents to bilingual education in predominantly Anglophone areas of Canada would probably be surprised by just how much of English is derived from Norman French.  Languages are organic; they evolve, just as people do.  New ideas, new technologies, even whimsy contribute to the inevitable linguistic drift all tongues face.  Languages must adapt to the needs of their speakers, just as people need to adapt to their environments.

If you’ve ever worked in a specialized field, you’ll know exactly what that’s like.  When I first started working at Queen’s Park in 2005, I created a list of jargon so I could keep all the terms straight.  It took a while to figure out what phrases like “flip a deck to the MO” (email a PowerPoint presentation to a Minister’s Office) or “EA to the PA” (Executive Assistant to the Parliamentary Assistant of a Minister) meant.  While some people in politics wore their jargon as a badge of honour – something that set themselves apart (and I suppose, in their minds, above) others, I found it to be incredibly exclusionary.  I swore to myself I would never fall into the trap of poli-speak, but it was a hard model to break – there were concepts I’d learned for which literally no other expressions existed.  Like using a computer, writing a letter or framing an event, the ability to speak politics was simply a skill I needed to do the job effectively.

Having said that, a big part of my Queen’s Park role involved communicating with non-political folk like constituents, stakeholders and the media.  If I was trying to get a point across for a news story, or trying to explain to a senior how to apply online for a health card, I had to find common ground between what I knew in poli-speak and what they would understand from their own perspective.  In this, I had an advantage; going into politics, I already spoke three languages fluently and was conversant in several others.  This base of linguistic knowledge made it a lot easier for me to bridge the communication gap and achieve my end goal – helping people connect with the services they needed.

Working in the healthcare sector involves incredibly complex skills, matched by a whole dictionary of new terminology.  If you think learning to count to ten in a foreign language is tough, try memorizing all the different veins in the neck.  Of course, this is how it has to be; using an MRI, reading the results of an ultrasound, or identifying the rotator cuff from all of the scapulohumeral muscles requires a bit more precision than “this one” vs. “that one.”

To work in the sector, healthcare practitioners have to learn a new language – call it med-speak.  Med-speak allows them to work internally with other healthcare professionals, but what it doesn’t let them do is communicate with patients.  A woman who has just had a miscarriage might be devastated to be told she’d actually had a spontaneous abortion; if you don’t know what it is, being told by a doctor you have a perianal hematoma could be terrifying or mean nothing at all.

How does all this relate to bilingualism in the Cornwall Community Hospital?  If an Anglophone goes in for medical advice and is given a completely med-speak diagnosis and treatment regimen, they are no further ahead.  In fact, they will either become wholly dependent on the doctor, going back for things to be done to them and extending wait times, or they’ll give up on treatment entirely, which is even worse.  The exact same thing is the case when the patient is a francophone and the doctor or nurse only speaks English.  It isn’t enough for our doctors and nurses to understand healthcare.  These professionals need to be able to communicate that knowledge to be effective.

We have to move away from looking at bilingual proficiency as exclusionary, unless we want to start looking at all training as exclusionary.  Would you want a doctor without medical training diagnosing you?  If not, why would you think it acceptable to be treated by a doctor who can’t communicate a diagnosis to you in a way you understand?  For those who would argue francophones are “faking it” when they say they don’t fully understand English diagnoses, next time you’re in a hospital ask the professionals to only talk to you in med-speak and let me know how comfortable it feels.

Language is a skill; just as it’s possible to learn technical jargon without compromising your normal language, you can learn as many additional languages as you want without losing your mother tongue.  Like all skills, the more languages you have, the greater your personal value is – a useful thing to consider as the job market gets tighter.

If you’re a unilingual Anglophone and this idea makes you feel uncomfortable, look at it this way – given the strong influence of Norman French in English, you’re half-way there already.

Craig Carter Edwards

Born and raised in Cornwall, Craig has lived in or travelled to nearly 30 countries and currently resides in North York with his wife and son.  A political veteran, Craig brings a wealth of government, private and not-for-profit sectors experience to his current role as strategy consultant for the social entrepreneurship sector.


  1. Did you write this article in kindergarten? Do you eat psychedelic sushi? Cause that was a lame generic article using widely known linguistic facts and nonsense. What an embarrassment to you.
    And we wonder why Queen’s Park is screwed?
    Congrats on being a parent?

  2. Thank you so much for articulating these concepts for the public, even families have their own way of speaking and using body language that only they understand the meaning. There is such a range and depth of meaning in all forms of communication, even if it is done in just one language. I often think “we’re all speaking English but do we understand one another?” I think when we are most vulnerable we need to be treated with sensitivity and compassion and have our needs met, whatever they may be. Our society will have to go through a great transformation to get there, and it helps that you have given us some background. Thanks Craig!

  3. Nice try, but not convincing. There have always been someone on the floor who speaks French. No need for every doctor and nurse to be bilingual. There is already shortage of doctors and nurses in the country. It’s irresponsible to aggravate it by partisan politics.

  4. Tom, I’m sure there’s always someone on the floor who knows CPR, too. Should that not be something doctors/nurses need to learn? Language is a skill – a second tongue can be intimidating to pick up, but as I’ve mentioned, there are much harder skills medical practicioners need to master.

    You’ll have to explain more clearly how suggesting service providers pick up new skills to ensure they provide the best possible care for their patients is partisan. If, for instance, we had a private model of healthcare, you can bet doctors and nurses would be learning French to compete for the huge francophone market in our region.

  5. I truly believe this letter proves why we need a clear definition of “Francophone”, a clear definition of who we truly need to help, and what service really means including use of technolgy and human services.

    We are currently seeing an accelerated rush to force a language on the majority that are for the most part, sleeping on the job. How do you like your own money being used against you.

    Mr Carter Edwards, does any of your strategic advice to the St Lawrence Parks Commison on the War of 1812 involve adding French to signs, events, bilingual staff in areas that do not warrant it etc? I am naturally suspicious of course, and do appreciate the good works done by many government employees in a cost efficient way.

  6. That some nurses and their supporters decry certain hiring practices at the CCH does not mean they’re insensitive to the needs of patients, nor can it be assumed they’re ignorant about language evolution, inflection or use. Thus while well written, the letter-to-the-editor is ultimately oversimplified, condescending and a bit flip. If news consumers actually pay attention to the arguments made by nurses and their supporters, it’s clear they’re actually talking about numbers.

  7. By the way, I clearly recall being treated by a healthcare practitioners in Shanghai. Unable to communicate with spoken language, I never once felt that there was any lack of compassion from the doctor or staff-members. And most importantly, I got better under their good care.

  8. Thanks for the comments, folks! First, to the anonymous “Wow” – yay for you, got in some “digs.” I’m sure you feel really proud about how far you’ve furthered the conversation here. If our politics is “screwed” it’s because politicians and partisans of all stripes are too busy taking pot-shots and not actually trying to solve problems. Go back, think it over a bit, come back when you have something useful to say.

    Eric – while I understand why you would want to have a definition of “francophone,” I would ask you what your end goal is. I personally don’t see an accelerated rush – just added attention to existing policies. If we look at other jurisdictions around the world, it’s common for people to be bilingual, trilingual, etc. It’s just another skill and because these folk grow up surrounded by language, there’s no sense of a loss of identity, just an addition of skills. We’re in a global economy, now – the more languages we speak, the more competitive we are. I think we should try to look at language that way, not as a cultural identifier but as one more tool in our kit.

    Mare – I’ve had the opportunity to be seen by doctors in Ecuador, Peru, South Korea, Morocco and Serbia. I never once questioned the compassion of the doctors, but it was distinctly uncomofortable not knowing what was being said and not being able to get clarification. Again, I am by no means suggesting unilingual health practicioners be denied opportunities; if there’s another skill for them to pick up, where’s the harm in that?

  9. Language is a red herring, Eric. When you are rushed unconscious in emergency room from an accident, what language do you speak? None.

    There same number of allophones in Ontario who speak neither English nor French. How do they manage to get medical help when need it?

    Do you think francophones’ exagerrated needs (they almost all speak English) are more important than the people’s who speak neither English nor French?

  10. About your comment to Wow: “Come back when you have something useful to say,” suggests you’re paternal as well as condescending and flippant. Why don’t you take your perianal hematoma, and sit on a hairbrush for 10 minutes. Come back when you’re prepared to be more open minded.

  11. Perhaps the government should stop playing language politics and allow it to evolve as it should. This latest round of job discrimination due to language skills being valued more than medical skills can be blamed solely on political interference in a developing global society.

  12. Many from Eastern Ontario are not trying to find work for the most part in other countries and are less of concern for me on their citizens use of language.
    “added attention to exististing policies” is the rush, instead of a natural progression. 42 years of the Official Languages Act has not shown me that natural progression, even though I grew up with and around wonderful people who could speak French, and may be older or younger than 42. I have also seen many other wonderful people not being able to pick up French and seeing them being turned down for government jobs over idelogy, not actual need of a second language, is eye opening.
    I do not have an end game, this incredible use of tax dollars is working against a fairness level for the game particpants though.

  13. looooooooog…………winded ………… facts……….

  14. french in Ontario -13th most spoken language-stats CAN
    Now tell the folks Craig are there any other languages represented by OLF -FLSA ?
    Are there any other language rights groups sponsored by various governments except(french) at the cost of billions .
    To maintain french mother tongue -they must first do it at home .
    It is not the responsibility of the society(state) to maintain their tongue at the expense of other cultures!

  15. Mare, it’s true. I have little patience for people who throw out insults anonymously. :o)

  16. Fair enough, Craig. And I apologize for being sharp. It’s one of my faults. But this is a place to be immediate and participative, and when one puts oneself “out there” with an opinion piece, the expectation is that there’ll be stuff flying back.

  17. Concerned Citizen 2, you wrote:

    “french in Ontario -13th most spoken language-stats CAN
    Now tell the folks Craig are there any other languages represented by OLF -FLSA ?
    Are there any other language rights groups sponsored by various governments except(french) at the cost of billions .
    To maintain french mother tongue -they must first do it at home .
    It is not the responsibility of the society(state) to maintain their tongue at the expense of other cultures!”

    I couldn’t agree more. Again, why the persistent need to support the French language and culture at the cost (literally and figuratively) of neglecting all others. Many supporting the cause of bilingualism or what I believe to be French language imperialism, often quote things such as ‘keeping the language and culture alive.’ If this is the case then, how is it that various Aboriginal languages such as Mohawk and Cree dialects tend to ‘keep’ their languages and cultures ‘alive’ without the cost of billions of dollars?

    It is a sham, really. It is too bad that more people don’t speak out against this true injustice. I have seen it written in blogs here and elsewhere that the billions spent on bilingualism would better be spent on issues that affect us all such as in healthcare, feeding the hungry and other social programs. After all, wouldn’t our tax dollars be better utililized going towards other programs that truly impact us all?

    As far as learning other languages, why not try attending multicultural events; meeting new people whose mother tongues are not English and/or French and learning from them? Would this not be a cost effective means of learning a new language or two or three? The road to hell is paved with good intentions and this is what has occured with this issue of official bilingualism. As far as I know, Europe doesn’t suffer from this problem but then again I don’t believe they have laws similar to ours that prop up a specific second language and ensure those who speak it are given the best possible outcomes in the employment field. It is the same throughout history. Jim Crow laws, employment equity, affirmative action, FLSA, OLA etc. are laws that prohibit giving the best possible candidate the job due to past historical conditions and attempt to right the wrongs of the past. What they do do in fact though is create the exact same conditions for which they were supposed to eradicate! And that is discriminatory hiring practices. In Canada, it means hiring someone who speaks a second language before hiring someone else who may be better qualified for it by possessing a host of other merits including years of experience, volunteerism, education, etc.

  18. Craig…….I enjoyed your article, thank-you for being the voice of reason. CC qualifications you say? Anyone can tell the world that they were qualified for a job. Unless you were part of the interview process or the employer how can you say with certainty whether a person was qualified or not. It seems this tool is being thrown around more and more to try and prove that being unilingual english is a detriment in finding employment and to furthur a cause, calling it discrimination. As Craig’s letter states, it is a benefit and a must today to know more then one language…….it is a fact of life if one does not want to end up in a dead end job. I guess it is safe to say it is a personal choice one makes on whether to evolve and reap the rewards of your efforts or sit back, take the easy way out and cry discrimination afterwards.

  19. I read the article again. It was worse than at first glance. Nonsense.

  20. Why was OLA even conceived, let alone inserted into the Charter? In 1965, support for sovereignty in Quebec was only 8%. Since OLA was first adopted in 1969, the sovereignty movement begun steadily grow and now reaches 40%.

    OLA is the beast, it destroys Canada. Quebec hates it and banned it on its territory. English Canada hates it with the same passion, but we are forced to comply. WHY?!

    Let’s vote to repeal it and live happily ever after.

  21. Carlita, (Stella) you are so wrong on this one. So many of those who are crying discrimination would actually love to be reaping the rewards of their efforts. The effort they made to learn the the French language but know where that leaves them right, if they are not fluent in French. Seems to me as a Canadian, giving up an education in your mother tongue to learn the other and to be denied employment because the other isn’t perfect is clearly discriminination.

  22. How does knowledge of a second language help a nurse set up an IV drip? I think I would rather have a German speaking nurse with 30 years IV experience setting up my IV drip rather than a bilingual (English, French) college fresh grad doing the said job. Folks, this is the issue at stake. Hymm, for me, knowledge and education trumps all else.

    It is only recently that Anglophones and others have begun to speak out against these policies (OLA, FLSA) that clearly favour the hiring of bilingual (English, French) staff over unilingual English or even multilingual staff (those who have Italian, German, Finnish etc. as their first language and usually a working knowledge of English).

    Again, Stella, I am interested in hearing what you think about the FLSA, or even OLA for that matter? Do you support the idea of having all taxpayers pay for a service that not all taxpayers need? I think it would be a good idea for British Columbia to adopt a CLSA in that respective province. A Cantonese Language Services Act would best ensure that the largest minority population in that province would receive government services in their native language. I imagine that all taxpayers in B.C would approve of such an act, (sigh). What would the benefit of a non-Cantonese-speaking person have in paying taxes for a CLSA in that province. If he/she wanted to learn Cantonese, they could always take courses at a University or college, no?

    It’s the same with school taxes. Why should I as a taxpayer have to contribute to paying taxes to support an educational system when I have no children? In other words, money is being siphoned away from me for a service I will never use nor need! Crazy indeed, no?!

    I pay house insurance because I live in a home, I pay motorcycle and auto insurance because I use both for transportation but why should I pay for the OLA and FLSA when I don’t want or need it?

    The message is very clear to those who can see it. Get all the education and credentials you want – degrees, diplomas, volunteer work, etc. The passing of college/university exams/courses by de facto gives you the right to ownership of a title and maybe entrance to a union. However, even when professional organizations/schools give you the go-ahead and you’re qualified to work in a particular field you become suddenly stumbled by government red tape. In this case, knowledge of another language. “Sorry, you’ll have to brush up on your French for the job.” This is a typical reasoning given for a government hiring committee in not granting someone a job.

    So, lets take a typical fresh nursing graduate that doesn’t speak French. A scenario then, if you will: Perhaps he/she writes their final nursing exams and gets their nursing license. According to their respective college, they are now a qualified nurse and should be able to obtain a job and because they are licensed he/she should have no problems whatsoever in practicing. Wrong again. “Sorry, you’ll have to learn French in order to work here.” Kind of a kick in the teeth, wouldn’t you say?

    Stella, I find it interesting that those who insist on official bilingualism don’t comment nor respond to some of the ideas that others propose. Ideas that seem, well, to be frank, well-intentioned! One, for instance, that instead of spending billions on official bilingualism, why not earmark that money instead on fixing the healthcare system itself? I’m sure a few hundred milliion may reduce wait-times, purchase new medical machines and may even allow for more nurses ( maybe even bilingual ones too for that matter 😉 } Would this not benefit us all, and not just those taxpayers seeking healthcare in French? And really, there are clinics already in place that cater to a minority French population. Speaking of which, Nelson Mandela himself might even feel this may constitute a form of French apartheid, no?

    Another idea. Why not have French companies and entrepreneurs support the cause of French linguistic and cultural awareness and causes instead of the majority of taxpayers? I’m sure Desjardins and a few Caisse Populaire’s would love this idea! It would make for stronger business ties within the community, not to mention maybe even fantastic opportunities for coop placements and such for at least those bilingual secondary students.

    If it were only a few individuals who had experienced this situation then we could say that maybe it was something we were lacking in our interviews or skillset and not just knowledge of the French language that prohibited us from getting the full-time job or promotion. But there are large numbers of people who have experienced this and it’s increasingly becoming evident that there may be something sinister going on here. It appears that social engineering truly is taking place. Taken as a whole; from government grants to French immersion schooling programs to historical revisionism and cultural centres, French only health clinics the list goes on and on. Push here, push there but push everywhere.

    I am not anti-French, nor am I anti-English or anti-anything else. But I feel the need to speak up when I see something that’s clearly not fair. If there were English only clinics mushrooming across Quebec, English cultural centres popping up, huge amounts of taxpayers funding going to English organizations and the flying of an Anglo-Ontario flag beside the provincial one I would feel the same damn way I do now! I would question whether there was an imperialistic agenda taking place and why!

    In conclusion, my wife and I recently attended a bilingual volunteer event hosted by the Ontario government. When one of the attendees tried to communicate with the unilingual English representative from Toronto in French he kindly apologized for not being able to communicate back in French. We watched in horror as the woman suddenly made a scene and chastised him in English and threatened to lodge a formal complaint with the motel administration. She stormed off and did that very thing. Why didn’t she just kindly talk with him in English, the OTHER OFFICIAL LANGUAGE? When I visit Quebec, out-of-respect I don’t talk English and stick with French whenever possible. Anyways, getting back to the story, after all was said and done, my Franco-Ontarian wife turned to me and said, “No wonder your brother has formed this group of his.”

    Sorry folks for the book. If you’ve read this far, you have my eternal gratitude.

    Good evening,


  23. True, Rosie. I know several anglo high school graduates of French immersion, with university degree, who cannot get into public service. They say that you have to be “pure lain” to get into. Apparently, the only skill that is required is to be “pure laine”.

  24. Political interference YES has allowed this crap to happen! Send the vote to the people of Canada. Let’s have a referendum on this issue. Then the 2.4 billion dollars a year can be put to better use!!!! The French are continuing to create the illusion that everyone in Ontario is bilingual for 2.4%. Don’t be fooled! Bring the jobs back to the English.

  25. I have noticed that this “language skill” thing as equivalent to professional knowledge is being presented by francos for some time now as if it were essential skill for employment. Perhaps it is French language zealots’ wish, but it is NOT supported by government policy. Merit is NOT defined in the policy:

    Policy on Official Languages for Human Resources Management, 2004
    This policy comes into effect on April 1, 2004
    Equitable participation of both official language communities

    – the method used to select employees is based on merit;
    – English- and French-speaking Canadians have equal opportunities for employment and advancement while respecting the merit principle;
    – recruitment measures are in place to ensure equitable participation by both official language communities;
    – their workforce tends to reflect the presence in Canada of the two official language communities.

    Recruitment measures:

    The following measures are NOT acceptable:

    – Setting or implementing quotas (numerical objectives or targets) for the number of Francophones or Anglophones, or both, to be appointed to a given number of positions over a given time period.
    – Arbitrarily defining positions’ language requirements to encourage the recruitment of members of a single official language group.

  26. stellabystarlight, you just confirmed what we have been saying. Unilingual leads to dead end job, glad you noticed the injustice.
    Changes were put in place several years ago to help mor eFrench people get work and placate Quebec votes. The tap was never adjusted when the water filled the pool.

    When people such as Patrick Bouchard come on here and say it is his right to be served by a private company in French because it is in the constitution, we have an education issue.

    So, and this is the next step in Russell Township, private companies do not have any constitutional expectation to provide service period, least of all in any language. It is good business to know your customers and treat them properly to come back, but the offer of goods and services can be removed by the store operator at any time prior to the purchase., just as the customer has a right to remove themselves from making a purchase.

  27. thank you for your sharing your thoughts craig. your experiences and point of view are clearly communicated in this letter. unfortunately like many others, you are not listening to the people who actually provide care . allow me to remind everyone how this started. a doctor was scared for the safety of his patients.. funding for french was chosen over experience. anyone in health care french, english,spanish, mohawk,dutch etc…knows that this is wrong. dr tombler understands that it takes many years to develop excellent nursing skills. if there was no money offered in return for this policy it wouldnt exist. it is simply not an ethical choice in the eyes of medical professionals that want the best care for their patients

  28. Laura Lee. If that’s the case then I would say the hospital’s measures are not acceptable.

  29. Yes, Rosie, what Cornwall hospital is doing is in contravention to the principles of bilingualism policy. Since one of the the principles of the OLA is to “support the development of English and French linguistic minority communities”, the federal policy somewhat applies to Mr. Cameron’s case, because he is directly affected by the actions of a minority community that hijacked the local hospital. Bilingualism policy clearly states that hiring should be on MERIT and it’s unacceptable to arbitrarily define positions’ language requirements to encourage the recruitment of members of a single official language group.

    I would advice Mr. Cameron to write complaint to Graham Fraser, federal commissioner of official languages, a copy it to PM Harper and his entire Cabinet.

  30. Is the said dr standing on the picket line with you.?.Did the doctor ask for people to continue donations to purchase much needed equipment for the hospital? did the LFA (under another name ) try to block and boycott donations by calling the radio online telethon and telling volunteers why they choose not to donate.. as if the cch foundation has any control over any hiring policies… so after all that misery the good people of SDG still managed to donate over 130,000 bucks …not this is not about health care.. it never really was… its about a small group pf
    worried people trying to light a fire in a community that was getting along pretty well…just like galganov losing the appeal for signage in Russell township recently!!! anyway .the good doctor prefers to practice in usa where all is one and people are billed for services ..sometimes in US you have to take out a second mortgage on your house just cover the hospital bill and doctor fees… I`ll take Ontario health care ver that any day!!!

  31. Laura I agree with above !Acceptable and social norms are a different thing !…..right!

  32. les habitants, “if you are not going to donate, please call and tell them why” is the whole line and is reasonable for anyone offering money for products, services or even donations if they have a point to make. It still would be a persons choice to call or not.

    The people of Russell were getting along pretty welll. Over 70% of the business community had bilingual signs, but Council put in a bylaw removing the business owner from having what ever @*! sign they wanted to put up. Don’t blame Galganov & Brisson.

    The people of Dieppe NB were getting along ok as well. The connection is government and few people pushing hard for a better French first world.

  33. les- Misinformation yet again!equality for All -did not discourage people to donate but simply if they choose not to donate due to hiring policy to inform them of this .

    Aint you continue to misinform /Lie to people -Block ,boycott?
    To have people inform the hospital that they do not donate because of hiring policy is called FEEDBACK

    The good DR. in his letter to editor advised the community of what is going on. ITS CALLED CIVIC RESPONSIBILITY.

    $130,000 not bad considering the radio blitz -20x daily x 2 weeks

    $96,000 Winchester hospital raised at a barn dance- NOW that’s community giving -approx 2 weeks latter-and no radio blitz either

  34. Concerned…….how wonderful that Winchester did so well……something to be real proud of. Thinking the money will come in handy with the influx of FLA residents heading that way to be treated……LOL As for the statement of not donating to the CCH, was that not a leading comment when telling people to say why they weren’t donating……of course it isn’t. One must sugar coat the statement to save face.

    Cory as for your comment about not answering questions let me say this. If you didn’t write a book perhaps people would TAKE time to answer. Question…… How many other organizations has the Gov. gave donations to with your tax dollars? Right……way too many for you to name. Why just focus on FLSA? How much more of everyone else’s tax dollars are going towards services that tax payers don’t need? Why just focus on FLSA. What this indicates to me is you have tunnel vision as far as “french” people are concerned and cannot accept the fact that when it comes to promoting themselves for a better job, they have an advantage. Like I said before…….it’s a personal choice to learn more then one language if one wants to be successful and in the end it pays off. The job market is a tough one indeed and one has to do what must be done for a better future. You want to remain unilingual english…… be it, but don’t begrudge those who worked hard and learned several languages to get ahead. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. **SMILE**

  35. The only skill that is required to get better future in Cornwall and Ontario is to be “pure laine”. I speak fluently three languages but no French; however, and it does not get me anywhere.

  36. That shouldn’t come as a surprise to you or does it? Cornwall has no good paying jobs to offer anymore. Such is life and it has nothing to do with language, it’s a sign of the times and by the looks of it, the future doesn’t look much brighter. That is not only in Cornwall the entire country is feeling the cutbacks and closures. So if it makes you happy to blame the french for the problems of the world……thats alright because the majority of citizens know better.

  37. Stella I’m bilingual but have been termed, Not Bilingual enough by government agencies to get a full time job. Soooooooo…, what about the following comment by a one, “pure laine” above who said, “I speak fluently three languages but no French; however, and it does not get me anywhere.

    You wrote, ” Like I said before…….it’s a personal choice to learn more then one language if one wants to be successful and in the end it pays off. The job market is a tough one indeed and one has to do what must be done for a better future. You want to remain unilingual english…… be it, but don’t begrudge those who worked hard and learned several languages to get ahead.”

    Well Stella, I guess “pure laine”; knowing 3 languages is not enough to gain entrance into a better career. Again, you wrote:…”it’s a personal choice to learn more then one language if one wants to be successful and in the end it pays off.”

    What do you have to say to “pure laine”? I guess she mistakenly learned the wrong 3 languages? Would that be your response to her?

    You wrote: “Cory as for your comment about not answering questions let me say this. If you didn’t write a book perhaps people would TAKE time to answer.

    Sorry, dearheart! You’re absolutely correct in that assertion. I guess I like to articulate quite a bit and my writing is a direct result of my bilingual studies at a bilingual university. I guess you can blame a bilingual university for my writing style.

    Chris is absolutely right. Thanks Chris, (if you’re reading these threads) for teaching me right from wrong during my formal years. You are right in your assertions that what we’re dealing with are people full of hate and blatant ethnocentrism in regards to their linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

    As an aside, I grew up with quite a bit of friends from other than Anglo or Franco backgrounds. It’s interesting to note how many commented on how pro-French biased this issue of bilingualism tended to be when searching out for their first jobs. Remember folks, this was said to me repeatedly by third party people, neither French nor English cultural backgrounds.

    Stella, you wrote: “What this indicates to me is you have tunnel vision as far as “french” people are concerned and cannot accept the fact that when it comes to promoting themselves for a better job, they have an advantage.”

    Take a fresh college graduate with little to no nursing experience that’s bilingual vs. a nurse with 15+ years experience. Which should be hired? Well I say the nurse with more experience. Merit should be given at least an equal footing if not more alongside language.

    Fear not, Stella. I’ve made this my last “book” to you, dearheart. You can rest easy knowing I won’t write another for your eyes. As far as your “**SMILE**” is concerned, I know full well that I should trust the Cheshire cat’s smile more than your “**SMILE** and that in fact it was intended as nothing more than an invite to a war of words. Something that I’m putting a stop to as of now.

    So dearheart, I tip my tophat to you and touch my monacle as I leave this netherworld of nonsense.

    Thank you, Merci and Meegwetch
    (Happy Aboriginal Day everyone!),


  38. Great letter Cory,what many bilingual people don’t know because they never tried is that they too might not be “bilingual enough” to get a government job

  39. Thanks Mariah, 😉 The best to you in everything you do!

  40. Cory, you’re probably aware. But if not, there’s a US organization called US English with the goal of making Eng. the official language of all 50 states. (presently it’s official in about 31 states) Here’s a short excerpt from an article written by the organization’s Chilean-born president. I find it interesting how Americans characterize the issue(s) in Canada.

    We need only look to Canada to see the problems a multilingual society can bring. America’s northern neighbor faces a severe constitutional crisis over the issue of language. In 1995, the predominately French-speaking province of Quebec came within a few thousand votes of seceding from Canada. The secessionist Parti Qu‚b‚cois ruled the province until this year. The national government must cater to Quebec to preserve order and maintain a cohesive government. This has spurred secessionist movements in English-speaking western Canada on the grounds that the Canadian government favors French speakers. Of course, battles over language rage across the globe, but since Canada is so similar, it offers the most instructive warning for the United States. While the policy of official multilingualism has led to disunity, resentment, and near-secession, it is also very costly. Canada’s dual-language requirement costs approximately $260 million each year. Canada has one-tenth the population of the United States and spent that amount accommodating only two languages. A similar language policy would cost the United States much more than $4 billion annually, as we have a greater population and many more languages to accommodate.
    Unless the United States changes course, it is clearly on the road to a Canadian-style system of linguistic enclaves, wasteful government expenses, language battles that fuel ethnic resentments, and, in the long run, serious ethnic and linguistic separatist movements.
    What is at stake here is the unity of our nation. Creating an American-style Quebec in the Southwest as well as “linguistic islands” in other parts of the United States will be a disaster far exceeding the Canadian problem. Now, over 8 percent of the population cannot speak English proficiently. What happens when that number turns to 10 percent, 20 percent, or more?

  41. As for pure laine speaking 3 languages let me say this: Ontario is considered a bilingual province, FRENCH and ENGLISH. PERIOD! Now…..supposing I spoke Cantonese, Arabic and English. Do you honestly think that would be advantagious to me when looking for meaningful work in Cornwall or elsewhere in Ontario? No need to answer as the answer is quite clear. On the reverse side, if I speak French, English and Lebanese and moved to China would that be an asset? No need to answer that one either. These days finding fulltime work is a fulltime job in itself and putting the blame and pointing the finger to french language legislation is a cop out for sure.

  42. wow thanks Cor.
    Standing up for ones convictions -feels empowering.
    Fighting for equality rights is something ALL Canadians should respect .

    All people are equall -all languages are not!

  43. Ontario is NOT a bilingual province….except in the minds of the 4% and the illusion that the 4% are trying to create!

  44. My Canada does not include French as official language.

  45. stellabystarlight, I doubt anyone is suggesting Police go door to door, residence or business, to install microphones and surviellence, towards stoping people from speaking French. We have reached a point where French people have services and access to jobs, and we have or are going beyond what is neccessary.
    We need less government influence into our lives and more people taking notice to demand better use of our tax dollars.

  46. Stella, there are now immigration specialists set up in Cornwall and all over the province who work as translators for recent immigrants to Canada. As far as I know, some do indeed speak Cantonese, as they need to translate important government documents for these people to receive for social services. As I think there are not hordes of people who speak these languages in Ontario, ‘pure laine’ may in fact have an opportunity to corner this market and in fact discover a niche market in this area. ‘Pure Laine’, if your’re reading this, this may be an employment option for you! It may be worth checking out. Best of luck to you, ‘pure laine’! Don’t give up!

    With Kindest Regards,


  47. Stella -Ontario is not considered bilingual -Ontario is yet to be classified bilingual -get your facts right

    you look like more the conspirator with statements like that!


Leave a Reply