Ruth Wood of Barrie Ontario on Official Bilingualism in Ontario – August 22, 2012

Official Bilingualism could be compared to a ‘smoke ring’.  This ring in Ontario, centered around Ontario’s French Language Services Act, included 22 designated areas of the province, and has gradually spread outward taking in more and more areas. Recently it was revealed that there are now 25 designated areas, which encompasses almost all of our province. This ‘smoke ring’ was puffed out by Premier David Peterson’s Ontario Liberal government in 1986, with no mandate from the people, and, due to miniscule media coverage, was unbeknown to most residents of Ontario, until it affected them personally. 

This situation is presently being felt in Cornwall, Ontario, where the smoke ring is closing in on English-speaking nurses at the local Cornwall Community Hospital. They are being denied access to jobs and career advancement due to the imposition of official bilingualism!

It would appear very few, residents of Ontario are aware of the manner in which the French Language Services Act was passed, and no wonder!  Anyone in Cornwall who is not familar with the details, might like to check the Hansard Report, under the date of November 18th, 1986, the date this Bill was passed. It should be available at your local library. The sole purpose of a Hansard is so that the electorate can be informed as to what has gone on in their Legislature.

The French Language Services Act, also known as Bill 8, was passed by only 55 members of the 125-member Ontario Legislature, not even one-half of the members in attendance, which certainly cannot be considered as being “passed unanimously” by the full Legislature. The 70 members who absented themselves presumably did so to indicate their disapproval.  They would represent a huge majority of residents of Ontario who had absolutely no say in the passing of this Bill.  It was passed almost entirely in the French language for the approximately 95% English-speaking residents of Ontario, and there was no recorded vote.

Many Canadians are of the misguided understanding that we live in a democracy, which in effect means that “the right to govern is derived from the consent of the governed”.

With almost nil media coverage prior to the passing of this Bill, one has to ask,  if it was such fair and equitable legislation why were the details not made public?  A well-respected Ontario Conservative MPP is on record as referring to the fact that there was no meaningful public discussion of the French Language Service Act, and no reference to a standing committee to look at what the implications of the legislation would mean to Ontario. He went on to say that the wholesale extension of French language services in Ontario represented a HORRENDOUS waste of taxpayers’ dollars, whose passage in l986 marked one of “the blackest days” in the history of the Legislature.

Unbelievable as it may seem, only after the Bill had been passed,  and after permission had been granted to circumvent the rules, was an English translation of second and third reading provided, and this translation was hidden away under a different date!! (After much searching, it was found in the Hansard Report of November 24th, 1986).

Initial criteria for providing services “where numbers warrant” was soon neatly and unceremoniously disposed of.  

 A salute to the Cornwall public officials, including Mayor Bryan McGillis, of South Stormont, and Dr. Tombler, who have indicated their opposition to a recent ruling requiring that hospital staff at Cornwall Community Hospital be bilingual. Also to Deputy Mayor Tammy Hart of South Stormont who had the courage to post her concerns that  the French language, representing a miniscule percentage (4%)of the Ontario population, is taking a prominent position, not just on signs but in the public sector hiring policy.

Personal bilingualism may be a worthwhile personal pursuit, but ‘Official bilingualism’ is bilingualism enforced by law, with the astrnomical costs picked up by taxpayers!  

Keep in mind the statements made, on November 13th, l982, to the Acadian Association of Nova Scotia  by former Secretary of State Serge Joyal, (now a Senator)….quote “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”.  He went on to say, “The idea, the challenge, the ambition of making Canada a French country both inside and outside Quebec … is something a little beyond the ordinary imagination”. 

Does that not ring a bell as to what is presently taking place in our country?

(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.)

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  1. As usual, Administer, you are absolutely and completely correct!

    I fear that no logic or reality will ever suffice, especially when the French minority has a vested interest in maintaining the divisive and discriminatory policies of Official Bilingualism.

    Lately, there is an air of clear desperation noted, from our French minority, as it is plainly and resoundingly obvious that the ROC is finally saying…”enough is enough”.

    Personally, think we ALL know the answer to your last question.

    * smiley face*

  2. Author

    Patrick is there anything wrong with Montreal being an Anglo town? For you and others to think there is I think is the fundamental problem. Do I care that Alexandria is more French than Pickering? The Anglophone community was systemically attacked linguistically. Telling businesses who to hire, who you can speak with in English, that English only be allowed on signs if it’s smaller type than French, forcing websites to be in French, etc. These are all banana republic tactics. While there may have never been any direct written order to leave the results my friend were the same.

    Bill 22 and Bill 101 artificially attempted to Socially engineer Quebec. It was wrong then and is wrong now. Why on earth should I have a certificate that allows me and my offspring to go to school in English. If numbers warrant there should be an English school in Montreal or anywhere in Quebec the same way there should be a French school if numbers warrant elsewhere in Canada.

    It’s always been a form of benign fascism. If the only way to save a language/culture, in this case the French language, is by destroying another(English in Quebec) then that first culture should simply perish.

  3. There is nothing wrong with montreal being an anglo town but it’s just a shame. It’s a shame that the french language is decreasing every year even with la loi 101. To compare our canadian laws to fascism is ludicrous. You can function perfectly well in Québec without learning french, too bad you can’t say the same about R.O.C. But you chose to leave the province. You know darn well that you could have sent your offspring to anglo schools without any problems. You were born in the province, you had no justification to give ? Its just frustrating for me to read opinions that reflect false things about Québec.
    – Bill 101 will not prevent you from succeeding if you chose to live in Québec. Alot of unilingual anglos have done quite well in Québec. Can you say the same about any other province ?

  4. Name me one unilingual francophone that has succeeded and wasnt a Québec resident ??

  5. If the only way to save a language/culture, in this case the French language, is by destroying another(English in Quebec) then that first culture should simply perish.

    – how are they being destroyed when you can achieve great success in Québec without uttering a word of french??

  6. Author

    No Patrick. In Quebec businesses can be told to shut down like those depanneurs because of the Office de la Langue Francaise. Those English businesses that do well in Quebec are fewer and fewer and do so in spite of the hurdles that their tax dollars are used against them with.

  7. Ok, name me one dépanneur that were told to shut down because of l’office de langue française.

  8. Author

    Patrick I believe it was in Verdun? I’m not going to get into a pissing match with you. I’m sure you know up from down. I understand your political position and as you can see you’re being allowed to defend and promote it. Freedom of speech doens’t only apply to those we agree with 🙂
    I grew up in Montreal when as I child I was told to not go too close to mail boxes (FLQ crisis) and had an idiot start screaming and raging in French that the owner of this Dep and I would dare speak English (we were having a chat in an aisle, not at the cash). In physics you can prove that elephants can fly although we all pretty much know they can’t.

    What happened to anglophones in Quebec is totally wrong and violated the Charter. It devastated whole communities that saw their families split up as people left for less linguistically charged ones. Only because of the not withstanding clause is it happening which is probably why that clause was placed there.

    There is a price for being an Anglo in Quebec and that price is something that all Quebecers have sadly had to pay over the last 40 or so years. It’s why I and probably over 1 million Quebecers left that province and believe it or not more Francophones left Quebec than Anglophones over the Language bs that hurt its economy in the 70’s and 80’s and continues on even today.

    Companies choose to land in other Provinces because of language issues. There were better ways for Francophones to try and save their language and culture. The way chosen was wrong. They need to get the chips of their Nationalist shoulders, look in the mirror and preserve adn save their own language and culture. It’s not up to the ROC, immigrants, or anglos to do so.

  9. Admin I remember that so well about the FLQ crisis. If you bring up Pierre Trudeau on you will see some things of those days. I am a boomer (an oldie) and remember about people having to stay away from mailboxes because of all the explosions. Many people including companies left Montreal and the rest of Québec and not just anglophones but francophones as well.

    I remember the army being stationed in Cornwall as well on McConnell Avenue in front of Lamoureux’s house who was speaker of the House of Commons and also in front of lawyer Rouleau’s house as well. I went to Ecole Secondaire Saint Laurent in those days which is now La Citadelle.

    Many people do not know this but Trudeau was a radical for the FLQ before becoming PM and he changed his political views. When I think about Trudeau getting to changing Canada to be bilingual I sure would believe all of that for sure.

  10. “… rights entrenched in the constitution to protect languages and culture”.

    Mike Bedard, read again the Trudeau Constitution. The only language and culture that he protected there was French, thus legislating your tribe into a superior caste. That’s why you and our ilk are fighting tooth and nail today to preserve the undeserved advantages in employment and positions of power. You are afraid English Canada is finally realizing it had been conned.

  11. Correction: should be read ” That’s why you and YOUR ilk…”

  12. To Patrick Boucher, Le Renard, Mike Bedard and company. Have watched your posts and noticed that you repeatedly call on us, to prove us or our opinions wrong, typically.

    Would suggest another tack…why don’t you do your own research, for a change. Why do you post on this site, anyway…is it to try to justify the bigotry and ignorance shown?

    If, you have a rebuttal than post it…otherwise all I keep hearing is the sound of crickets!

    Clearly, you are never going to accept the hard truths and realities…but really that is YOUR issue and not OURS!!!

  13. Patrick
    You said:
    Québec does need stricter language laws.

    Bill 101 is the most restrictive law ,with the fact that Canada has been chastised on numerous occasions by the United Nations as a form of language genocide.

    As for Daddy`s little separatist -I am not surprised by your viewpoints -My how ETHNOCENTRIC of you!

    Jules logic and reasoning will prevail ,I see you are balanced on your approach to this topic ,thank you for your insite.

    bella b said:

    The problem with living side by side Patrick, is that you don’t want to be equals, you want to be superior.

    You are right on target there .
    When one culture is financially and socially supported by the GOVERNMENT at the expense and demise of other cultures ,It only permits social division and animosity …so tell me how governmental policies such as the OLA benefit society as a WHOLE as opposed to a part of society .

    Promoting Cultural genocide -United Nations said -but yet the federal Government wont step in for their English population in Quebec!

    Yet in the rest of Canada federal positions are 60-70% bilingual -not in Quebec though.

  14. Thank You Ruth. I have always complained that the Official Languages Act (1969) that started this entire OFFICIAL BILINGUALISM, WAS NEVER APPROVED BY A MAJORITY VOTE OF CANADIANS. It is shocking and unbelievable what is now happening to the MAJORITY OF ENGLISH SPEAKING CANADIANS IN AN EFFORT TO “FORCE” OFFICIAL BILINGUALISM TO WORK. If Canada is a democracy then why are our CITIZENS REQUIRED TO BE BILINGUAL IN FRENCH AND ENGLISH TO QUALIFY FOR JOBS IN THE MAJOR PORTION OF OUR COUNTRY WHERE LESS THAN FIVE PERCENT OF THE POPULATION SPEAK OR EVEN READ FRENCH? This is why I submitted my last letter to newspapers:
    Dear Editor:
    The latest census statistics has total population numbers and the declared first language spoken in the home by Canadians shown as either English or French or a language other than English or French. These actual numbers and percentages show that English is the primary language for the majority and Canada is in fact is multi-lingual. When we view these percentage figures in terms of one number out of a hundred it becomes easier to relate to and compare.
    In the four Western Provinces, the three Territories and Ontario eighty-four (84) Canadians out of a hundred (100) declared English as their primary language, fourteen (14) declared a language other than English or French and two (2) declared French.
    In all of Canada, excluding Quebec, eighty-four (84) out of a hundred Canadians declared English as their primary language, thirteen (13) declared a language other than English or French and three (3) declared French.
    In the province of Quebec, with one official language of French, eighty-two (82) citizens declared French as their primary language, eleven (11) declared English and seven (7) declared a language other than French or English.
    Quebec with a majority of their citizens declaring French as their primary language took a logical procedure and declared French as their One Official Language. The rest of Canada using similar logic for the majority should declare English as their One Official Language. Official Bilingualism by law has been a costly failed policy and if no longer in effect could save Canadian consumers and taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars annually.
    Ken Kellington, Devon, Alberta. E-mail:

  15. Explain this highlander, how is it supported by one culture at the expense of another when 7 million plus people pay taxes and ask in return for 0.008 % of the total budget.
    – Are you going to blame it on the weather, the environment or rather just be honest and say bilingualism is A GOOD THING. ( my ode to martha stewart.)

  16. Harper should either invoke the Notwistanding Clause and repeal the OLA or tweak the OLA to make English the official language in English Canada and French the official language in the province of Quebec, at the federal level. I am sick and tired of the Bloc, PQ, FLSA Ontario, French Claw in Ottawa and franco bigots everywhere.

  17. Has everyone forgotten the hard time politicians and the chattering classes gave Sault Ste. Marie when they brought the danger of Bill 8 to the citizens? We had half the world’s news media land at our city to berate us for our shocking behavior. Eventually they came up with a totally false assumption that we were demanding “English Only” in our city. The truth is that 20,000 citizens signed a petition to keep from having our taxes hammered by wasteful translation at City Hall. We had translaters for anyone who could not speak English
    already in place so what was the problem? Premier Peterson ran all over Ontario begging other cities not to follow suit. If they had done so, we would not be in the linguistic mess we are in now! We paid the price. Believe me. We knew then the language issue would only get worse and we were right!

  18. Hello Anglo…your post is spot on the money! Wish, I could give it a hundred “thumbs” up:)

    Completely believe that it is not incumbent upon the English majority to save the French language from extinction. When you have to legislate a language into usage, it is already dead and irrelevant.

    Not to mention, why should we (English) pay for French language in Canada. Let the French pay their own tab and we’ll pay for ours!!!

  19. Hello Burned Anglo…no, didn’t know…thanks for sharing your story, with us.

    Of course, you are quite right in your summary. Check out this site, Howard Galganov and Canadians for Language Fairness.

    Canadians are fighting back…join us:)

  20. Hello Ken Kellington…thanks for your excellent summary and letter.

    Completely concur with your suggestions. The French majority have declared Quebec, unilingually French officially. It is long past time, that the Rest of Canada (ROC) follow Quebec’s example and declare ROC unilingually English officially!!!

    Please check out: Language Fairness for All, Canadians for Language Fairness and Howard Galganov.

    They are fighting for OUR rights…join the fight:)

  21. Patrick, a quick search of news last week will show those 7 million people you mention get something like 2 dollars and 62 cents for every dollar they pay into Canada. That is a great return, can I sign up for it without moving to Quebec?

  22. Patrick, please vote for Pauline!!!

  23. I love Anglo’s comments ,
    Harper should either invoke the Notwistanding Clause and repeal the OLA or tweak the OLA to make English the official language in English Canada and French the official language in the province of Quebec, at the federal level. I am sick and tired of the Bloc, PQ, FLSA Ontario, French Claw in Ottawa and franco bigots everywhere.

  24. That English people can get along perfectly well in Quebec is a complete and utter lie. Only if you have the privilege to work within the English community can you have a good job and get promotions etc… studies have even proven that French Quebec employers prefer to hire those who’s mother tongue is French. When you are lucky enough to get hired, then you have to face discrimination problems and like one French Quebecer said, it’s easy to kick an English person out.

    I cannot work in my field. There are no such jobs within the English community and the only job that I did get in my field turned into a nightmare because the lady I worked with hated English people from Nova Scotia and was not shy to say so.

    You will not see successful English people outside of the English community unless they start their own business or work for an English boss. This is very untrue for French people in Canada. We even have French Quebecers at government levels and many were elected !

    I could go on and on about the discrimination that we face here and many of us cannot leave right now. We are human beings with families and lives.

    Allowing official bilingualism in New Brunswick has created racism against English people. Is that how we want our Canada to be?

    Languages should not be imposed and there is not reason to do so. You do not protect a language by crushing all others.

    Should be all speak Inuit to protect their language? No.

    What we are seeing here is a French takeover and not just the protection of a minority.

    Most of my family are French and disagree strongly with all of this, as they are not anti-English !

    If they want people to better learn a second language, all they have to do is improve education, not impose the language of the minority on the majority !

    Anyhow, Spanish is the second language that we should be learning in North America in my opinion.

  25. I forgot to say…. the French language is not considered to be a endangered language ! Not even in Canada ! It is one of the most spoken languages in the world and 29 countries have it as an official language. Look at the statistics before believing anything that you hear ! And stop it with the pity party !

    In New Brunswick the last stats say that there was a huge ”increase” in French speaking people. There are also more English people so it is only in the proportions that there is a ”slight” decline. It is only normal to see fluctuation because of people moving in and out and for all kinds of other reasons.

    English people in New Brunwick are being looked down upon and treated like second class citizens just because they are English (like in Quebec). French is taking over the government. Is that what this country wants?

    French is number 18 of the most most spoken languages in the world and there are about 6500 languages and more ! 18/6500 !

    French has never disappeared from Canada even with a rocky history and will not unless people stop teaching the language to their children and that is ”their” responsibility, not ours !

  26. Spoke with Dr. Tombler yesterday. He said that your letter described the situation perfectly! Thought that you might like to get that feedback. Thanks again for putting your thoughts out there……accurate and for all to see. Keep standing up for what you believe in!!!

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