I have been a regular contributor for the last half year now, writing ‘Letters to the Editor’ to various Cornwall media on the Language Debate that seems to have anchored itself within the City of Cornwall; especially in regards to government hiring practices. There are those of us who have outlined and made aware to the public at large how Canada’s laws such as the French Language Services Act (FLSA) and Official Languages Act (OLA), have allowed for a hiring atmosphere that greatly favours a minority French speaking populace to the detriment of all other applicants.
As a Board member and supporter of Cornwall’s Language Fairness for All (LFA) Group, I have taken part in protests around the city and sought to bring about public awareness to unfair government hiring policies. Some of my ‘Letters to the Editor’ have generated tens to hundreds of responses from both supporters of equality in hiring policies to those who currently embrace the status quo. It is the latter reason for which I have embarked on this project and decided to write this piece. I have tasked myself with answering the following: Can any legitimacy be generated by the hiring of a 100% bilingual Nurse force?
We have seen over these past few months an increase in Language tensions and Human Rights Issues within not only the locale of Cornwall, but outside the greater outlying areas as well including Russel Township and South Stormont. Outside of the Province of Ontario, there have also been protests in Moncton, New Brunswick and most recently in Montreal Quebec on the eve of the latest Parti Quebecois victory.
I wanted to take the time and effort with this submission to try and examine the issue from another angle. I wanted to instead focus this issue of language fairness in regards to hiring not on the CCH or the Montfort (which most of us have already written and commented on) but on hospitals located within the territory of our Southern neighbours, the United States. Because of the nursing protests in Cornwall, I tasked myself in examining this issue in the hiring of full-time nurses to the exclusion of all other government civil servants for use as a comparison. As part of the research of this project, I chose to contact representatives of hospitals in the three states of New Mexico, California and Texas, incidentally, continental states with the three largest percentages of Spanish-speaking people. For the benefit of the readers of this article, the state of New Mexico has a Spanish-speaking population of 823,352 or 43.27% of the total percentage population of that state, California has a Spanish-speaking population of 12,442,626 or 34.72% of the total percentage population of that particular state and Texas has a Spanish-speaking population of 7,781,211 or 34.63% of the total percentage population of that state. (Taken from:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
I contacted representatives from hospitals including UNM (University New Mexico) Hospitals Human Resources and Nurse Recruiting Departments of Albuquerque, New Mexico, UC San Diego Health System, La Jolla and Hillcrest Human Resources and Nurse Recruiting Departments as well as Texas Children’s Hospital Human Resources and Nurse Recruiting Departments. All representatives indicated to me that in no uncertain terms does the lack of knowledge of a language, ANY Language, prohibit the choosing of a successful candidate.
A cursory examination of the ‘Careers’ section of the above hospital’s websites gives us a few clues as to how the issue of language is worked out within these institutions and how the Spanish speaking people are serviced. For instance, the UNM website has a very efficient and detailed section on their website,http://hospitals.unm.edu/
So, we need to ask ourselves, why is it that our hospitals insist upon demanding that in order to work as a nurse full-time, you need to be proficient in French – let alone advanced French? The sky doesn’t seem to be falling on our Southern neighbours with their nursing employment policies…
Something doesn’t quite add up here.
And I haven’t even tackled the issue of other civil service jobs yet in regards to language. The key word being yet.
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