LTE – Eric Little on the costs of Duality and Bilingualism in Canada – May 22, 2013

LTE – Eric Little on the costs of Duality and Bilingualism in Canada – May 22, 2013

Canada TOPOI doubt very many people ever heard of the People’s Alliance of New Brunswick or Kris Austin for that matter. Last year though, he spoke of how expensive duality is in cost and to people. Not actual bilingual service, but separate buildings, administration and associated costs to provide for each language on an individual basis. Just like the rest of Canada, few people want to discuss it, but are ecstatic to help with every other culture. We have Black history month, Asian heritage month, National Aboriginal history month, Women’s history month, Multiculturism day, National Acadian day, National Aboriginal day, and Aboriginal Awareness Week (is not even in the Aboriginal history month by the way). Ontario is not to be out done with 6 special months and several special days representing Canada’s multiculturism which continues to show our openness I assume.

But no one wants to talk about how this duality is morphing into separate buildings, administration and having the majority learn another language or, increasingly, no job for you. Bilingual services are one thing away from Quebec, but when the percentage of bilingual speakers in Canada stays well below 20% for decades (most of which are in Quebec only), when do we make a change or at least discuss the actual need? Our Canadian government has prepared another billion dollars plus road map towards showing the world our duality strategy. But we only talk about providing more, not what we actually need and, why we use Visa to pay Mastercard for all of this.

Be sure you check the calendar to be a part of the next Linguistic Duality Day! The Council of the Network of Official Languages Champions created a 75 page PDF booklet as a collection of Official Languages resources. Of the 236 groups, each with a dedicated government employee champion I will add, you will see things like “FRUNCHS” where the Public Safety employees in Nova Scotia can practice French over lunch, promotional posters, quizzes and awards. Of course French outweighs English promotion here, but is this how you want your governments using your tax dollars and their time?

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James Moak

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