CFN – Hugo Rodrigues, editor of the Standard Freeholder and President of the CAJ, recently wrote an article about bilingualism.
I am a refugee of Quebec. I left, and most likely will never return simply because of the fact that the people of Quebec, after nearly sixty years of their Quiet Revolution do not support the values that Mr. Rodrigues supports in his column.
Canada is one of the kindest and considerate countries in many ways, but since the days of Pierre Trudeau there has been a Pax Francophonie across this country that has not turned it into some idealistic bilingual Mecca, but has simply given huge advantages to one segment of society over another.
Is that right? Has it helped Canada? In my opinion it hasn’t. The investment this country has made in Francophone services, education, etc has been a very costly social experiment, but essentially a pointless one. If Quebec itself, with its majority French population, doesn’t support bilingualism what the heck is the rest of Canada doing and why?
In a country with two official languages, fluency in both is always an asset, even if you’re living somewhere where one of them is rarely ever heard. Knowing any language that is present with any significance in your community is always a powerful asset too.
Sorry Hugo. The only advantage to being bilingual in Canada is to gain employment because of artificial barriers created by government agencies. Isn’t that nuts? Our Tax dollars creating limits to employment and giving one segment an advantage over another?
In Quebec you really don’t get an advantage if you are a Francophone that speaks English. Bill 101 and other laws that wouldn’t pass the sniff test at the United Nations push for 100% French work places to the point where we have seen grocery stores sanction employees for chatting with each other in English.
In Quebec the Civil service and other government agencies essentially discriminate against English speaking citizens as the numbers clearly show. This sadly has encroached into health care where there have also been cases of EMS staff refusing to speak to patients in English.
There is no organic economic spin off for Canada to be bilingual. Our biggest trading partner is the US. French in the US offers no Economic advantages. Spanish does. Heck Chinese does. French, not so much.
The response on our comment boards was disappointing – which is quite the statement if you read through them often. We clearly have readers who cannot let go of a distaste for decisions made almost two generations ago and speak from a position of ignorance that being an Anglophone in this community allows them.
Ouch. Hugo the Canadian people were never put to the question about bilingualism in Canada. It essentially was a linguistic coup d’etat. Let go? Of a gross social injustice that has fractured families and nearly led to the dissolution of our great Country that has survived in spite of official bilingualism?
Yet the proof is in the pudding. Across Canada, even in those areas where French is rarely heard, enrolment in French-language education programs is steady or growing while overall enrolment shrinks. Why?
Well Mr. Rodrigues, I would wager school enrollment is up because many parents justifiably so wish their children to gain access to jobs artificially mandated to be bilingual including our military where it’s very hard to get a promotion past Major without being bilingual.
We are a bilingual region in a bilingual province and country. If we could choose to learn something at a reasonably easy cost that gives us an advantage, why wouldn’t we? To argue against someone else being able to do so, or get angry when the advantage it gives them benefits them is beyond silly.
Hugo we are not a bilingual province. We in Cornwall live in an area that has a larger French population chiefly due to our location close to the Province of Quebec.
Quebec does not allow certain inter-provincial trade and has linguistic laws that make it very difficult for many Canadian companies from Ontario to work in the province. Ontario does not have those road blocks which is why you see so many Quebec companies working on projects in Cornwall, especially in construction for example.
It’s time to admit that bilingualism is holding back our great country. Quebec is a French Province. The Rest of Canada clearly is predominately English and English should be the official working language as French is in Quebec. There just isn’t any reason to support a policy for a small portion of the population at great cost when the reciprocal isn’t being done in la belle province.
The lines should be clear and we really should stop spending billions of tax dollars trying to change the reality.
To suggest that uni-lingual French people should have the right to all services in French in every place across Canada just doesn’t make sense, especially when Quebec seems to make a point of refusing to offer English services to people that didn’t wander into Quebec, but for many were a huge part of its growth in cities like Montreal.
If we are going to have National policies like Bilingualism they have to be observed Nationally. That is not happening, and clearly never will.
So Hugo I think you owe Ontario an apology for saying we’re a bilingual province when we’re not. Cornwall btw, isn’t a bilingual city either. And it probably never will be.
That being said I have no problem with any culture supporting and advocating for itself. When the Richelieu Society wanted to pay for a flag pole in Lamoureux Parc at its own expense I was a full supporter of their initiative, but it’s time for the countless agencies and groups that are publicly funded on the tax payers dime to stop getting our dollars. It’s time for our government to realize that they can offer services in 2015 to unilingual French speakers who chose to reside outside of Quebec without huge swathes of Federal, provincial, and even municipal workers having to be bilingual.
And the sooner we make these lines clear the sooner we can invest those dollars in health care, education, and infrastructure instead of a dream that never will come to be of value.
And it’s time to truly consult the people of Canada about bilingualism.
And Hugo if you’d like to have an on camera debate about official Bilingualism I’m game if you are.
(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.)
Comment policy reminder
CFN has a new comment policy. You must use your real first and last name. As well if your email bounces we will terminate your posting privileges.
We value all input from our amazing CFN viewers and are always trying to improve the viewer experience which includes making this a safe, informative, and entertaining platform.
If you have any questions please email