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End the unfairness of official bilingualism. Stop wasting our tax dollars.

Tuesday, April 15,  2014

Dear Mr. Watson

April 15, 2014

Dear readers, this message is an urgent one because we are already very late in any effective action to stop the City of Ottawa from being declared officially bilingual.  By-law 2001-170 has already given us a language policy which is beyond the mandate of “providing service in the language of choice “WHERE NUMBERS WARRANT”.  The policy has led to more positions in the City administration being declared bilingual (30%) where the French-speaking population is only about 15%.

We wrote a letter to Mayor Watson and mailed it by registered post to the Mayor - we have yet to receive a response:

March 19, 2014

Mr. Jim Watson

Mayor

City of Ottawa

110 Laurier Avenue West

Ottawa

Ontario K1P 1J1

VIA REGISTERED MAIL

Re:  Official Bilingualism and the City of Ottawa

Dear Mr. Watson,

It has come to our attention there is renewed effort underway to have the City of Ottawa declared “officially bilingual.”  And our letter to you today is to inform you that our organization, the Canadians for Language Fairness, is strongly opposed to this initiative.

There are numerous reasons of our opposition to this scheme and not the least of which is that there is no Constitutional and/or Charter requirement to do so insofar as the Official Bilingualism Act was focussed solely on federal government departments and their programs and only “where numbers warrant.”  And as you know, this provision, “where numbers warrant” has long ago left the building with already more than 60% of the federal government departments being occupied by individuals who have a “bilingual” designation or, in other words, who are mainly francophones.

You should know Mr. Watson, and perhaps you can recall an Ottawa Citizen article of February 10, 2003, by Iris Winston titled: “The continuing bitterness of forced bilingualism” where she details the rancour induced by the disproportionate favouritism shown toward people with a certain linguistic capability during the hiring and promotion process. Indeed, by elevating an ascribed criterion such as language over an achieved criterion such as technical and educational competence, does indeed “change the culture” (in the words of a former language commissioner) of a work environment. In short, the “continuing bitterness” referred to in 2003 has not abated but has instead been exacerbated by the ongoing efforts of this affirmative action program designed to accommodate as many as possible economic refugees from Quebec that is “pushing” its citizens out as a result of draconian language laws and overly statist economic policies. We urge you therefore Mr. Watson to retain as much as possible the “old” merit principle of hiring and promoting the best people for the job - no exception - and to reinstate and hold fast to the principle of “where numbers warrant.”

Where numbers warrant should also play a significant role regarding the City funding of daycare facilities. Currently the Ottawa Council-adopted Bilingualism By-law 2001-170 (Policy ACS2001-CMS-OCM-0002) requires that all daycare facilities receiving 30% or more in subsidy from the City “provide a minimum of bilingual personnel at the activity site.”  However, no such requirement is demanded of the French-only, wholly City-subsidized daycare facilities. We ask then why do we need French-only daycare facilities in the first place when all other City-subsidized daycare already provides service in French? Would that be to help “combat assimilation” as per a Bisson Report of November 28, 2005?  And are we as a City in an English speaking province to help a linguistic minority to “combat assimilation” (keep separate from) instead of providing French services “where number warrant”?  Is that good social policy? Is that wise use of our tax dollars? Or are we now in the process, like the former South African Apartheid regime, of promoting and creating “townships” of segregation and isolation for a small linguistic segment of our population?

We further urge you Mr. Watson to consider carefully the issue before us as declaring Ottawa officially bilingual would effectively render it an adjunct - an appendage - to Quebec, a province that already has a distinction of being the most corrupt province in Canada with its own anti-corruption commission. We already find it lamentable that the federal language commissioner is using similar tactics in our City as employed by the Quebec language police that actively persecute individuals and businesses for their seeming lack of linguistic purity. Is this the direction into which you want to take our world-class City?

The attempts by francophone interests in Ontario to “combat assimilation” are no trivial matter! The recent efforts to secure funding for a 50,000 square foot French-only community (“cultural”) centre in Ottawa costing approximately $8 million is a stark example of how “far” these efforts are reaching to secure “townships” of isolation for the francophone community. Worse, the justification for this French-only community centre was based on a highly erroneous report generated by Bisson and Associates (2005) where a dubious methodology was employed to achieve a pre-determined outcome. It indicated that a “needs assessment was determined by a telephone survey of 152 respondents…” without a shred of apparent concern how these telephone respondents were selected in the first place to achieve the incredulous outcome “that more than 21,000 francophones[1] live in the Ottawa West area…. who have no focal point from which services can be offered to support their needs….” even though there are already an identified “43 organizations that provide services in French…”!  We want to stress that the “focal point” mentioned in the Bisson Report is little else than a thinly disguised justification for a Canadian-style “township” - a segregation facility based not on skin colour but on a linguistic dialect - that can help “combat assimilation” by avoiding as much as possible interaction with the English speaking majority. And it is this majority that will be paying for the bulk of this “cultural” facility. Why this fear of assimilation?  What is so very dreadful about English Canada?

There is nothing “inclusive” about the need to declare Ottawa officially bilingual to accommodate a small linguistic minority. Indeed, there is growing indication of a French zealotry that is not satisfied with being merely “included” and made to “feel at home” in Canada. Rather, as evidenced by numerous reports, hiring practices and other trends, it appears this small linguistic minority seeks elevation to the status of an insulated, isolated and coddled aristocracy with total control of the state’s organs - federally, provincially, municipally - and all with the concerted help and efforts of the English speaking majority.

Mr. Watson, we do not need to “change our culture” from one based on English Common Law with its recognition of achieved merit principles in hiring and promotion. We do not need to change to accommodate the French Civil Code with its worship of excessive statism’s false gods and disdain for individual liberties and private property. We do not need to pay for and otherwise subsidize the efforts to help this linguistic minority “combat assimilation.” We need to stop the favouritism madness and return to strict fairness in all our dealings with this small minority and to stop treating it as a “special case” with special funding and services. This is not what Canada is all about!

Please Mr. Watson, would you be mindful of our concerns as you meet with the French caucus on March 24th - 25th to discuss francophone issues? And may we remind you there is no official voice representing the English-speaking majority (no English caucus)?  Mr. Watson, enough is enough! We urge you to stop the needless inducing - the “injection” - of linguistic strife into our civic fabric and consider all your people in this City as equals, as Canadians first and foremost!

Thank you sincerely for your consideration,

Kim McConnell

Chair

Canadians for Language Fairness

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The following information, complete with links, can be used to provide background information so that you understand the seriousness of the issue.  Thanks to the team of researchers assembled by CLF, the fine research work done by some of our more active members have revealed that the many Francophone organizations (see attached list), funded very generously by our Federal and Provincial governments are now moving to the next stage on their agenda.

City of Ottawa’s by-law 2001-170

You will remember that since the City of Ottawa adopted by-law 2001-170 to offer bilingual services in Ottawa that the policy has forced the City to be more & more bilingual.  Quotes taken from this article from the CBC in 2007:

“Manon Henrie-Cadieux, who manages Ottawa's French services, said about 30 per cent of the city's employees can already work in both official languages. ((CBC))

Ottawa's goal of offering bilingual services means hundreds of employees must learn French, the manager of the city's French-language services says.

About 20 per cent of the city's 17,000 positions will be officially designated bilingual in a matter of weeks, said Manon Henrie-Cadieux, adding that employees already in those positions must soon prove they can read, write and speak both in English and in French.”

Read the rest of the article yourself at this link.

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In 2009, another article talks about the problems of hiring properly qualified professionals for the City of Ottawa:

Jan Harder was the only councillor who was brave enough to comment on this:

“Harder alleged that few candidates are applying and those who do are "less than desirable."

If there is a problem finding the most suitable person to fill the positions, the city does have a policy that allows managers to ask city council for an exemption to the language requirement if they can't find a qualified candidate who is bilingual. Diane Deans suggested that this could be done.  However, the French councillors like Michel Bellemare (Councillor for Beacon Hill-Cyrville), Clive Doucet, councillor for Capital ward & Jacques Legendre, councillor for Rideau-Rockcliffe disagree.

It is a fact that if you only have a small pool of bilingual people to draw from NATIONWIDE (17.7% self-assessed in 2011 census but really only 12% if you accept the result of Jack Jedwab’s study in 2004), the likelihood of getting the best qualified people in the country is severely restricted.  As usual, the French councillors are busy making sure that their tribe stays on top and they are willing to look you straight in the eye and deny this very basic fact.

Unfortunately for the English-speakers of this country, this tribe-like behaviour is emulated by some powerful figures who are Francophone & Francophile (good e.g. is Graham Fraser).  One can understand the Francophones fighting for their own kind to be on top but why would Francophiles (who were not born into the French-speaking culture) want to betray their own kind by continuing to support this policy that is so clearly against the interests of the majority?  One very good answer is that is their access to power.  If we only have such a small pool to choose from (Jack Jedwab’s study is available if you want to see it), why would we DELIBERATELY shut out the better-qualified majority?

It boggles the mind!!!

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Bill 161 - French immigration to Ontario to be increased (part of the upcoming budget)

President of ACFO is concerned over Ontario Bill 161 which has passed 1st reading (Feb. 19), because the upcoming budget, if it falls, may stop it. He wants the Bill to guarantee that 5% of new immigrants can speak French, although the last Census by Statistics Canada in 2011 puts the estimate that the French-speakers only comprise 4.3 % of the total population of the province.

“The project, first reading on February 19, aims to preserve the demographic weight of Francophones in Ontario, including ensuring that 5% of new immigrants speak the language of Molière.”

Comment from one of our researchers:  “they are currently trying to figure out how they can change the current 10%  needed to designate an area under FLSA to 5% so that more areas can fall under the jurisdiction of the FLSA and more public institutions like hospitals, clinics, etc. can be forced to be bilingual, with financial rewards for doing so.

“Enabling all communities across Ontario, including Franco-Ontarian communities, to attract, welcome and integrate immigrants.”

Reflecting on Francophone Immigration at the 2014 National Metropolis Conference

8 April 2014

We had the article translated by Google Translate (the English is a bit awkward:

“This year, the 16th annual National Conference Metropolis was held in March in Gatineau, under the theme: “Partnering for success: Facilitating integration and success”. Each year, this event gathers researchers, policy makers, government officials and representatives from community and settlement organizations to share ideas, exchange on the latest research findings, and share best practices in the field of immigration and settlement.

One of the workshops of this day to reflect on Francophone Immigration (link available in French only) focused notably on how host communities dealt with immigration and diversity issues and how Francophone immigrants should be defined. In fact, it was interesting to mention that some federal institutions have publicly raised the challenges they are facing with respect to the lack of a common definition of what is a Francophone and this sometimes within the same ministry. A situation that affects particularly the data collected on the number of Francophone immigrants admitted into the country.

Ontario is proud to be Canada’s only province to have an inclusive definition of Francophone since 2009 which applies to all ministries and government agencies. It enables newcomers to live fully as Francophones in Ontario and takes their contribution to Ontario’s Francophone community into account.

I am delighted that the debate had been initiated in this way and hope the precursor of the Ontario government role will have a domino effect in other jurisdictions. Stay tuned!”

It is relevant to note that the Federal definition of a Francophone is still based on “mother-tongue”.  Definition: In general in Canada the word francophone means a French-speaking person. Statistics Canada uses the term francophone to mean someone whose mother tongue is French and who still speaks French: 

However, as the power of the French grows stronger, Statistics Canada might (under their control) have to capitulate to the French zealots in Ontario & adopt the definition now being used in Ontario!!!

Comment from one of our researchers:  My concerns are that Bill 161 would be a new immigration law, allowing for new settlement & integration promotion that could include payments beyond programs already in place. Part VII could also force the Regulated Health Professions Act to speed up registration decisions.

New Brunswick’s Acadian lobby is already pressuring the N.B. govt. into bringing MORE immigrants from ex-French colonies.

Katherine d’Entremont, New Brunswick’s commissioner of official languages, says immigration to the province has heavily favoured anglophones while francophone immigrants are trailing far behind.  She said francophones in New Brunswick represent one-third of the population, yet the vast majority of immigrants coming to the province - roughly 81 per cent - report that English is their first language.

My comment on this move by the Acadians:  it is a backward step to bring in more French-speakers from ex-French colonies (Haiti, Algeria come to mind) as these are usually very poor areas of the world and will need a lot of adjustment to be productive members of the Canadian society.  N.B. is already struggling under a debt load and an over-dependence on the Equalization Payments - why would the province create more social services just to feed the French paranoia about their numbers?

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Top political figures mobilizing to increase French education in Canada:

Major education conference in Ottawa in French.  This biennial national conference that addresses the francophone school staff working in minority communities meet in all more than 600 participants and a total of 28 francophone school boards in British Columbia to the Maritimes.

Several speakers will be present, including the Minister of Education of Ontario, Liz Sandals, Graham Fraser, Commissioner of Official Languages ​​, Madeleine Meilleur, Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs, Michaëlle Jean, Chancellor of the University of Ottawa or Denis Vaillancourt , President of the Assembly of the Francophonie in Ontario (AFO )

There is also, on the French agenda, a French university in Ontario

However, the “growing” French-speaking population which now includes ALL people who speak French (whether they are French or not) must have their own university to prevent assimilation into the English-speaking population and as they are so strong (being force-fed the taxpayers dollars) and since there is NO push-back from the rest of us, they’ll get their wishes fulfilled even though the province is heavily in debt ($268 billion):

Comments from the 16th Symposium of the Francophonie French Canadian Association of Ontario (ACFO) March 29 2014

Ronald Caza - historically Ottawa and Laurentian Universities were French, he says they went bilingual and were lost. Creating an independent French University, with a real campus and not small networks is needed.

The folding of the Alfred College campus failed to look at the impact on the Francophone community.

Madeleine Meilleur was also at the dinner -  She believes in the importance of a French University, but has a priority of creating post secondary programs in Central / Western Ontario.

Comments from the Etats Generaux consultation March 29 2014.

Almost 200 in attendance (mostly University of Ottawa students) for the 6th and last provincial consultation. Discussions concerned creating a French university, full empowerment of an existing college or existing programs to a provincial structure.

Madeleine Meilleur was present during the afternoon sessions. She mentioned how the government has provided $14.5 million a month ago for post secondary French programs.

Some students were disappointed to have English texts for French courses, many programs are missing, and on the bilingual structure.

When the Agricultural Colleges (one in Alfred, the other in Kemptville) were slated for closure, only the Alfred College will be assisted to stay open.  Looks like the English college of Kemptville is out of luck - NO funds for you, sorry!!!

Ottawa's La Cite collegial and Borel College want to take over the Alfred campus.

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French agenda ignored by the English media (many of their activities are ignored by the English media) Just to observe how powerful the French are in Canada, Lyn W. & I attended this event:

Mayor’s Annual Francophone Rendezvous marks 400th anniversary of the passage of Samuel de Champlain

25 March 2014

News Release

Ottawa - Mayor Jim Watson and 180 members of the Francophone community, this morning gathered to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the passage of Samuel de Champlain as well as the Francophone presence in the Ottawa region during the 8th Annual Francophone Rendezvous with the Mayor at Ottawa City Hall.

Mayor Watson expressed his enthusiasm about Champlain’s voyage, and the significance it played for both the Algonquin peoples and the Francophone culture in the New World.

“Samuel de Champlain not only founded Quebec City,” said Mayor Watson, “he also influenced the French colonies within New France by creating a rich Francophone society that we experience here today.”

Nicole Fortier, President of the Société franco-ontarienne du patrimoine et de l'histoire d'Orléans (SFOPHO), served as Master of Ceremonies. She welcomed many special guests including members of the 400th Anniversary coordinating committee for the Ottawa region, as well as political and community leaders.

Guests were treated to a lively narrative by Mr. Félix Saint-Denis, Creator and Artistic Director and Producer of Echo d’un peuple Shows and talented storyteller. He spoke about Samuel de Champlain’s first contacts with the Algonquin Anishinabe and Étienne Brulé 400 years ago, as well as some of the great voyage adventures.

Celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the passage of Samuel de Champlain will continue on both sides of the river throughout the year. Ottawa-area festivities will close during a gala organized by the Orléans Festival Committee on September 27, 2014.

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Mayor Jim Watson is resisting the pressure coming from the French lobby groups - but how long will he continue to resist if the citizens of Ottawa don’t show any interest, one way or another?  Hence the importance of all readers of our message to contact the Mayor to express their concerns.

In this article (in French), it was mentioned that the Mayor is still resisting the call by the many French groups to make the City “officially bilingual”.

If you want to read the article in English, copy & paste the link to Google Translate.  I will only quote the part relevant to us:

"No" to official bilingualism

Another subject on which Mr. Watson also play continuity : bilingualism in the City of Ottawa. Asked about his possible desire to give the City an officially bilingual status , the first magistrate replied curtly by three letters: "Non" .

Francophone Organizations in Ontario



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