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Thursday 29, 2014

Bob Asks PM Why French 1st On Your Plane

Reply from Tony Clement

The original letter of complaint:

Violation of the Federal Identity Program

June 9, 2013

This letter came from Bob H. who is a Canadian citizen very upset about the Federal government’s ignorance or deliberate violation of the Federal Identity Program:

Dear Prime Minister Harper,

In the June 8, 2013 Ottawa Citizen, I read the article titled "Harper plane's new paint job red, white and Tory blue".

Frankly speaking, I have no problems with the colour scheme as it fits very well the colour scheme of the RCAF logo which also is red, white and blue.  And, I think that returning to the original name of our air force, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), was a great move on your part as over recent years to much of our illustrious history has been rewritten and the Canadian role downplayed or eliminated.

But, I have a real problem with the positioning of the English and French on your Airbus.  As you can see from the following photo extracted from the Citizen article, French is position to the place of importance i.e. to the left and English to the right - "GOUVERNMENT DU CANADA / GOVERNMENT OF CANADA" as well as in  the writing under the pilot's window "unreadable French / The True North Strong and Free".

The use of French first gives anyone the impression that Canada is a French first country which is far from the case. This simply propagates the myths that Canada is a bilingual country (we are not by Statistics Canada's last count less that 17% of the population are self professed to be  bilingual) and that French is the dominant language (again we are not as less than 25% count it as their first language).

In addition, according to the Federal Identity Policy, for issues of national and international importance, the signage is supposed to have English to the left or top and French to the right or bottom.  Obviously, the wording on your Airbus does not conform to this.

I trust that you will take immediate action to have this corrected so that I do not have to lodge a formal complaint with the Office of the Language Commissioner.

I look forward to your positive reply on this matter.

Best regards,

Bob H.



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