It is quite surprising, given the amount of time, money and energy, that your Conservative government spends upon "unity" issues, gentlemen, how much less unified it has become, just since your government has taken power. And I do not state this idly. While polls tell us fewer Quebecers want to separate from Canada, they tell us that more English ones want them to, especially those in western Canada.
Even though I write in English, I receive letters and communications all the time these days, from members of the federal government bureaucracy, that places English in a place of lower priority than French even though it is clear that I am an English-speaking citizen. I am told that I must endure these insults to my language and culture because Canada is equally French and English, yet I never see English written first, little to say spoken first, in Quebec.
I have added my voice to the voice of Robert Birks in filing a complaint to the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages regarding the matter of the placement of Canada's official languages on the Prime Minister's official aircraft. Both the wording and the intent of The Federal Identity Program is clear as to how the languages are to be presented. (see below) There can be no mistaking their meaning yet the Compliance Officer, M. Na Ree Gilbert-Lesieur, seems to feel quite at home re-defining them in his own image. Is this a function of his mistake or his confidence that your government will not interfere with his personal whim? It seems to be the latter, or else why would our Prime Minister, an English one, finally and no less, have permitted this highly identifiable error to go unaddressed?
Anytime this government is representing itself on the international stage, even if that international stage is a French one, it should be representing itself in English first as that is the language of the overwhelming majority of Canadians. The official aircraft of the Prime Minister of Canada is just such a representation.
I would like to hear from you, gentlemen, telling me your position on this issue. It is an important one, both symbolically and actually. Your attitude on this issue will reflect your attitude regarding all of your dealings with Canadians and how you represent us to the world. I will forward to you the results of my Complaint to the Official Languages Office so that you are aware how they intend to deal with compliance matters as regards the federal legislation on these language matters.
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