Now that the Ontario Liberal Party has been brought back to another term with a substantial majority, we turn our attention back to our continuing battle with the language issue. We know that the Ontario Liberal Party is very pro-French and we’ll be watching very carefully as Madeleine Meilleur, Minister of Francophone Affairs, work with the Commissioner of the French Language and the powerful French pressure groups to make French even more pervasive.
First of all, let us look at what is happening at the Senate where Sen. Maria Chaput works to bring in Bill S-205:
With the number of Francophone Canadians in decline, Senator Maria Chaput is intent on making the Official Languages Act (OLA) even more intrusive and more widespread in its application via her Senate Bill S-205. Today the number of Canadians reporting a Francophone mother tongue, is only 21 %, the vast majority of whom reside in the Province of Quebec.
The OLA came into being in 1969 to provide services to French-speakers, at the Federal level, “where numbers warrant” but over the years this initial worthwhile goal has been distorted to the point where 48 % of employees of the Federal Government, working across Canada, must speak fluent French.
To compound this injustice, in the Senate Debate on Bill S-205, the Government side puts the percentage of Francophone speakers residing outside of Quebec at only 4%.
Indeed, since the introduction of OLA in 1969, Canada has established a bloated, costly bilingual bureaucracy outside of Quebec to service but a tiny number of people. In so doing, it has made second class citizens of the rest of us - the vast majority.
It begs the question, why did (does) the Federal Government not provide services to Francophones in Quebec, where 96% reside, rather than provide it all across the country at enormous cost and waste?
That brings us back to Senator Maria Chaput and her Senate Bill. So even with the nearly one in two Canadian public servants having to be fluently bilingual, and despite the fact that only 4% of Francophone speakers reside outside of Quebec she now wants to extend the jurisdiction of the OLA even further. One might well ask why the Senator is not similarly concerned with the lack of bilingual services for English speakers residing in Quebec whose numbers far exceed the number of Francophones living outside of that Province?
Fortunately, the Conservative government is most reluctant to accept the changes proposed in Senate Bill S-205 since they know that too much money has been wasted already in servicing too few people. Senator Nicole Eaton, in her response on behalf of the Government summed it up best, “there is a very real concern that under the bill before us, many federal offices could receive a bilingual designation where there is very little or no real demand for such service.
So for the time-being, Bill S-205 is unlikely to gain much traction but that may not always be the case. Should Justin Trudeau or even Tom Mulcair become Prime Minister one year hence, it would not be surprising to see this Bill successful. Canadians need to speak out now if they want to ensure that such nonsense is put to rest forever.
Attached below - the links to Bill S-205 and the 2nd reading, if you have the time and interest to read them both.
The French media is eagerly reporting on this bill and accusing the Conservative government of failing to “modernize” the OLA. Whenever euphemisms such as "modernization" are used it is a cover for (trying to) expanding the reach and power of the statute. Sen. Chaput, seconded by Sen. Massicotte & supported by Sen. Ringuette, are only concerned with increasing French services outside Quebec with NO concern at all about the diminishing English services inside Quebec. They also complain that the bill is being studied by the Standing Senate Committee for National Finance instead of the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages, where they would presumably not be constrained by questions of “affordability”. In Sen. Chaput’s mind, this is an insult as this issue is too important to be examined just from the point of view of “money”. Concern for “Minority Rights” is of paramount importance, though presumably not for the rights of English-speakers in Quebec.
Message from a very alert supporter:
The federal government is slowing down the 2013-2018 languages road map process and have been refusing to speak with the House of Commons Committee on Official Languages. Poor MP Godin is upset and thinks the Prime Minister’s Office has told MP's not to talk with them.
This committee held a vote in camera, on a motion to have the Minister of Employment and Social Development appear before the committee. They have not heard about what mechanisms the government will put in place to implement literacy and essential skills for minority communities. We know that MP Yvon Godin is referring only to the French-speaking minority outside Quebec, pressuring for more money to be spent on them, as if the $2.4 Billion (Fraser Report in 2009) is insufficient to bolster the already privileged position of the French-speakers.
None of the other MP's have showed up, so Jason Kenny may not either.
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