Saturday February 6, 2016
It is not often I am able to send you a message of hope but here it is - a message of hope and you'll never believe the source! Yes, believe it or not, the Liberal Party has decided not to pressure the City of Ottawa to be made officially bilingual!! The French media reports that the French activists, the French politicians and the French elites are up in arms & screaming blue murder - the original article is here
Bilingual Ottawa: the federal Liberals not hotPublished February 1, 2016
Justin Trudeau's election had raised hopes a new dynamic and perhaps some support for the Movement for a capital of Canada officially bilingual. Archive
OTTAWA - The Movement advocates for a capital of Canada officially bilingual ( MOCOB ) who, with the coming to power of the Liberal government hoped to further support quick to pressure on Ottawa Mayor resolutely opposed to the project , likely to be disappointed. Now a majority in the House of Commons, ministers and Liberal members are much less categorical when it comes to rule on this initiative.
Yet in 2014, Stéphane Dion, then critic for official languages for the PLC, estimated that the City of Ottawa "would do well to grant the same status to French and English."
In the constituencies of the national capital, the supports are lip and the watchword is clearly to avoid the interference.
The member for Ottawa Centre and Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, symbolizes this reluctance. Declining demand #ONfr interview, she said via email: "This issue is the responsibility of the City of Ottawa and the City Council. I would always engaged with the City on the issues it wishes to raise. "
Whereas members of Ottawa South, David McGuinty, and Nepean, Chandra Arya, have also dodged repeated requests since December, their colleagues, Karen McCrimmon in Kanata-Carleton, and Anita Vandenbeld in Ottawa West Nepean, say encourage bilingualism, but repeat in unison that the decision must be made at the municipal level.
"I am confident that the Ottawa City Council will take the most correct decision to reflect the linguistic diversity of Ottawa," Ms. McCrimmon.
After stating during the election campaign that he would appeal the Ottawa mayor to change his mind, the deputy of Orleans, Andrew Leslie, has also changed his mind in the pages of Le Droit newspaper, aligning on the position of his colleagues. Reached by #ONfr, it indicates they have "nothing to add to his point of view as is bilingualism in Ottawa."
Favorable to the MOCOB approach, members of Ottawa-Vanier, Mauril Bélanger, and Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, Francis Drouin, do not count either intervene further.
"Of course it would mean additional protection to existing services," acknowledges Mr. Drouin. "But as elected federal, I think it is important to respect the role of each. It is to the community to speak to its elected officials. "
Mélanie Joly refuses to comment
Leave the City Council to settle the issue of official bilingualism seems to be the watchword of the liberals. Solicited by #ONfr, the Acadie-Bathurst, Serge Cormier, did not wish to speak, indicating wanting to stand behind the official position of Canadian Heritage.
The ministry, Mélanie Joly, as his parliamentary secretary, the Franco-Albertan, Randy Boissonnault, declined interview requests from #ONfr not without Ms Joly will split a comment.
"As Minister of Canadian Heritage, I am particularly interested in issues related to the 150th of Canada and our official languages. But since the responsibility about the status and regulations on bilingualism in the City of Ottawa responsibility of elected officials, it would be inappropriate for me to comment on this specific case. Be aware that the preservation of our official languages, particularly through the development of a new multi-year plan, is at the heart of my mandate and my priorities. "
Outside of Ottawa, the nervousness remains. The Franco-Ontarian elected Nipissing-Timiskaming, Anthony Rota, and the Scotian Darrell Samson, refrained from replying, while email, the Franco-Manitoban MP for Saint Boniface, Dan Vandal, rehashing the line PLC.
"Any improvement to services in French of access is an important step for our francophone communities. But as the issue of making Ottawa officially bilingual spring competencies of municipal and provincial governments, I do not see now the potential role of the federal government. "
Some elected PLC even admit just do not know the initiative.
"I have never heard of this movement or this project," says Ginette Petitpas-Taylor, MP for Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe, New Brunswick. "Certainly elected as the only officially bilingual province in Canada, bilingualism is dear to my heart and I see many benefits, especially economic. But I need to know more about whether I support this project. "
Marc Tight stands
If he believes that the City of Ottawa should be bilingual, Sudbury MP, Paul Lefebvre, stands behind the decision of the municipality. However, it gives some advice to MOCOB: "We need the movement succeeds in demonstrating that it is a winning project for everyone. Currently, I think there is a fear of the unknown from the City of Ottawa. "
Few, therefore, among the elected Francophone Liberals, who are willing to really promote the idea of bilingualism in Ottawa. Only the member for Nickel Belt, Marc Tight, stands out.
"It is very important that Ottawa becomes officially bilingual to ensure the sustainability of our two official languages. This would show throughout the country and respect Canada's commitment to both official languages. Furthermore, this would represent a definite economic advantage for Ottawa and I do not understand this is still an issue today. As MPs, even if it is a municipal and provincial issue, I think we need to encourage reflection and dialogue between partners. "
Joly called to intervene
In the ranks of the opposition in the House of Commons, the spokesman of Official Languages for the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC), Bernard Généreux, acknowledges having heard only very recently about this project.
"I was myself Mayor (La Pocatière, Quebec, from 2005 to 2009 - ed) and without wanting to lecture the mayor of Ottawa is a wealth to be a bilingual city. I do not see the current situation as a problem but rather as something that can be changed. It is a question of will and I can not be against it, but we can not impose it and must respect the jurisdictions of each. "
His counterpart for the New Democratic Party (NDP), François Choquette, is less cautious and called Joly Minister to show leadership.
"The NDP supports this idea! In a bilingual country, it makes sense that the city is bilingual and I think it would be a wonderful gift to Canada in 2017. The government has said that bilingualism was important to him, so I encourage the minister Joly to dismantle it and to show leadership in meeting the Mayor of Ottawa to talk about this issue. "
An opinion shared by Mario Beaulieu, criticism of Official Languages for the Bloc Québécois (BQ), who did not hesitate to shout at the Minister Mélanie Joly on this, Friday, January 29, in the room.
"The Minister of Canadian Heritage, Mélanie Joly, is she acceptable as the capital of a country that claims to be bilingual, from east to west, from coast to coast, refused for several years to become officially bilingual ? "
Absent, the Minister Joly was supplemented by Mr. Boissonnault which simply stated that the government will encourage every municipality wants to become bilingual, but does not wish to interfere.
In an interview with #ONfr, Mr. Beaulieu insists: "It's still absurd that a country that calls itself bilingual, who claims to be a model of coexistence between its two official language communities, does not have a bilingual capital! This is a national issue and the federal government must push back! "
Originally from France, Benjamin Vachet lived in Canada for ten years. If he first wanted to be a sports journalist and talk only about soccer, despite an obvious interest in politics, he finally understood that a debate in parliament could be much more eventful than on a sports field. Enthusiast Ontario, federal and international policy, Benjamin has over thirteen years of experience in print, radio and television. In Canada, he worked for the newspaper Le Paired, Quebec, and The Reflection, Orléans and Unique FM, Ontario
Comment from Kim McConnell
Someone predicted that the Liberal government would probably do what the Conservative government didn't have the guts to do - tell the French activists that this is not something that the Federal government had any business interfering in. Read the article and you'll see how hypocritical people like Stephane Dion is - he's trying to tell Ottawa that, "it would be an advantage to the City of Ottawa to accord the same status to both the English and French languages". Have you heard him say that to his Quebec compatriots when they set their tongue-troopers on the English-language speakers?
So our new PM (much maligned for his inexperience and lack of qualification, education, etc. etc.) has actually come through for us!!! Maybe we should send him a "thank-you" letter? I think he deserves it, don't you?
While we're at it, we should also thank Mayor Jim Watson and the City of Ottawa Council for saying, "NO" in the 1st place. We should give ourselves a small pat on the back for telling them that the idea would not go down well with a lot of Ottawans - many of us did write to advise them against the idea - thanks to those who did. The City Council knew that it would be an expensive idea - running the city in two languages would cost a lot of money - everybody knows that!
The 2013 expenditure for the French language Service was $3,064,000
The 2014 budgeted figure was $2,595,000 but the actual amount spent was $3,115,000
The 2015 actual amount spent was $2,665,000 (which was $70,000 over the 2014 budgeted figure but less than the 2014 actual figure so someone must have decided that things had to be brought under control).
The French activists complained that the budget was not translated into French - the Mayor said it would cost too much to do that. Our own inquiry revealed that the translation of that one budget would cost at least $65,000.
We cannot afford to keep paying for duplication of services in two languages and everybody but the French-language extremists seem to understand that!! So who will join me in "Thank-you" letters to Mayor Jim Watson &the City Council as well as PM Justin Trudeau?
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