Canadians for Language Fairness

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

Official Bilingualism for Ottawa & Educational Concerns in NB

October 3, 2016

We have been under so much stress as the French groups in Ottawa (with leaders from Quebec) continue to pressure the City of Ottawa Council into accepting Official Bilingualism for the City.  If you remember, in 2004, we challenged the City of Ottawa by-law 2001-170.  We felt at that time that the by-law gave too much power to the French-speakers in their demands for more service in French.  We failed in our legal challenge and we've all had to live under increasing demands from the French as they felt that by-law 2001-170 wasn't strong enough.  They made demands after demands & the City tried to meet them all.  Last year they asked for the City Budget to be translated (a very expensive proposition) but the City refused.  They asked for various recreation programs to be in both languages but the lack of participation led to many of them being cancelled.  They tried to intimidate the City Council by spending thousands of taxpayer dollars conducting polls that were designed to give them the answers they wanted.  The OCOL commissioned the ACNeilson Company to conduct a national poll that gave the unbelievable result of 80% saying they approved of OB (at a cost of $52,665.69.). 

Just last week, “Bilingual Ottawa” released survey results that appear to indicate a sizeable majority of respondents support the idea of an officially bilingual Ottawa.  However, this survey did not ask the most relevant question - "do respondents know the difference between bilingualism and official (forced) bilingualism"?  Everybody agrees that bilingualism is highly desirable as a majority of Canadians already know two (and often more) languages. But official bilingualism is entirely different because it is a law that can be and is enforced by government. And this enforcement is already having severely negative consequences in the hiring and promotion in government and increasingly, also in the private sector.  The English media, for a change, has come out in support of the Council.  Links to those articles are below & we encourage you to take part in the simple YES/NO polls:

Fortunately for us, the current City Council, led by Mayor Jim Watson, has decided that the current policy is sufficient for the City's needs.  We have written to thank the Mayor and the 10 councillors who have answered the French demands with a firm, "NO".  There are 4 YES's and Mathieu Fleury will go to Council for a debate if they can persuade 17 to support them.   

In 2017, Canada will celebrate our 150th Anniversary, and that is when the French want to declare victory.  Until then they will continue pressuring the City.  We need your help to convince the Mayor & councillors to remain strong and not give in. Here is the total city council:

Here is our letter to the Council:

October 3, 2016

We, at Canadians for Language Fairness, are very grateful to Mayor Jim Watson & the ten (10) councillors we have on record, for their determination to say, "NO" to the efforts of the French groups to force Official Bilingualism to be adopted by the City of Ottawa.  There are four (4) councillors, led by Mathieu Fleury, on record as saying, "YES".

The other councillors are "undecided" or don't want to commit themselves.  The two polls (one commissioned by  OCOL through ACNeilson) recorded an unbelievably high approval for Official Bilingualism at the cost to the taxpayers of $52,665); the other by Nanos, commissioned by the group calling themselves, "Bilingual Ottawa" also registers an unbelievably high number (we have not yet found out at what cost to the taxpayers).  Opinion polls are easily manipulated by the nature of the questions and we are very grateful that the Council has not been intimidated by the questionable results.

Our thanks once again to the Mayor and councillors who will not be part of the seventeen (17) who want to bring this to Council for debate.  We hope that we will be kept informed of any further action decided upon by Council.

Thank you,

Yours sincerely,

Kim McConnell


Councillor Rick Chiarelli is standing with Mayor Jim Watson's words, saying that Ottawa does not need to change its laws around the city's bilingualism.

This comes after fellow councillor Mathieu Fluery has been vocally supporting the notion presented by the group "Ottawa Bilingual” to tweak both the provincial city of Ottawa Act and the city's bilingualism bylaw. 

Joining Kristy Cameron on The Newsfeed, Chiarelli says there is no need to fix a system that isn't having any issues. 

"One of the few policies and areas of operations that we have that generates almost no complaints is this one. So why would we change it and open up the whole thing to all sorts of challenge and debate when the majority of the public understands that they are getting served properly in both official languages?" 

Chiarelli says the recent poll that showed close to 70 percent of Ottawa Residents in support of the change doesn't mean much.

"I think they'd be fine with the change because they're really fine with the policy we have. But, I don't think they'd be fine with it if it was something that was going to be inflammatory and debated every single week or every single month. They wouldn't be fine with the courts changing our current policy, and democratically elected representatives not having any authority over it."

Chiarelli also says there's no need to change the way things are right now, as the majority of the public is being served in their language and complaints are very low. 

Councillor Fluery has said he will not bring the motion forward unless he receives 17 total votes of support from council, and that he wants this project to be unifying, not divisive.

The movement gets support Ottawa Bilingual size from the French, but also English. Survey shows 67% of Ottawa residents support the city became officially bilingual.

The straw poll, conducted by Nanos on behalf of the Assembly of the Francophonie in Ontario and Ottawa Bilingual, surveyed 750 citizens throughout the territory of the City of Ottawa. In all, 618 anglophones and 132 francophones responded between 19 and 23 July. The margin of error is 3.6 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

The percentage of respondents in favor of an officially bilingual city rises to 72% if irritants are removed as the impact in terms of job losses and additional costs for taxpayers.

The majority of those surveyed believe that officially bilingual status would affect the environment for people to learn English and French, and the ability of Ottawa to promote tourism. In addition, the majority believes that the City would have the ability to attract new investment from around the world and attract skilled workers from around the world.

In most matters, the age group of 40-49 years is the most reluctant to change.

Bilingual Ottawa hopes to rally a majority of councilors to his cause by revealing the survey data.To date, the agency estimates that 12 of the 23 councilors are in favor of an officially bilingual.

The only officially bilingual province is NB & if anybody wants to know how they're doing education-wise, here is the answer:

Francophones lag behind anglophones in literacy: StatsCan

Literacy gaps between French and English have diminished in Canada, except in New Brunswick

By Julianne Hazlewood, CBC News

Posted: Sep 19, 2016 2:29 PM AT Last Updated: Sep 19, 2016 7:44 PM AT

Marc Arseneau, president of the group representing francophone teachers, said literacy rates among francophone students are improving, but the government still needs to invest more to tackle the poor literacy skills among adult francophones. (CBC)

External Links

Study: The literacy skills of New Brunswick francophones

(Note: CBC does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of external links.)

New Brunswick is the only province where francophones continue to significantly lag behind their English-speaking counterparts on literacy tests, according to a new Statistics Canada study.

"All the gaps that were observed in the past surveys let's say between the English- and French-speaking populations throughout the country have almost disappeared except for francophones in New Brunswick," said Jean-Pierre Corbeil, chief specialist for language and immigration statistics at Statistics Canada.

More than 60 per cent of francophones did not have functional reading or writing skills compared to 50 per cent of anglophones, scoring below Level 3 on a scale of five through the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC).

Create column charts

A decade ago, a Statistics Canada study using the PIAAC results from 2003 showed 56 per cent of New Brunswick francophones didn't have functional literacy skill.

But Corbeil said the methodology has slightly changed and francophones' literacy level has not deteriorated.

He also said the french-english literacy gap has slightly narrowed since the 2006 study.

The latest study, entitled The Literacy Skills of New Brunswick francophones, was released Monday and based on PIAAC test results from 2012 and the 2011 National Household Survey.

As for a national comparison, New Brunswick francophones on average scored 10 points lower on the test than francophones in other parts of the country.

'We have to invest more in education'

The key to improving adult literacy is investing more in education, according to the group representing francophone teachers.

Marc Arseneau, president of l'Association des enseignants francophones du Nouveau-Brunswick, said literacy rates among francophone students are improving, which will boost adult literacy rates in the coming years. 

But in the meantime, more resources for teachers should be the focus.

"We have to invest more in education, so the teachers have more help in the classroom to work with kids," said Arseneau. 

"For instance when some kids get in class in an early age they don't even speak the language if they're from a family where there's one english and one french-speaking, so we have to work on that at the beginning of the classroom."

Why the literacy lag?

The study outlines a number of reasons, including:

Declining industrial sector: Francophones represented more than 40 per cent of the labour force in declining industrial sectors, where they're less likely to use or improve literacy skills.Lower level of education: 31 per cent of francophones in New Brunswick don't have a certificate, diploma or degree, compared to 18 per cent of anglophones.Aging population: New Brunswick's francophone population is older than the anglophone community. Low literacy in the test results increased with age.Young francophones leaving: New Brunswick had a net loss of 6,000 francophones who held at least a bachelor's degree in 2011.

The gaps in literacy among anglophones and francophones have decreased in other areas of Canada because of increased education levels, said Corbeil.

Regionally, francophones in northern New Brunswick had the worst scores on the test, falling 13 to 16 points below francophones' scores in the rest of the province.


Hi Kim,

I couldn't leave a comment on this site. I would state the obvious to you though - YES! Bilingualism, as in Institutional Bilingualism which is behind forced French immersion, adds challenge and increases the complexity of learning. Our children take more than just French second language training here in NB. They take most every core subject in French such as French Science, French History, French Gym and of course French Math. Can you imagine word problems with all the ambiguity they entail? Now add a second language so that you really increase the confusion and suddenly everything seems like a red herring.

Another issue with English schools in the French Immersion program that I'm noticing is that there is never homework! They had homework in grades 1-4 but nothing in 5 and 6 so far. I'm not sure what the French school kids are taking home though. I don't even think they take cursive writing.

As for inclusion, I don't see how we can call disabled children 'special needs' kids & then not provide any special form of teaching. Common sense dictates that they teach to the bottom levels to be able to effectively say all are addressed but then we are throwing decades of learning out the window that accounts for learning and teaching strategies. The diversity of learners already means that some less academic children will struggle and if you add language challenge into the mix, you surely must alter the learning curve along with it. It seems like simple logic then, that adding a new language and various learning disabilities is a sure fire recipe for detracting from the higher learning objectives.

I've worked with numerous kids and dealt with considerable emotional problems for both parent and teacher as an instructional designer. I've seen children in tears along with some parents over the anguish of trying to cope with the demands of adding the French imperative to the already difficult task of learning for some not-so-academically oriented children. Those kids opting out of the French Immersion Program (FIP) are then subject to less opportunity if they do not comply with the 'compulsory' French imperative according to the form for exemption of FIP.

I've submitted options for adding choice through a tiered French Immersion alternate program. This has options for a second class of language learning for second language learning. Another alternative would be to include learning objectives, much as you would with a learning contract in college, that allows kids to choose from functional French, conversational French or working French with management level certification to comply with the higher expectations of bilingual certification for French Second Language mastery that they currently must demonstrate.

I would also suggest that the French schools districts offer some form of equivocal program and the introduction of standards for testing that don't just seek to demonstrate a verbal acquisition of the English second language skills as certification. I submitted this to the Education Minister, Jody Carr but received nothing more than a polite acknowledgement of my submission and not the recommendations offered. He also stated that the 'stakeholder' forces him to comply with this forced French immersion despite that it violates Section 16.1 of the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms (distinct educational institutions and the preservation and promotion of both linguistic communities).

I will include the exemption form that used to be in play here in the province until it was shown as discriminatory. Hope this helps.

Kindest Regards,

Barry Irvine

ERNBA Founder

Campbellton, NB

Veteran (peace time service)

HMCS Ottawa, HMCS Margaree, HMCS Nipegon, HMCS Protector, HMS Arethusa

Commendation from Chief of Defence Staff, NATO Medal

Comments from the article:

·         Mack Leigh Guest

·        @Jay Boucher-Langlais

At last report the Francophone education system received approximately $1100.00 per child per year more than the child in the Anglophone education system.That does not include the over 6.5 million given to the Francophone groups by Heritage Canada some of which goes to teaching. Also does not include the numerous other monies both federally and provincially that are handed to the francophone system.

·         Boucher-Langlais Guest

·        @Mack Leigh; quote your sources! - You guys never do. You just advance numbers out of thin air.

·         Mack Leigh Guest

·        @Jay Boucher-Langlais

Hello !! Look it up on our Government web sites both federal and provincial. Also was requested thru the Right to Information by several interested parties in this province.

There is a lot of information that the groups in NB are gathering as proof of what they say & CLF will pay for the compilation of all the information into an e-book for distribution.  Information garnered through Access to Information or from government statistics should always be presented as proof of what is presented.

Claire Dykeman's one-pagers are really good - pay her web site a visit and you'll see some fantastic stuff:

Kim McConnell


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