The movement for an Officially Bilingual Ottawa is looking at the fall of 2016 to step up promotion to the Ontario government and force the City of Ottawas hand. However no one in the City's government wants to pursue it yet.
The French activists are determined not to accept defeat and are still determined to push their agenda. Wynne's Liberal government does not want to over-step the provincial boundaries as Ontario is not officially bilingual (unlike New Brunswick) and her government cannot force the issue.
What we would like to do is find out from the ON PC's, led by Patrick Brown, is what they intend to do about this issue? We would like to put together some questions to Patrick Brown and we would like your input. Send me your questions and when we've got some good ones put together, we will send them to Patrick - his answers will direct us as to whether we will encourage our readers to support his party, or not.
If anyone finds an English-language article on this topic, please feel free to forward. So far, only the French media is interested to push this issue, obviously because they will be the main beneficiaries. The English media is just sitting back, afraid to get into the fray. We have to also congratulate Mayor Watson & the Ottawa City Council for standing firm on this issue which they know will not be financially possible with the City's debt standing so high.
You can read the original article in French here:
The French article was translated by Google with some changes to make it less awkward.
July 10, 2016
January 8, 2016
OTTAWA - PIERRE FRANOIS DUFAULT firstname.lastname@example.org | @fpdufault
Time is pressing for the promoters of a capital of Canada to be officially bilingual. They were given one year (maturity in 2017) to make Ottawa a city where the French would really fit. If the avenue of the town hall, privileged so far, remains blocked, it is imperative to explore another.
It is probably too late to convince Mayor Jim Watson of the merits of a capital of a bilingual country where English and French would enjoy equal status. The elected official is stuck in its "practical bilingualism" mode which he says is working well. His mind is made up. It is probably too late to lobby councilors who, by an overwhelming majority at present, are indifferent or simply oppose official bilingualism in Ottawa. It would take an army of lobbyists to rally a sufficient number of elected representatives to the cause and bring the case to a favorable vote by next year. So close to the deadline, the militants for a bilingual capital would do better to look to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Not for the Liberal government of Kathleen Wynne to unilaterally amend the founding law of the City of Ottawa to make it a truly bilingual municipality. But for the province to out pressure on City Hall. It would have Wynne and some of her ministers and influential deputies in eastern Ontario put Watson to the test.
Ottawa Mayor will not change his mind about official bilingualism in the city unless required to do so politically. He will not move unless his Liberal friends in the provincial legislature - where he served for seven years - say very publicly that they can no longer support the City's stubbornness. Or that the opposition force the government's hand, as in the Franco-Ontarian university record.
There is a deep unease at Queen's Park in relation to official bilingualism in the City of Ottawa. Kathleen Wynne's Liberals seem to grasp the logic of a bilingual capital for a country that calls itself bilingual for nearly half a century. But the issue remains taboo. No one on the benches of the provincial power seem ready yet to confront Jim Watson on this thorny issue. Activists who want to make Ottawa a city in the double linguistic identity, such as Jacques de Courville Nicol and his Movement for the capital of Canada to be officially bilingual; it is in their interest to end this dithering Ontario elected. Tacit support will not be enough to complete the project successfully. They will need the intervention of the province to get the clot for mayor.
Similarly, theorists of a bilingual capital must put pressure on the federal Liberals Justin Trudeau, who have many new friendly Francophiles elected to the cause in the Ottawa area but, either, dare not defy the mayor and his status quo.
Define the project
Francophones of Ottawa also had better define the contours of a true bilingual capital to allay fears that the project could still arouse the English majority - one that ultimately validate the application. Would it be a simple addition to a little consequential legislation to budgets and people's lives, or a profound change of the municipal apparatus? The 2017 game plan must be clear. Let us add, for that matter, a comprehensive study on the economic benefits of official bilingualism. Before a municipal administration which scrapes the bottom of the barrel in order not to raise taxes, some numbers may expand in fine fashion an argument that remains at the emotional basis: the recognition of a historic population. If the goal is to enshrining in law the equality of English and French in Ottawa, the example to follow is to be Moncton, New Brunswick, which became the first officially bilingual city in Canada in 2002. the record there is encrypted, well documented. Why not be inspired?
At one year of maturity to make Ottawa officially bilingual, in time for the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation, the game is still far from over for the francophone minority in the capital. But there is still time to explore another avenue. An intervention of the provincial or federal governments would not necessarily get the file on time, but first could open a breach in the wall in Opposition to the City Hall.
The provincial government of Kathryn Wynne has allowed the French Language Services Commissioner to get more power - I'll send that message the next time.
They've won the battle in Quebec, they're winning in NB; now they're preparing to win in Ontario. Then it is a westward march to Manitoba & Western Canada unless we can alert Westerners in time to fight back.
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