16 June 2017
I guess we must all sigh with relief that Madeleine Meilleur has bowed out of her bid to be the next Language Commissioner. She has always been a rabid French-rights activist, focussing all her energy on French-language rights in Ontario. She originated from Quebec, having left that province with the firm knowledge that the French are supreme in Quebec & that she can do more to advance French rights outside Quebec. To give her credit, she was very successful because the 4% French-speakers are very strong in Ontario, mainly because they have very easy access to millions of tax-payer dollars & with enough money, you can always attract the attention of people willing to "work for the cause". Read the article by Philip Authier on M.M.'s exit centre stage:
The next question will be - will the Trudeau Jr. government follow the correct process the next time? This powerful position must be non-partisan & must be a person who has a record of being "fair". Claire Dykeman from NB hopes that the person picked will not be Katherine d’Entremont or Michel Doucet. Both are extremely pro-French & have NO compunction about over-riding the rights of the English-speaking majority.
As an organization, Canadians for Language Fairness is not against bilingualism per se. What we strongly object to is "Official Bilingualism", the variety that can be enforced by law & that has ignored the caveat: "where numbers warrant". We are also against the changes made to the original Official Languages Act with additional rights that benefit mainly the French-speakers. A clear example is the right to be supervised in the language of choice which enforced ALL supervisory positions to be made mandatorily bilingual to satisfy the French-speakers. Anybody in the public service will tell you that very few non-French speakers qualify to be supervisors. In the ongoing language battle, we have to make a clear distinction between "Bilingualism" & "Official Bilingualism" & why we can NEVER say that Canada is an Officially Bilingual country.
Bob Hurter replied to this comment by Robert Dufault in the Ottawa Citizen:
Bilingualism safeguards needed
Re: New bilingualism bill for Ottawa won’t make capital any more bilingual, May 31.
If Ottawa is Canada’s capital, and since 1969 Canada is a bilingual country, shouldn’t Ottawa become officially bilingual?
It is mostly true that bilingual services are available at city hall, but there is no safeguard that those services will be guaranteed.
Robert Dufault, Ottawa
We can never be truly bilingual
Re: Bilingualism safeguards needed, June 10
A recent letter writer is incorrect when saying that “since 1969 Canada is a bilingual country.”
The Official Languages Act, 1969, is a federal law giving French and English equal status in the federal government, and official bilingualism was intended to provide federal government services to Canadians in the language of their choice where numbers warranted (which has never been clarified).
However, under the British North America Act, 1867, and the Constitution Act, 1982, language falls under provincial jurisdiction.
In 1969, New Brunswick passed its Official Languages Act making it the only officially bilingual province, and it remains the only one today.
In 1974, Quebec passed the Loi sur la langue officielle, Bill 22, making it officially unilingual French. And, further Quebec language laws have clarified that English services would only be provided in municipalities with 50 per cent or more English population, which is the reason why Gatineau can never be officially bilingual.
Even though we have an officially bilingual federal government and province of New Brunswick, this does not make a bilingual country. In fact, given that Quebec is by law unilingual French, Canada can never be an officially bilingual country.
Bob Hurter, Orléans
We are very grateful for concerned citizens like Bob Hurter who, despite being a very busy person, takes time to help us explain to ALL concerned Canadians why we can never truly be described as an officially bilingual country.
Too many Canadians are either too complacent about their rights (which they're losing a little at a time, every day) or they're too busy to notice or too lazy to even attempt to investigate. I understand that not many Canadians are directly affected by this policy (only public servants who are frustrated by the lack of professional advancement unless they're able to pass the stringent language tests). Those who are lucky enough to be in the PSC know that they are better paid than they are in the private sector so most of them prefer to keep quiet & suffer in silence.
We have no support from any political party so we can only watch in frustration while we see more & more of the country come under French control. Quebec, the bastion of French power, gets to call the shots on how the country is run, despite being one of the "poor" provinces, able to function only because of the Equalization Payments policy (also part of the very flawed 1982 Constitution) which takes taxpayer dollars from the richer provinces & pour about $10 billion every year into Quebec. Link to this article:
An extract is taken from the article:
"The constitutionally guaranteed equalization program will redistribute nearly $18 billion in 2016-17 to poorer provinces, where the cash will help fund public services.
In 2016-17, Quebec will once again be -- by far -- the biggest recipient of equalization payments. It will get about $10 billion from the nearly $18-billion program".
Ken Kellington has drawn up a very comprehensive table showing how the wealth redistribution has worked from 1957 - 2016. Please ask for a copy.
What can we do?
The ONLY recourse we have is to make the effort to contact our parliamentary representatives & complain. We have to decide what is more important to us as a country. Do we want to continue being divided along linguistic lines with a minority language being given so much power? Total non-participation in the political process is not an answer. The French are very good at complaining - they've actually turned it into an art-form. This may be because they know that they have politicians willing to listen. Do we have ANY politician willing to listen? At the federal level, NO political party will support us openly because their hands are tied by the 1982 Constitution but we know that some of them are very sympathetic & have proven this to some of our readers. Elsa Scheider has made it easy for you to contact your MP:
Our best chance is at the provincial level because, as Bob Hurter wrote in his letter to the Citizen, the provinces are in control of the language portfolio. In New Brunswick, the PANB led by Kris Austin is putting up a good fight for the English-speakers. In Ontario, we have been assured by the Libertarians that they are not in support of Language legislation. We will be investigating the stand being made by Jack McLaren now that he is representing the Trillium Party.
Those of us who know about the support being made by The Rebel (especially Brian Lilley & Ezra Levant) for a reasonable language policy is being encouraged by CLF to subscribe to The Rebel. Canadians for Language Fairness will sign up as a supporter too. This week-end is the Rebel Getogether in Toronto - for more information, go to:
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