08 December 2017
This article from the French media seems to assume that Bill 177 will confer Official Bilingualism on the City of Ottawa. Why do the French activists keep promoting that blatant lie? It is a well-known fact that ONLY the City Council can decide on the level of bilingualism and, much to the credit of Mayor Jim Watson & most City Councillors, Council does not want to give up that prerogative. Official Bilingual status takes that right away from Council & give decision-making to the courts. Believe me when I say that the Judges are not worried about the high cost of Official Bilingualism. The level of bilingualism at the city level is more than adequate as demonstrated by the table from the City's Job site at this link:
The site shows very clearly that most of the positions open are either French required or French as an asset. Very few openings are for unilingual English-speakers!! The French-speakers in the Ottawa area only comprise about 15% of the total city population so why are we making French so important in our city services? Most of the French-speakers in Ottawa function perfectly well in English anyway so why are we forcing the majority English-speakers to be at a disadvantage in a city & province that is predominantly English-speaking? The result of this pro-French hiring regime is that many City of Ottawa employees will come from Quebec & they don't even pay taxes in Ottawa!!. Ontarians had better watch out because as the French gets stronger, job opportunities will grow for the Quebecois who will move to Ontario to take advantage of the growing job opportunities for them here (just like what's happening in New Brunswick).
Minority interests/rights should NOT supersede majority interests/rights in a democratic society. Isn't democracy about looking after the majority & not about making the minority MORE important? Minority interests are totally ignored in Quebec & the Quebecois have NO problems passing legislation against the rights of the English-speakers there. Why are we allowing the few French activists to silence the many non-French politicians?
Pay close attention to this sentence: "the end of exemptions for the hiring of a unilingual anglophone to a designated position." Once a position is designated "bilingual" French becomes the deciding factor - the MERIT principle goes out the window. Great way to run a country!!!
Voters will be paying close attention to councillors & MPPs who ignore them.
For years, they seemed to be siding with the mayor of Ottawa. Official bilingualism in Ottawa, it was better to wait before making a decision. The government bill, tabled last month at Queen's Park, and dubbed by Jim Watson, has obviously changed the situation. For the Francophone and Francophile Councilors of the City of Ottawa, official bilingualism is now yes.
Bob Monette, acting mayor, had long doubted his commitment to official bilingualism. Neutrality? "I am surprised, however, that you indicate that I am neutral," wrote the Orleans district councilor, in an e-mail exchange.
A little later, on the phone, Mr. Monette clarifies his thoughts. "I have a lot of respect for bilingualism, but I always said that I wanted to take the time. With all the files open in front of us, it's important not to make decisions until you have all the elements. "
In our large survey of 23 councilors elected from Ottawa last year, Stephen Blais was also undecided. "Very good idea," says the neighborhood councilor Cumberland, who speaks French well. "My position has not changed, I have never been opposed."
In its Annex 5, Bill 177, the Stronger and Fairer Ontario Act, 2017, tabled at Queen's Park on November 14, is clear: "The Schedule amends the City of Ottawa Act, 1999. It recognizes Ottawa's bilingual character and requires the city to pass a by-law establishing bilingualism in its administration and services. It states that a by-law that the City of Ottawa has adopted regarding bilingualism is this regulation. "
Stephen Blais, whose neighborhood is the most "Franco-Ontarian" in the city, admits to having no pressure. And this, despite the presence of almost 40% of Francophones on its territory. "To tell you the truth, we came to see me more to talk about speed on the roads and fire departments. We already have a policy that works. "
A year ago, #ONfr had a hard time getting a comment from Jean Cloutier on the official bilingualism project. "With so, we would put Paris in the bottle," we then wrote the elected Franco-Ontarian Alta Vista neighborhood.
This time, an enthusiastic Jean Cloutier tells us about the bill. "I have always supported the policy of the City of Ottawa, and therefore I support this provincial law (...) I am Franco-Ontarian, and I demand, for my part, always that the services be given in my language . "
Arrived at the table of elected officials in 2014, Mr. Cloutier nevertheless has a regret. "It would be better to hear more French in municipal council meetings and committees."
Fleury and Nussbaum, the already convinced
Because if the City of Ottawa's policy is going to be enshrined in legislation, some have recently denounced "the status quo", starting with the lawyer Mark Power. The law does not specify which services in French are acceptable.
For Rideau-Vanier municipal councilor Mathieu Fleury, the improvement of French-language services belongs above all to some 125,000 Francophones in Ottawa. "There were no problems with services in French, but rather problems confirming them (...) What people told us was above all the symbolic aspect that had to count."
To the question, will Ottawa be officially bilingual if the bill is adopted, Mr. Fleury is bluntly: "Yes." The elected Rideau-Vanier is more hesitant when asked about the reaction from the project to the board table. "People were not all informed ... And they are not all informed yet. The English-language media did not talk much about the bill. "
For a long time M. Fleury seemed to preach in the desert at the table of the elect. "It's true that I worked behind the scenes. After the lack of support for the municipal council, we needed the support of the provincial level. MP Nathalie Des Rosiers was a lawyer, she forced the discussion with the government. "
Rare ally of Mr. Fleury before the boost of Queen's Park, Tobi Nussbaum. During the 2014 election campaign, he supported official bilingualism. Once elected in Rideau-Rockcliffe, the new councilor kept his word: "It's an exercise in stability and certainty. Yes, it's positive. "
If they have been slow to reconcile, councilors now all agree on one point: the bilingual designation of the capital should not change much.
"In reality, the important change is more symbolic," says Mr. Blais. "With the law, we just ensure that in the future, politics should not change," said Bob Monette.
Remarks in the lineage of Mayor Jim Watson. The Chief Justice continues to argue that provincial legislation would change little, "the City of Ottawa is already bilingual".
Still, the law does not extinguish certain claims of Francophones. Like a status confirming the equality of status, rights and privileges between French and English in the City of Ottawa, a better visibility of the existing policy, a revision of it, every five years, the preparation of reports on the progress of French, or the end of exemptions for the hiring of a unilingual anglophone to a designated position.
"There is always room for improvement, particularly on French-language services and documents to be translated," says Nussbaum before adding. "But overall, I'm satisfied."
The bill will have to pass second and third reading at Queen's Park. There is less than four weeks left for Ottawa to become officially bilingual in 2017 as originally wanted by activists.
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