29 August 2017
Ken Gray runs an Ottawa-based blog called "The Bulldog":
Read Ken's blog that thinks that the City of Ottawa should be made "officially bilingual" as it is merely a "symbolic" gesture that has no purpose other than to make the 15% French-speakers "feel good". He thinks that they feel very strongly about this issue & have the right to make as much noise as they can in the attempt to persuade Mayor Watson & the 12 councillors who have said, "NO". These councillors represent the majority English-speakers who will bear the brunt of the extra taxes if Official Bilingualism is allowed to creep in should the "NO" councillors cave in to the pressure. Ken is using the threat of "Quebec Separation" as an intimidation tactic but forgets to mention that Official Bilingualism benefits mainly the French-speakers as many of our jobs at the City level are already occupied by Quebecers. He also doesn't mention that the French activists are very well funded to the tune of billions of Federal & Provincial tax dollars since the inception of the Official Languages Act.
Comments from the blog
Bob H's excellent comment was posted. Please read & add your comments:
It never ceases to amaze me that people like you want to be accommodating without any research or investigation of the potential costs, both financial and social.
First, let me inform you that Canada is NOT a bilingual country, not now and never can be. We have an officially bilingual federal government, an officially unilingual French Quebec and an officially bilingual New Brunswick. The rest of the provinces and territories are de facto English even if they do provide services to some extent in French. The primary reason that Canada is not now and never can be a bilingual country is that by law since 1974, Quebec is officially unilingual French – check the language legislation.
In fact, Quebec’s language laws have been cited by the UN as contravening the International Charter of Human Rights of which Canada is a signatory.
As for Gatineau/Alymer etc. ever becoming officially bilingual, this is simply impossible under Quebec’s language laws. Municipalities in Quebec are prohibited from communicating with their tax payers in English unless the English population exceeds 50% so how can you expect any of them in Western Quebec to ever become officially bilingual.
As far as costs go, the city of Ottawa’s Language Services budget is currently about $3 million per year. Using the percent of budget the federal government spends on official bilingualism language services (and this is only what they clearly show), I calculate that the city’s spending on language services under official bilingualism could jump to about $24 million per year and this doesn’t include the set up costs which could dwarf this number.
Have a close look at what is going on in New Brunswick, our only officially bilingual province. Provincial government jobs being filled by imported Quebecers (even their current language czar), complaints against English speaking provincial workers for not speaking French even though a French speaker is available (as an example, it cost a commissioner who served in the Canadian military his job – even a francophone made a big deal of this as being unfair), school buses running half empty because the French do not want their children tainted by English, even retail jobs including fast food servers needing to be bilingual etc. etc. This has caused more problems and divisiveness than any other provincial legislation. So, in a province that is about 60/40 English/French, this policy of inclusiveness has backfired, and now the tail is wagging the dog
I applaud Mayor Watson and the councilors who are against making Ottawa officially bilingual and I truly hope that they stick to their positions. Come next election, if they do, they get my vote.
In response to Ken Gray's article: http://bulldogottawa.com/who-does-official-bilingualism-hurt
Anyone who has taken the time to watch the steady advancement of the use of the French language in the Federal Public Service regardless of the number of francophones it represents, will understand why non-francophones have become very wary of more laws enforcing the use of French. After Pierre Elliott Trudeau's recommendation for official bilingualism "where numbers warrant", the "where numbers warrant" has been totally ignored by the francophone proponents who have worked to make official bilingualism legislated everywhere & for everyone. Once put into law, whether federal, provincial or municipal, it is strongly enforced to promote French with no leniency for English or other languages. Canada is a democracy & promotes multiculturalsim EXCEPT in the acceptance of languages. No other country in the world legislates language. However a certain number of radical francophones are determined to make French the primary language & every job's first requirement be the capability to speak French even when the job does not require the use of French. This has played out in the Federal Public Service over the past few years to the point that the majority of Federal Public servants in the Ottawa area are francophone. As a member of the Federal Pubic Service, I experienced the open discrimination against non-francophones in hiring practices & job linguistic requirements, in the determination to hire francophones for as many jobs as possible whether they had a sufficient knowledge of English or not, & then be paid language bonuses besides their regular salary.
First, the government said that francophones must be hired so that the public could speak to the people in government positions in the language of their choice. Nothing was said about the fact that few Federal Government employees speak directly to the public Then also, the province of Quebec, where most francophones live (including those who work for the Federal Public Service in Ottawa), has its own Quebec pension plan instead of the Canada Pension Plan that serves the rest of Canada. Pensions is one of the areas where most dialogue happens between the public & the government. Revenue Canada, another big area of dialogue, directs all our income tax forms & finances to the province of Quebec.
Then effectively, the federal government, under the direction of a prime minister from Quebec, said that all these francophones who have been hired, must be able to speak to their bosses in the language of their choice, which made it necessary for all bosses to be bilingual, & therefore a large percentage of those promoted to these positions were francophones becasue it is necessary for them to learn English unless they choose to live & stay in Quebec only. It was a logical & important step then for the requirement that bosses be able to speak to their bosses in the language of their choice, and so, on & on, up the ladder of administration to the top.
There is no importance given to the language used for the work done, which is most often English since the large majority of Canadians are English-speaking. Especially in the area of computers in which I worked for a number of years, English is the primary language of programs, especially since many are created by U.S. companies. Even there, positions were unnecessarily made bilingual imperative so that unless you could speak French, and even though the work being done did not require it, a well-educated, success-proven capable non-francophone could not even apply for the jobs because the primary requirement was bilingualism regardless of all other qualifications.
Watson is very wise to not allow official bilingualism & its dedicated francophone promoters, to rule all the jobs & everything else in Ottawa. At first glance, it would seem decent to allow more use of the French language to satisfy the francophones here. However, when we examine what has taken place in the Ottawa area during the past number of years, & how official bilingualism has played out in the Federal Public Service, we realize this is not just a gesture to recognize the francophones who live in Ottawa area. Official bilingualism is the key to francophones to dominate every situation & demand that every job, every position be filled only by people who speak French. What happens to all the non-francophones who have lived here all their lives but have not learned to speak French because they do not live in the province of Quebec where French is the only official language, & realistically the percentage of the population of Ottawa who are francophones does not warrant it? In the Federal Public Service, the persons holding the positions are warned to look for other positions that do not demand bilingualism (fewer & fewer positions all the time) because their position is being made officially bilingual (for no logical reason). Before I retired, so many francophones held manager positions that at each meeting a request was made that the meeting should be held in French since whoever was not francophone there, had taken a course to learn French; this even though the work we were doing was all in English because we were in the government of Canada, & English was the language of the majority. This was a very obvious determination to make French the working language, & language of the majority, using any means possible.
Try calling the Federal Public Service. Most often you will be answered in French first. When you go to visit Parliament Hill, listen to which language is being spoken by the workers going out for lunch or leaving work for the day. You will find the majority will be speaking French because they are francophones, whether their jobs honestly require bilingualism or not. Now with another francophone Prime Minister, francophones are being given even more preferential treatment.
For those who have a soft heart for official bilingualism for the city of Ottawa, what do you intend to tell all the young non-francophones who live in the Ottawa area, who are intelligent, well-educated, well-suited to jobs in this city, but who may not have an ease at learning other languages when they realize that they cannot apply for a job without satisfying the first priority of all jobs, to speak French? Especially when someone who speaks French but does not have as many qualifications as they do, actually gets the job instead of them even when the job does not require the use of French? So they must move away from home to get a job because they didn't pass the tests for official bilingualism even though the job itself doesn't require it?
What about the people who currently hold jobs in Ottawa if the Official Bilingualism becomes law? Will they be able to keep their jobs with a "grandfather clause" or will they handily be told to look for work elsewhere?
These are not idle threats! They actually happened in the Federal Public Service when Official Bilingualism was put into power. More than that, in this determination to make French predominant by making most positions "bilingual imperative", it was widely recognized through conversations with people taking the bilingualism tests, that the tests for French were much more difficult than the tests for English. Even some of the francophones admitted that they would find it difficult to pass the French tests. Too much time & energy is wasted by Federal Public Servants who wish to be upwardly mobile, trying to learn French instead of learning how to do their job more efficiently & effectively. The necessity to know French is also eliminating many prospective Federal Public Servants with great qualifications who would otherwise do a very successful job, from even being eligible to apply for these jobs. This does not make sense & is very destructive! We definitely don't need this happening to all the jobs in the city of Ottawa!
N Schroeder says:
No government should be legislating language.
If decisions were made by numbers, Chinese (Mandarin) and other Asian countries would be chosen. Being of aboriginal descent, should they also be represented. Languages evolve, due to the desire of people to keep their language, and if one wants to communicate with someone of that language, they will learn it. Quebec offers English to its population if there are 50 per cent requiring it, maybe the same should apply here.
Immersion classes haven’t worked, and now people from Quebec are coming to Ottawa to take bilingual jobs, but the reciprocation is not there.
Gord Miller says:
Official bilingualism enables activists and renders the majority to second class status. Just look at the federal government. And there is no earthly reason that all programs should be provided throughout the city in French. You’re in an English province. Bilingual services should be limited to essential services. If you want everything in French, move to Quebec.
There are other very good comments, especially from Robert Roberts. He has worked outside the country & writes that the policy alienates the West & divides the country. It is so good to know that there are well-informed Canadians out there. Read his comments - I sent a message thanking him but Ken Gray didn't post it. I know it is his blog & he can do what he likes but what we need in Canada are more people concerned about this policy even though it may not be the most urgent problem facing the country. There are other issues that need your attention but as an organization fighting for the rights of the majority English-speakers, this issue will always be our priority.
As a courtesy to an urgent request re: Bill C-16, here is a petition for you to sign:
Letters of Complaint re: Madeleine Meilleur
From: Claire Dykeman [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: May 23, 2017 9:13 PM
Subject: LANGUAGE COMMISSIONER APPOINTMENT
Dear Mr. Prime Minister,
I am deeply distressed at the appointment of Madeleine Meilleur as the new Commissioner of Official Languages. My understanding is that opposition parties do NOT approve of this appointment, which is on record as being a requirement!
The fact that her command of the English language (the MAJORITY language in Canada, I might add) is less than adequate for this very powerful position should have ruled her out of contention yet, somehow that is okay with you?? This does not speak well for your own standards or integrity I fear.
This rash appointment has wide ramifications across the country – where the English continue to be the majority voters. This appointment is an insult to all of them! A purely political appointment of a fellow Liberal from the provincial level removes her objectivity and puts her decisions in serious question.
I do hope that you will remember the promise you gave when elected, that there will be NO INTERFERENCE in strictly municipal jurisdictions. For instance, trying to make Ottawa ‘officially bilingual’ when they themselves consider it financially threatening to their future well-being. IF you are a man of integrity and can be relied on to keep your word, the new Commissioner will be replaced, and her replacement will be advised of your election promise! Thus, Ottawa will be allowed to make the decision that is best for them – without Federal interference.
Living in New Brunswick myself, with the harsh reality of forced bilingualism here, I know of what I speak. We live in a financial abyss for the English –with lost jobs, out-migration of the young, and soaring taxes to pay for the outrageous costs of duality and bilingualism. By allowing or encouraging forced bilingualism throughout Canada you are effectively alienating the majority of Canadian voters. There WILL no doubt be a breaking point!
I have noticed that you have broken many promises since being elected, Prime Minister Trudeau, but appointing a Language Commissioner who cannot even meet the basic standards of English is beneath the Liberal Party, let alone its Leader.
What is really offensive is the conservative columnists and media like Lilley and the Ottawa Sun only had a problem with Meilleur's lack of English and partisanship, and not because of her total lack of regard for the language rights of non-Francophones, where she dishonestly increased the Francophone population by putting anyone who understands French as a Francophone, hence more jobs requiring bilingualism.
Likewise, these so-called responsible fiscal conservatives never mentioned abolishing the expensive Official Languages Commission that goes and harasses businesses in English Canada with secret shoppers.
Anybody who treated the French in Quebec like Meilleur treated the English in Ontario, would be condemned by the liberal media as an Francophobe without any concern about any "backlash", and would never be appointed.
Sadly, far less sensible English people, specifically English Conservative politicians who continue to ignore the frustration of their Anglophone support who just want them to show the same concern for their rights as they do for French language rights because they are afraid of being called anti-French by such French Supremacist Madeleine Meilleur types and won't fight back in saying there is nothing anti-French in treating the English the same as the French.
SM in Ontario
The French activists will be rallying on May 31st - getting the school children out to wave the Franco banner & scream about how important French is & how the City of Ottawa must be made "Officially Bilingual" to celebrate the 150 years of Confederation.
I have done what I can to alert all the Ottawans on my list - we don't have the resources to mount a counter-rally. What we can do is write to the City Councillors & remind them NOT to allow the noisy French activists to intimidate them. We will be paying close attention if this topic is ever brought up for debate & we will make sure that their votes for or against the motion will be recorded & publicized.
Hard to believe - this just came to my attention - amazingly enough, a poll on The Bulldog blog (which I didn't know about) came up with the amazing result:
77% said "NO" to OB for Ottawa
23% said "YES"
The NAYS have it!!!
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