01 June 2017
If you're on my list of readers from Ontario, you would have already received this message. However, if you are from Ontario & reading this for the 1st time, then please let me know. - I have a petition for you to sign. Our immediate battle-ground is in Ottawa - once that city is under French control, other cities in Ontario will be attacked the same way. After Ontario, comes Manitoba - that's what we call etapism - a step by step approach. Claire from NB sent me a message saying that the Federal govt. will be celebrating Saint John The Baptist Day in several cities (Moncton, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnepeg & Whitehorse) at the cost of $2.4 M. The French are worth it, right? Ask for the link to that article.
What follows is the message sent to David Reevely of the Ottawa Citizen, following a very noisy rally mounted by the French activists in Ottawa:
You've got to hand it to the French - they are good at making a lot of noise!! I suppose if public noise (marching & hooting & hollering) is how a democracy is supposed to work, then the French have won the day!! Politicians are scared of being confronted by loud noises & the French activists know this. They've been empowered by the generous taxpayers' dollars to get their people together, to march, wave their Franco banners & parade their French politicians & the pro-French intelligentsia & everybody celebrates the victory of the 15% French-speakers over the interests of the 85% non-French speakers. That's how democracy works in the modern society where the famous Silent Majority looks on, pretending that it has nothing to do with them.
One thing we MUST NOT forget is that the Silent Majority still votes - in the secrecy of the ballot box, we can still affect the final outcome. We must NOT give up & walk away & let the French take total control like they've done at the Federal government & in Quebec. New Brunswick's non-French are fighting back hard - I'll include a link to an interview that Kris Austin had in the Dennis report below your article. We're hoping that Ontario may one day have a political party that will take up the cause of the non-French. I know that majorities tend to be complacent about their rights & the fact that minorities have the ability to organize & speak loudly because they are protected by The Charter & the Constitution & this does have the effect of silencing the rest of us. How many people can afford the time, effort & money to fight a legal case where judges are allowed to over-rule parts of the Charter? The Russell City Sign by-law showed us the futility of expecting protection from our legal system. BUT, your vote does still count so remember, with the next municipal & provincial elections, pay attention to who is looking after your interests best.
However, all is not lost yet!! Your article below says that the Private Member's bill brought to the provincial House of Parliament by MPP Natalie Des Rosiers yesterday may not see the light of day. Thank you, Mr. Reevely, for that message of hope.
First posted: Wednesday, May 31, 2017 06:06 PM EDT | Updated: Wednesday, May 31, 2017 06:10 PM EDT
Nathalie Des Rosiers, centre, celebrates her Vanier by-election win with Madeleine Meilleur, left, and Kathleen Wynne in November 2016. A new bill proposed by Des Rosiers states Ottawa would have to have a bylaw on offering city services in English and French, but that really wouldn't change much of anything, writes David Reevely. JEAN LEVAC / POSTMEDIA
Ottawa will have to have a bylaw on offering city services in English and French if a new bill proposed by Ottawa-Vanier MPP Nathalie Des Rosiers passes.
The city already has one, so that’s pretty much that.
The demand to make Ottawa officially bilingual is stronger among the city’s francophones than most Anglos realize: it comes up in every election in Ottawa-Vanier and Orléans, usually in all-candidates’ debates where questioners tend to be baffled that something so obviously proper hasn’t been done yet.
The idea surged this year as something the city or the province might do, or that the federal government might push for, to mark Canada’s 150th anniversary. Specifically, Des Rosiers’ bill responds to demands from the largely francophone group Bilingual Ottawa Bilingue to revise the City of Ottawa Act, the provincial law that’s effectively the city’s constitution, to more deeply entrench bilingualism. Though it doesn’t remotely give the group, which organized a city hall rally on Wednesday, what it’s asking for, which is “to make Ottawa officially bilingual with English and French having equal status, rights and privileges plus creating a formal mechanism to ensure proactive oversight and adherence to policy and the law.”
Instead, Des Rosiers’ bill contains just about the smallest quantum of action possible. Anything less and you couldn’t write a law around it.
“We’re very pleased to see that somebody at Queen’s Park has taken the initiative,” said Treva Cousineau, the group’s secretary. “We’re a bit disappointed that it hasn’t gone further — you know, we always want more.”
But, she said, it’s progress and that’s something. “It’s on the floor of Queen’s Park. It’s not everything we wanted. But it’s something that it’s now in the legislature, people are aware. They can make changes, they can make it better, opposition parties can ask for more.”
The City of Ottawa Act now says that Ottawa has to have a policy on providing bilingual services. Des Rosiers’ bill will change that to a requirement that the city have a bylaw on the subject, not just a policy.
Des Rosiers introduced the bill in the legislature in Toronto on Wednesday afternoon after a hasty news conference at Queen’s Park where she was backed by the other Ottawa Liberal MPPs. It “aims to reinforce” bilingualism in the city government, apparently, a vague goal it easily achieves.
It doesn’t make the city government “officially bilingual” in the federal sense. It doesn’t even write the city’s current bilingualism rules into the City of Ottawa Act that serves as the municipal constitution, as city council requested way back in 2001 (the Progressive Conservative government at the time didn’t want to or couldn’t be bothered). It doesn’t say what those rules need to be.
As it happens, the city has a bylaw and Des Rosiers’ bill explicitly says that that bylaw qualifies, so the city has already done the thing the bill says it would have to do. The only meaningful change is that the city couldn’t repeal the bylaw and replace it with nothing, which council is in absolutely no danger of doing under Mayor Jim Watson. He’s fine with things as they are, he’s said repeatedly.
“Mayor Watson has not had the opportunity to discuss the private member’s bill with Nathalie Des Rosiers,” his spokesperson Livia Belcea said in an emailed statement Wednesday. “However, after consultation with our legal branch, Mayor Watson believes that the proposed private member’s bill will have no impact on our language bylaw and French-language policy as we already provide services in both French and English.”
The bylaw formally recognizes “the bilingual character” of Ottawa and says citizens have a right to communicate with the city government in English or French.
The more detailed policy spells out what that means for the city administration, including spelling out that employees can work in either language and that upper-level managers have to be bilingual (though that’s a requirement that’s frequently waived, most recently when city council hired a new urban-planning boss last February).
None of the policy, the bylaw or Des Rosiers’ new bill says that every city worker has to be bilingual, nor that everybody has a right to instant bilingual service in every interaction at all times. They’ve been left unclad in iron on purpose, to avoid a municipal version of lawsuits over Air Canada’s not having a fluently bilingual flight attendant on every plane or senators’ popping into restaurants in government-owned buildings to make sure the menus are in French.
The city government promises to try in good faith to provide the services people actually need. It does not promise equal French and English-language collections at every library, or that every summer-camp counsellor will speak both languages, or that there’ll be automatic simultaneous translation at a rezoning consultation in Richmond. Sometimes people complain that service isn’t good enough, though only 23 times in all of 2016.
So Des Rosiers’ bill is barely even symbolic. It might not even have time to pass: the legislature breaks for the summer at the end of this week and, like all private members’ bills, its chance for a vote will be determined by lot when the MPPs return in the fall.
Kris Austin would make a great Premier for New Brunswick.
Yesterday, there was a poll held online on the CTV web-site. The result was about 55% saying YES to the question "Should the City of Ottawa be Officially Bilingual?"
Here is a comment from Bob:
Just voted No and the Yes side is still ahead.
However, this Quick Poll is severely flawed for 2 reasons:
1) There is no way of knowing who is responding or where they are located in the world - Ottawa, Toronto, Gatineau, Montreal, Victoria, Houston, Boston, Paris, London ...... Sort of like the flawed survey that the federal Commissioner of Official Languages did a few months back except that at least they kept it to Canadians. The only ones who should vote on this issue are Ottawa's residents and tax payers as we are the ones who will have to live with the consequences - financial and social.
2) The vote can be rigged. When you vote, a cookie is set in your computer so if you try to vote again you get a message that says you have already voted. But, if you clear your browser history, this cookie is removed from your computer and you can vote again. I tried this and it works. This only takes a few seconds and you could vote 5 or 6 times a minute.
Maybe this needs to be communicated to CTV Ottawa before they make a big thing of the results.
Comment from Dave
CTV has incorporated some sophisticated software to pick up on Tunneling Virtual Private Networks
I normally can vote a couple of dozen times by picking a different location around the world to vote from, from the US to Hong Kong, etc
This must have cost them a few $$$
I use https://www.expressvpn.com/ myself
However, voting on CFRA from multiple locations works (for now)
If you know someone else using tunneling VPN, have them try at their end.....
Dave in Kanata
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