21 October 2017
John Ivison's article about the Federal bureaucracy's attempt to make French an increasingly important part of Canada's government expresses what a large number of Canadians think but dare not say. That's how bad the situation is - talk to any Federal public servant & you'll hear the frustrations that are expressed by many but are kept silent from fear of repercussions. It is a topic which has been avoided by most politicians & journalists because it has resulted from P.E. Trudeau's 1982 Constitution & the entrenched elements in it like the Charter & the Human Rights code which have given extraordinary powers to minority interests. The courts are obliged to follow the dictates of the 1982 Constitution which ties the hands of ALL politicians. We can only hope that a free press might show Canadians that this policy has gone too far. Such truism, as expressed by John Ivison, have been obvious to anyone paying any attention to this issue.
Some high-lights from the article:
1. "nearly five decades after the passage of the Official Languages Act, the public service is not bilingual enough"
2. " many public servants working in bilingual regions do not feel comfortable using their language of choice at work"
3. "The solution".... "is to raise the linguistic requirements for those in supervisory roles"
4. " The complaint is that even when French is used, it is symbolic"
5. "public service that is already over-represented in executive positions by French speakers"
6. " Raising the linguistic bar is likely to exacerbate the dominance of French speakers in the upper echelons of the public service"
7. " outside of Quebec and New Brunswick, just eight per cent of Canadians are bilingual"
8 " If the Liberals adopt a policy that makes the federal public service even less representative of the Canadian public than it is already, they will stoke the impression that the West, in particular, is being frozen out.
Responses to the high-lighted items:
1. To the French zealots, nothing short of total capitulation is enough. Just look at what they've done to the English-speakers in Quebec - are they satisfied with that victory?
2. French is a language forced on the majority by a linguistic, aggressive minority & as such, it will always be "symbolic" - unless the whole public service is run by the Quebecois.
3. The obvious over-representation of the French should NOT go un-noticed & it isn't. Such a relief to see it in print by a well-known journalist.
4. Western Alienation is already happening - let's not under-estimate the anger growing out west against a Federal government that is so dominated by the interests of Quebec.
5. There seems to be NO limit to the amount of money the French extremists are willing to throw at this policy
The linguistic bar has been raised many times & each move has resulted in increased power given to French speakers & the province of Quebec as that is the bastion of French power. I will refer to some of these bars - you can send me any that I've missed:
A. The caveat of "where numbers warrant" was never defined which left the French bureaucracy total freedom to define it. This link: http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-92-48/page-1.html shows that provinces with 5% of the population speaking French must provide French Languages Service and Ontario is coming under that level soon. Of course this won't happen unless the govt. accepts the redefinition of a Francophone from "mother-tongue" to "anyone who speaks French" as is being proposed by Bill S-209. The 2016 census notes that under the 1st definition, Ontario has 490,715 (3.69%) Francophones; under the 2nd definition, the number rises to 597,070 (4.45%).
B. Using Orders in Council (which are not debated by Parliament), the Privy Council through the machination of Lucienne Robillard, among other Francophone elites, brought in the "Right To Work in the language of choice" & "Right to be supervised in the language of choice". Anyone with any power of observation will agree that both instruments have increased the demands for more Francophones (mostly Quebecois).
C. The $800 bilingual bonus was initially to encourage unilingual English-speakers to become bilingual. Most of the Federal positions where this bonus apply are now designated bilingual so the applicants would have already passed the language tests so the bonus is an additional reward which should be unnecessary. Instead of chasing after small businesses to squeeze more taxes out of them to fund extravagant govt. services, maybe we should think of taking away these "extras" from public servants who are already paid at least 30% more than employees in the private sector for similar jobs.
Just in case you\re not yet convinced that Canada is now firmly in the hands of the French-speakers, here is more bad news for English-speaking Canada:
OTTAWA - NDP MP François Choquette's bill to make bilingualism mandatory for Supreme Court of Canada judges has resumed on Thursday, October 19. His chances of succeeding, however, are very slim.
BENJAMIN VACHET bvachet@tfoorg | @BVachet
On the government side, as well as on the Conservative side, we praise the will behind Mr. Choquette's bill, but we do not seem to want to support it.
"This is an important bill that reflects the values we all share in the House of Commons, but the focus is misplaced. It would be more useful to strengthen the bilingual capacity of the superior courts, because that would increase the pool of bilingual judges, "said Ville-Marie-Le-Sud-Île-des-Sœurs, Quebec MP for the province, Marc Miller.
An opinion seconded by his colleague David Lametti, reiterating the arguments put forward by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his August 2016 opinion letter in which he ensured that, from now on, appointed judges of the Supreme Court of Canada would be bilingual .
"The law is not always the most effective at solving a problem and I think that in this case it is neither desirable nor necessary. We have put in place a new appointment process that makes bilingualism a primary criterion and has already been proven by Judge Malcom Rowe. "
Michael Albert, Conservative MP for St. Albert-Edmonton, believes that Mr. Choquette's bill addresses a problem that does not exist.
"The Supreme Court of Canada already provides services and communications in both official languages. Since its creation, there has not been a single case of error because of a problem of interpretation. Moreover, if it happened, there would be possible remedies. "
" This bill is well-intentioned, but it will create problems, including reducing the pool of good candidates. Language skills should not take precedence over skills, knowledge and experience in law . "- Conservative MP Michael Cooper
Currently, there are eight out of nine bilingual judges in the Supreme Court of Canada. Only Judge Michael Moldaver uses simultaneous translation services.
Guy Caron quips
The official languages critic, François Choquette, has taken up the torch of his predecessor Yvon Godin who, on three occasions, proposed such a bill . In 2008, 2010 and 2014, his proposal was defeated, despite the common front of the New Democratic Party (NDP) and the Liberal Party of Canada (PLC).
"Do principles change when you're in government?", Quipped NDP House leader Guy Caron. "It is not enough to say that we will appoint bilingual judges, we need to enshrine this principle, because otherwise we have no guarantee. Bilingualism is not an asset, but a fundamental skill. "
NDP members have repeatedly cited the testimony of lawyers, including linguistic rights specialist Michel Doucet, who shared their sometimes unfortunate experiences when they pleaded in French at the Supreme Court of Canada .
"If the Liberal government is committed to appointing bilingual judges, why not enshrine this objective in the law?" Questioned New Democrat Erin Weir. "It would send a very clear message to the Canadian judicial community."
The NDP tried to convince the few members present to support the bill at second reading so that the Justice and Human Rights Committee could study and improve it.
Official Languages Spokesperson for the New Democratic Party, François Choquette. Image credit: Archives
"There are improvements to be made, including the issue of access to the Supreme Court of Canada for Aboriginal judges. We are open to amendments and that is why it is important to have a second reading, "explains Mr. Choquette.
The example of Alexandrine Latendresse
At the end of the debate, the NDP member remained optimistic, while the vote of the bill at second reading will take place Wednesday, October 25.
"I am not discouraged because I know it is a legitimate right for all Canadians to have access to the highest court in the country in the official language of their choice. The Liberals are starting to get bogged down in their arguments when they say that a law is not necessary and that we have to give ourselves a small margin to appoint perhaps unilingual judges! "
2013. Choquette relies on the example of Alexandrine Latendresse's bill on the bilingualism of certain agents of parliament, adopted in 2013.
"I hope many Liberals and Conservatives will vote in favor of this bill. Many tell me that they are ready to support it. Will they do it? It remains to be seen ... We managed to get Alexandrine Latendresse's bill passed, the next step would be the bilingual judges at the Supreme Court of Canada. "
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