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End the unfairness of official bilingualism. Stop wasting our tax dollars.

24 February 2017

The Holy Grail

Gordon Chong wrote an article in June 2016 which caught the attention of one of our readers.  That article is reproduced below.  I reread the article & was startled by the stark honesty of these two sentences: 

The Holy Grail of perfect bilingualism has been an extravagant elitist exercise in self-deception in Canada — a self-indulgent mirage.

It is a fantasy that has been a colossal waste of taxpayers’ money.

I tried to contact Gordon through the Toronto Sun but could not get through to him to congratulate him.

Last night, one of our readers forwarded another article from Gordon which repeated the same truth that few other member of the media dares to expose.  We know that it is sacrosanct to tell Canadians that this very expensive policy is a total failure & it takes a very courageous person to expose that truth to the beleaguered tax-payer.   The Socialists & their philosophy that supports all "feel-good" policies, regardless of how senselessly extravagant these policies are, are proposing that we should spend endless amounts of tax-payer dollars propping up languages that have little practical relevance to the majority of the people in the country.  This applies to all minority languages but the one that gets up the noses of the non-French majority is this push for the Frenchification of Canada.  The fear of being left out of the "power-clique" of Canada has forced the closure of English schools as more parents think that French-Immersion is the only way to ensure that their kids get jobs.  Most Federal government jobs are being made "officially bilingual" even where it is not necessary.  The Conservative government, before they left office, identified 250 government offices that were slated for losing their bilingual status (obviously because they thought the guideline of "service where warranted" was not adequately met).  However, the Liberal government is moving to reverse that motion & expand the need for more bilingualism.  This is occurring widely at the Federal level except where they are unable to recruit the very best, in which case they are forced to recognize that qualification & experience dictate that they have to give the position to a highly qualified but unilingual English-speaker.  The OB policy has worked primarily to benefit the mother-tongue French-speakers at great cost to the taxpayer, not to mention the unity of the country which is more & more divided between the East & the West.   

Gordon Chong has pointed to several prominent Canadians who have succeeded, professionally, economically & socially & the key to their success was impeccably precise English.  So why are we moving to close more English-language schools, turning them into French-Immersion schools when it is a fact that they have not been such a huge success?  Do we want more & more of our children to graduate from our schools with an inadequate command of the English language, having wasted countless hours learning Parisienne French which is not even understood by the locals?  We have engaged a well-known researcher to speak at our up-coming St. Patrick's Day Brunch coming up on March 18th.  The topic of her talk will be "The Success or Failure of French Immersion".  If you live in the Ottawa area, watch out for our flyer coming out next week.  If you want a copy of this flyer to be mailed to you, please contact me with your address.

In the meantime, let's look at what Statistics Canada has predicted about the language situation in Canada:

http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/170125/dq170125b-eng.htm

The part that caught my attention was this:

Decline in the proportion of the English- and French-mother-tongue populations up to 2036 

The proportion of Canada's English-mother-tongue population could decline from 58.7% in 2011 to between 52% and 56% in 2036, while the proportion of the French-mother-tongue population could decrease from 21.3% in 2011 to 17% or 18% in 2036. French would by far remain the most prevalent mother tongue after English, with between 7.5 million and 7.8 million speakers in 2036. In comparison, in 2011, none of the other mother tongues had a population of 500,000 persons.

The proportion of the French-mother-tongue population could decline in both Quebec (from 79% in 2011 to between 69% and 72% in 2036 in the three main projection scenarios) and in the rest of Canada (from 3.8% in 2011 to between 2.7% and 2.8% in 2036). Other scenarios with different internal migration patterns show that the decrease in the proportion of the French-mother-tongue population in Canada outside Quebec could be more modest.

Meanwhile, the share of the English-mother-tongue population could either grow or decline in Quebec (from 8.2% in 2011 to between 7.9% and 8.8% in 2036), mainly due to immigration, but decrease in the rest of Canada (from 74% in 2011 to between 64% and 69% in 2036).


A note from one of our researchers:

Please pay attention that "...the report Language Projections for Canada, 2011 to 2036 (Catalogue number89-657-X), was produced with financial support from the Department of Canadian Heritage and IRCC".

It is a well-known fact that researches, commissioned by any client, are usually according to guidelines given by the client so the note above is not without reason.

Are we being manipulated to make the French-speakers fight harder against assimilation & to keep the French language prominent by telling them that their language & culture are in danger?  We know that they are given massive amounts of funding at all levels of govt. to pay for activists to put pressure on provincial governments to increase the number of French Immersion schools, French-language colleges & universities.   Our researchers have discovers a lot of information on this.

With the reinstatement of the Court Challenges program, expect to see more money being spent by Francophone parents on actions such as this:

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2017/01/18/parents-plan-to-sue-province-over-lack-of-a-french-language-high-school.html

In the meantime, mother-tongue English speakers refuse to understand what's going on, complacent as ever.  Ironically. Canadians who are non mother-tongue speakers may be the ones to persuade Canadians to abandon the failed Official Languages policy.  Spend the money to benefit ALL Canadians, not just one group at the expense of the majority. 

The next step is to get a politician from any party to voice our concerns.

Kim McConnell


The case for unilingualism

The limited success of Canada’s multilingual policies should tell us something about human nature

By Gordon Chong

http://www.torontosun.com/2017/02/18/the-case-for-unilingualism

First posted: Saturday, February 18, 2017 06:43 PM EST | Updated: Saturday, February 18, 2017 06:50 PM EST

The recent movement to teach aboriginal languages, plus the release of Statistics Canada population projections showing first languages other than French and English are on the rise, has raised the anxiety level of some Canadians.

Especially so for francophones.

Although Canada has been officially bilingual since 1969, bilingualism has never really taken root, except in government circles.

While not a total failure, it is not the Nirvana envisioned by its architects, despite the effort and money invested.

Ever since the law’s enactment and after every student cohort has been through the immersion mill, there is the inevitable reassessment.

The graduates’ judgments are revealing.

While grateful for receiving the opportunity to learn French, few feel completely confident using it.

There have always been bilingualism skeptics — not just about French, but about all ancestral languages.

The skepticism received scholarly support with the 1987 publication of Languages and their Territories by the late Professor Jean Laponce of the University of British Columbia’s political science department.

The credibility of Laponce’s argument was bolstered by his having learned English when he was 25 years old.

The essence of his thesis was captured by the late Toronto Sun columnist Doug Fisher, a former CCF MP representing Port Arthur, a riding with a large aboriginal population.

On Sept, 6, 1987, Fisher wrote: “First, the human brain resists a second language. (Laponce notes the friend who said, ‘when I have the word ‘escargot’ why would I need ’snail’?’) Second, languages within the same geography compete fiercely. Third, the users of a ‘mother tongue’ who are in the majority seek — and get — domination and priority for their language. Fourth, users of a minority language in a minority position fall back on enclaves and protective rules, and establish their language’s domination wherever they can control the politics of its territory. Think of Canada, of Quebec, of New Brunswick, of St. Boniface, Man.”

The late Dr. S.I. Hayakawa fervently supported unilingualism.

He was a scholar also personally experienced in dealing with an ancestral language, who was president of San Francisco State University before becoming a U.S. Senator.

The Vancouver-born, English professor’s book, Language in Thought and Action, was required reading in many U.S. undergraduate English courses.

Although immersed in the Japanese language while growing up, a 1990 Toronto Star story revealed Hayakawa was “the chairman of a group called ‘U.S. English’, an organization concerned that ‘our traditional language is becoming irrelevant as foreign languages become more and more widely accepted in our country,’ and pressing for passage of a constitutional amendment to make English the nation’s official language”.

Bilingualism for the individual is fine, but not for a country” said Hayakawa.

With both scholarship and personal experience leading to skepticism about bilingualism, as well as the rather sketchy success of our French immersion efforts, governments should not fund ancestral language retention.

Self-confidence comes with achievement. A good education with a firm grasp of English — our lingua franca outside of Quebec — accomplishes that, not a feeble grasp of a seldom used ancestral tongue.

Funding this initiative reminds one of doctors writing prescriptions for antibiotics to pacify unreasonably demanding patients and creating unintended consequences such as antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Dr. Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous Affairs, must realize, for example, that funding aboriginal languages is the wrong prescription for the many serious and often life-threatening issues that plague our aboriginal communities and that need to be addressed.

It will simply create sympathy-resistant Canadian taxpayers.


http://www.torontosun.com/2016/06/11/teach-english-in-schools

Teach English in schools

Experience has shown it’s the key to success in Canada, not French immersion or retaining ancestral languages

By Gordon Chong

First posted: Saturday, June 11, 2016 08:27 PM EDT

Is the ability to speak multiple languages really a key to future success?

Bilingualism, even trilingualism, has resurfaced recently as an issue.

French immersion’s success is being questioned, while some argue the retention of indigenous or ancestral languages is essential for future success and self-esteem.

The Halton District School Board is considering changing entry into its French immersion program so that it starts in Grade 2, as opposed to Grade 1. The other change would be to move to full day instruction, rather than the current half day.

Four years ago, the Peel District School Board capped French immersion at 25% of total Grade 1 enrolment, and currently uses a lottery when demand exceeds the system’s supply of spaces.

These moves are not without controversy, because demand is exceeding capacity in a number of jurisdictions across Canada.

There are several reasons for this.

Many parents want to give their children a leg up for the future.

Some do it for the intellectual stimulation they think it will provide their children, others to get their kids out of the regular stream and into a more “elite” environment.

A few do it because they are inspired by a sense of patriotism.

It has become what Globe and Mail columnist Marcus Gee describes as a “privileged island in the school system, populated disproportionately by kids from better-off families.”

But world-wide, French usage is in decline, while English, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish are ascendant.

As if French immersion is not already under enough of a challenge, there is a move afoot to teach aboriginal languages.

The teaching of aboriginal history, culture and languages has long been advocated by many, including Adrienne Clarkson, our former Governor-General.

In a recent Globe article, entitled, “All Canadians must tell their stories,” she tried valiantly to make the case that aboriginal languages “require a different support and understanding”, meaning government financial support.

While flawlessly written, it is not persuasive.

She claims aboriginals must be able to “tell their stories” in their own languages, that this will instil self-esteem and confidence, presumably leading to success in the Canadian mainstream.

Examples abound that refute this hypothesis.

Prominent Japanese Canadians like the late George Tamaki (a prominent tax lawyer), Tom Shoyama (a deputy federal finance minister), Dr. Irene Uchida (a world-renowned geneticist) and our climate guru, David Suzuki, all owed their success to a flawless grasp of English.

None apparently felt a particular need to “tell their stories” in Japanese.

In fact, at a conference I attended a number of years ago, Suzuki responded to a question about retaining a Japanese identity and language in Canada by asking: “Why do we need to do that when there are millions of Japanese in Japan who are perfectly capable of doing that?”

The inherent truth in his rhetorical question was self-evident.

My own experience with Chinese language retention has been informative.

I was intensely immersed in Chinese early, because Chinese-speaking relatives lived with us.

I went to a Chinese-language school from the age of seven until I reached Grade 13, five days a week after regular school for two hours a day.

Here was the problem: Most of us would rather have been anywhere else rather than at Chinese school and we spoke English outside the classroom.

The Holy Grail of perfect bilingualism has been an extravagant elitist exercise in self-deception in Canada — a self-indulgent mirage.

It is a fantasy that has been a colossal waste of taxpayers’ money.

For aboriginals, I believe it will do little, if anything, to improve their lot in life.

Ancestral language retention is best left to the initiatives of each ethnocultural group.

Aboriginal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould’s success was not founded on her ability to speak her ancestral language. Neither was Clarkson’s.

The key to their success was impeccably precise English.


From a long-time supporter of our battle:

Unfortunately, Kim, there is so much that is hidden from the populace.

The elites have their vision of what Canada should be, and they work to that end without telling us. Trudeau said that a nation is like a great ship. The populace gets on board thinking that their destination is the one that they were told. Then in the night the captain changes the course without the people knowing it, so that in the morning they end up not where they wanted to go, but where the captain wanted them to be. That was Trudeau with his vision of the new Canada.  Lots of immigrants from non-traditional places, predominance of French in the government, corporations, everywhere. Socialist programs. Metrification for no reason, in spite of the costs. We could go on and on. His son is no smarter or different. Unfortunately, some of the "conservative" leaders know no better either.

I thought O'Leary might be a reasonable candidate to support, but with his belief in abortion, I have lost him. Now I am looking at supporting Kellie Leitch for the Conservative leadership.

Ontario is screwed no matter what they do, but anything would be better than the Liberals or NDP there. Good luck...

All the best, my friend. I am glad to know you...

JD



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