Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Trudeau's French Only Stance in Sherbrooke is Ignorant and Disrespectful
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's decision to answer English questions in French in Sherbrooke shows major disrespect to the English minority in Sherbrooke (and the whole of Quebec for that matter) as well as major sucking up to the French in Quebec. A province that didn't vote for him to get into power. A province that cares only about its interests and one that is obsessed with and paranoid about the French language. I know as I'm from there. It is very unbefitting for a prime minister to behave like this. I understand bilingualism is important and speak French myself; however, Trudeau blatantly disregarded the English minority in Sherbrooke when he answered all questions in English, including one from Judy Ross who asked about anglophone access to mental health services. Ross said his response was "very insulting. I really felt disrespected" (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/justin-trudeau-sherbrooke-french-quebec-town-hall-1.3940629). Gerald Cutting, president of the Townshippers' Association, which represents the local English-language community, said he was shocked and appalled by Trudeau's actions. "It was as if someone had just walked up to me and hit me in the stomach. I lost my breath," said Cutting who was at the town hall meeting. "During the whole time that the prime minister was in the meeting, he did not say one word of English, not even in his opening remarks." (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/justin-trudeau-sherbrooke-french-quebec-town-hall-1.3940629). Cutting added that French-speakers around him also were puzzled by the prime minister's actions. "People afterwards said, 'Would he have ever thought of going into Manitoba and answering a French Manitoban who asked a question in French, and say, well, we're in Manitoba and therefore we should speak in English?''' Trudeau, who was "surprised" by all the English questions in Sherbrooke, now says that in retrospect maybe he should have answered the English questions in English (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/justin-trudeau-sherbrooke-french-quebec-town-hall-1.3940629). Didn't have the brains to think of that earlier, eh, Justin? Ah, it must be nice to have gotten elected because of your daddy's legacy and name. Three people have filed complaints with the Commissioner of Offical Languages. I think more should do so. Robert Libman, the former leader of the old Equality Party (a defunct English rights group in Quebec), said Pierre Trudeau must be rolling over in his grave because of his son's behaviour. He added that Trudeau’s refusal “is a transparent attempt to curry favour with Quebec nationalists and score cheap political points in the province” (http://montrealgazette.com/news/quebec/justin-trudeau-raked-over-the-coals-for-french-answers-to-english-questions). I agree! Trudeau is sucking up big time and not being discreet about it at all. Libman said it’s the second time in the past month that Trudeau “denigrated” the historical presence of Quebec’s English-speaking population. The same thing happened during the Ottawa-Gatineau bilingualism debate where he said, “Quebec has to be French in order for Canada to be bilingual” (http://montrealgazette.com/news/quebec/justin-trudeau-raked-over-the-coals-for-french-answers-to-english-questions). These are words that a separatist would use not someone who supposedly loves the country that voted him into office for the next four years. Trudeau's comment from the bilingualism debate is a load of BS. Parts of Northern Ontario like Timmins and Kapuskasing are made up of primarily French speakers. New Brunswick prides itself on being the only officially bilingual province in Canada. Ottawa has become extremely bilingual since I moved to Ontario over 12 years ago in August 2004. French is not dying anytime soon. In fact, it's getting harder in Ottawa to find work if you don't speak French. Good luck getting into the government. It's becoming kind of discriminatory towards English speakers who are qualified for jobs other than not being fluent in French. The University of Ottawa is quite militant in its use of French. It is something I was "used" to in Quebec. Jason Kenney, one of Stephen Harper's former cabinet ministers, tweeted that Trudeau's behaviour was an example of the "sort of arrogance that undermines support for bilingualism," (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/justin-trudeau-sherbrooke-french-quebec-town-hall-1.3940629). Furthermore, if Trudeau is so concerned about bilingualism in Canada would it not be wise to ensure people in Quebec learn English, so they too can expand their minds, horizons, and prospects as well? What a radical thought! That is what a truly bilingual Canada would be: everyone knowing both languages not just one! Mais oui!