Friday, March 21, 2008

Bilingualism: Harper's New God

A few months ago, after learning Bernard Lord was leading a task force to "review the state of bilingualism in Canada", I wrote a column predicting he would "recommend doling out money to minority language groups."

Well now the report is out and guess what: I was right.

Lord, in fact, is calling upon the federal government to spend about $1 billion over the next five years to help promote both official languages.

Somewhere Pierre Trudeau is smiling.

What Lord doesn't get, of course, is that the Trudeau vision of a bilingual Canada is nothing but a myth. The cold reality is that Canada is not a bilingual country and spending billions of tax dollars won't change that.

That's a fact Stephen Harper used to understand.

I should know, I ghost wrote the op-ed for him in which he declared: "As a religion, bilingualism is the god that failed. It has led to no fairness, produced no unity, and cost Canadian taxpayers untold millions."

Nowadays, however, Stephen has abandoned his skepticism about this bilingualism god. Now, on the contrary, he happily kneels down and worships it.

And he will just as happily sacrifice a billion dollars on its altar, in the hopes that such devotion will be rewarded with votes.

Mind you, it won't work because bilingualism is still a false god.

That's something even the Lord can't change -- as in Bernard Lord.


Anonymous said...

Lord would not meet with any English language groups, everything was staged from the beginning. That is a fact. We all knew what this charade was all about...paying Lord (a failed politician)money for nothing. While Quebec continues to ban the English language, the rest of the country is forced to fund anything french to matter what the cost. We, the English speaking majority are now losing the right to work outside Quebec. Just as the french planned and no English speaking politicians will even touch this issue. How sad. Harper, Mulroney, Trudeau, and the same.

Cobwood said...

Lord's report is not too surprising, since he is a Francophone. He could have written the same report without ever leaving his office in Ottawa. Consulting with a number of French minority groups outside Quebec hardly qualifies as a national concensus on Official Bilingualism, but is his and Harper's excuse for squandering another Billion of English Canadian Tax dollars. Harper joins the ranks of traitorist Canadian dictators, Pearson, Trudeau, Mulroney, Chretien. If Official Bilingualism is such a wonderful benefit, why then is it necessary for the government to spend nearly a trillion dollars to promote and support this artificial concept? Better yet, how soon can we dump Quebec completely??

Anonymous said...

Man, you sure hate Harper ....

Anonymous said...

What most people don't realize (I only realized it this year and I have disagreed with official bilingualism for years)is that Official Bilingualism is nothing less than a devious reversal of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759 by a sociopath PM. It is therefore an act of WAR and its perpetrators war criminals!

Anonymous said...

It's not about hating Harper as much as questioning what has happened to the guy. Power has changed him and his values. Yikes!

Anonymous said...

It's time to say good-bye.

Right from Hamilton said...

This is only a small increase (810 million over five years to 1 Billion over five years (about 40 million a year)).

The main place this report seems to focus on is helping minority communities (both anglo and franco). It make sense as neither community is protected.

Anglphones in Quebec need jobs, and Francophones outside of Quebec are seeing their communities die because anglophone migrants don't learn french. (Go to Sudbury and see the decline in French there not because the French don't learn French but because new citizens don't learn.)

Anonymous said...

French is taught in schools. Schools are a provincial jurisdiction.

Lord knows Lord shouldn't be advocating this, but methinks that the federal Tories are trying to win votes in Quebec, which, (Bernard) Lord knows they need to win a majority government.

Good Lord! (Pardon my French).

Kingsley said...

As a bilingual ex Montrealer, I understand the desire of the Qubecois to preserve their language and culture. Both are under enormous pressure in North America. I do not accept that it is ethical, or legitimate,to use linguistic genocide to erase the existence of Anglo Quebecers. If it is impossible to establish linguistic reciprocity between French and English Canada we should help Quebec to leave Canada, asap.

Anonymous said...

We have spent billions of dollars over the last 40 years trying to make Canada more French. As recent census reports show there has been little improvement in the number of people who consider themselves fluently bilingual. Quebec could care less if the rest of Canada is bilingual. It is all about Quebec and maintaining its language and culture. However, I am disappointed that MPs outside of Quebec continue to perpetuate the official bilingalism line. It is simply a way to promote French in the rest of Canada while Quebec continues to trample English minority rights in that province.

Anonymous said...

Yes, but the boys in the PMO didn't just fall off the turnip truck yesterday.

Since crushing the "red tories" via a merger and Harper's election in 2004, they have had significant difficulty getting the centre-right vote that would win them seats in major metro areas like Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal.

Maybe after showing signs of life in Vancouver-Quadra, they think by throwing this out there they will have a shot with a few moderates in those cities.

I don't agree with such a strategy, but it's obvious why they are doing it.

Iain G. Foulds said...

... We are progressing towards a unilingual world... and, this is truly a good thing.

Anonymous said...

Just say no!

Monkey Loves to Fight said...

I am always skeptical about throwing more money at an issue and asking questions later. I do agree with the Lord Report's recommendations, however I think it would make more sense to try and cut the waste that currently exists in official bilingualism and then add money if the current budget isn't large enough. Most government departments are extremely inefficient and have tonnes and waste and duplication so the goals of the Lord report could probably be met with the current budget.

I also do believe that Francophone minorities outside Quebec should be able to get access to government services and likewise so should Anglophone minorities in Quebec. And while it is true most Canadians are unilingual, I don't see this as something to be proud of. In Europe, over half the population can speak another language, and over a quarter can speak 3 or more languages. Even in the UK, the percentage who can speak French is twice that of English Canada. Learning other languages makes it easier to do business in other countries, allows people to learn and understand other cultures better and opens so many doors.

If it were up to me, all Canadians wouldn't just learn English and French, but would be required to learn one non-official language too.