Another threat to French in Ottawa

Despite his fine words, Justin Trudeau has just proven once again that the French fact in Ottawa is seriously losing ground.

Another threat to French in Ottawa

Despite his fine words, Justin Trudeau has just proven once again that the French fact in Ottawa is seriously losing ground.

The Trudeau government's House leader, Mark Holland, announced a decision that risks scuttling professional translation services in the House of Commons.

Replace state-employed, highly competent interpreters bound by a code of ethics and professional secrecy with external private freelancers! What madness !

They never passed the required exams. Clearly, they are unaccredited. The whole thing could even lead to a downright unconstitutional situation.

Appointments of unilingual Anglophones

Recall that earlier this year, the courts of New Brunswick (the only officially bilingual province) rebuffed Trudeau for his appointment of a unilingual English-speaking lieutenant-governor. Regardless, Trudeau simply decided to appeal the decision. We'll talk about it another time, in English only!

On the same note, although we can applaud the appointment of a Governor General of Indigenous origin, the fact is that a year later, Mary Simon still does not speak one of Canada's two official languages. Trudeau is, once again, responsible.

The French will bail

Of course, simultaneous translation services serve both French and English. But, having sat there for many years, I can affirm that it is French which is always relegated to oblivion in Ottawa and which will suffer from this decision.

There is an old joke that in Ottawa, there are two official languages: English and French-translated-to-English. Soon, we may not even have the second part.

Clearly, this decision would enshrine an increasingly common practice. Since the vast majority of French-speaking parliamentarians have learned English, by force of circumstance, meetings will increasingly be held in English.

Having to choose between the gibberish of an unqualified interpreter and English unilingualism, I know which will win out.

slippery slope

The constitutional obligation to use English and French at every stage of the legislative process in Ottawa is not a pipe dream.

This decision puts us on a slippery slope towards unilingualism in the legislative process. The Supreme Court has already reminded Manitoba and Quebec that failure to respect this obligation of legislative bilingualism leads to the nullity of laws thus adopted unconstitutionally.

Bar kick needed

When Mélanie Joly had the official languages ​​file, she announced an interesting bill that would strengthen the status of French. This was before the elections last fall.

Since then, the new Minister of Official Languages, Ginette Petitpas Taylor, has presented a split and watered-down version that never passed the stage of adoption in the House of Commons. Let's hope that Minister Petitpas Taylor will give the necessary boost, because the decision of Justin Trudeau and Mark Holland does not bode well for the place of French in our democratic institutions.

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