Bilingualism: A Dream For Unification Turned Into A Nightmare of Canadian Division


Okay I have stopped laughing and am trying to compose myself so that I can type. Has anybody out there in cyber land asked why the need for a French language debate at all? Why the need for language police, or French only signs, or English school closings when the law of the country states that we are supposed  to be a bilingual country? Turning the country bilingual was not supposed to be a divider, but a unifier. In other words by now we are all supposed to be able to talk and communicate in both languages.   Why bother to have a federal law that says that we have 2 official languages in Canada and that each and every citizen of Canada has the right to be addressed by the government of Canada in either of the citizen wants, be it in Quebec, or any of the provinces, or territories and then allow what is happening in Quebec?  I think that just having two debates, French and English says tons about where this country and our governments stand on bilingualism when it gets down to practicing what you preach once they have made an idea into law.

English Canada which is anywhere in Canada outside of Quebec has done nothing to ensure that both languages are spoken throughout Canada and in fact most people west of Quebec have no desire to speak french, or learn it outside of a very few. They see no need to be bilingual and see it as a personal choice not one that the government of Canada should have got themselves  involved in, or tried to impose on them, so that they could score political points in Quebec. We can argue the merits of this forced language issue, but it does not have the political will to be seen through to its ultimate unifying conclusion.  These days we have spineless jelly fish running this country who are afraid of losing precious votes; in reality our politicians can not afford to force the hand of its population legally to learn French, because it gets way too costly, so why the push. 

Before this rush to bilingual madness no one was afraid of losing their cultures to the English and we English in Quebec lived side by side with our French neighbors.  Yes we were not always getting along as the FLQ uprising showed, but the French need to have a greater presence in Quebec was being answered. If possible and with a logic only found in Quebec, I think that the French people of Quebec found bilingualism a threat to their culture, language and very existence and fought it with all that they were. They became emboldened when they started to deny English-speaking Canadians their rights in Quebec, Canada  and nothing was done about it by our federal government.

It is at this point that I feel that Canadian federal law gets usurped by Quebec’s  obstinacy and ignorance and anarchy prevails instead of the law of Canada. English Quebecers and immigrants start losing their rights under the Canadian charter of rights and the federal government afraid of the political fallout turns its head and allows Quebec to assume the role of a sovereign state and refuses to intercede. Quebec has stated very strongly that it wants no English spoken in Quebec and would like the English, or non-French speaking people of Quebec to go elsewhere and to this end, fearing no reprisal from the federal government, have begun to make being English as miserable as possible. The dream of unifying Canada through language, like the railroad did by land has officially been turned into a dividing wedge that pits Canadian against Canadian and Quebecer against Quebecer.

I think that the government of Canada though well-intentioned should have stayed out of the language issue. They got involved and are still involved in both English Canada and Quebec trying to enforce laws that they just can’t and turn what is a normally personal decision into one that affords no personal choice at all. Both sides have dug in deep and the Canadian government is losing badly. The Prime Minister actually got on television in a country-wide debate and said,” We the Conservative Party are the only political party in Canada that is willing to say that Quebec can be a sovereign country within the confines of Canada.” 

 Now will someone tell me what the hell that means and why English Quebecers should feel confident that we are protected by any law that the Canadian federal government makes in the preserving and  upholding of our rights under the Federal Charter of Rights. We here in English-speaking Quebec are the sacrificial lambs, but both governments are sadly mistaken if they think that we will simply walk up to the chopping block and put our necks down to be lopped off.  If you note I did not name any political party as being solely responsible for the situation we find ourselves in, because it is my belief, that it is all of their faults as well as all of ours, the average voter.  We should have sent a strong message when at first the government of Canada stuck its big nose where it did not belong. There has been no government either in the whole of Canada and I am including all of the political entities that have governed in Quebec, willing to fight for the rights of its citizens guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights, when it comes to the language issue, education, or the receiving of governmental services. The federal and provincial governments need to think before they make laws that can not be enforced. Quebec tried hard with its language laws, but it is bankrupting the province and as Quebec’s, Parti Québécois leader is quick to say, ” There is still too much English being spoken in Quebec.”  

We have used this type of force on the natives of this land, said we would never do this to any one ever again, realising that it was genocide, but here we go again. Will the marriage of French people to English people be banned by law to preserve the “French and the English cultures and to keep the both peoples totally pure and devoid of the others culture?  Too what end is the governments of Canada willing to go to hold onto the votes in Quebec and more importantly to what end is the Quebec government willing to go to achieve its sovereignty? This is Canada’s shining example of the train of thought that says, that no matter how good a change could be for the people of a country the government will have to convince its population that its new law is for the best and will benefit all Canadians, or it will not succeed and in fact will be met with resistance. Obama tried to pass a measure that should have been accepted by all Americans, but he failed to convince the other side of its value and look what is happening to his insurance and medicare bills.  No government can ignore, or under-estimate the power of its people. We put you where you are and are quite capable of taking you out. Do not take my word for it read your history books if you can trust what is in them.

Perhaps it is time that some one invented the universal translator device be it a pin, or button like they used on Star Trek, so that we never have to worry about language becoming a barrier between people again. Some people such as myself have a real problem picking up a new language and it is not that we do not understand the importance of knowing as many languages as possible and do not try to learn them, we just never get good at another language. It is so unfair to penalize us, make us feel inferior and stop us from earning a living. Maybe this is a way for the governments to solve this ongoing problem with language, so that we could move on and once again live in peace. We are not all the enemy, some of us are just  no good at languages!  

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About archemdis

I try to say what is on my mind and not hurt others, but some things need to be said whether they hurt or not and I do just that. I try to listen as well as talk, but my opinion is just that mine. You need not take it as your own, just respect the fact that I am entitled to it, as you are yours. I do read all comments, but will only answer, or allow to be displayed those which adress me by name, refer to the post by name in the comment, or that have been sent through the proper channels. In this manner I can tell whether the comment was meant for me and that it is not just spam.
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2 Responses to Bilingualism: A Dream For Unification Turned Into A Nightmare of Canadian Division

  1. NB TORY GAL says:

    Thank you for reading my post and so I came to read yours… a lot of detail in yours so taking time to digest it.

    • archemdis says:

      No need to thank me Tory Gal, I enjoy an interesting conversation and a different point of view. Keep on saying what you believe in. I believe that it is only through communicating that we will solve our problems. We all have an opinion of our own and we are entitled to it. Have a great day! We do not have a Liberal problem, or a Tory problem, I think we have a leadership credibility problem. Some of my best friends are Tories for goodness sake. (smile)

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