20170221 update: CBC News, “Trudeau apologizes to anglophone woman for answering in French at Sherbrooke town hall”
As a former teacher, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sure acted like he needs a few quick lessons. Here are two free lessons from a Canadian to his PM that is facing heat over his decision to speak French only at town hall (CBC News with video).
Lesson 1: Canada is a bilingual country with English and French as official languages. This FB comment elegantly captured what I think. (emphasis added)
“Canada is a bilingual country regardless of what province you’re in.
If a Canadian citizen asks the prime minister a question in one of the two official languages the polite thing is to answer in that language.
Otherwise the person asking the question has no idea what’s being said.“
“Every citizen of Canada and every person who has the status of a permanent resident of Canada has the right to move to and take up residence in any province“
It is surprising that the Prime minister was so easily ‘surprised‘ to be “asked so many questions in English in Quebec’s Eastern Townships”. Has the PM repealed our “Mobility Rights” and now we need his permission to move? Are English speakings Canadians not allowed to live in Quebec’s Eastern Townships? How about French speaking Canadians living in Calgary, Alberta? Puzzling.
P.S. On a serious note. Bilingual Canadians don’t need to be lectured by the PM. The PM can choose to answer the question in BOTH English (language preferred/decided by the questioner) and then repeat in French (if he wishes)! I expect no less if a French question is asked in Alberta. Answer the question in BOTH French and then English! #PMisOurPublicServant #PMisNOTaboveFederalPublicServant
I don’t expect my PM to never make mistake but I expect him to correct his mistakes quickly. Hopefully he has learned his lessons from this.
P.P.S. I don’t mind my last PM (Mr. Harper) has little charisma but I know he would never dare to face Canadians like this, not after Mr. Harper gained absolute power and showed his disdain of the press (who were there to ask questions on behalf of all Canadians).
Jan 19, 2017 Update:
CBC News, “Trudeau’s language flap puts access to English-language health services in Quebec under microscope – Communicating in 2nd language adds to stress, says report on anglophones in Quebec’s Eastern Townships”
“The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages has received 14 complaints related to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s choice of English or French when answering questions at recent town hall meetings.
Spokesman Nelson Kalil said Thursday that 11 complaints stem from an event on Tuesday in Sherbrooke, Que., where Trudeau angered some anglophones by insisting on answering English questions in French.
The others are related to a previous town hall gathering in Peterborough, Ont., where Trudeau responded in English to a French question.
On Wednesday he said that on reflection he maybe should have answered partly in English and partly in French at the Sherbrooke event.
Kalil said it could take three to six months for the office to investigate the complaints.
Because the office cannot investigate individuals, the probe will focus on whether the Privy Council Office violated the Official Languages Act in its role of supporting the prime minister.”