The Shotgun Blog
Friday, November 25, 2005
You don't say
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I take the opportunity to comment on B. Scott on the two solitudes.
I have a question: how come the French speaking people don't complain about learning English? It does't seem to hamper their career.
If French speaking canadians can learn English, how come English speaking canadians cannot learn French? Would that mean they are less intelligent than French Canadians?
Posted by: Rémi houle | 2005-11-25 8:57:41 AM
"how come the French speaking people don't complain about learning English?"
because they realize that it is the most important language in the world, and has been for the last few hundred years!!
Posted by: labby | 2005-11-25 9:11:13 AM
To Remi.....Thats a fair question!
Here's what I think.........
Stupid? …......Naw we just hate having the government interfere with the natural order of things!
Honestly! You are not the only one to ask the question or make the observation. But it is a good one...........
For the most part you are right! Although I have experienced some Very Intense intolerance from both sides of the that language fence. I believe that pragmatism is the answer in most cases.
I'm happy to learn and use French or any other language given the opportunity. But I'll admit to feeling animosity about the Imposition of French into the Canadian business landscape through governmental interference! If I need it I'll use it! Otherwise....why should I? Call me lazy or ignorant or whatever......
So I guess that there is prejudice involved. I'll admit that I feel it myself and sure other anglos feel the same. You see... before Bilingualism became a Social Policy we had the choice of developing our multilingual skills..but the Liberals chose to Attempt to Enforce the English/French lingo requirement wherever they could.
I believe that an Educational Program would have been the way to go. Instead we have had as some would like to say "French Shoved Down Our Throats!" So really I believe that most Anglo reluctance to Learn French is simply a form of protest against really bad government policy.
What was sold to us as a Policy of Inclusion to bring more Francophones into Mainstream and to provide more upwardly mobile career oportunities like government jobs,has resulted in a Policy of Exclusion.
Remember that English is the primary language of world commerce. I understand that most Euro countries or at least the most successful ones have an education policy that makes a second language mandatory! And that the main secondary language is English! Asians are learning English as a matter of economic necessity. So....
Canadian Francophones learn English as a matter of economic and social choice...No One is Attempting to force Canadian Francophones to be or practice bilingualism. In fact the PQists resist any effort to even encourage the voluntary learning or use of english.
Fact is that the only real threat to French Culture and Language is social evolution. It is only the response of Governments in Canada that is wrong!
I am hardly the first or only individual to assert that the Policy of Official Bilingualism is Divisive! Unfortunately the Liberals in this country and our liberal biased media have managed to give the topic "Sacred Cow" status. Thus when you or I or any one else even brings up the topic we become pariahs and will be saddled with all those wonderfull labels and epithets that the "politically correct" left and liberal love to sling around. You know....
Posted by: PGP | 2005-11-25 9:35:01 AM
To Remi...OPtion Two: My short answer.
When the Money Talks......the BS Walks!
Cheers and thanks for asking that question!
Posted by: PGP | 2005-11-25 9:39:00 AM
Great post PGP. I agree 100%.
French has no practical application in my life beyond government work. I would much rather had the option to learn Cantonese, German, or Spanish.
The French language is a minor player on the world stage, and slowly will become obsolete.
Posted by: Young Canadian | 2005-11-25 9:39:36 AM
What they should be learning are Latin and Greek.
Posted by: Plato's Stepchild | 2005-11-25 10:11:13 AM
Should I need a second language for the future the last language I would select is French. Chinese would be a great choice!!!!! And they wont even have to force me to learn. Being bilingual is indeed a great thing......forced bilingualism has been a disaster in this country.
Posted by: themaj | 2005-11-25 10:27:33 AM
Bilingualism works one way, for the French. It’s not that English can’t learn French it’s just that French is of no use, save one area of Canada. The world works in English. All senior jobs in the federal civil service are going to French Canadians with all promotions going to the Franco’s. You can pass all the laws you want but Canada is not bilingual and never will be. Does that mean I hate the French and their language, no, not at all, but what is does mean is that I am no longer willing to quietly stand by and watch the takeover that’s happening within the civil service. Fear of recrimination keeps everyone quite, their jobs and lively hood are at stake. Talk to someone in the federal civil service, if they will.
I ask the question, would you as an English speaking Canadian consider a career in today’s federal government? The RCMP can’t even fill their quota, including Quebec. The Military Command is becoming the exclusive domain of the French, Hiller and a few others aside. It’s wake up time in English Canada.
What passes for a constitution in this Country could at best be described as the Quebec and legal full employment act.
Posted by: AsISeeIt | 2005-11-25 10:30:06 AM
In reply to Remi - PGP is right - the reason many but not all francophones learn English is only because they have to - because English is the global language. Quebec is surrounded by the US and the anglophone Canada. It has no choice.
Therefore, if they want to move into the field of business or computers or science - they have to be able to function in English.
Most Europeans speak English far better than Canadian francophones. It's particularly noticeable in the Canadian government - which is heavily francophone. Just listen to any key minister of Canada; eg. Pettigrew - his English is to thick and accented you can barely understand him (ignore that he has nothing intelligible to say), That is the image of Canada.
Anglophones in Canada have no need to learn French - and remember, a language is only learned by use. Not from a book. If you don't hear it, you don't use it.
What the imposition of French has done to Canada is, first, to impose huge financial costs. The costs of translation, the costs of having to hire someone in the various federal offices across the country who is bilingual; the cost of having to hire a flight attendant to speak French on some flight from Calgary to Edmonton, when no-one needs or understands or requires that language.
The cost of having to train anglophones in French..in the gov't, who then, six months later, retire and take their INCREASED pension payments for being 'bilingual'. We, the taxpayer, paid for their lessons and we, the taxpayer get no benefit from them; they, and their bilingual languages, have retired; we have to pay their increased pension.
But above all, what the imposition of French has done to Canada, is to deprive the majority of Canadians of political power. Think about it. The majority of Canadians are anglophone. The percentage of bilingual, after ONE generation, is fixed at about 17% of the whole population. Only about 10% of anglophones become bilingual. No ten year old in Saskatoon is going to become bilingual (in French/English); he doesn't hear it on the street, in the store, in the mall. School training won't do it.
This threshold, of 10% of 80% of the population means - something very dangerous. It means that the MAJORITY of your population is BARRED from authoritative positions in the government. Got it? Barred. The majority of the Canadian population has no chance at moving into any of the key authoritative positions in the Canadian gov't. Because they are not bilingual.
If you are a hot-shot lawyer-economist from the West or the North or anywhere, and, in your 40's you think of moving into politics - forget it. It's too late to learn that second language. If you don't have an ear for language, and you can't learn French - forget it.
Canada is the only country in the world - apart from dictatorships and Communist China - which bars the majority of its citizens from key government positions. Think about it.
So, first we set up this naive idealistic notion of 'making everyone homogeneous' - and for some odd reason, the model was Quebec and bilingualism. It won't work; if you don't hear, use, the language - you won't become bilingual. One full generation after - the proof is there. Only 10% of anglophones are bilingual. About 45% of francophones are bilingual.
Then, along with this disaster, we corrupted the Westminster parliamentary system, to focus the gov't authority only on the APPOINTED rather than elected positions. The House of Commons, the only elected portion, has become irrelevant. There's only about 300 elected positions. But, there are about 3,000 APPOINTED positions - all appointed without vetting, without accountability - by the PM's office. That's called a dictatorship.
The third aspect of this disaster, is that a clique has developed within this bilingual, appointed-only gov't - a clique of cronies in the Montreal-Ottawa corridor. They are closed; the gov't appointments are filled by this group, the economy is run by the Boys in the Band of this group. The politics are run by this group.
The citizens of Canada? They supply the money for this clique - and that's their only role. They have NO role in government, NO role in the economy (except as workers).
And remember, our economy functions well, not because of any actions by this clique; it functions because we live next door to a major consumer of goods, to a country whose population is more than ten times ours - so, 85% of our exports - goes to that one country. We don't need to lift a finger to innovate, to do any research. We don't need to lift a finger to be competitive on the international market; anything we produce gets bought by our neighbour. Neat.
But - those are the results of official bilingualism. A huge drain on the economy. A total disempowerment of the citizen from participation in any authoritative position in gov't.
And PGP is right. It's a sacred cow. Criticize it, and you are a 'bigot', a 'racist' and whatever.
Posted by: ET | 2005-11-25 10:33:37 AM
ET: Good comment, especially about the effective exclusion of the great majority of anglophones west of Ottawa and east of the eastern Quebec border from any chance of a real career in the federal public service.
You should also know that the public service has recently changed its rules. Government employees are no longer able to apply for positions that are designated bilingual if the applicant is not already classed as bilingual.
In the past language training was available to an employee after/after they had qualified on merit for the bilingual job. Now one has to be bilingual in order to apply. This concerns not only managers but to anyone who has at least one employee to supervise whose language is different from the supervisor's.
Posted by: Mark Collins | 2005-11-25 11:01:15 AM
PGP...you nailed it, thanks.
Posted by: MarkAlta | 2005-11-25 11:01:21 AM
1) Some Francophones do complain about speaking English. As a French-Canadian I've seen this many times.
2) Studies have shown that French is a difficult language to learn for Anglophones. It is recommended that Anglophones learn Spanish as in introduction to the Romantic languages, before learning French. For some reason, English-hardwired brains learn Spanish more easily.
Secondly, English is a very easy language to learn and as any Francophone will tell you, "You don't learn English, you catch it."
3) If you believe that French-Canadians are more intelligent than Anglophones, then why are so many Francophones paranoid of the English taking over? Wouldn't the superior Francophones be able to outwit the "squareheads"?
If Francophones are smarter then why would they need government employment equity programs to advance in their careers?
Posted by: Cool Blue | 2005-11-25 11:36:50 AM
Try and not screw it up the next time around.
Even if they win they are not about to go anywhere. No parasite leaves it's host to die as would their "distinct culture" and language in an English speaking North America. Hating you is not a factor, standing up for my heritage and culture is. I've had enough, JUST GO AWAY.
Posted by: AsISeeIt | 2005-11-25 11:45:00 AM
Cool Blue - you are right, some francophones do object to having to learn English. In my experience, some will even refuse to speak English to an 'outsider' or have anything to do with those people.
Road signs in Quebec are unilingual, ignoring the requirements of visitors from the rest of Canada and the US, who have no idea what 'risque de brouillard' means.
My point is that learning a second language, well enough to be functionally bilingual, begins in youth and must be maintained. As I said, for the 40 year old lawyer-economist, who decides that his knowledge and skills might be of value in a gov't position - it's too late.
This is important, not merely for the 300 elected positions, but above all, this idiotic requirement for bilingualism means that ALL major decision-making in this country rests within the control of a small clique of Boys in the Montreal-Ottawa Club. To be appointed to head the bank, Via Rail, etc, etc. - you must be bilingual. This, by default, means that you are also a member of this Closed Club. This club works for and by itself. It is not open to anyone else in Canada - no matter how educated, no matter how knowledgeable. It's a tribe.
The gov't in Canada, for instance, controls all research funds (in other countries, there are lots of private foundations, particularly in the US). BUT - the reviewers of these grant applications all have to be bilingual! And the head of these gov't foundations - are bilingual. They are all francophones. Guess where the largest ratio of research funds goes.
My key point is that the citizens of this country are barred from access to power. They cannot move rapidly and openly into the major offices of power in this country. The bilingual requirement decimates the numbers of anglophones who can access power; and the emergence of this Closed Clique of Boys in the Band - has further narrowed the number AND STYLE of people who can have power in Canada.
Make no mistake; we've set up a tribal governance in Canada. And - that's dangerous.
The only reason people don't complain, is because the political level and the economic level are not linked in Canada. And the only reason for that - is that the USA absorbs all our produce.
But - if we ever had to be competitive, if we ever had to move off our couch, where we now watch the world as if it were a TV show, and sneer - we'd require a citizenry who are far more able to make decisions and take action, i.e., who have political power. We don't have that now.
Posted by: ET | 2005-11-25 12:01:29 PM
Prime Minister Chretien rose to prominence without the ability to speak comprehensible English, so there is hope for us all.
Posted by: Plato's Stepchild | 2005-11-25 12:14:38 PM
Learning Russian would allow one to cross the Baring Strait, while masquerading as a Caribou and land in a country with better prospects for full time employment -- Mother Russia. They have a problem with Radical Islam as well, but there is a burgeoning organized crime sector and the prospect of a spectacularly failed career as a writer, aided and abetted by obscene quantities of poor quality Vodka and chronic gambling.
Posted by: Plato's Stepchild | 2005-11-25 12:19:34 PM
English Canadians are stupid if they continue to believe it's about speaking French, not being French. It's ethnic nepotism plain and simple. It's about jobs for the boys back home. It's about the power of collectivism and the folly of individualsim. Even J.S. Mill realised that individualism cannot exist except in an homogeneous environment. Do European Canadians really believe it will be any different when a minority Chinese or Indian population grows to the demographic proportions of Quebec?
Posted by: DJ | 2005-11-25 12:27:16 PM
Quebecois are extremely shrewed to insist on Draconian measures to ensure the promulgation of French in Canada. A quick glance at the map shows the exciting prospects for the Frenchification of South America, Central America, Mexico and the Southwestern United States.
I believe the Spanish word "hasosismo" describes it well.
Posted by: Plato's Stepchild | 2005-11-25 12:31:10 PM
Posted by: Plato's Stepchild | 2005-11-25 12:33:44 PM
More to the point, why do we have tens of thousands of federal civil service jobs at all? With a couple of exceptions, federal government departments exist for only one reason: to grab money and power away from lower levels of government and most of all to grab it away from ordinary people. Will you English folks really feel better if the money that you earned is stolen and wasted by English people? Why would you French people care what language is used _within_ the public service - unless you wish to get one of those jobs and get a share of the loot?
Even if you do get into the federal public service, it won't be nearly as lucrative as you think. The CPI figures used to calculate increases to salary and pensions are fudged - what is really happening is that the more people who stop producing real goods and services by going into the government, and the more production-hampering laws and regulations they create, the poorer the entire country becomes. A poorer country (able to produce and buy fewer goods and services) can't support as many unproductive people, so the government inflates the currency - printing more money to meet its obligations with less valuable dollars. The CPI must be fudged so it doesn't reflect actual inflation, or the whole thing would come crashing down a lot sooner. But inflation destroys the economy by destroying the value of people's savings, and inducing them to consume instead of invest (I have reminded you folks over and over again that Canadians are have a negative savings rate, which is I believe unprecedented). Failing to save money and invest it is exactly the same error as a farmer eating his seed corn - next planting season, he has to borrow money to buy seed, then he has to work even harder to both feed himself and to pay off his loans.
That is why you're wasting your time arguing about bilingualism in the federal government. It's like arguing over whether you should eat your seed corn as bread or porridge.
If Canadians insist on thinking of politics as a discussion of how to divide up the socialist loot, then here is what's on the menu for the next 10 years: pudding chomeur.
Posted by: Justzumgai | 2005-11-25 1:05:04 PM
The problem with the slash and burn approach for the federal civil service, though a good one, is that even if the civil service is reduced by half, the issue still exists. And yes, as Salter points out in his 'Welfare, Ethnicity, and Altruism: New Findings and Evolutionary Theory' English Canucks will feel better if welfare distribution is homogeneous. Salter posits the issue of 'altuistic kinship' and shows thru empirical findings 'that the more ethnically mixed a population becomes, the greater is its resistance to redistributive policies.'
Posted by: DJ | 2005-11-25 1:24:35 PM
DJ- You haven't any knowledge of biology or sociology or valid empirical methodology and therefore, you gobble up fallacious theorems to support your basic racism.
The size of the federal civil service is not the point. All civil services tend to grow; they are safe jobs; you can be as dumb as a brick and most of these civil service employees are, but once in, you're there for life and a full pension. And numerous benefits.
The problem remains - bilingualism disables the majority of Canadian citizens from not merely the basic civil service, but from the KEY authoritative positions in this country. That includes the PM's office, the heads of all public institutions, the banks, the rail service, the deputy ministers, the judges, on and on and on. That's the problem.
But, the fact that Canada disables investments, savings and the accumulation of wealth IS a serious matter, as Justzumgai points out. Our Canadian gov't, with its high taxation, effectively sets up the Canadian economy to piggyback on the USA economy. Canadians simply cannot accumulate enough wealth to invest in the big-money, high-risk, long-term investments required for innovation and research.
So, those tasks are left to the USA and other countries. Then, Canada simply copies the products (drugs, various electronic goods etc etc)..without having to bear the very high costs of ten years of no-return investment that went into developing that drug etc..and markets the drugs cheaply. And then, pats itself on the back, informing itself and everyone else, how 'kind' and 'well meaning' Canadians are, because they don't charge the 'high costs that those evil Americans do'. We ignore that those high costs are to cover the years and years of investment and research required to develop the damn drugs in the first place. We don't muddy our hands with high risk, long-term dev't. We can't. We don't have the money. We are taxed to death; and, we then spend it all.
Now- how would we manage if we actually had to invest in research? Invest in primary manufacturing, rather than secondary franchises of US/Europe based companies? How would we manage if we had to compete on the international market, instead of having the US on our border, where it swallows up 85% of our exports. Canada is the only country in the world with such a high reliance on only ONE country to purchase its exports.
Posted by: ET | 2005-11-25 1:52:53 PM
Ms. Tee, still mouthing, no cost empty breathtakingly hypocrtical (How are the black neighbours?)platitudes, I see. Why do you hate white people so? The problem is that you are intellectually incapable of refuting Salter's methodology so you retreat to the refuge of fatuous white liberals, ad hominem.
And your economic analysis, which you incessantly trot out, regardless of whether the topic is bilingualism or infant mortality, is as porous as Swiss cheese. It's not that Sweden does not export over 75% of its goods and services to 'Europe' the economic region or that corporate internationalisation portends that a progressively larger proportion of international trade comprises intragroup business. In other words, that it benefits US companies in Canada or Canadian companies in the US to trade with each other. Nooo, it can't be that simple
Posted by: DJ | 2005-11-25 2:41:39 PM
Yes, DJ, you do frequently use ad hominem comments. Does that mean you are a fatuous white liberal?
I'm unaware the Salter has an empirical methodology; he merely describes variables, using his own selection of values, which cannot be tested, and then, correlates them to other variables. That's not science.
That's not my point - that trade benefits. You are quite right; it isn't as simple as you state it.
My point is twofold: One, that no country should get itself into an export/import interaction that relies almost exclusively on only one other country. Two- that Canada does not enable its citizens to accumulate enough surplus to themselves, set up high-risk, long-term, high-cost investments. Instead, it relies on other countries to carry out this important task. That sets up Canada's economy as secondary, as dependent on the innovations resulting from the primary investments of the other countries. That means that the Canadian economy piggybacks on the investment and research activities of other countries - chiefly the USA, but, in the future, probably China. Canada, meanwhile, does not engage in these activities itself. Why not?
Posted by: ET | 2005-11-25 3:01:27 PM
I personally know numerous friends in the Canadian Military. A frequent "gripe" of theirs is that the upper ranks or the military are full of Quebecers who are billingual. It has contributed to the nepatism that is rampant in the organization and the flagrant abuse of awarding contracts to Quebec firms.
Most of the people I know from this group are leaving once the can get a partial pension. They advise our military is in dissary, one of the problems in Bilingualism.
Posted by: BDT | 2005-11-25 3:48:02 PM
BDT you are most correct saying the Military is in disarray and bilingualism is the main problem, front and center. Why stay when you can't get ahead.
Posted by: AsISeeIt | 2005-11-25 4:45:25 PM
The bigger problem with the military is that all those bilingual military jobs are filled by people piloting desks in DND headquarters in Ottawa. We have the most top-heavy military on earth.
Cutting 2/3rd of the brass (make that 90% in DND headquarters) would not erode capabilities one iota. What it would do is free up enormous resources for front-line soldiering.
Posted by: Warwick | 2005-11-25 4:51:14 PM
Those are important points - the military is yet another federal system that is being turned into a 'tribal enclave' because of bilingualism.
Bilingualism has set up a scenario where the authoritative positions in ALL departments - military, economic, trade, communications, finance, etc go to francophones.
It's the same in the research world - the top gov't jobs in research funding, in federal research organizations etc - are all given to francophones, because the position requires bilingualism, and few academics have the time, when they finally get their PHDs, to learn yet another language. They might be already bilingual - in other languages, or even trilingual! But- the federal jobs go to the francophones - and so do the research contracts.
That's why this has to be talked about, and I can only praise the Western Standard for starting the discussion.
Posted by: ET | 2005-11-25 4:56:51 PM
The problem is, Ms.Tee, that despite you own admission, 'I'm unaware the Salter has an empirical methodology;', that you are ignorant of Salter's work, you still are quick to pronounce it 'fallacious' and 'rascist'. It's a blatant logical fallacy. All you are saying is "I really don't care what the experts say; no one is going to convince me that I'm wrong"; or "nothing you say is ever going to change my mind". If it's fallacious, present the evidence.
The point you miss, in the economic analysis, is attributing the exclusive interaction to a country. It's corporations that are interacting, often times related, not countries. So why should GM duplicate it's research and development work at the Flint autoplex, in Oshawa or Texas for that matter? It's inefficient. It adds unnecessary cost.
BDT is bang on! In fact some in the CF assert that Romeo Dallaire was a 'streamer' promoted as part of that nepotism and not because of his ability to command. They assert that if it had been Lewis Mackenzie in Rwanda, instead of Dallaire, that slaughter would not have happened. In 2001, seven of the top ten corporate suppliers to the CF were hq'ed in Quebec. And many were US subsidiaries.
Posted by: DJ | 2005-11-25 5:15:26 PM
This is not just a recent problem it's just that it's starting to come to the surface. Two of my old neighbors, one a General one a Commodore gave me a real ear full on this very subject several years ago. I wish I had paid more attention at the time. Recently I have been collecting stories from retired brass and would now like to contact those serving and in the ranks. I live in Victoria and if anyone knows of someone I could talk to that would be great. Any help appreciated as my sources are all older and retired.
Posted by: AsISeeIt | 2005-11-25 5:28:58 PM
"Bilingualism" is the shibboleth of the elite rulers of Canada. The front is the Liberal Party of Canada.>>
The Story of the Shibboleth
A shibboleth is a kind of linguistic password: A way of speaking (a pronunciation, or the use of a particular expression) that identifies one as a member of an 'in' group. The purpose of a shibboleth is exclusionary as much as inclusionary: A person whose way of speaking violates a shibboleth is identified as an outsider and thereby excluded by the group. (This phenomenon is part of the "Judge a book by its cover" tendency apparently embedded in human cognition, and the use of language to distinguish social groups).
The story behind the word is recorded in the biblical Book of Judges. The word shibboleth in ancient Hebrew dialects meant 'ear of grain' (or, some say, 'stream'). Some groups pronounced it with a sh sound, but speakers of related dialects pronounced it with an s.
In the story, two Semitic tribes, the Ephraimites and the Gileadites, have a great battle. The Gileadites defeat the Ephraimites, and set up a blockade to catch the fleeing Ephraimites. The sentries asked each person to say the word shibboleth. The Ephraimites, who had no sh sound in their language, pronounced the word with an s and were thereby unmasked as the enemy and slaughtered.
Here is the relevant excerpt from the Book of Judges. The full account is in Chapter 12, verses 1-15. >>>
Posted by: maz2 | 2005-11-25 9:12:19 PM
It's too bad that we went down this path and wasted so many resources on this issue. (On the Rutherford show last week a Francophone lady representing an English language group from Quebec estimated a cost direct/indirect of 700 billion for bilingualism in Canada. That's a lot of titanium hips and cataract surgeries.)Maybe I am a little naive but I have always felt that if we invested a fraction of this into Quebec alone instead of spreading it thin across the country as a whole, we could of possibly had a French enclave in North America that would resemble the romantic attachment given to places like Paris and Calais. It would have been a great place to vacation with the kids and to maybe have the chance to experience a different culture, our country's history and for any other reasons that we take vacations/holidays. Hell, maybe they might have acquired a little more respect for Americans and the rest of Canada in the process since a bigger part of their economy and standard of living would have been tied to tourism dollars instead of extortion at the hands of jobs for the boys. Sadly, PGP is more right than wrong in his assumptions I suspect.
Posted by: Lemmytowner | 2005-11-26 12:06:22 AM
What a bunch of whiners. Why don't we just move the capital back to Montreal where everyone speaks at least two languages if not three. You wouldn't hear any more big sob stories from unilingual Anglos complaining about the relative importance of Chinese or Spanish while not speaking those languages either.
I'm sick of hearing all these complaints about glass ceilings, just get a real job already instead of some cushy government pretend job.
Posted by: David | 2005-11-26 4:58:30 AM
French is cute and easy to understand if it is not a dialect, most people my age were taught Parisian French and we have no problem reading French or understanding French from Europe. If a person wants to understand the French spoken in Quebec you must LIVE there because it has so many English and Indian words mixed in that you lose the thread almost immediately - not a criticism, a fact.
English is difficult to learn because it is a mix of so many languages and the dictionary is huge; crammed with antonyms, synonyms, and homonyms, innuendos, etc. etc.
The best solution to this problem the Liberanos have created for their own benefit - to divide east and west - is to try to learn the other fellows language and speak to each other with good will. Many people in Quebec are Irish/ Scots who had a big chip on their shoulders against the British BEFORE Quebec became a force in Canadian politics. Most French people who had come to Quebec before the merging of upper and lower Canada immigrated BEFORE the French Revolution in 1879; after the drain on French people from that fiasco came the Napoleonic Wars. Irish/Scottish people immigrated to Quebec because they hated the British more than they objected to learning French!! Quebec also guaranteed the Roman Catholic Church would not be thrown out by the Anglican Church with the reigning monarch of England as head of Church and State. The evolution of Canada has been built on misconceptions; time we woke up and realized that the west has a lot in common with Quebec people - and maybe we would all get along a lot better as separate nations WITHOUT an uncrowned dictator calling the shots. Divide and Conquer has worked for years to the benefit of the Liberanos, it is NOT impossible to get along as a loose confederation of quasi independent states - much like Switzerland - it is the only solution I can think of - and Steven Harper has thought of - there could be good will and understanding without equalization and CONTROL. I think we should consider a 'third' way and be like farmers and ranchers - good friends but totally independent in all but a few unemotional aspects of our lives.
Posted by: jema54j | 2005-11-27 1:00:50 PM
"Those are important points - the military is yet another federal system that is being turned into a 'tribal enclave' because of bilingualism.
Bilingualism has set up a scenario where the authoritative positions in ALL departments - military, economic, trade, communications, finance, etc go to francophones. "
During my time in the military I frequently attended courses at CFB Borden.
Because of the requirement to have French speaking instructors for French speaking troops, and English speaking instructors for English speaking troops, and due to the shrinking manpower of the Forces, bilingual instructors were considered the "way to go".
The problem is that what the French consider bilingual, and what the English consider bilingual are two totally different beasts.
It is very common to have a course taught in English by a Francophone whose mastery of the English language leaves much to be desired, but the troops almost never complain, because they sense that the poor guy is trying his best to get his point across. However, and I must say that this is my experience only, the French speaking students when supplied with an Anglophone instructor invariably complain, and demand a Francophone instructor.
The Francophone population of the Forces is about 28%, but in the training departments the percentage of Francophone instructors hovers around 75%.
Posted by: Steve | 2005-11-28 2:08:49 PM
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