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Liberals’ proposed language reforms call for ‘equality’ of English and French in Canada




In a document released Friday, the federal government makes over 50 proposals aimed at countering the French-speaking decline across the country

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OTTAWA The Trudeau government is proposing a series of comprehensive language reforms that will forcefully intervene to counter and correct the decline of French in Canada.

In a nearly 30-page document entitled English and French: Towards Essential Equality of Official Languages ​​in Canada published Friday, the government makes over 50 proposals aimed at countering the decline of French across the country and strengthening a sense of language security.

For example, getting employers of federally regulated industries (such as telecommunications or airlines) to communicate with French employees in Quebec and other strongly Francophone areas; making bilingualism mandatory for future High Court judges, and increasing the number of French diving teachers (and thus, classes) outside Quebec.

According to Mlanie Joly, Minister of Official Languages, the idea is to achieve true equality between English and French.


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Due to globalization and also the spread of digital content, English is being favored. We need to make sure French and English are much more equal at this point, Joly said in an interview Thursday.

French is the first language of eight million Canadians and their concern is for French to continue to flourish in our country for the next 50 years, she said, adding that the same rights should be provided to the English minority in Quebec.

The Liberal government has published its comprehensive language reforms and will form a committee that will have 60 days to study their implementation. Liberals then promise to bring about the necessary legislative changes.

In order to save you from having to go through the hyper-bureaucratic document yourself, National Posts Christopher Nardi has divided it into five main proposals.

More French diving teachers

The use of French has deteriorated in Canada. Decreasing the demographic weight of Francophones is an ongoing trend. The use of French at work and at home has also declined in recent years, including in Quebec, reads the proposal document.

French is a minority language in this country and the Government of Canada recognizes the need to intervene vigorously to counter and correct its decline.


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One of the main ways to do this, says Joly, is to address the deep and persistent shortage of Francophone diving teachers across the country, which in turn limits the availability of French education.

The document proposes two main solutions: increasing the number of training programs for future French teachers, as well as creating a rapid immigration program focused on recruiting Francophone teachers.

Many parents across the country, are waiting in line or participating in lottery systems in order to register their children for French diving. That is unacceptable, Joly said.

Bilingual High Court Judges

After years of heated debate on the subject, Supreme Court judges should be bilingual, the Trudeau government decided.

Joly says she wants to remove the part of the Law on Official Languages ​​that excludes judges from the country’s highest court from understanding both languages ​​without an interpreter.

Let us all be clear here: if you are a judge in a superior court across the country, you have access to free French classes. So if you want to become bilingual, you can actually become bilingual if that is an advantage for you because you want to become a Supreme Court judge, Joly said.

Increasing bilingualism within the public service

Although many leadership positions in the federal public service require candidates to be fully bilingual, the reality is that this does not always happen in practice.


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So, Joly wants to review the standards by which bureaucrats are tested for bilingualism to ensure that the theory meets the advancing reality in French or bilingual regions, improving all second language training.

We need to make sure people are able to speak both official languages ​​when they are in a position of power within the federal government, Joly said.

Mandatory French services for employees of federally regulated enterprises

For Francophones among the 815,000 Canadians employed in private businesses subject to federal jurisdiction, speaking French at work is not always easy, the government says.

Thus, Joly proposes that the government oblige employers in Quebec and other regions with a strong Francophone presence (which have not been defined) to: communicate with workers in both official languages; ensure that their workers have the right to work in French; and prohibit discrimination against an employee simply because they speak only French.

It would also give the Commissioner for Official Languages ​​increased powers to better enforce compliance with the Law on Official Languages.

Protection of CBC / Radio-Canada services in sub-service areas

The Government wishes to strengthen CBC / Radio Canada as a cultural institution, recognize and protect the role of public service broadcasters in promoting both official languages, and ensure that CBC / Radio Canada implements measures that enhance the vitality of minority language communities. official.

What do any of them mean? The Minister could not provide details on how those services were to be protected, or by whom they were protected: the programming decisions taken by the CBC, or possible cuts in funding by Parliament?

When services are interrupted in countries around the country, this has an impact on the ability of minorities to access news and content from their region, which in turn has an impact on the vitality of their community, on the strength of their community. and for the future of their community, Joly said.

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