AngryFrenchGuy

The Right to Be Anglo: In Defense of Vic Toews

with 67 comments

Vic toews

It’ ok not to speak French.  Really.  Some very smart – if uncool – people will never get to experience the brain candy that are the lyrics of Serge Gainsbourg and Loco Locass.  Some very useful members of society will never experience just how satisfying it is to call someone an ‘estie de con’.

Vic Toews is one of those people.  The Conservative minister of the Treasury – who speaks English, Spanish and German – was criticized by the Montréal Liberal MP Pablo Rodrigez for not speaking French last week.

“It’s clear”, snapped the Minister, “that the Liberal Party considers those of us who speak one official language to be less Canadian.”

He’s right.

The objective of the Official Languages Act has never been to force everyone to learn both French and English.  In fact it’s the exact opposite.  The law dictates that the federal government, Parliament and all it’s associated agencies shall function and give services in the two official languages precisely so that Canadians won’t have to learn a second language to communicate with their government.

This only applies to the Federal administration, by the way.  Provinces, which are sovereign when it come to issues of culture and education, can have different policies, as do Québec, Ontario and New-Brunswick.  That is what federalism is.

That means many jobs in the federal public service will require people to speak both French and English.  Is the position of minister one of those jobs?

Not necessarily.  We assume the Treasury Department has plenty of staff that  is perfectly able to communicate in both French and English to reporters and citizens.  But a minister wants to go beyond that.  He wants to sell the government’s program and convince the population that they want more and that they should re-elect the Conservatives.

If Stephen Harper in comfortable with people like Vic Toews and James Moore selling the Conservative agenda to French speakers, that’s his problem.

It’s important to point out that, contrary to the many elements of the United Empire Loyalist Caucus of the Conservative party who consider any requirement of bilingualism to be discrimination against unilingual Anglos (disrimination against unilingual Francos is apparently not a problem), Mr. Toews defended his right to be a unilingual in any official language:

“I should feel free to be able to speak the language of my choice, and for you to even ask that question is an insult.”

That is the point of the Official Languages Act.  That is how our shared federal administration should work.

Mr. Toews gets it.  The Liberals don’t.

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Written by angryfrenchguy

May 11, 2009 at 9:36 am

67 Responses

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  1. Point taken, but it’s hard to argue for something like since interest in other cultures when there is little evidence to it being there. Unless people in Red Deer or Parry Sound are all downloading Tarkan and Cesaria Evora music for free on the Net, or saving their pennies to buy the latest Danielle Steel novel while at the same time faithfully borrowing Paulo Coelho books from their local library.

    Acajack

    May 19, 2009 at 1:19 pm

  2. “Chose certaine, MB’s got no lessons to take on cross-cultural awareness from someone who makes fun of Makka Kotto’s name”

    Yes, but I never went beyond immature and childish name jokes. I wasn’t even close to sitting down and writing a book on how the Cameroonian culture is the root of all evil.

    And I never claimed to be open to other cultures, unlike our buddy Brule:

    “j’aime le Québec et sa culture et que je m’intéresse à toutes les autres cultures, y compris celle des anglophones. Il est intéressant de s’ouvrir aux autres cultures, mais il est important de soutenir la nôtre”

    So he kicks my ass not only in racism but also in hypocrisy.

    Cross-cultural awareness training is not the answer for Brule either. I’d recommend psychotherapy.

    allophone

    May 21, 2009 at 8:38 am

  3. To Allophone

    ““Chose certaine, MB’s got no lessons to take on cross-cultural awareness from someone who makes fun of Makka Kotto’s name”
    “Yes, but I never went beyond immature and childish name jokes. I wasn’t even close to sitting down and writing a book on how the Cameroonian culture is the root of all evil.”

    Making fun of someone’s name just because it “sounds funny” (i.e. different from what you know or consider “normal”) is definitely intolerant and borderline racist, up there with making fun of one’s skin colour. Perhaps I am just sensitive about it because I had my name mocked constantly when I was younger.

    “And I never claimed to be open to other cultures, unlike our buddy Brule:”

    But isn’t being open to other cultures (and the fact that Quebec is not, at least in your opinion) what your presence on this forum has been all about from the start? If not, then why are you here?

    Acajack

    May 21, 2009 at 12:33 pm

  4. “Making fun of someone’s name just because it “sounds funny” (i.e. different from what you know or consider “normal”) is definitely intolerant and borderline racist, up there with making fun of one’s skin colour”

    Don’t be ridiculous.

    “Perhaps I am just sensitive about it because I had my name mocked constantly when I was younger.”

    Happened to all of us. After all, kids can be cruel. Gotta live with it.

    “But isn’t being open to other cultures (and the fact that Quebec is not, at least in your opinion) what your presence on this forum has been all about from the start.”

    Hardly. I’m no Mother Teresa.
    I’m open to anything that meets the standards of Western society. That automatically excludes some of that Islamic s**t, like sharia for example (which I don’t capitalize on purpose btw).

    “If not, then why are you here?”

    Because I feel like it.

    allophone

    May 21, 2009 at 3:11 pm

  5. Yeah, I’m sure you’d just shrug it off if some bozo with a Vive le Québec libre t-shirt mocked your last name and said: “Duh, Pujols/Simoncic/Johansen, quelle sorte de nom québécois que c’est ça, esti?!?”

    Sure you’d be really zen about it.

    Anonymous

    May 21, 2009 at 9:20 pm

  6. Taking M. Brulé’s logic to its extreme, wouldn’t it follow that M. Albert Camus, M. Jean-Paul Sartre, and M. Frantz Fanon are all agents of French imperialism because their work is widely read in non French speaking countries, both in the original and in translation?

    On a des defauts, ici, dans les pays anglophones, bien sur. But however mediocre our culture may sometimes be, we are not forcing it on the rest of the world at gunpoint. If people in Chile, Egypt, Thailand, or anywhere else go in for second rate Hollywood movies in preference to their local cinema, all that proves is that bad taste is not confined to the “anglophonie.”

    littlerob

    May 23, 2009 at 1:44 pm

  7. i live in quebec, i went to a french grade school, and english high school,english collage, (CEGEP). I dont think english people hate french people over how much of their language if french. The idea of actually “hate” is passed down from generation. So is either, a parent of grand parent had a falling out with a french person, or the “hate” has been around since the war. but i speek both french and english, so im nopicking sides over what i was born into, but i do believe that theres almost, a stuck up way to the french.
    My town is french french french, i cant cross a crosswalk, i cant smile at someone. ( i smiled at a woman and said “hello”, she turned to the man next to her *speeking french* “i think shes on drugs, what is wrong with that girl” is it such a crime to smile?
    i cant go shopping for food without coming home short handed. I sometimes cant remember the name of something in french, and i never ( no Exaggeration ) never found a english person to help me. The signs in my down are changing from tomas to francois pierre.

    I dont mind if french is stronger than english here, i just dont understand why they dont know a lil english, i mean enough enligh to help people.

    kelser

    May 26, 2009 at 6:46 pm


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