Friday, May 28, 2004

Je n'aime pas la francais. C'est une langue mauvaise. Donnez-moi un oignon.

They might be too chicken to make Scott Reid's comment on official bilingualism party policy, but I'd certainly support it if it was. I sometimes wonder what would have happened to the official bilingualism policy had Quebec managed to secede at some point in the past ten years. I like to imagine it would have been thereafter rejected by the (minus Quebec) overwhelmingly unilingual anglophone population that composes the rest of the country, but I suspect it would have stayed in place, in exactly the same way. The public sector is predominantly staffed by bilingual francophones, who have a vested interest in keeping the competition for their jobs down. I have first-hand experience in this situation; despite being intelligent, efficient and conscientious, able to type at 80 WPM, write, summarize, file, and to edit photos, video and HTML, I can't get a government job to save my life. I'm not fluently bilingual, see. My French is better than that of a tourist reading out of a phrasebook, but not by a whole lot. I can read a newspaper, give directions, or order coffee in French without difficulty, but that's not good enough; every single posted entry-level job opportunity for any government department demands certified fluent bilingualism. No matter if the job actually requires dealing with Francophones or documents in French; it's just the thing to do, to set the correct tone. I hate the French language. I hate that I can't get a decent full-time job for the summer because I don't speak the language quite well enough. I hate the silly different forms of verb conjugation. I hate that what I did learn in school turns out to have been European French, quite different in ways than usable Quebecois French without considerable additional practice. I hated French long before it was cool. But, alas, there as yet is no Republique du Quebec, and we're stuck with a policy that implicitly reserves most federal government jobs for Quebecers. Even though it seems unlikely that the Conservatives will pick up any seats in the province, they can't be seen to be against discriminatory language policies in the campaign, because (if nothing else) it'll cause the CBC (if no one else) to trot out the old lying canard of institutional racism in the party. Though they're backing away from even engaging in conversation about an inane and discriminatory policy, which I find cowardly in an oh-so-specially electioneering way, it's not like I have a choice. I have to vote Conservative, just because they're the least of all possible evils, no matter how watered-down the platform gets to appeal to the "two solitudes" and "private clinics will destroy Canada" crowd. My riding, Ottawa Centre, is most certainly going to be won by Ed Broadbent, former leader of the NDP and perpetual political gadfly; he's returned from the dead once again, and is running here. I know he's going to win because, well, this is Ottawa Centre. It's one of the few ridings that actually runs a Communist Party of Canada candidate in every election. Stephen Harper may be a coward on anti-anglo discrimination, but it's not as though any of the other parties are going to reflect my views to a greater extent.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree. French just sounds funny. Of course, I tend to like it better than Spanish or German, but those sound *really* funny. Japanese, however, once you really sit down and listen to it for a couple of hours, is the most beautiful language in the world. But I also like some African languages; it's something about the flattened vowel sounds.

5/29/2004 10:24:00 PM  

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