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Businesses must be bilingual...federal govt.

The Ottawa Citizen
Wednesday, August 18, 2004

MP Poilievre protests Public Works move to force tenants to follow language rules

Nepean Carleton MP Pierre Poilievre lashed out against a Public Works and Government Services Canada request ordering tenants on the north side of Sparks Street to provide services in both official languages.

In an open letter to Liberal MP Scott Brison, the minister of Public Works, Mr. Poilievre expresses his concerns about the "heavy-handed decision to intrude into the language policies of independent entrepreneurs who lease property from the government of Canada."

"While this decision may be politically correct and may pacify the political demands of your government, it constitutes direct interference into the commercial affairs of independent businesses," Mr. Poilievre wrote.

In his letter, Mr. Poilievre argues that if Sparks Street consumers really demanded business be conducted in both English and French, Sparks Street business owners would provide their services in both languages of their own accord.

In a letter sent to its business owners last week, Public Works said officials will meet with tenants to ensure their "signage, menus, notices and other advertising material" (including websites) is offered in both official languages.

In yesterday's letter, Mr. Poilievre asked Mr. Brison to intervene and put a halt to the Public Works request.

The Ottawa Citizen 2004
The Ottawa Citizen
Friday, August 20, 2004

We are not 'heavy-handed' about bilingualism
Re: MP Poilievre protests Public Works move to force tenants to follow language rules, Aug. 19.

The Department of Public Works and Government Services (PWGSC) has no intention of being "heavy-handed" on language policies as alleged by MP Pierre Poilievre. There is no desire whatsoever to impose costly demands on independent entrepreneurs who lease government property.

There is no doubt that as a federal department, PWGSC is committed to a leadership role in trying to enhance and foster bilingualism. One approach being used in recent years is to add clauses into new or renewed commercial leases in the national capital region asking for signs and notices in both English and French, and encouraging tenants to offer bilingual services.

Still, a report from the Commissioner of Official Languages in January criticized PWGSC for not doing enough to ensure that our commercial renters were adhering to these lease provisions. As a result, letters were sent out to these business owners to raise awareness of the issue. This action was not meant to alarm or cause anxiety.

I have now asked my officials to send followup letters to assure commercial tenants that my department will work in collaboration to help them meet the spirit of Canada's official-language policy, without any attempt to interfere with how they run their businesses.

I have also asked my department to explore other means to achieve the laudable goal of promoting official bilingualism within the national capital region.

However, let there be no doubt that under Prime Minister Paul Martin, the Liberal government stands firmly behind the Official Languages Act.

Scott Brison,


Minister of Public Works and Government Services

'Language police' a figment of Citizen's imagination
Re: Call off the language cops, AUG. 19.

True to form, the Citizen's editorial reflects your ignorance and prejudice in linguistic matters.

Leasing contracts by commercial tenants in federally owned buildings do in fact contain clauses that call for respect of Canada's linguistic duality. These tenants enjoy prestigious spaces in federal buildings and have known since year 2000 that they are required to provide bilingual signage and service in both English and French.

These shop-owners were not "sucked into a bunch of meetings to make sure all their services are available in both French and English," as you state in your editorial. The fact is that Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) invited them to a meeting to review their commercial leases in the national capital region in the hope it could assure full adherence of all commercial tenants to their lease requirements. This was a recommendation of the joint committee of the House of Commons and the Senate in 1998. In her report of March 2004, Official Languages Commissioner Dyane Adam also supported this proposal.

Public Works and Government Services Canada is a federal institution and is committed to enhancing the vitality of the English and French linguistic communities in Canada. Ottawa is the national capital and should reflect our linguistic duality. Fostering full recognition and use of both English and French in federal properties is the law of the land.

The Citizen doesn't do justice to Canadian unity when it misinforms its readers with such uncalled-for insolent persiflage. There are no language cops; they are the figment of your imagination.

Respect, tolerance and understanding in linguistic matters should be the order of the day.

Jean-Robert Gauthier,


Senate of Canada


Member since: Jul 04
Posts: 94
Location: GTA

Post ID: 23467 27-08-04 23:04:18
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Member since: Jul 04

Posts: 94
Location: GTA

city of ottawa bilingualism challenge
It is official, the city has chosen Ronald Caza to defend its language policy.


DATE: 2004.10.14

Headline: Caza will defend the case for the City of Ottawa.

The City of Ottawa announced yesterday that lawyer Ronald Caza will defend the municipality in the case with Canadians for Language Fairness (CLF), wherein the latter is challenging the city for its policy on French languages services. A spokesman for the city confirmed the news yesterday afternoon during the city council meeting. Mr Caza is very well known known in the franco-Ontarian community. He defended the Montfort Hospital case by the Ontario Conservative government several years ago, when it wanted to close the institution.

In a recent interview, Mr Caza announced that the Montfort case will be a significant jurisprudence to defend the bilingualism policy of the municipality. CLF is challenging Ottawa for its policy on the French languages services, while arguing that it will prevent all unilingual English from obtaining an employment in the municipal public office.


Sebastian tackles the French media

On Tuesday, October 12th, Sebastian was on a one-hour show with a French radio station (CJRC).

He has been invited to debate Jean Paul Perrault on Rogers Cable TV (Cable 23) in French - to be aired at 6:30 pm on October 25th - please listen if you can. The French media is more interested in our legal challenge than the English media, I wonder why?

Here is the write-up from le Droit , followed by Sebastian's own report on the CJRC radio talk-show on October 12th.


DATE: 2004.10.13

BYLINE: Boivin, Matthieu

Headline: Bilingualism: the big clash did not take place at CJRC

We expected a combat of the titans, but the big clash of ideas so long awaited on the CJRC airwaves of between Jean Poirier, the ACFO, and Sebastian Anders, of Canadians for Language Fairness (CLF) did not take place.

The two men were the guests of the radio host, within the framework of the show 100 % Langevin, yesterday midday, to discuss the legal challenge of CLF against the bilingualism policy of the City of Ottawa. Like two heavy weights in a championship match, the two scrappers studied each other during the match, before the referee - organizer Michel Langevin - but does not put an end to the combat after a one hour exchange.

The participants stayed with their positions, exchanging some punches during the debate. The first attack came from Mr. Anders, who asked Mr. Poirier why it was of primary importance that the bilingualism policy be enshrined in Ontario municipal legislation.

"Why do they want to insist on putting it in provincial law? What will that change? By imposing a law, it opens the door to abuses, [... ] while making anglophones feel they are criminal because they speak English."

Mr. Poirier answered: "the history showed us that one cannot trust the goodwill of the majority to protect the interests of the minority."

A few moments earlier, he specified that the current Ottawa city councillors are favorable to the cause of French, but that the successors could be of another opinion, thus justifying a recognition of the bilingual statute to protect in the long run the interests of francophones in the federal capital.

Which abuses? Mr. Anders retorted a few minutes later, while asking which abuses the francophones had undergone over the last thirty years.

Despite everything, Mr. Anders recognized that francophones have the right to be be served in their language when they receive services from the municipality. He reaffirmed his opposition to the bilingualism policy which, according to him, will oblige all the City of Ottawa employees to be bilingual by 2009. "the word democracy means government by the majority [... ] what they are trying to do here, it is to impose the will of the francophone minority on the anglophone majority."

Finally, Mr. Anders affirmed that he represented "all English Canadians" in this battle, while refusing to precisely indicate the number of members of CLF. "You do not represent the majority", retorted Mr. Poirier, referring to the sympathizers of francophones outside Quebec.

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Tuesday, October 12, 2004 3:58 PM
Subject: CJRC


Just got back from that foreign land across the river.

The time goes so fast. Although they don't have as many interruptions as CFRA, nor as long, the hour is up before much gets said.

Nevertheless, the Pit Bull was rather meek. I got more said than he did and I easily countered his arguments.

My first intervention was to speak to the writer of a letter in Le Droit who attacked me personally by saying that I knew nothing of Quebec and Quebeckers and that I should stay out of Quebec.

My comment was that his remarks were based on ignorance since he wrote without knowing the facts. That is ignorance. Then I told them of my origins and where I had lived, but when I mentioned that I had lived in Aylmer, the host tried to discount that as not valid because of the predominantly Anglo Canadian population.

"That is irrelevant ", I said. "It is in Quebec". He conceded , "You are right", he said. "It is indeed in Quebec".

"Since the bilingualism policy has been in place for more than thirty years and working very well for everyone", I asked him, "Why do you feel the need to have it entrenched into provincial law?"

So that no one in the future can ever take those rights away from us, he said. ( Kim's comments: coming from Quebec, he's got a nerve!! They've taken away more rights from the Anglophones than we have ever taken from them).

"Have there been any injustices in the past thirty years?", I asked.

"Well, historically, it has been shown that .... as was the case back in 17......"

"Hold it", I said, "We are living in 2004, not 1704. Are there any injustices now, today?"

He was lost for words.

"CLF is not denying any rights to the French. We are asking that the issue be discussed so that the people have a say in the matter. What amazes me is the way people mention the word "Democracy" without having a clue as to what it means, like the last caller. Do you know the definition of democracy", I asked.

The host said it is government by the people.

"YES", I said, "It is government by the people but more important, it is the rule of the majority, not the minority. Every elected person at all levels in this area were elected by a minority of electors For instance, Madeleine Meilleur was elected by about 25% of the eligible voters and the others did not fare much better. That is not government by the majority!! Unfortunately, the system we have in place allows this to happen, then they portend to represent all the people. They do not. Such a decision should not be left to twenty or so people. The People should decide".

The first caller, by the way, a very French caller, was on my side, saying that this whole issue of bilingualism was wrong and responsible for the chasms and the split among the people.

The radio host cut him off in mid sentence, but I cut the radio host off by telling him to let the caller speak, that he has the right to express his opinion. So he let him speak.

Another caller claimed that he once was a separatist but that he had since changed his mind and become a nationalist (they are the same to me) but that after listening to me he was again a separatist and that he will do whatever has to be done to separate from Canada and kick the Anglos out.

I asked him if I was responsible for him becoming a separatist again and he said yes, I was. So I said, "Good. We will help you pack your bags".

During the show I mentioned that we were not against bilingualism, contrary to the propaganda out there, but I did not get much of a chance to elaborate. I guess they did not want me to show a sympathetic side to the plight of the poor trodden Francos. (what trodden Francos? The Anglos are the ones who are being trod upon).

We also covered the matter of Francophone and Anglophone again and I elaborated that even though it was in the dictionary (the host had brought one to show me wrong) it was a recent acceptance into the French dictionary and it was indeed an invention of the separatist. They are not legitimate words; otherwise there would also be words to cover all the other linguistic groups such as germaphone, russaphone, spanophone, and all the others. And the host added: yes and chinaphone, etc. (He understood my point, but I am not sure that anyone else did)

Exactly, I said. That is why I am neither Anglophone nor Francophone, or telephone, or saxophone. I am Canadian, period. (Bravo!!)

This was a radio show, but the TV cameras were there also, and a reporter from Le Droit. They taped almost the entire show, and then interviewed both Poirier and me (separately) after the show. It was the same TV crew and the bearded reporter that was at the press conference. Aside from covering the same questions that were covered at the press conference, the bearded guy wanted to know how many members we have, and how much money we have to defend this case.

First, I told him that I was not at liberty to give him such information since I am not on the BOD and was not privy to such information, but that the membership was in the thousands. I could venture a guess but if I were wrong by whatever number I could then be accused of lying or at best not
know what I am talking about. As for the amount of money in the legal defence kitty, I did not know but even if I did I would not tell him since it is none of his business. (Excellent response!!)

I was asked if we had French members in our association. I said definitely. We have members and supporters in Quebec, French and English. We have French supporters in Ontario.

"Can you show us some proof ", he asked, "because otherwise we'll just say that you are making it up? "

Luckily I had brought a pile of letters and emails with me that I received over the weekend. It took me a while, but I found two from French supporters, one of which had appeared in the Citizen. They were convinced. (I can give you more for the next time).

There was more said but I can't remember it all; however, when I got home there was a message from French Rogers Cable TV. They want to do a show with me as the main guest. I asked what the format was and I was told that there would be other guests there for a debate on the bilingualism issue. "Who are the other guests" , I asked. "We don't know yet. You are the principle guest and the producer wanted to know if you were available on ... (and they gave me some dates). I picked the 25 of October. If you need to know who the other guests are, we can let you know". "Yes", I said. "I would like to know who will be there so I can decide which boxing gloves to wear".

So that's it for now. More radio, more TV, more newspaper. But, there is still nothing from the English media. They are so chicken, gutless. They don't want to touch this with a ten-foot boom mike.



Post ID: 28806 16-10-04 23:29:18
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