French: don't "preserve" it, use it!
Aren't we tired of being ridiculed and the French language despised? For many federal institutions, ensuring the use of French during office activities in Quebec appears unimportant! To fill management positions, seek first and foremost the most competent people. Chosen mangers do not have to have any knowledge of French but simply pledge to learning it. The urgency is therefore not to protect the French language but attempt to ensure its actual use within the federal institutions physically present in Quebec.
Imagine, even for a brief moment, a bilingual citizen, speaking her native language and French, who undertakes to learn English after her appointment as Governor General of Canada? Or the head office of Air Canada moving to Toronto, with as its CEO, a unilingual but competent French-speaking person, residing in the suburbs of Toronto for the last 14 years, and addressing members of the Toronto Chamber of Commerce in French only!
How can the boards of directors and heads of Air Canada and the CN be so insensitive to the linguistic realities of Quebec? With an unilingual CEO, Air Canada management meetings necessarily take place in English only. It is therefore obviously impossible for any senior manager to work there in French. Nor is it possible to express yourself in French at meetings of CN's Board of Directors and be understood. Yet both these entities have their head office in Quebec. Is the Island of Montreal some kind of free zone where such a work environment is considered acceptable and tolerated?
On March 23, 2022, the Journal de Québec reported that elected officials in Quebec voted unanimously to subject businesses under federal jurisdiction to Bill 101. The measure was adopted as part of the study on the proposed Bill 96, the reform of the Charter of the French language. From now on, air carriers, telecommunications companies, banks and other businesses located in Quebec and under federal jurisdiction will no longer be able to avoid the francization process provided for by Bill 101. It is hoped the bill will actually become law without too many changes and above all, that it will not die on the Order paper.
“Good will” is not enough to ensure a workplace functioning in French. There must be regulations and legislation.
On May 1, Journal de Montréal’s Karine Gagnon stated: “The revised (federal) Official Languages Law does not contain any provision governing the linguistic composition of boards of directors. In these circumstances, an amendment appears unavoidable, but Ottawa is careful not to propose it.”
The indignation brought about by this situation is slow to be really felt, partly because of Quebeckers’ legendary tolerance. Too kind for our language to survive, our quiet assimilation seems destined to continue. Pride demands that we have the courage to speak out against unacceptable situations. That's enough!