Friday, January 20, 2012

Comment Dit-On Tasha Kheridden is a Liberal Elitist?

Outside of the small number of unilingual speakers who are part of the minority in an area and so genuinely need government services in their own language, Official Bilingualism is a project of the New Class -- the caste of manipulators of symbols that includes high-level bureaucrats, some types of lawyers, the media and executives in government-regulated industries. So it is not as much of a surprise as it might be to find that Tasha Kheridden is a staunch defender of Official Bilingualism

Born and brought up in Montreal -- check -- who has worked as Legislative Assistant to the Attorney General of Ontario -- check -- before working as a producer for the CBC -- check.

Consequently Ms.Kheridden mounts a defence of capital-B Bilingualism in the face of the recent Fraser Institute study pegging the costs of Bilingualism at $2.4 billion annually. So what is that defence? Well, people need to be able to deal with same-language government officials when fighting a traffic ticket or asking questions about how to get a passport. Granted. The provision of such services is a minute part of the cost of Official Bilingualism. What else?

while GPS has largely replaced the need to ask for directions, bilingual tourism officers will ensure that a New Brunswicker travelling in Alberta will feel as at home there as back in his native province.
Tourism officers? When is the last time you have found a Tourism Officer handy when you had to ask for directions?
Whitby, Ontario is about as Anglo Canadian as you can get, yet it boasts a huge, brand new French immersion elementary school. The Julie Payette Public School opened in 2011 at capacity: just under 700 students fill its classrooms, including six grade one classes. In an interview, principal Monique de Villers explained that parents choose bilingual education not only to enable their children to travel and work within Canada, but to prepare them to be “citizens of the wider world… Learning another language prepares them to talk to others.”
Well of course upper middle class parents are going to want the option of French immersion for their children in a society where you have to speak French to be Prime Minister, a judge of the Supreme Court of Canada (once the Liberals and NDP get back into power), or a senior bureaucrat. It is very much in the interest of the bilingual New class to encourage such white elephants as French immersion, knowing that 90% of Immersion graduates will lose whatever ability they had within a few years of leaving school,and thus never be real competition for jobs with the genuinely bilingual. As for French immersion as a preparation for talking to others -- people living in Whitby, as in most of Ontario, would have to scour the region to find someone who speaks only French to talk to.
Canada’s nationalist concept of bilingualism has morphed into an internationalist concept
I don’t think many of the students entered into French immersion classes are planning to be diplomats or to move to France.
...having two official languages sets our entire country apart on the world stage, allowing it to participate in both the Francophonie and the Commonwealth
So we’d be thrown out of the Francophonie if we dismantled the excesses of Official Bilingualism? I think the presence of Quebec in Canada, and the status of French there, would militate against expelling that.
It [the federal government]should review second language requirements within the public service, to make sure they are all fully necessary, before sending bureaucrats out for pricey language training.
It should, but it won’t. Official Bilingualism has been in place for four decades, and the grip of mandatory French around the throat of English bureaucrats is worse than ever. French proficiency is required for posts in which the language will never be used. The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages acts as a permanent lobby for more Bilingualism, as well seeking every year things outside its jurisdiction to meddle in.

That is the real cost of Bilingualism -- in every part of the civil service, the competent lose out in promotion to the bilingual. As concerned as people are about efficiency in government, there should be more outrage about a programme that systematically discriminates against the competent.

And selection of a prime minister is as a practical matter now restricted to the small pool of bilingual people in Canada. That’s a tremendous cost when you consider how few great leaders a country has, even if it speaks only one language.

All this is a substantial price to pay for the right to try to hunt down a bilingual Tourism Officer when you get lost in Alberta.


Blame Crash said...

Official Bilingualism is Affirmative Action by another name. The only difference is that it’s not designed to benefit the “unfortunates” instead, it’s all about the establishment of a new Government Class Aristocracy that will lock these very same people into unearned positions of power, based on nothing more than this flimsy and self serving pretence.

It’s like socialism that way. It too believes that an individual’s hard work or merit should not determine their status and wealth in society. They want a society where ideology determines these things. Their “ideology” of course.

L said...

As one can see, the number of Francophones in management positions has increased over the years such that in some departments, the language of work is now 80% French. It started to get way out of whack in the mid 1980s when all middle and senior manager positions were designated bilingual, and later when positions that did not really require French were re-classified as a group, rather than having a mix of people who could meet the needs. This makes sense for some departments whose employees mainly serve the public, but other have difficulty (e.g. Transport Canada) finding bilingual talented senior managers, as many pilots and specialists are not among the 17% of Canadians who are bilingual and some have difficulty becoming bilingual at age 50.

The Public Service Employment Act and the Official Bilingualism Act and a few others need to be revised, but good luck on that, politically.