I’ve been watching/reading with so much pride, the peaceful Franco-Ontarians demonstrations across the country! So many people don’t consider me French-Canadian, but look at my name for Heaven’s sake! Only a French person would give a child this name. The fact that I no longer (yes – no longer) speak French is exactly why the rights of French-Canadians MUST be protected.
I know there are many people (usually non-French speaking) who don’t understand, so I’ll explain what formed my beliefs in two ways:
- The official languages of Canada are English and French, which “have equality of status and equal rights and privileges as to their use in all institutions of the Parliament and Government of Canada,” according to Canada’s constitution.
It doesn’t matter if you agree with it or not – this is different from a law to protect the language. Laws can be repealed. This is part of the Constitution – we are a bilingual country, French and English. No sitting government has the right to amend the constitution and we should not stand quietly by just because you didn’t agree with it anyway. Next time it may be YOUR rights; and you will have already opened the door and set precedence. When the constitutional agreement was made, there were promises to protect the language. We, as a society, should never go back on our promises. A deal is a deal, even if in the future we decide we no longer like the deal. If I sell my house for $500,000 and in ten years it’s worth $700,000, I can’t go back and say, that didn’t work out the way I expected, I want a new deal and more money. The only time a deal can be changed is if BOTH parties agree to change it.
- There’s a benefit to being a bilingual country. Not everyone learns every official language, but those who do greatly benefit. Learning French for example, opens the door to all of the Latin based languages, such as Spanish, Italian, Portuguese.
Here are some other multilingual countries:
- In Austria, the official languages are German, Slovene (official in Carinthia), Croatian and Hungarian (official in Burgenland)
- In Finland, both Finnish and Swedish are taught
- In Belgium, Dutch, French, and German are taught
My biological father was from Thedford Mines, Quebec. My biological mother was from Cochrane, Ontario. The Chartrand family who raised me is all throughout Northern Ontario – branching out of New Liskeard, Ontario. My foster mother was born in Hearst, Ontario.
There’s a feeling that comes over me whenever I drive north. I was born in Toronto so it isn’t a call back to my birthplace. I told a friend about it once and she said “Because it’s in your blood.” And I realized it must be so because whenever I’m driving north and I see the granite walls that line the highway, I am filled with awe. I see the landscape before me – majestic and beautiful. The mist over the treetops is more beautiful than any photograph could ever capture; the snow tipped trees – a white sparkling wonderland and the pristine, blue lakes, more breathtaking than a postcard. I drive through it all and I am filled with peace.
The people there speak French and their rights matter.
I sincerely hope that at least one person finds something in what I’ve written that compels them to stand with all French-Ontarians and all Canadians, to protect our Constitutional rights.
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