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Why we boycotted the AG vote

Posted by Bob Rae on November 3, 2011 | 76 Comments

How can an Auditor General — who’s job it is to protect Canadian tax payers — do his job effectively if he does not speak French?

And how can this government — that initially stated bilingualism was a requirement for the job — change the rules on Canadians at the 11th hour just to get their way? Liberals agree: they cannot.

That’s why this morning, Liberal MPs boycotted the House of Commons vote on the appointment of Michael Ferguson, a unilingual anglophone, as Canada’s Auditor General.

If you, like us, feel that the government must find a new, qualified, bilingual candidate, and must follow due process in making that appointment, please stand with us by sharing a comment below. And stand by for further news about how to challenge the Harper government.

I also invite you to read the letter I sent Stephen Harper today.

- Bob Rae

Dear Prime Minister Harper:

When you advised me of the appointment of Mr. Michael Ferguson as Canada’s Auditor General, you asked for my opinion, as is required by legislation and parliamentary practice.

In your letter you did not indicate that the candidate did not meet the government’s own written requirement that the successful applicant must have command of both of Canada’s two official languages. The government broke its own criteria.

I am writing today to ask you formally to not hold a vote on Mr Ferguson’s candidacy later today, and to start a new process to find a qualified, bilingual candidate.

A process that states there are basic qualifications, and then ignores those qualifications, is a breach of the fundamental rules of natural justice.

It is impossible for us to accept the ritually re-stated comment that the “best candidate” was successful.

Sincerely,

- The Honourable Bob Rae, P.C., O.C., M.P.

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  1. Avatar of Jennifer Ross Jennifer Ross said on

    Quite right, Judith. And speaking of standing up for principles, again our value of inclusiveness, I’d like to thank Bob Rae for his point of order with respect to allowing the Bloc and Green, whether official parties or not, to rise with a few words honouring our veterans. Inclusiveness is important to me, and your immediate leadership here is much appreciated.

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    • Avatar of Judith Lindsay Kellock Judith Lindsay Kellock said on

      And your comment to me is much appreciated!

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  2. Avatar of Perry Keller Perry Keller said on

    I wish the Party would make it easier for people to vote for them. This move will confirm to many that the Party has no intention of recognizing the wisdom, learning, commonsense, fairness, good works, judgement, perception, impartiality, objectivity, open-mindedness, perseverance, and independence of a candidate who was not raised in a bilingual enviroment, and who pursued other academic ends than learning a second language during their post-secondary schooling.
    Those onside with most other parts of the Party platform find their stomachs turn with these elitist and alienating moves. I’d much rather see unilingual english and french speakers (and bi-lingual candidates too) be considered on worthy merits OTHER than whether they can make speeches in two languages. The machinery is well in place (of course) to provide all necessary language needs of the office. And that goes beyond french and english.
    As an organization that bills itself as inclusive, we sure seems to work hard to defy that label. Let’s find actual relevant issues to fight.

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  3. Avatar of henderk henderk said on

    Sorry Perry, Your argument doesn’t hold water. Language proficiency was a stated requirement for the position; language training was a necessary part of the training for anyone aspiring to the post. As for opportunity for this particular candidate to acquire French proficiency, he was, according to the press, a senior civil servant in Canada’s only officially bilingual province for 11 years. Surely if he lived in a unilingual environment, it was by choice. In any event, why not reopen the competition with the language requirement downgraded if that’t what we want, and see if, as he well might, Mr. Ferguson comes out on top of the field, which this time will include unilingual candidates.
    As for reasons to vote for a party, is not adherance to principle and fairness not a good one?

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  4. Avatar of Perry Keller Perry Keller said on

    You’re right about New Brunswick not being the best province to use as an example when asserting that unilingual speakers should have full rights in the federation. However, it’s amazing he was/is able to perform the job of auditor general and deputy minister of finance so well in Canada’s only bi-lingual province. Hmmmm.

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    • Avatar of Judith Lindsay Kellock Judith Lindsay Kellock said on

      Not sure I meant to say that, but of course you are right, Perry. I was thinking hypothetically, which in this case, when the guy obviously proved his ability … was pretty absurd.

      New Brunswick is a rarity in the federation, an officially bilingual province (former premier Richard Hatfield), a Conservative).

      Not many people seem to remember that Quebec is a unilingual French province.

      Anyway, thanks for setting me straight!

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  5. Avatar of jacques lee jacques lee said on

    it is clear that harper want to bulid a canada without french canadian and quebecois,he just stand the english canadian

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    • Avatar of Hugh Ferguson Hugh Ferguson said on

      And for all those who think that this is paranoid, consider this: On the CBC shortly after the election, the At Issue panel was asked the most unreported story of the election. The answer: That for each party other than the CPC, they either went consistently up or consistently down in both English and French Canada. The exception was the CPC which went up in English Canada and way down in Quebec. We now have a majority government with very little representation in Quebec, and very little reason to care whether Quebec stays or goes. In fact, if Quebec were to leave, it would strengthen the position of the CPC in the rest of Canada. virtually shutting out the centre and centre-left.

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  6. Avatar of Robert Halter Robert Halter said on

    Mr Fred Johnson….. The Liberal Caucus protested the AG appointment because the Candidate the Prime Minister appointed wasn’t bilingual.Period.

    It seems a pretty good number of people in are in favour of the stance they took as well. Since you can’t seem to get your head around the reason for that. Maybe it isn’t our problem. It’s yours.

    Perhaps your tactics would be more effective if you didn’t reveal your intentions so much.

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  7. Avatar of Perry Keller Perry Keller said on

    Don’t make me defend Harper, just don’t make such inane arguments. I spent a year in Quebec (many years ago) enjoying the great nightlife, food, crazy autumn colours, and trying to improve my very limited Saskatchewanian french. Sweeping statements against “les anglais” and their ignorance of Quebec were rampant, except amongst those Quebecers who had actually spent some time outside of the province and magically found that everyone wasn’t covered with a Warhol tomato soup can label. Also that we (the R.o.C.) didn’t obsess about Quebec and its ‘special place’ in the country. Maybe they even found out that an anglais from the maritimes was pretty different from an anglais from the west. We won’t even bring Toronto into the discussion…
    Many Quebecers will slag any leader that doesn’t come from la belle province, but even when the country holds it nose to vote for another leader from Quebec (I’m thinking of Chretien here) Quebecers hate the man because he’s seen as a patsy to the English – there’s no winning. Now there may be no winning because of continued whining.
    This is not an issue of substance – it’s petty, and is recognized as such by any open-eyed observer.
    The NDP has momentum now, but that will be swinging back as they go about shooting themselves in the foot using the gun they borrowed from the Libs.
    To catch on with the populace again, how about some issues of substance? That would be refreshing. How about leading the call on the inquiry of rampant fraud and corruption (or rather ‘the normal way of doing business’) in Quebec’s construction industry? How about leading the call for answers from the Department of Fisheries into silencing their own scientists (over decades), now revealed through the Cohen Commission looking into the Fraser River salmon populations. How about leading the call for new ideas to reduce waiting lists for medical professionals without increasing budgets? There’s no end of issues to work on.

    And for those saying walking out to protest this appointment is a “values-driven” decision, you better really think about just what values are at the heart of the matter because being open and accessible and respectful of those with great skills other than bilingual tongues, which is a sizeable majority of the population.

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  8. Avatar of Perry Keller Perry Keller said on

    Don’t make me defend Harper, just don’t make such inane arguments. I spent a year in Quebec (many years ago) enjoying the great nightlife, food, crazy autumn colours, and trying to improve my very limited Saskatchewanian french. Sweeping statements against “les anglais” and their ignorance of Quebec were rampant, except amongst those Quebecers who had actually spent some time outside of the province and magically found that everyone wasn’t covered with a Warhol tomato soup can label. Also that we (the R.o.C.) didn’t obsess about Quebec and its ‘special place’ in the country. Maybe they even found out that an anglais from the maritimes was pretty different from an anglais from the west. We won’t even bring Toronto into the discussion…
    Many Quebecers will slag any leader that doesn’t come from la belle province, but even when the country holds it nose to vote for another leader from Quebec (I’m thinking of Chretien here) Quebecers hate the man because he’s seen as a patsy to the English – there’s no winning. Now there may be no winning because of continued whining.
    This is not an issue of substance – it’s petty, and is recognized as such by any open-eyed observer.
    The NDP has momentum now, but that will be swinging back as they go about shooting themselves in the foot using the gun they borrowed from the Libs.
    To catch on with the populace again, how about some issues of substance? That would be refreshing. How about leading the call on the inquiry of rampant fraud and corruption (or rather ‘the normal way of doing business’) in Quebec’s construction industry? How about leading the call for answers from the Department of Fisheries into silencing their own scientists (over decades), now revealed through the Cohen Commission looking into the Fraser River salmon populations. How about leading the call for new ideas to reduce waiting lists for medical professionals without increasing budgets? There’s no end of issues to work on.

    And for those saying walking out to protest this appointment is a “values-driven” decision, you better really think about just what values are at the heart of the matter because being open and accessible and respectful of those with great skills other than bilingual tongues – which is a sizeable majority of the population – aren’t the values at play here.

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    • Avatar of Hugh Ferguson Hugh Ferguson said on

      The issues you raise are all excellent issues that the LPC should hammer the government about. I believe they will. Perhaps any Liberal MPs could chime in on some of Mr. Keller’s good points, particularly about the scientists both at Environment Canada, and elsewhere in the government. The vote last week in the HoC was about the AG appointment, so that was the focus last week.

      Now I’ve been reading the various press releases here about the various criticisms that the LPC has leveled both in and out of the house of commons. How many of them actually got any air time in the MSM? Very few. The MSM manipulates the agenda by not reporting. If a stunt like this gets us back on the public’s radar, then so be it. For once, the press was forced to acknowledge that the LPC exists. Hopefully when the crime omnibus bill comes up for debate, the LPC will get more airtime, but I’m sure that between the CPC and the MSM, the amount of airtime the LPC will get will be virtually non-existent.

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  9. Avatar of Robert Halter Robert Halter said on

    My apologies again people.This is the second time this has happened now. My server won’t post my comment the first time, but certainly does the second time. Twice.

    Perhaps someone of the site could be so kind to delete one?

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  10. Avatar of Fred Johnson Fred Johnson said on

    Mr. Halter.

    From this blog, I have to agree, the people here are in favour of the tantrum exhibited by Mr. Rae and his 33 followers.

    There are nearly 2,500 comments at The Globe and Mail in regards to the “storming out” (Globes words) of the entire liberal caucus.

    Be forewarned, you may find a large majority of the views of all Canadians somewhat disturbing.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-notebook/liberals-storm-out-of-house-vote-on-unilingual-auditor-general/article2223983/comments/

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    • Avatar of Hugh Ferguson Hugh Ferguson said on

      If you look at the choice of words in this article, you will see the very subtle bias built into every single Globe and Mail article. Once again, when the LPC takes a stand, they use language like ‘storms out of the house’ as opposed to ‘walked out of the house’. It is very subtle but it works at a subconscious level (any less subtle, and you have SUN Media). By being subtle in the bias, they can create the impression they want without anyone being the wiser. For the past 5 years, I have been watching the way the Globe reports on Canadian politics, and they invariably repeat the CPC talking points, then maybe add a sentence or two about the opposition criticism. They use terms like ‘whined about’ instead of ‘decisively pointed out’, and went out of their way to make it seem like any bending of the rules (i.e. how much will prisons REALLY cost, what are our soldiers doing with POWs, why are we denying funding to certain faith-based groups but not others) was no big deal. Because the press tells us it’s no big deal, the majority of Canadians believe it to be so.

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  11. Avatar of Fred Johnson Fred Johnson said on

    Mr. Halter.

    The problem seems to be with the website server. There are times when it says “too much traffic” as well as “Posting too fast”.

    Computer glitches which become somewhat annoying but not a reflection of the prowess of the poster.

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  12. Avatar of Robert Halter Robert Halter said on

    Mr Perry Keller……I think you should defend Harper.

    I grew up in a Saskatchewan town on the Alberta Saskatchewan border and I recognize Conservative propaganda when I hear. Don’t get me wrong I’m not accusing you of being one , but you certainly have bought into indoctrination. However Yours is from the first wave of Conservatives not the Reform ones. Which is intriguing.

    I joined the Liberals way back in the early 70s when the work to Make Trudeau a buzz word to mean something from the barn was well into flight. My experience was if you had balls enough to get a discussion going that wasn’t entirely based on hearsay. Most of the people I spoke to from Saskatchewan and Alberta were not only able to separate the fact from the fiction, but point out how easy it was to miss the boat by getting caught up in it.

    What was happening then is still happening today, but now that there are no longer any Liberals out there to call a spade a spade. When it comes to letting the little be heard. You need a lot more than the Western equivalent of Warhol tomato can label capture any ones attention.

    I became a Liberal because I believed in the peoples desire to expect accountability, sensibility and Justice from their elected representatives and though I’ve been absent for many years. They are the same reason I’m rejoining the Liberal fray today.I am still from Western Canada and there is no region in this Country that needs a grass roots resurgence of Liberalism more than here.

    Am I being at all realistic about the chances of making any headway? Who cares. Its my home and there’s a few giants out there that should not ought to be there. That are keeping people from living sensible lives through the fabrication of fear.

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  13. Avatar of Robert Halter Robert Halter said on

    Fred….actually earlier this year I had an elderly lady give me a very good lessen on the level of deception that’s being used by much of the mainstream media to manipulate us into believing what just isn’t true. So, today I take most of what I hear from them with a pretty big truck load of salt. To try to keep my wounds disinfected.

    Now I put more faith in the cyber world. That way at least I’m able to determine degree of truth by the level of toxicity. You ought to try it. It’s more accurate than you think. You need to have an acid test that you know works though, but once you do. You get an interesting look at the big picture.

    Of course I’m not saying that the mainstream media doesn’t have a profound effect on the populous, but at least one gets to realize what their up to.

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  14. Avatar of Robert Halter Robert Halter said on

    Fred….actually earlier this year I had an elderly lady give me a very good lessen on the level of deception that’s being used by much of the mainstream media to manipulate us into believing what just isn’t true. So, today I take most of what I hear from them with a pretty big truck load of salt. To try to keep my wounds disinfected.

    Now I put more faith in the cyber world. That way at least I’m able to determine degree of truth by the level of toxicity. You ought to try it. It’s more accurate than you think. You need to have an acid test that you know works though, but once you do. You get an interesting look at the big picture.

    Of course I’m not saying that the mainstream media doesn’t have a profound effect on the populous, but at least one gets to realize what their up to.

    Hey I checked out the link. Its exactly what I’m talking about. Now acid test it with where its coming from. The Globe and Mail has a corporate head. An editor that’s hired on the bases of the mandate they for the company’s employees. Disregard what is, what would you expect to be there. With this tally up the for and against numbers, remembering the level of toxicity. If that level is too high in too many comments You know someone is on a mission to muddy the waters.

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  15. Avatar of Robert Halter Robert Halter said on

    Sorry everybody I forgot to say what I came here today to say.

    I believe that the walk out by the Liberal MPs was bang on. Because actions always speak louder that words.

    Look at the occupy movement. Even though the mainstream movement is saying everything they can to belittle them. It doesn’t matter where you go they are the talk of the town. And many people you talk to seem to be wise to the media are trying to contain their contribution to freedom.

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  16. Avatar of Fred Johnson Fred Johnson said on

    Looks like a good time to bring up the ostrich analogy.

    The mainstream press has had an agenda for years to try to discredit the right wing. Fortunately the populous has been able to separate the innuendo from the truth.

    This ability has enabled our country to be largely spared the economic collapse which has gone global. To his credit, former Finance Minister Martin should be lauded for setting Canada on a path where many of the current damaging effects of the fallout have been avoided.

    In Mr. Martin’s case, he probably would have made a better leader of our country than which history will give him credit. Unfortunately the taint of his predecessor and the scandals which surrounded that governance played out on Mr. Martin’s watch.

    Once again, I digress from what the masses regard as the overriding factor in the selection of the next AG that there must be more steak than sizzle when it come to the watchdog for the Canadian taxpayer. When the outgoing AG has seconded the selection of Mr. Ferguson as a credible candidate and the previous experience of the man has indicated that he is more than qualified form the position, then the right person has been selected to perform the job.

    At the peril of the resurgence of the liberal party, the head in the sand approach can be maintained whereas the “natural governing party” can maintain the status quo and carry on as they have for decades or, the current leader can sit and read the nearly 2500 comments from ordinary Canadians. He will quickly see that the tired ways of the liberal party now ring very hollow within the masses of the electorate of our country.

    Mr. Rae could also read this blog and sit back and think everything is just fine and the he shall maintain the current momentum of the liberal party onward and upward.

    The liberal party will once again have the ability to govern in this country, one of the joys of democracy. Should they decide to “storm out” of the house on a whim to enable a few headlines that transition may be some time in the future.

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    • Avatar of Hugh Ferguson Hugh Ferguson said on

      The fact that you think that the mainstream media had a mission to discredit the right demonstrates that you are definitely a partisan on the right of the political spectrum. The facts of creeping corporatization of our media speak to the contrary. Every newspaper, TV station, and radio station is owned by one of about 4 or 5 companies in this country. The lone exception being the CBC. Why corporations would discredit the right would be the classic biting the hand that feeds.

      But back to the original topic. Perhaps Canadians don’t care about official bilingualism. If so, then our country is set for a break-up, but that’s another lament. The simple fact is that parliament has rules. The Liberal party has been all about respecting those rules. Those rules act as a check and balance against a majority government. Consider this. If the governing party today chooses to ignore the existing rules on official bilingualism, what do you think is going to stop them from ignoring the rules on accountancy. If you disrespect one rule, where do you draw the line?

      Many Liberals support the current position of the LPC and the current actions regarding the AG appointment because if we cannot hold this government to the existing rules, we might as well stay home and concede that the CPC can do whatever it wants.

      For those Conservative partisans that point out that they won a majority, that doesn’t mean you don’t hold the government to account. Conservatives seem to interpret this majority as a ringing endorsement to do *whatever* they want and to not let rules get in the way. And because they didn’t win a simple majority of the popular vote, the opposition is duty bound to defend the interests of those who didn’t vote Conservative.

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  17. Avatar of jacques lee jacques lee said on

    yes ,we must stop Harper,Harper belive that he is the ruler of canada.Harper is the most dangerous people to canada because he has too much power without restrict,he is a dictator of canada,he just serve for Alberta and the Oil industry of Alberta,he can not serve for all of the canadian and les canadienne.we should stop Harper!!

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  18. Avatar of Jim Wallace Jim Wallace said on

    I have read Sheila Fraser’s comments regarding Michael Ferguson and while she does speak favorably about the Deputy Finance Minister from New Brunswick’s abilities she does say it would be preferable for him to be able to speak French. I imagine the Consrvatives just forgot to mention that when they were preparing their talking points. I also have to ask does anyone know if every Conservative who says that the right person was selected to do the job will get a Christmas card from Stephen Harper? Just asking.

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  19. Avatar of Fred Johnson Fred Johnson said on

    Of course the media has an agenda. Advertising between the pages dictates the tone of the reporting, did I mention ostriches?

    If you believe that the media doesn’t try to carry the vote then you haven’t been paying attention for decades.

    Trudeaumania continued on due to one photo from a stop in North Bay in 1974. Are you familiar with this photo?

    http://iconicphotos.wordpress.com/2009/08/15/robert-stanfield-fumbles/

    Just how does John Baird come across in the national media?

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-notebook/tories-stress-canadas-fiscal-strength-despite-devastating-job-losses/article2225897/

    What about the leftist Toronto Star and their portrayal of Mayor Rob Ford?

    http://thestar.blogs.com/thegoods/2011/09/photo-evidence-mayor-rob-ford-on-the-subway.html

    Thank goodness that they offer a complete sports section because the paper wouldn’t be suitable for the bird cage if Damien Cox wasn’t there to provide his view of Leaf’s Nation.

    At the complete other end of the spectrum below the 49th parallel would be FOX News.

    I don’t believe very much of what is regurgitated from that “source”.

    Agenda’s come in all colours. It’s up to the reader to sort through the garbage and make an informed decision.

    And then there is the CBC……..

    On the receiving end of over $1 Billion in taxpayers money, it is no secret that the leftist agenda within the CBC is ingrained and long standing. Knowing full well as to the lean of the biased reporting makes listening and watching tolerable, if not somewhat frustrating.

    Nearly 20 years ago, my dear departed Grandfather so rightly pointed out to me how the biased reporting is so prevalent in mainstream news.

    Does anyone recall the McKenna Brothers series “The Valour and the Horror” produced by no other than the taxpayer funded CBC?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Valour_and_the_Horror

    From their comfortable positions, the McKenna’s chose to point out the flaws of Bomber Command’s decisions as well as conducting character assassinations of our Veteran’s, my Grandfather’s squadron included.

    That must have been an easy job, dissecting crucial decisions being made under duress when you can analyze the events 45 years later and present your argument with the protection of the Crown Corporation which was on the same page.

    Pick and choose what you want, but away from this blog with its engaging debate, agenda’s are a way of life when dealing with any type of media.

    Fast forwarding, as mentioned before, the public is tired of the grandstanding and a majority want the best person in place for any job. This runs true for the private sector as well as the public sector.

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  20. Avatar of Fred Johnson Fred Johnson said on

    Mr. Ferguson has indicated his willingness to attempt to master Canada’s other Official language. What more can be asked of him?

    Regarding Christmas cards or for the more politically correct, Holiday Greetings. I’m pretty sure that I won’t be getting a personalized card from our Prime Minister. I’m also sure that he won’t be coming by my backyard rink for a game of shinny and a couple of cold beers.

    As much as it would be enjoyable, there is very little chance of it happening.

    The gracious CBC will most likely allow him to provide a non partisan greeting to all Canadian’s, in both official languages!

    I don’t need to have a personal relationship in order to see good governance. Those on the “left” side refer to the current Prime Minister as a “dictator”, “over controlling”, ECT. Personally I consider it strong leadership with a defined purpose. For the past 5 years, that leadership has been shown. Three elections have shown that the public agree with my thoughts.

    Some would prefer leadership by committee. Continental Europe has tried that for decades, the results are now headlines in our “biased” newspapers.

    Getting back to Christmas Cards, or if you prefer Holiday Greetings. I do know that I will be getting a Christmas card from my current MP. I’m pretty sure it won’t be on the mantle with the others our family will receive. That would be the same current liberal MP who bought himself a cabinet seat in the Martin government so many years ago.

    These days, my MP is currently seated a long way from the “power row” in the HOC, and will be for some time to the detriment of the constituents whom he professes to represent.

    He is actually seated very close to Ms. May and not far from the translator booth which, getting back to our initial point of debate, will be frequently used by the new appointed Auditor General, Mr. Ferguson.

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    • Avatar of Jim Wallace Jim Wallace said on

      The MP that represents your riding is lucky. By all accounts Ms. May is a very nice person. I wonder who has to sit next to John Baird.

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    • Avatar of Judith Lindsay Kellock Judith Lindsay Kellock said on

      Excellent question: re: Mr. Ferguson promises to learn French …there are a number of issues in Canada’s official language legislation. It is not as simple as taking French lessons, as a bilingual requirement was stipulated for all candidates. Like it or not, biligualism in our country is based on the notion of two founding peoples: “English” and “French” You could argue this premise was faulty. However, this is what was decided. Legislation was intended to embrace two distinct cultures, and two, possibly divergent, points of view.

      In other words, a person appointed to an officially bilingual position, would not only speak French and English, but understand the heritage and culture and expression of both language groups (Official Languages Act, 1969). There have been many discussions since. You can observe, skirt or even defy the letter of the law, but you would have to consider breaking the spirit of the law. At the time the B and B commission was studying the language question (1965-6), they considered the definition of the Merit Principle, some researchers concluding that bilingualism was a merit in being considered for a position. Ten years ago, bilingual federal public servants were given a “bilingualism bonus” if they spoke, wrote and understood whatever second official language they knew. Before the introduction of the language laws, commissioners studied several other jurisdictions, including Switzerland, which at that time, had three official languages, I believe: French, German and Romanche.

      It may be time for further discussion on official languages … but until such time, IMHO,the government has contravened the spirit of the law. It remains with Mr. Graham Fraser to decide if it has broken the letter of it.

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  21. Avatar of Fred Johnson Fred Johnson said on

    Ms. Kellock.

    After reading your statement, with all sincerity I now know more about the Official Languages Act than before opening your post. Thank you for the insight.

    I would think that if a timeline was followed since the Act became law, there are many instances where person’s appointed to federal positions deemed bilingual would have a great deal of difficulty mastering the letter of the law.

    “a person appointed to an officially bilingual position, would not only speak French and English, but understand the heritage and culture and expression of both language groups (Official Languages Act, 1969)”.

    To pardon the pun, quite a mouthful!

    It would be a mammoth project to dissect each and every appointment since 1969 to see if the law has been followed. Mr. Fraser will have the chance, if it is deemed that Mr. Ferguson, even though deemed the most suitable candidate buy the highly respected outgoing AG can not perform his duties due to his current inability to be completely fluent in both official languages, then the search will start again.

    This crisis will die a natural death in Ottawa. It’s lifespan as a newsworthy item may last all the way until next Friday. For the sake of Mr. Rae and his caucus, there will soon be a manufactured crisis where they once again may be able to garner headlines for a brief moment.

    The idiosyncrasy of language makes it very hard to understand both let alone completely master either.

    From the beloved CBC, our tax dollars hard at work.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhIKJ3TmbZY&feature=related

    Not to be outdone, the private broadcaster also shows some pitfalls regarding in being at total ease in both of the official languages.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrliDQs1Jps

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    • Avatar of Judith Lindsay Kellock Judith Lindsay Kellock said on

      Perhaps we could trade notes at the end of 10 years? If I’m spared, as my grandfather used to say …

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  22. Avatar of Steve Hansen Steve Hansen said on

    I hope I can live to see the day when the question asked when a government official is hired is “can he do the job well” instead of “can he speak french?” Before anyone starts complaining, please note that they could hire an interpreter, or he could just take some french lessons so he can speak the required paragraph of french in any of his national speeches. Requiring an AG that speaks french is like hiring an accountant that’s also an expert in trigonometry. Handy, but not necessary. By requiring that government officials be bilingual also reduces the hiring pool into a fish tank (and you wonder why most of our government employees aren’t the cream of the crop). I’m glad that the liberal party stormed off as this issue will hopefully shine a light on our antiquated language laws and hopefully bring up discussion on whether they are really required for Canada as a whole. Sure Canada will probably be forever held hostage by the threat of Quebec “sovereignty”, but is that really enough reason to have the ridiculous language laws and requirements we have in this country?

    By all means, Quebec should have bilingual government workers in that province, but do the rest of the provinces really need to be held back by those constraints for the convenience of the one million francophones living outside Quebec? What happens when the number of Canadians who speak Chinese or Hindi outnumber those that speak French? Will our language laws have to be re-written?

    For those of you who say that the AG is not just an Auditor, but a beacon, nay, a symbol for bilingualism, as a taxpayer, I would simply ask, can he do the job?

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    • Avatar of Ken Cunningham Ken Cunningham said on

      Steve, you need to inform yourself on the reasons why Mr Trudeau insisted on entrenching minority language rights in the constitution. Either Quebec [ and Francophones outside of Quebec] have the right to be served in the language of their choice in this country we call Canada – or they don’t, they go their way and we call our selves something else; cuz it wont be Canada any more that for sure.

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    • Avatar of Judith Lindsay Kellock Judith Lindsay Kellock said on

      Of course he or she should be able to do the job. I most certainly agree with you.Although until a person assumes a position and holds it for some time, we won’t necessarily know if he or she actually can do it. And even then, it can be a matter of opinion, even of political opion.

      As you know, I did not create our language laws. I carried out research for a Royal Commission, and tried to do my absolute best. I don’t intend to re-argue the merit principle. I was merely saying that there are a number of issues re: our language legislation.

      If a new investigation into these were to be opened, there might be more issues, perhaps new issues. Or, given the government’s appointment of the new A-G, language considerations mignt simply disappear for lack of use. What would become of the language communities,is, I suppose, anyone’s guess.

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  23. Avatar of Fred Johnson Fred Johnson said on

    “The MP that represents your riding is lucky. By all accounts Ms. May is a very nice person. I wonder who has to sit next to John Baird.”

    I agree, I believe Ms. May is probably a very nice person. Believe it or not, I even believe her Party has some very good ideas which do make some sense. Not all mind you, but time will allow some of those good ideas to become reality.

    What is also particularly enlightening is that Ms. May’s performance in the last election showed that she now has some political acumen and maturity which allows her to stand on the stage with the rest of the political leaders and have a voice, albeit a very weak voice. Her initial performance in the same theatre did leave much to be desired.

    I have my doubts that my current MP is at all enthralled with his current seating arrangement. His brief period in the limelight has been followed by banishment to the far recesses of the house. Huge egos do bruise rather easy and being in political purgatory must be somewhat frustrating to is desired high profile.

    The unfortunate part about the whole scenario is that it his constituents, the same people who elected him to the HOC in the first place are now the one’s who are now paying the price for his suicidal quest for political power. His short sighted electoral advantage has been on the decline since that fateful decision. Eventually he once again will be a forgotten, former MP with an indexed pension.

    The debate about corruption and betrayal in the HOC could go on for a very long time. I eagerly await that Pandora’s Box to be opened.

    Whoever is seated beside Mr. Baird will indeed get a whole lot of “Facetime” on the national stage as the “biased” press is more than willing to try to portray Mr. Baird in the poorest light possible at every opportunity. Most likely the people assigned to his immediate vicinity will look great if the just smiled and made sure that their best profile was made available to the inevitable camera’s which will be pointed towards Mr. Baird.

    My personal opinion is that the press see’s in Mr. Baird the potential of the future if the Conservative Party. Most likely sharpening their swords early for the eventual attempted character assassination which will follow in due time.

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  24. Avatar of James Elliott James Elliott said on

    I find this whole debate tiresome and badly over-emphasized. Yes, it would be better to have a bilingual Auditor -General, but the bilingual portion of our population is really quite small. I think it much more important that the AG be able to count. Whether he or she can do it in more than one language is much less important. Storming out of the House of Commons was really not a very mature action. The Tories have a majority, does this mean the Liberals are going to boycott Parliament as a general rule?

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  25. Avatar of Christopher Braginetz Christopher Braginetz said on

    Pardon my cynicism, but I believe the new AG was a hand-picked selection. There aren’t many people I know that would apply for a job where a particular language was ‘essential’ without having that qualification.

    Imagine applying for a job in the diplomatic corps where Swedish was essential and you had a minimal knowledge of the language. Would you apply?

    Just think of all the potentially qualified people that did not apply for the job as they were uniligual. That is the real issue.

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    • Avatar of Judith Lindsay Kellock Judith Lindsay Kellock said on

      I have lost the thread. Are you certain I was replying to you? I have just re-read your first post. It seems to me that you are quite right in saying he was hand picked, a priori.
      Beyond that, I cannot follow …

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    • Avatar of James Elliott James Elliott said on

      I really don’t think the AG’s job is the sort one applies for. I think someone creates a shortlist from which the selection is made. Similarly I know of no diplomatic job for wich one formally applies, whether Swedish is required or not. I had a variety of diplomatic jobs and was given whatever language training was necessary.

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      • Avatar of Christopher Braginetz Christopher Braginetz said on

        You didn’t read carefully enough. I wrote that the language requirement was ‘essential’, not something to be provided by the employer at a later date. There’s quite a difference between the two.

        Notice that nowhere did I state that the AG had to be bilingual, but that most people who read job postings that have the word ‘essential’ as a qualification simply don’t apply, whether or not they meet the rest of the ‘essential’ qualifications or not.

        There’s also a difference between the words ‘preferred’ and ‘essential’.

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        • Avatar of James Elliott James Elliott said on

          You missed my point. It was that the AG’s job is not one for which one applies. It is one for which one is selected.

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        • Avatar of James Elliott James Elliott said on

          You missed my point. It was that the AG’s job is not one for which one applies. It is one for which one is selected.

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