Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Languages shmanguages

Today in Harper government infractions: "Ottawa blâmé par le commissaire aux langues officielles."
Le gouvernement Harper n'a pas respecté la Loi sur les langues officielles en nommant l'anglophone unilingue Michael Ferguson au poste névralgique de vérificateur général, révèle un rapport du commissaire aux langues officielles obtenu en exclusivité par La Presse.

«Le Bureau du Conseil privé du Canada [qui a recommandé le candidat] n'a pas respecté ses obligations en vertu de la Loi», écrit le commissaire dans un rapport préliminaire d'enquête sévère, daté du 30 avril.
Meaning, really, that this one is placed at the doorstep of Mr. Harper.

Ferguson has done a heck of a job on the F-35 file and there's every reason to believe he's going to continue to do so with the rest of his duties as Auditor General going forward. That still doesn't make up for the fact that he isn't able to communicate proficiently with French speaking Canadians, something they are entitled to expect from one of the most important officers of Parliament. They could have found a Ferguson who spoke French.

Harper has made a point of speaking French first at foreign press conferences, he has been conscious of the importance of leading government figures being bilingual. It makes it all the more incomprehensible that this Ferguson appointment was made in the first place.

This is a rap on the knuckles, a significant one, with a recommendation for the future that language requirements be taken into account. Ultimately though, that depends on the person(s) taking those things into account.