Prime Minister, you set the unilingual bar

by Garfield Marks

Prime Minister Trudeau would only answer in French, a question asked in English about finding English services in Quebec for mental health issues.

The Prime Minister would only speak French at a Quebec town hall meeting. He spoke French in all other provinces when a question was asked in French; why not English answers for English questions in Quebec? It reminded me of a time, while travelling in Quebec and stopping at a service station. The staff were talking amongst themselves in English, but when a person came in asking for assistance in English, they pretended they did not understand. They joked about it afterwards in English.

That did not leave a very good impression, and when someone who was elected to represent everyone in Canada refuses to lower himself to the level of an English-speaking Canadian in Quebec, it speaks volumes.

A prime minister has to come to grips with the fact that many Canadians face problems, through no fault of their own, that he was luckily enough to be raised in privilege and never had to face. A person in crisis is not worrying about the language, nationality, gender or age of anyone offering aid. They would like aid.

A mother or father in distress reaches out: please get down off your high horse, stop spouting platitudes, take their hand, and listen, really listen, to their plea. Don’t worry about their language, their age, their gender, or their nationality, just worry about their pain.

I raised my children to be bilingual in Alberta because I believed this was a bilingual country, including Quebec. When our prime minister refuses to answer questions, important questions, in English in Quebec, then do not condemn those who refuse to learn or speak French in the rest of Canada.

Prime minister, you set the bar.

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