I’m not sure if Ontario premier Doug Ford either just doesn’t get it or he does get it and he just doesn’t give a damn.
His decision to abolish the office of the French language commissioner and not to proceed with a new French-language university shows a fundamental lack of understanding about Canada.
The Toronto Star is quite right in calling the move a slap in the face to Ontario francophones.
And in La Presse, columnist Patrick Lagace showed his indignation by writing in English so Ford could understand it.
Lagace is particularly incensed by the relative lack of coverage or outrage by English Canadian media.
He has a point that when the Quebec government overreaches in language issues, there is a hue and cry across the land. He says the fuss over Pastagate is a prime example .
As a minority community we know we have to sometimes fight for tooth and nail for basic rights and services that the majority takes for granted.
In Ontario, the situation for the 600 thousand francophones can be even more precarious.
She Should Know Better
The situation is even more troubling because the minister responsible for all of this is Caroline Mulroney. Yes, the daughter of. Raised in Montreal and perfectly bilingual, she should know better. But says says with a straight face that nothing will change
“What we did in this case is that we did that without having any impact on how we protect french language rights in this province.”
That my friends is a bold faced lie.
She should be embarrassed, all things considered.
The message that this sends across the country is that minority rights really are not that important.
Doug Ford is doing his best to undermine a Canadian pact and is doing a disservice to Canadian unity over really what amounts to a financial drop in the bucket.
As English speaking Quebecers we have a right to be concerned and angry.
Our premier Francois Legault says Quebec must set an example for the respect of minority rights. Let’s see about that.
We must stand on guard always against those who want to tear away at minority rights.
I hope that Doug Ford’s brand of ugly populism will come at a price.
It will indeed come with a legal challenge.
As English-speaking Quebecers know all too well, we always have the courts. For better and for worse.
And finally a word about my friend Randy Tieman.
Randy and I joined CFCF Radio at about the same time , all those years ago , more than 30 years it was. We both went to school in London Ontario, And we both left CTV Montreal, just months apart.
So many wonderful things have said about Randy. Yes they are all true. He was genuine, the real deal, who never betrayed his small town upbringing and the values it brought to him. We were so fortunate to have somewhere like Randy in the crazy and sometimes harsh world of news. He taught us many things such as how to meet life’s challenges with verve and optimism but foremost, he taught us how to be kind and that everyone is important and everyone is facing their own challenges. He always did it with a smile and an unmistakable laugh.
Every day for years, Randy would walk into the newsroom in the afternoon.
It would go something like this:
“How ‘bout them Tigers”
Indeed my friend “How ‘bout them Tigers”
Rest well Randy. You did make a difference.