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Author Topic: Montreal nurses fail French test, lose licences
Gir Draxon
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posted 05 January 2005 12:27 AM      Profile for Gir Draxon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
MONTREAL (CP) - Two nurses at an English hospital have had their licences revoked after failing a written French test even though Quebec faces a nursing shortage.

Now that's priorities for ya!


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ShyViolet
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posted 05 January 2005 12:40 AM      Profile for ShyViolet     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
yeah...that's a little silly!! i mean, when you need nurses, you take what you can get (provided of course, that they are qualified). obviously, no one wants some crazy yahoo administering care to them, but a language barrier isn't something to fire over, imo. you can always learn the language that's needed.
From: ~Love is like pi: natural, irrational, and very important~ | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 05 January 2005 01:24 AM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
That could make a tiny morsel of sense if the nurses didn't work at an English-speaking hospital, or couldn't (in the event of an emergency) speak French.

quote:
Gyslaine Desrosiers, president of the Quebec Order of Nurses, said Tuesday that language laws must override any concerns about the nursing shortage.

Incroyable!


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Papal Bull
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posted 05 January 2005 01:30 AM      Profile for Papal Bull   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
[realized he has nothing to say on topic but "wow"]

[ 05 January 2005: Message edited by: Papal_Bull ]


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Trisha
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posted 05 January 2005 04:24 AM      Profile for Trisha     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
From what I've seen, both nurses speak French well, they failed a written test. Maybe the test itself is a bit too difficult, especially if it involves medical terms. I don't understand why they would have to get such a high score (I don't know what the score is) on written French if they don't have to use it. There could be a condition that they continue to learn as long as they are competent at their jobs.
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lagatta
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posted 05 January 2005 09:21 AM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I presume all of you in the RoC are prepared to deal with medical personnel who don't speak English.

That said, there probably are problems with the test - the important aspect is communication, not how they conjugate their verb tenses.


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Papal Bull
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posted 05 January 2005 09:27 AM      Profile for Papal Bull   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by lagatta:
I presume all of you in the RoC are prepared to deal with medical personnel who don't speak English.

That said, there probably are problems with the test - the important aspect is communication, not how they conjugate their verb tenses.


"MONTREAL (CP) - Two nurses at an English hospital have had their licences revoked after failing a written French test even though Quebec faces a nursing shortage."


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skdadl
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posted 05 January 2005 09:28 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Actually, I do regularly deal with medical and paramedical personnel whose English is minimal. And while it is sometimes work for all of us, I have never thought that the strains of communicating were dangerous. It takes patience and generosity, though, virtues that are sometimes in short supply when people are coping with medical crises.
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Mr. Magoo
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posted 05 January 2005 10:13 AM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I presume all of you in the RoC are prepared to deal with medical personnel who don't speak English.

The article made it clear that they spoke French.

And I'm surprised that you're supporting management/government over these two workers. Do you believe language laws trump their right to a job — one that they can obviously do?


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 05 January 2005 10:41 AM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm not supporting anyone; I don't know enough about the facts of the case yet. You don't expect me to take a single wire service article for cash, now, do you? Obviously the coverage is very different between the anglophone and the francophone press. It will be interesting to read what the unions and professional orders say.

I'm just sick of otherwise progressive people Québec bashing.

Of course I support workers over management - but determining professional competency criteria is not anti-worker. You sure wouldn't hire me as an air traffic controller or a plumber as I'd kill planeloads of people or flood your building, out of ignorance of the job.

Yes, I do think that we have the right to protect the French language here against the steamroller of North American anglophone influence. But we all know that test criteria may not be pertinent to the job at hand. I'd really have to know more about the specifics of this case.


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skdadl
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posted 05 January 2005 10:46 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It is certainly an issue that all Canadians are going to have to think about and adjust to.

If you haven't been in a hospital or other facility lately, you may not be aware, but in some places or kinds of institution, a clear majority of nurses, eg, are now second-language speakers. I've seen a few confrontations; there is scope for some frustration.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 05 January 2005 10:49 AM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
You sure wouldn't hire me as an air traffic controller or a plumber as I'd kill planeloads of people or flood your building, out of ignorance of the job.

In this instance though, it's more like "Would I hire you as an air traffic controller if you couldn't install a toilet"?

And with all due respect, if the story were about two nurses fired to save money because "balancing the budget must override any concerns about the nursing shortage" then I would indeed expect you to take that one article for cash.


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 05 January 2005 10:50 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I was thinking about that too, that many nurses all over Canada are ESL speakers. Almost every nurse I had when I had my baby were ESL speakers, and judging from the speech patterns and heavy accents of a couple of them, I'm not so sure they could pass a written English grammar test. And yet, they provided me with excellent care, and I'm sure they knew all the medical terminology and industry-specific terms they needed to know, and they could speak English well enough to communicate with me just fine, even if not well enough to pass a grammar test.

I wonder whether there is going to be that kind of language bigotry aimed at allophones who are clearly able to do their jobs and communicate in the majority language, but might not be able to pass a written test.

Oh well, I guess that's just two more nurses for the ROC.

[ 05 January 2005: Message edited by: Michelle ]


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 05 January 2005 10:55 AM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I recently accompanied a friend to Montreal General Hospital (one of the "English" hospitals - it is actually bilingual and EXTREMELY multiethnic). Indeed most of the medical staff I saw had neither English nor French as their first language - that is even more the case for paramedical and housekeepng staff, with the exceptions of French and English speakers from the West Indies. My friend doesn't speak English - her first language is Spanish and she also speaks some French. She was at the General as that is the teaching hospital her doctor is attached to.

Yes, determining the LEVEL of linguistic competency required is indeed a problem. I doubt anyone would want to see a doctor or nurse they can't communicate their medical symptoms to or receive detailed instructions from. But it can be discriminatory if, say, people are refused employment for having a foreign accent. Not all adults, even educated professionals, are able to learn a second language perfectly or nearly so.

I suspect my attitude would be very different on a francophone board. I clicked onto the thread and saw nothing but an utter disregard for the feelings and aspirations of Québécois. It pisses me off, as would similar comments about Aboriginal peoples or any minority nation.


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Catchfire
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posted 05 January 2005 10:59 AM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
These nurses had two years to learn enough French to pass the test they knew was coming, despite any questions of adequately appropriate level of test difficulty, the working language of the hospital or how badly the province needs nurses. It was part of a job requirement of which they were well informed, and they did not do the work needed to pass it. I think, if it was the first test, they should at least get a chance at a re-test before being fired, but if the test is appropriate to the level of French required to be a good nurse, administratively as well as hands-on, then they always knew what was coming. Why has no one significantly complained about this test before this incident? Was it fair before this week?
From: On the heather | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 05 January 2005 11:05 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Please. Just because the test got no coverage before this week, or the consequences of such a test weren't known before this week doesn't mean we thought it was fair last week but changed our minds this week.

I'm trying to imagine just how it would go down if, in Ontario, we forced allophone nurses who speak perfectly functional English and are performing their jobs well enough that their supervisors at the hospital in which they work really want to keep them there, were forced out of their careers by some arbitrary rule that says only THIS level of WRITTEN English will do, and that if you can't pass the test, out you go.

We'd likely be screaming about systemic racism. And we'd be right.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 05 January 2005 11:10 AM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
These nurses had two years to learn enough French to pass the test they knew was coming, despite any questions of adequately appropriate level of test difficulty, the working language of the hospital or how badly the province needs nurses.

That cuts both ways. In those same two years, was any patient killed or endangered by the inability of either of these nurses to properly conjugate an imperfect infinitive?


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 05 January 2005 11:12 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Warning: this is still purely anecdotal, as are most of our guesses here about this story, but:

Among the allophones I know, I suspect that the written test would be the easier. Maybe that's not true of all the paramedics, but it is spoken English that is tougher for the nurses I'm thinking of. Their grammar is obviously there, but the accent can be a huge barrier.

Of course these things are widely variable, as anyone who has tried learning another language knows. In part, it depends on how you learned -- in a classroom, or by living somewhere.

But accents are damn hard for many. And that can be a barrier, no doubt.


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Catchfire
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posted 05 January 2005 11:20 AM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It's funny you should mention that, Michelle, because they do. Alberta, BC and Manitoba ask that international nurses whose first language is not English become certified by CELBAN whose four part test includes a written portion. Test administration sites are also going to be established in Ontario, pending approval by the regulatory body. I guess you've got quite a letter writing campaign ahead of you, considering the rampant systemic racism throughout our discriminatory health system.

You also failed to address why these nurses had two years to pass this test that they were well aware of (And that's only two years since they became full nurses. One of the two worked 13 years before that as a nurse's aide, where passing of the test is not required...if she couldn't pass the test, she could have stayed an aide.) Bottom line, it was a job requirement and she didn't put in the time to fulfill it.

[edited to address Magoo]Why is the only result of a lack of capability for the job death or endangerment, Magoo? If there are administrative requirements that include French paperwork, she would be incapable of the job, and another fully qualified nurse would pick up this slack. Not to mention patient satisfaction would be jeopardized if they didn't fully understand what they were being instructed, or were frustrated in the highly stressful environment a hospital represents because they couldn't adequately communicate with a nurse, despite the fact that they would certainly survive any operation unscathed. I am not doubting these nurses' capability as nurses, just their inability to fulfill their job requirements. One of those requirements is to learn French. Period.

[ 05 January 2005: Message edited by: Catchfire ]


From: On the heather | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 05 January 2005 11:34 AM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Why is the only result of a lack of capability for the job death or endangerment, Magoo?

Fair enough, I suppose. I just can't see what other possible "requirement" an English hospital could reasonably have, from an operational point of view, that would require not spoken but written French. If the nurses couldn't speak French, even at an English hospital, then I might agree with disciplinary measures, and I'd probably support their dismissal if needs be.

But why, short of sheer absurdity, would all the forms at an English hospital be in French? And would the other employees be unduly burdened if either of these women, say, improperly used è instead of é? Assuming that written French is even a valid operational requirement.

My guess is that the nurses are enjoying the rigidity of a "one size fits all" law, along with perhaps un peu of punitive retribution.


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 05 January 2005 11:34 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Not to mention patient satisfaction would be jeopardized if they didn't fully understand what they were being instructed, or were frustrated in the highly stressful environment a hospital represents ...

Oh, well. Let me tell you: I have been ultra-frustrated "in the highly stressful environment a hospital represents" by any number of doctors and nurses who were native English speakers! Don't get me started!


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Kinetix
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posted 05 January 2005 12:54 PM      Profile for Kinetix     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Mr. Magoo, I can think of at least one good reason: 'english' hospitals in Quebec are only english in that the people who are being treated there can be treated by people who speak english, and there is a guarantee that the services provided are available in english.

The working environment itself, from memorandums, safety procedures, doctors, charts, etc, etc, are all written in french. If a nurse is incapable of reading and writing french at the level of a medical professional, then she can not only not fill her functions.

English hospital just means that the patient relationship is maintained in English. Nothing more.


From: Montréal, Québec | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 05 January 2005 01:11 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
If a nurse is incapable of reading and writing french at the level of a medical professional, then she can not only not fill her functions.

Thanks for the info, but again I'd ask: wouldn't the harm of this be very apparent in much less than two years?

As an analogy: we certainly require cab drivers to be able to drive a taxi, but we wouldn't say "you just go ahead and if you haven't learned how in two years we'll dismiss you". As far as I'm concerned, anything a cabbie hasn't learned about driving a cab in two years of driving a cab, he/she probably doesn't really need to know. If they really needed it, how could they have done their job for two years??

If these nurses were capable of doing their job for two years, isn't that a better and more valid determinant of their skills than an abstract written test?


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Rufus Polson
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posted 05 January 2005 01:13 PM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by lagatta:

I'm just sick of otherwise progressive people Québec bashing.

It seems to me that criticism of the language laws is Quebec bashing in the same sense that criticism of Bush-led foreign policy is US-bashing. That is, it isn't. I see no reason Quebec should get a free ride on pernicious policies just because it's Quebec any more than the US should get a free ride because it's the US or Israel should get a free ride because it's Israel.
Quebec has some policies that are good and we should emulate. And it has some that suck. Having an opinion on whether some of the language-related policies suck is not "Quebec-bashing".


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lagatta
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posted 05 January 2005 01:23 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Québec is a major imperialist power or an occupying force? The only possible case in which your analogy holds is Québec's treatment of Aboriginal peoples. I was there supporting the folks at Oka and other Aboriginal struggles - I'd certainly concur.

No, such and such an opinion of aspects of Québec language policies, including possible bureaucratic stupidity, is not Québec bashing, but denial of our national rights most certainly is.


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 05 January 2005 01:28 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Kinetix:
The working environment itself, from memorandums, safety procedures, doctors, charts, etc, etc, are all written in french. If a nurse is incapable of reading and writing french at the level of a medical professional, then she can not only not fill her functions.

If they were unable to perform those functions, do you think the hospital administration would be supporting them so strongly, as the article says it was? If their employer thinks they're doing the job well enough to go to bat for them like that in the media, then what makes you think they're unable to read and write notes in people's files at a level sufficient to do their jobs?


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 05 January 2005 02:13 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Québec is a major imperialist power or an occupying force?

Are Dalton's Liberals a major imperialist power or an occupying force? Were Harris' tories??

Are they similarly exempt from criticism, and is any criticism of them or their policies so far considered inappropriate "bashing"?


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 05 January 2005 02:17 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
No, of course not, but those were the analogies RP chose to make - the Iraq war and the occupation of the Palestinian territories.
From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 05 January 2005 02:21 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
So then how is criticism of another province's policies "bashing"? Surely you understood what Rufus meant?
From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 05 January 2005 03:55 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by lagatta:
I suspect my attitude would be very different on a francophone board. I clicked onto the thread and saw nothing but an utter disregard for the feelings and aspirations of Québécois. It pisses me off, as would similar comments about Aboriginal peoples or any minority nation.

Oh, wah.

Seriously.

It's "Quebec bashing" if we think it's ludicrous that nurses at an English hospital (please to be noting this: English) lose their licences not becuase of professional incompetence but because of a language exam?

Puh-lease.

And just to show off my even-handedness, I'm going to gripe about the fact that we bring in nurses and other professionally trained people from all over the world into Canada, falsely (in my view) enticing them with thoughts of the good life they can have, and then rudely slap them by demanding that they requalify their professional certifcation here at their own expense and time instead of automatically granting certification equivalency.

[ 05 January 2005: Message edited by: DrConway ]


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 05 January 2005 04:00 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
God, this takes me back to pre-Charte de la langue française days. I suppose I should be grateful for a semblance of lost youth.

There really isn't any point in discussing matters related to the national question on this board.


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
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posted 05 January 2005 04:03 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I note that it is similarly futile to be a centralist on Quebec francophone boards, having observed one or two for a while.
From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 05 January 2005 04:07 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
That is true, Mandos. The tone on any I've been on makes me not centralist, but rabidly anti-nationalist, which is a slightly different matter.

I don't really like ANY form of nationalism very much, including that of oppressed peoples - it soon becomes very narrow in focus. (I'm not talking only about Québec but also about Aboriginal groups I have worked for). But I find there is such denial here of the dominant position of English-Speaking Canada (or the RoC, or whatever you prefer to call it).


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
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posted 05 January 2005 04:10 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well, the problem here is that progressives in the RoC have ideologies regarding culture that are largely founded on enabling individuals to express their cultural identity regardless of what it is. No one here claims that Quebecers should speak English like you see on the very virulent sort of right-wing board from time to time. But most people here are uncomfortable with the state mandating a linguistic priority above the rights of the individual to choose what language they think is best for them.
From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
gula
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posted 05 January 2005 04:56 PM      Profile for gula     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Mandos:
Well, the problem here is that progressives in the RoC have ideologies regarding culture that are largely founded on enabling individuals to express their cultural identity regardless of what it is. No one here claims that Quebecers should speak English like you see on the very virulent sort of right-wing board from time to time. But most people here are uncomfortable with the state mandating a linguistic priority above the rights of the individual to choose what language they think is best for them.

Please tell me you're joking. As a non-anglophone non-francophone immigrant myself, it would never have occured to me to not learn the languages of my adopted country. If I hadn't wanted to do so I should have stayed the hell away. But since you believe it is my right to choose my language, could you please address me in "Züüritüütsch" from now on?

The above being said, I do have serious problems with this decision, especially since it says that they do speak French and that we do have a serious nurses shortage. I guess this goes into the law, or the way it is applied, can be an ass category.


From: Montréal | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Bacchus
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posted 05 January 2005 04:59 PM      Profile for Bacchus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Please tell me you're joking. As a non-anglophone non-francophone immigrant myself, it would never have occured to me to not learn the languages of my adopted country. If I hadn't wanted to do so I should have stayed the hell away. But since you believe it is my right to choose my language, could you please address me in "Züüritüütsch" from now on?

Theres a difference in making sure that only the language of canada is used officially and equally (french/english) and the State saying that you can't have a parrot that speaks english or signs in other languages in your place of business. IN Toronto there are many businesses with languages other than english prominent or indeed solely present and thats fine. Their business, their choice as to who to appeal for customers and how


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Mandos
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posted 05 January 2005 05:00 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
That's because it's of immediate practical value for you to learn the language, not primarily because you desire to participate in the language's defence.
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Catchfire
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posted 05 January 2005 05:04 PM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Though I suspect lagatta jumped a little two quickly at the loaded term "Quebec-bashing," the glee with which many posters jumped at this situation without checking their facts and their lack of objectivity probably helped prompt such a reaction.

Let's re-cap: Much of the rest of Canada requires a nearly identical language test for non-native English speaking immigrant nurses. It includes a written portion. This "English-speaking hospital" nominer seems to be misleading an awful lot of you. It does not mean that only English-speaking patients are allowed, or that only English-speaking staff work there. They still deal with a significant French-speaking public and communicate with an officially French-language government. Also: The nurses in question were given a two-year grace period to learn French to pass a test they well-knew was coming.

So what have we learned? Two Anglophone nurses who work in a hospital that deals with a French public knew that a French test that is similar to the national English model was coming on which their job depended, and did not adequately prepare. Thus, they lost their jobs—a consequence of which they were also well aware.

I concede Magoo's assertment that since there have apparently been no complaints on their two year grace-period (Not try-out period, note...but your point has its value) and thus should be allowed to stay on, the rigidity if the system seems to be hurting the public's interest. I hardly think, however, that the person who marked their sub-par tests couldn't wait to fire their anglophone asses. They simply followed a rule that is in place across the country.

My problem is the opportunity that many (not just those on this board) are taking to attack French language laws on the basis of these nurses. What if we had enough nurses? Isn't Quebec justified in preferring their nurses to be fluent in its official language? I feel it's indicitative of a problem in the health system, rather than a problem with the language laws: perhaps the rules should be laxed for a predominately English-speaking hospital, but it should also be noted that English-speaking hospitals are the minority in Quebec, so it's easy to see why their was no exception made in this case.

I still believe that the nurse should have been suspended, rather than fired, and deserve a chance at a re-test at least, if not an examination of how much written French is required at her job, in order to allow a special exception.


From: On the heather | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 05 January 2005 05:16 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yes, catchfire, I admit I had an emotional reaction. I really wish people elsewhere could have some sense of how progressives here approach matters. One who certainly did was coyote, from Saskatchewan, who lived for a while in the VERY francophone - and very nationalist - Saguenay region.

Gula, is "Züüritüütsch" very different from "Baseldeutsch"? I have a friend in Basel (though his wife is Viennese) who was teasing me by speaking his own dialect to me, though he knows my standard German is most rudimentary. I didn't understand a bloody word...


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
gula
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posted 05 January 2005 05:48 PM      Profile for gula     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Lagatta, it is fairly similar, although Baseldeutsch is more pointed. I hadn't heard it in years until this past summer when I was there for the Tutenkhamun (sp?) exhibition. Although I hate to admit it, it is easier on the ears in the short run.
From: Montréal | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
gula
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posted 05 January 2005 05:55 PM      Profile for gula     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Mandos:
That's because it's of immediate practical value for you to learn the language, not primarily because you desire to participate in the language's defence.

While that is true, it is also true that I could not possibly participate in the affairs of the country, e.g. vote, if I did not understand at least one of the languages enough to follow current events. And as far as French is concerned it is indeed my desire to participate actively in its defence.


From: Montréal | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
unmaladroit
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posted 05 January 2005 06:01 PM      Profile for unmaladroit        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Catchfire:

you're fired/banned from the board for having made more than 5 errors in your last post.

nominer, assertment, indicatative, and laxed are not words in the english language. you've used their instead of there. and you capitalized after a colon.

i've started five sentences without a capital, therefore i get to continue to post.

8O)
(Oops, illegal smiley face, i'm gone)


From: suspicionville, bc | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
Wilf Day
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posted 05 January 2005 06:52 PM      Profile for Wilf Day     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Would a nurse at Montfort Hospital in Ottawa be allowed to practice nursing if she could not pass a written test (in English, of course) required of all Ontario nurses?

Of course not.

The fact that Montfort Hospital/L'Hôpital Montfort has a:

quote:
mission to remain a beacon in the Francophone community outside of Québec

does not exempt its staff from normal Ontario requirements.

Same in Quebec. Have any of the complainers here been to a meeting in Quebec recently? A meeting in Ottawa about health issues will be in English, with English written materials. In Quebec, it will be in French.


From: Port Hope, Ontario | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
unmaladroit
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posted 05 January 2005 07:05 PM      Profile for unmaladroit        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Wilfred Day:
A meeting in Ottawa about health issues will be in English, with English written materials. In Quebec, it will be in French.


Wilfred - are you sure about that? would not a meeting in ottawa about health issues have equally english and french materials available? i am curious, because when i used to live in ottawa, i had to speak french to pay a phone bill or a parking ticket, the civil service and utilities in that region inundated so completely with francophones.


From: suspicionville, bc | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
Rufus Polson
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posted 05 January 2005 08:00 PM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by lagatta:
Québec is a major imperialist power or an occupying force?

Oh, for Pete's sake.
The reason I used those particular analogous cases was the frequency with which posters accuse other posters of bashing those countries as a whole when in my opinion what was happening was legitimate criticisms of their policies, not bashing of the country. That is, IMHO you were using the same dodge frequently employed by Macabee or Phonicidal with respect to Israel or by (various Americans and rightwingers) with respect to the USA.
Those two are the only cases for which we have frequent examples of this pattern of behaviour. So they're the only ones for which my analogy clearly holds based on experiences shared widely on this board. I was *not* calling Quebec an imperialist power. Sheesh!

So. Will I be needing to further defend my imagery or can we move on?


From: Caithnard College | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
abnormal
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posted 05 January 2005 08:21 PM      Profile for abnormal   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
From the original article posted by Gir Draxon:

quote:
The Office de la langue francaise recently warned the use of French in the workplace is in a "precarious" state in Quebec ...

I think the whole issue is driven by this one statement. It has nothing to do with job performance, safety, or anything else.

At least the Office is honest about it. I don't see anything in the article that suggests that the nurses in question couldn't do their job, or even that this was an issue in any way, shape or form. It seems to have been simply the concern that the use of French in the workplace is threatened. [I'm not aware of any major exodus of companies from Quebec over this issue, at least recently. There were a few major employers that did pull out when the use of French was mandated and at least one very large employer that pointed out that they employed some 20,000 people in jobs that could just as easily be performed in Toronto and were therefore going to be exempted, but that's ancient history at this point.]


From: far, far away | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Catchfire
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posted 05 January 2005 08:38 PM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Actually, abnormal, that statement has nothing to do with the topic of the article. The Language Office is unaffiliated with the governing nurse office, and the speculation that this is somehow propogated by Jean Charest "cracking down" is just that: speculation. If you think there's a connection, you're falling for the journalist's spin. The statement from the Office de la langue française was made earlier in an unrelated incident.
From: On the heather | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 06 January 2005 01:46 AM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Would a nurse at Montfort Hospital in Ottawa be allowed to practice nursing if she could not pass a written test (in English, of course) required of all Ontario nurses?

Do you know offhand when this test is administered? Is it administered before hiring, as a condition of that hiring, or is it administered after? Say, two years after?


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Boom Boom
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posted 06 January 2005 11:17 AM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I live on the Lower North Shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and many of these communities are populated by descendants of Newfoundland fishermen who came here for the cod, and stayed. Many of the villages are English-speaking only (mine is) although the nursing staff is French but also speak English well. Many of our folk have learned to speak French although not everyone. We get by. It would be unthinkable to have French-only staff at the nursing stations. Also, there are three large Innu villages on the coast, so there's another language thrown into the mix!

There are two hospitals that we get flown to when needing tests, surgery or long term care - Blanc Sablon to the East, and Sept-Iles to the West. Both are staffed with French staff who also speak English at least enough to be understood, although sometimes we get deferred to someone in another department if that person is French-only.

The schools here have excellent French-teaching and our kids are all bilingual. It's only the adults here who need English services. In another generation, this will all change, probably. Me? I tried French immersion, failed. I'm hearing-impaired, and French instruction is giving verbally.

I've lived in Quebec now for ten years, will likely stay a few more, but would like to move back to Ottawa if rental prices ever drop - not likely I guess.


From: Make the rich pay! | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
pebbles
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posted 06 January 2005 12:07 PM      Profile for pebbles     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Boom Boom:
I live on the Lower North Shore

Hello, Tabatcher?


From: Canada | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
ACADIEN03
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posted 06 January 2005 04:36 PM      Profile for ACADIEN03     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
There is no such thing as an "English" hospital in Montreal. Greater Montreal has a population of 3.4 million and only between 400-500 000 anglophones (StatsCan). Hospitals are called English because of their history and the communities that they primarily serve. There will be a great number of francophone and allophone patients in those institutions so everything... everything - paper work, etc. will be bilingual. Skills in written and oral french are thus essential
From: Ottawa | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 06 January 2005 04:50 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Skills in written and oral french are thus essential

Just not for the first two years, and not in the opinion of the hospital adminstration.


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
amorastar
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posted 07 January 2005 12:24 AM      Profile for amorastar     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yes, the french language is essential in quebec, but it is a bilingual province. Grammar, when filling out paper work, is of little importance. I spoke with my father, a nurse (who is francophone), and he made it quite clear that you dont need to have awesome grammar! I think that quebec (including myself) needs to understand and accept that we are BILINGUAL, and thus have tolerance for imperfection in the two languages. Nurses are SO freakin important to our health care system, and if they can communicate efficiently and do their job well, kudos to them. Its a challenging enough job, without having to have perfect grammar in a second language!
From: Montreal | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
John_D
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posted 07 January 2005 02:48 AM      Profile for John_D     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
How many of you would pass a test of reading comprehension skills, I wonder? For those of you complaining about the lack of a retest, or that the test was only administered after two years, did you happen to see this sentence in the story?

quote:
Gumbs has failed the test five times while Davantes has failed on four occasions.

They had their re-tests. If they couldn't pass after four plus tries, either they don't care to try or they really aren't as capable with French as we have been led to believe.

The article does indeed say that the nurses speak French. However, it does not say explicitly how the reporter drew that conclusion, and implies it is a self-assessment by the nurses.

quote:
"I don't want to leave," said Gumbs, who rates her spoken French as excellent.

I rate my ability to pilot a spaceship as excellent. Anyone want to hire me as an astronaut?


From: Workin' 9 to 2 in the 902. | Registered: May 2004  |  IP: Logged
ACADIEN03
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posted 07 January 2005 04:50 AM      Profile for ACADIEN03     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Yes, the french language is essential in quebec, but it is a bilingual province.

Quebec is not a bilingual province. Anglophones constitute 8% of the total population. The only bilingual province in this country is New Brunswick


From: Ottawa | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 07 January 2005 05:10 AM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
But they still haven't done a Mike Harris of it and fired 10 000 nurses as happened during the conservatives "common sense" revolution here.

And Canada's short of doctors, medical technologists, teachers, skilled trades people ...


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 07 January 2005 10:52 AM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
However, it does not say explicitly how the reporter drew that conclusion, and implies it is a self-assessment by the nurses.

Or by the hospital adminstration, who appear to be satisfied by the nurses' performance.

Once again, could you perhaps explain how, if they cannot adequately do their job because of their written language skills, they managed to do so for two years?

And when you're done, could you also explain how, if they cannot adequately do their job because of their written language skills, their employer could possibly wish to keep them on?

This is not a performance issue. This is not a safety issue. This is not an ability to communicate with a patient who's having a heart attack issue. If you can't bring yourself to see that it's just petty politics, could we at least stop pretending it's any of these?


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 07 January 2005 02:54 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Petty politics for sure. Divide and conquer. Keep them off balance and at each others throats. Imagine if it were a French hospital in Northern Ontario. Like my uncle used to say in French, !@$!? English.
From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 07 January 2005 04:11 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Quoting Magoo:

"This is not a performance issue. This is not a safety issue. This is not an ability to communicate with a patient who's having a heart attack issue. If you can't bring yourself to see that it's just petty politics, could we at least stop pretending it's any of these?"

Hmm, I suspected that is why Magoo, who gets all legalistic when a worker is crippled for life by a scab-herding goon, suddenly springs to the defence of workers' rights.

It is "just petty politics". He seems to have a "thing" about Québec (or "those bloody French")... An odd obsession. People here really don't have fangs.


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 07 January 2005 04:19 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Hmm, I suspected that is why Magoo, who gets all legalistic when a worker is crippled for life by a scab-herding goon, suddenly springs to the defence of workers' rights.

And if this were in fact about performance, I'd "get legalistic" here too. And for that matter, if we were all talking about the politics of it, I might even have lost interest and left.

But now I have to stay, just to see why people are so persistently pretending this is about performance or safety when clearly it's not.

ed'd to add: if you think it's funny that I've "sprung to the defense" of these workers, do you find it similarly funny that you put a grammar test ahead of their rights? 'Cuz I think that's just as funny.

[ 07 January 2005: Message edited by: Mr. Magoo ]


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 09 January 2005 02:06 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I didn't say that. Here is my original post:

"I presume all of you in the RoC are prepared to deal with medical personnel who don't speak English.

That said, there probably are problems with the test - the important aspect is communication, not how they conjugate their verb tenses."

I did NOT defend the test unquestioningly, on the contrary. (I have taught both ESL and FSL to civil servants and other employees who had to pass language proficiency tests, by the way). I did, however, skewer the "deux poids deux mesures" so often heard on such subjects from RoC commentators. Who could expect to get a professional job in Toronto speaking only French?

By the way, Magoo, in Canada it is "defence"...


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
frandroid_atreides
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posted 10 January 2005 04:38 AM      Profile for frandroid_atreides   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I'm just sick of otherwise progressive people Québec bashing.

No shit. Awesome job defending the Québec POV, lagatta!

quote:
Well, the problem here is that progressives in the RoC have ideologies regarding culture that are largely founded on enabling individuals to express their cultural identity regardless of what it is. No one here claims that Quebecers should speak English like you see on the very virulent sort of right-wing board from time to time. But most people here are uncomfortable with the state mandating a linguistic priority above the rights of the individual to choose what language they think is best for them.

In short, English-Canadians don't think about collective/minority rights, because as a linguistic majority, they haven't had to think about them.


From: Toronto, Arrakis | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 10 January 2005 10:30 AM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
No. Even if English begins to lose popularity, you won't catch me asking the government to force you, under penalty of law, to speak it. Nor will I ask that Greek shopkeepers on the Danforth be compelled to remove the Greek from their sign, nor will I ask that the Chinese grocery I shop at on Spadina be forced to offer me services in English.

Certainly we need some baselines, such as the availability of emergency services in the prevalent language, but other than those, there should be no laws compelling me to speak a specific language solely to please those who already do.

The government telling you what language you must speak is like them telling you what haircut you must have, or what religion you must follow.


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 10 January 2005 10:46 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm no fan of ethnic or linguistic nationalism, Magoo, but comparing the English in Quebec to Greeks in Toronto is a bad analogy.

In order for that to be a good analogy, the English in Toronto would have to be a minority in the rest of the country, with Greek being the majority language in the rest of the country. That certainly isn't the case.

There's no sense in using bad arguments against a stupid regulation.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 10 January 2005 10:58 AM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Then you're effectively saying there can be no argument against language laws, since nowhere in Canada, save for Quebec, is English a minority language.

So I'm doing the best I can. On parts of the Danforth, English is the minority language, and on parts of Spadina, Cantonese is. Sure, sure, I can always go to Loblaws any time I want, so I'm not overly "oppressed" by these non-English environments, but I really don't care if there are more and more of them. I'm pretty confident that even if English became a minority language in Toronto, there'd still be more than enough places for me to shop or eat or whatever, without needing any heavy-handed laws specifying what languages people have to use in their everyday dealings.

I also don't believe you can "save" a culture through punitive laws, anymore than you can carry water in a seive. Perhaps someone can point me to a culture that survived because someone made some laws.


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 10 January 2005 11:48 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Magoo:
Then you're effectively saying there can be no argument against language laws, since nowhere in Canada, save for Quebec, is English a minority language.

Actually, I'm not saying that at all. Nowhere in my post did I even imply that.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 10 January 2005 12:51 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Then what analogy can I possibly use that wouldn't similarly be trumped by the fact that English is the majority language? Where in Canada, if not the Danforth or Chinatown, can I find an analogy that works?

Although I see your point; arguments against language laws can still exist, so long as they aren't supported by an analogy.


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 10 January 2005 01:09 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Perhaps someone can point me to a culture that survived because someone made some laws.

I believe that there have been and are a number of very different kinds of experiments in doing that that have had results that give hope, at least.

Eire (the Republic of Ireland) is one. People have different judgements of how successful the revival of Irish Gaelic has been in everyday life, but language revival is only part of the issue, and even there the Irish have had remarkable success. What matters most is that, in a century, they have managed to turn a seriously impoverished and exploited and oppressed nation into a wee powerhouse.

And I would contend that Quebec may be another such example. I'd rather see Quebec be Quebec, or another Eire, than another Louisiana.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Bacchus
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posted 10 January 2005 01:23 PM      Profile for Bacchus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Forgive me if I'm mistaken Skdadl, but Eire didn't enact laws forbidding english or making Gaelic more prominent or the only language allowed on signs? If they didnt, they they dont apply to Quebec's situation
From: n/a | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 10 January 2005 01:27 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
From what I've been able to see, they seem to be similarly restrictive. Students have to pass tests in Gaelic, civil servants have to speak Gaelic, etc.

Those who think that culture should be forced on people via punitive laws are free to think that this is a good idea. I can't really say I do. And insofar as my actual heritage is Irish, I can't see that this comes from any anti-French bias. I just don't believe it's the job of the state to force people to speak or write a particular language, except as absolutely needed (and "Our kids all want to speak English" doesn't strike me as any kind of absolute necessity).


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 10 January 2005 01:27 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well, studying Irish Gaelic became mandatory in public schools at least three generations ago, maybe longer -- anyone know? And a certain amount of public ceremonial, plus, yes, signage, is done in Gaelic (Erse, I believe it's called). All public offices and organizations are known by their Gaelic names, etc.

But, I repeat: language revival was not the whole deal.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 10 January 2005 01:29 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Mr Magoo, I seriously do not think that the Irish in the republic are feeling "punished."
From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
kuri
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posted 10 January 2005 01:33 PM      Profile for kuri   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think Wales is another good example where laws have fairly successfully revived a language once thought completely dead.

In fact, I think the power of that state is pretty instrumental in whether a language or a culture survives and what parts do. To quote Joshua Fishman (who I don't agree with entirely normatively but oh well), "a language is a dialect with an army".


From: an employer more progressive than rabble.ca | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
Bacchus
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posted 10 January 2005 02:01 PM      Profile for Bacchus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
But in neither Irelands or Wales (or Scotland for that matter) was the use of the language enforced by law and others not allowed or diminished. They merely passed laws allowing for both languages and encouraging the use of Gaelic and giving subsidies and the like. More os a positive reinforcement than negative. Andin neither has it supplanted english. You cannot enforce a negative. I speak a little french but never in montreal have I had to use it (though I try my best) nor have I heard it only. As in Toronto, I hear a blend of languages all the time
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kuri
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posted 10 January 2005 02:21 PM      Profile for kuri   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well, it is perfectly legal to make Welsh fluency a requirement for employment the subject of this thread.

That said, there are major holes in the legislation, such that Welsh-speakers have no right to redress under the Race Relations Act (a process similar to our Human Rights tribunals, IIRC).

Although not specifically stated the 1993 Act seems to logically imply that most court workers and public servants would have to be biligual to guarentee the right to government service in Welsh or to use it in court.


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skdadl
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Babbler # 478

posted 10 January 2005 02:28 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Bacchus, the truths are more complicated than that.

Welsh was and is a living language -- I think there have always been substantial percentages of native speakers, whereas in Ireland those numbers had shrunk, and in much of Scotland the language was actually proscribed. So you're looking at different situations in all three countries.

dokidoki, I don't think anyone ever considered Welsh a dead language, my only difference with you.

But certainly, both the Welsh and the Irish have enforced language education, language qualifications in some public positions, and those regulations have had real and positive effects.

Scottish Gaelic is a different story, because its suppression was so severe. Revival is less likely, although there are still native speakers.


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kuri
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posted 10 January 2005 02:38 PM      Profile for kuri   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
dokidoki, I don't think anyone ever considered Welsh a dead language, my only difference with you.

The one bit of hearsay I didn't bother rechecking...

quote:
Scottish Gaelic is a different story, because its suppression was so severe. Revival is less likely, although there are still native speakers

Also in addition to Gallic, there's now a concern for reviving lowland "Scots" as language rather than as a dialect of English, complicating things even more. Nonetheless, I'm noticing (at least with the Nationalism studies people here in the university) a lot of confidence about reviving both.


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Wilf Day
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posted 10 January 2005 03:16 PM      Profile for Wilf Day     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Magoo:
Perhaps someone can point me to a culture that survived because someone made some laws.

Here's a pretty comprehensive site. For example, Lithuania, a close parallel with Quebec, where the once-dominant Russian minority feels unhappy.

quote:
The official language is Lithuanian. Other languages are used too. . . Doubless, the mentioned languages aren't equal, they differ in spreading and the difference of functions. It should be mentioned that Russian which earlier was the main means of communication outside Lithuania, now lost some of its functions.

The need to preserve the languages of the world and counter the processes of language shift that are taking place worldwide has become a major concern shared by researchers, scholars and leaders of many language communities.

[ 10 January 2005: Message edited by: Wilfred Day ]


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Mr. Magoo
guilty-pleasure
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posted 10 January 2005 03:35 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Interesting. However:

1. The Soviet Union controlled Lithuania at the end of a gun, no? So I'm not surprised if, after the fall of the wall, Lithuanians have no great love of speaking Russian. Mrs. Magoo is Estonian, and it's a similar situation there.

2. It would appear that while there's a definite push toward Lithuanian,

quote:
Lithuanian state media has not only one-language (OL) programs. Lithuanian Radio daily broadcasts 1.5 hour programs in Russian, 30 minutes in Polish, a bimonthly 30-minute show in Ukrainian, and a weekly 30-minute show in Byelorussian. Lithuanian National TV broadcasts daily 10-minute informational program and several weekly programs in Russian and Polish, but has short programs for a smaller national minorities as Ukrainians, Byelorussians and Jews.

It certainly doesn't mention that these programs in Russian have to be smaller than programs in Lithuanian in order to avoid a fine.


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skdadl
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Babbler # 478

posted 10 January 2005 03:35 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by dokidoki:

Also in addition to Gallic, there's now a concern for reviving lowland "Scots" as language rather than as a dialect of English, complicating things even more. Nonetheless, I'm noticing (at least with the Nationalism studies people here in the university) a lot of confidence about reviving both.


Aha. That's an interesting complication, dokidoki, the strength of "Scots."

All my in-laws can speak quite a bit of traditional Scots comfortably, and understand and read all of it. It might be that the development of that language, and pride in its persistence through the C19 and early C20, helps to explain why there was until recently less focus in Scotland on the decline of Gaelic: the Scots had another language that they considered their own.

I know bits of it. Lovely to listen to. Lovely also is the Scots of the north, on Orkney, eg, accented by a Scandinavian past.

[ 10 January 2005: Message edited by: skdadl ]


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kuri
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posted 12 January 2005 05:55 PM      Profile for kuri   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Update

This article seems to imply that the problem is indeed with the test. I've taken tests like these (the PSC) and scored higher than my own self-rating would have placed me, but I did find their design rather odd and not very well aligned with the job for which I was applying. Although, I don't know if the nurses' tests are anything like the PSC ones.

I'm not sure what to think about Alliance Québec hiring them a tutor. I've often thought that the main problem with bilingualism was a result of the constitution putting education in the hands of the provinces. My beef was always with the (IMO, inferior) french courses I was offered growing up in Alberta, that then put me at a disadvantage relative to people who grew up where french education was taken more seriously. Maybe the federal government should develop more programmes to make adult (and young adult) second official language education more avaliable. (I know they are already fund some, I took advantage of one such programme, but it would definately not be appropriate for the vast majority of people.)

Well, now that I've posted to the substance of a debate I initially told myself I'd avoid.....


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Stephen Gordon
rabble-rouser
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posted 12 January 2005 08:26 PM      Profile for Stephen Gordon        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Huh. Before I started here, I had Ontario high-school French - the first few months were quite an adventure. It's been 12 years now, but my written French remains atrocious. Doesn't seem to bother anyone here, though. Didn't even come up when I was up for tenure or for promotion to full professor.

Someone, somewhere at the OLF has too much time on their hands.


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lagatta
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posted 12 January 2005 10:37 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hmm, on the one hand bureaucracies are self-perpetuating...

But on the other, your language is not under threat.

There is a very deep disconnect between how this question is seen by most people here - and not only hardcorenationaleux and how it is perceived in the RoC. Even among those who are usually very concerned about "identity" and "white-skin privilege". What about Anglophone privilege?


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
dalnurse
recent-rabble-rouser
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posted 21 June 2008 11:58 AM      Profile for dalnurse     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
No one seemed to mention and/or know that one of the two fired nurses failed the exam four times and the other, five times.....
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ceti
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 7851

posted 23 June 2008 04:12 PM      Profile for ceti     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well I'm not willing to give Quebec a pass on this, Quebec-bashing or no. Systemic racism exists in Quebec, and it is harsh and debilitating to anyone who isn't pure-laine. It's bad in the rest of Canada, but in Quebec the language issue makes things even more complicated.

Moreover, what the hell kind of union is the Quebec Order of Nurses when they don't even defend their own members.


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unionist
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posted 23 June 2008 04:15 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by ceti:
Well I'm not willing to give Quebec a pass on this, Quebec-bashing or no. Systemic racism exists in Quebec, and it is harsh and debilitating to anyone who isn't pure-laine.

Because of your obvious ignorance, instead of calling you what you are, I will follow the dictum of Jesus and ask our Father to forgive you.

Anyone who isn't functional in French doesn't belong in a publicly funded institution in this province. You heard it here first.


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Stephen Gordon
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4600

posted 23 June 2008 04:25 PM      Profile for Stephen Gordon        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
On peut être fonctionnel en français sans être capable de réussir un test écrit.
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unionist
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 11323

posted 23 June 2008 04:28 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Stephen Gordon:
On peut être fonctionnel en français sans être capable de réussir un test écrit.

Effectivement - mais y-a-t'il une indication quelconque que ces deux personnes étaient fonctionnelles en français au niveau conversationnel? Je maintiens des doutes...


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Stephen Gordon
rabble-rouser
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posted 23 June 2008 04:32 PM      Profile for Stephen Gordon        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Est-ce qu'ìl avait des indications qu'elles n'étaient pas fonctionnelles en français conversationnel?
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Fidel
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 5594

posted 23 June 2008 04:37 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
And Stephanes Harper and Dion will see to it that you're speaking American in no time at all.
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Stephen Gordon
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4600

posted 23 June 2008 04:41 PM      Profile for Stephen Gordon        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
De la part de Stéphane Dion, je dis: Va chier.
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Fidel
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 5594

posted 23 June 2008 04:46 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Ce qui aide de dion le harpiste fera après?
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Sean in Ottawa
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posted 24 June 2008 01:07 PM      Profile for Sean in Ottawa     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I support reasonable restrictions to protect a language.
In this case we seem to lack the ability to measure if these are reasonable.
We know there were multiple opportunities to pass the test. We do not know how practical this test is or what level of proficiency is required to pass. Indeed we do not know even if the test has been tested among francophones -- what score would the average francophone nurse get on it? Is this about the quality of the language or about the ability to communicate? Is there any other measure of their profinciency? I can't say that enough of this information is available for us to know the answers to this.

I can add that I have met nurses in Ontario that could fail an English proficiency test depending on what level it required so I think we are debating without enough information.


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unionist
rabble-rouser
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posted 24 June 2008 01:51 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Sean in Ottawa:

I can add that I have met nurses in Ontario that could fail an English proficiency test depending on what level it required so I think we are debating without enough information.

I think we have far far more than enough information that this story is anti-Québec hysteria, of exactly the same quality as the handful of incidents used by Mario Dumont and Journal de Montréal to try to generate anti-Muslim hysteria. No progressive person would ever soil their hands repeating disgusting stories of this nature - especially (as you point out) without any evidence beyond the assumption that Quebeckers are insane frenzied xenophobes.


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Sean in Ottawa
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posted 24 June 2008 06:30 PM      Profile for Sean in Ottawa     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I am not saying that we know these nurses were not wronged but I think it should take more information than what has been provided to draw a conclusion that they were -- Like the test was unreasonable and people that could communicate just fine were failing. Essentially this story would need some kind of access by the journalist to the test itself or an independent test of the nurses in order to see if there really was a problem. Otherwise, I would agree with Unionist that this is just an anti-Quebec story.

What I am seeing here is an objection to the idea of a test rather than the reasonableness of the standards of the test.


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viigan
rabble-rouser
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posted 26 June 2008 09:13 AM      Profile for viigan     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Is a similar test administered to Francophone nurses or other emergency public servants to ensure that they are able to communicate in English with any patients/victims who are miserably anglophone?
Serving people in need should not be a linguistic battleground and service should be ensured in both languages, in my opinion.

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kropotkin1951
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posted 26 June 2008 10:13 AM      Profile for kropotkin1951   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I disagree because in other provinces that would require the same system. Quebec like BC is not a bilingual province.

Where will we get all these bilingual nurses from? Especially in my part of the world we have many bilingual professionals and they are highly regarded. They all speak English as a requirement of their jobs and if they speak Mandarin or Cantonese or Punjabi or one of the other languages people speak in our province that is a bonus. But we have a nursing shortage so if they aren't bilingual we still hire them. If they can't speak English well enough to pass nursing tests then they don't get to work.


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ceti
rabble-rouser
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posted 26 June 2008 10:07 PM      Profile for ceti     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
My fucken ignorance or no, I grew up in Quebec as a visible minority, bearing the brunt of French Canadian racism, and yes, tribalism, where minorities are last hired and first fired.

Quebec is not a paragon of social inclusion. As the recent hearings demonstrated, a nasty streak of ethnic nationalism exists and is getting STRONGER.

Et je peux parler francais, but not at the point of avoiding being a second class citizen with limited prospect of getting a job, because of an accent or supposed deficiency.

I feel that the unquestioning defence of Quebec is completely misplaced. It is a mature society that has to deal with a multicultural future, not one which is given a free pass to ridicule minorities and First Nations as barbarians and savages.

And I would generally defend Quebec's right to self determination, but it is still a colonial society in denial, just like its English counterpart. In fact, because of its longstanding grievance as the loser of 1759, it may even have a similar spirit to Dixie, where the mythology of the "lost cause" from the Civil War still persists.

[ 26 June 2008: Message edited by: ceti ]


From: various musings before the revolution | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
viigan
rabble-rouser
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posted 27 June 2008 09:10 AM      Profile for viigan     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
"I disagree because in other provinces that would require the same system."

If BC or any other Canadian province has a French minority as large as the English speaking community of Quebec, then I believe that essential services should be provided in both official languages.
The fact that there is a shortage of healthcare workers across the country only betrays the intent behind these firings. The hospital in question caters to a largely anglophone constituency and I think this had more to do with the typical brow beating of minoritites that has become common place here, rather than concern for the possibility that a patient would wander into the hospital and would find no French speakers to help. The opposite is quite possible if an anglophone were to wander into a largely Francophone hospital.
Again, this country has two official languages and if many federal employees are required to be able to communicate in both, then I think the effort should be made to extend such a policy to sectors that are essential in preserving human life, instead of concentrating on petty nationalist squabbling that is as old, tired, and sterile as a fossilized scrotum.


From: here | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged

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