bilingualism in canada. double standard.

Canada
February 18, 2007 6:15pm CST
i live in canada. i speak french and english. what bothers me though is that i live in ontario and here we have to be bilingual to get a good job and our province needs to have bilingual sings and everything in french for the quebec people. but if we go to quebec they don't give us the same curtosy. it should work both ways. they should have english sings as well and they should know how to speack english. why don't they have to be bilingual. what do you think about this. is it fair. is this the same in places where you live?
7 people like this
23 responses
@LittleMel (14059)
• Canada
19 Feb 07
I only came to Canada because I am married to a British Canadian. We live in Ontario and nobody forces us to speak French too. Of course we know some words but not enough to work but there are no requirements to do that unless you are in a position that serves national and international customers. I know a French lady who said that she learned English just so she can get a job here and I have a supplier in Quebec who speaks English. I think it's the same treatment in business everywhere.
3 people like this
• United States
19 Feb 07
LOL. I laugh because my husband is from Montreal and he gripes about the rest of Canada the way you are complaining about them. :) My thoughts on this subject, as a person who is not from Canada at all, is that--to me--Quebec is French and always has been. I see nothing wrong with them being completely French. i lived there for 2 years and I knew NOT ONE WORD of French when I moved there, but I learned because I felt it was my duty to fit in. The same here in the U.S. with the immigrants that come in--especially Spanish speaking people--who move here, but don't bother to learn the language. Now, with that said, I don't understand why the other provinces require you to be bilingual for a good job. to me, if you are from Quebec and you move to another province, it should be your duty to learn English. This is just my thoughts. Believe me, we have the same problems here in the U.S. with immigrants not learning our language. To me, it's a person's duty to learn the language of the place they are living. It shouldn't be the area's duty to change the laws or the way things are done because of immigrants.
2 people like this
• Canada
19 Feb 07
i'm french too it's just the fact that we are expected to change here and not them. i've only spoken to my daughter in english though so now i'm trying to teach her french and she will be attending a french school in the fall. i have to teach her so she will be able to get a good job in the future. i just don't understand why we have to change and they don't. i know they are a french province but now our english province has to be bilingual, but they fight to stay just one language. why force it on us. it doens't bother me that we have to change i just think they should have the same curtosy. thanks for the comments. tell your hubby i'm not complaining about him i love french, it is my first language. lol
2 people like this
• United States
19 Feb 07
I agree with you in that nothing should be forced on others. I don't understand why the other provinces should have to be French, too. I mean, it's up to them to learn English if they move to another province just as it's up to someone else to learn French if they move to Quebec. :)
2 people like this
• Canada
19 Feb 07
Well, here I come.. the Quebec Anglophone LOL Quebec (as a province, rather than a city) hasn't always "been French"... but I do agree that it's a common misconception. (I married an American 3 years ago and, when we met, he was amazed at how "good my English is"... LOL... it's my mother tongue!). I was born here and have lived here my entire life, never leaving the province. Growing up, very few people I knew could speak French. My mom learned enough to "get by" with the neighbors. My paternal grandmother was French and my father couldn't speak a word of it. It just wasn't required. The working world functioned in English. Around 1976, the language issue really heated up and we started to live with the various issues being described in this discussion. The bilingual signs, the schooling requirements, etc. I have to have official documents for each of my daughters that state that I was educated in English and therefore I have the right to have them educated in English. Without those documents, they would have to be enrolled in our local French school board. Thing is, there is no true English schooling now... they are in bilingual school. By the time they graduate high school, they will be fully bilingual. I am bilingual myself but I didn't have nearly the amount of school-provided language instruction that they have now. I learned out of a combination of education and necessity. I do get frustrated here when I can't obtain a service in English. I am perfectly capable of the French language and usually always use it in public places. However, there are times (such as in a hospital, at the doctor, at a notary, lawyer or financial institution...) where I will absolutely insist that I receive service in English. In those cases, I won't take chances at misunderstanding or being misunderstood. Sometimes, it ends up being a lot of "Frenglish" or "Franglais"... a mish-mash of the two languages... but we can all understand each other lol
2 people like this
• Canada
19 Feb 07
I live in the Montreal area. I believe bilinguism is great. My French is better then my English. When your perfectly bilingual your chance to get a good pay job are higher, I think. Here in Montreal, people are mostly bilingual.
2 people like this
• Canada
19 Feb 07
i've been to montreal a few times and i have a hard time sometimes cause i've lost a bit of my french. it was my first language. but our french seems a little different than quebec french. i used to do telemarketing in french and call quebec and they had such a hard time understanding me. just a question. are all of your road signs bilingaul there caue i'm getting different info?
1 person likes this
• Canada
19 Feb 07
Yes, road sign and any kind of sign has to be bilingual. It's the regulations. I ma from New Brunswick, so my French is not the same as the Quebec one. But we can unterdstand each other. Whenever I got tired, I got one of those weid accent... Wacked
@sasklily (240)
• Canada
19 Feb 07
I also live in Canada, Western Canada, and yes, there is a double standard. But here in the west, we speak only English. French is supposed to be available, at least in the government agencies, but it is not available anywhere else and you don't hear French spoken here. There are French-speaking people here and I'm sure they keep their language in their home, but you never hear it spoken in public as far as I know.
• Canada
19 Feb 07
Have you ever been to St. Boniface across the river from Winnipeg? There are thousands of French speakers in Manitoba and in St. Boniface you can obtain every service, hospital, schools, lawyers etc. all in French. So I guess the English only provinces are further West.
@emquinsat (1059)
• Philippines
19 Feb 07
Isn't this unfair? It maybe is. But the good thing is you are bilingual and that's an edge for you. There are a lot of places where this happens and I think it's discrimination sometimes.
2 people like this
• Canada
19 Feb 07
yes lucky for me. i just felt bad for some of my friends. when i was in college for museum studies they told us to work in ontario (where i went to school) that we had to be bilingual to get a job in a museum. only 2 people in my entire course spoke french. that's including me. i was the only person who got a summer job in museums. all my friends ended up moving to a different province to work.
1 person likes this
@funnysis (2619)
• United States
19 Feb 07
It is at some places but not all places they are trying to make it that way but not everybody can learn a second language and I don't think that it is fair to be denied a job based on language I think it should be based on qualifications and training and what you have to offer the company.Good luck and I hope this helps.
• Canada
19 Feb 07
if you work for the government or as a nurse, in a museum and some other's that i can't remember it is now mandatory to be bilingual. even the people that were there before the law just passed has to take french classes.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
19 Feb 07
i think one should learn how to speak both languages but one should never be given priority over people that know only one language...
2 people like this
@tad1fan (3373)
• Canada
19 Feb 07
I know exactly what you mean pop,I lived in Nova Scotia for 37 years and was going to take a nursing course when we decided to move to New Brunswick.....I look out my back door and see Quebec......after I got here and applied for my nursing,I learned that I had to take a french course first because any Federal Government job requires you to be biligual.....not in Nova Scotia though.....LOL....It's funny how things work
2 people like this
@kakuemmom (862)
• Canada
19 Feb 07
I don't know if you NEED to be bilingual to get a good Job it helps i know but it is not essential for it to be french. I am learning ASL as my second language. As for the signs in Quebec that bothers me too double standard for sure.
1 person likes this
• Canada
19 Feb 07
yes you do have to be bilingual in french and english in ontario to get certian jobs. governmetn jobs, nursing, and so many more. they just passed a law about it.
@mayshoe (606)
• India
19 Feb 07
ya it is unfair.....in india we have to learn at least three languages...mother tongue, regional language and international language which is English..........i want to learn french too so i am learning it through net..........if you can suggest any site where i can learn French it will be great or if you have time even you can help me out.........next target of mine will be Spanish..........and then .........
• Malaysia
19 Feb 07
What is your mother tongue and regional language, mayshoe? In malaysia, basically we learn two langauges which are malay language and english. In malaysia, we are consist of three majority races which are malay, indian and chinese. Chinese is currently conquering the economy and majority of the big businesses are belong to chinese. Therefore, if you want to get job in big companies, you will have a better chance if you speak mandarin/cantonese/hokkien.
@_fanny_ (59)
• France
19 Feb 07
Quebec people I know are bilingual and love both english and french so I can't agree with you. But you certainly know more quebec people than I ! (I'm French ;-))
• Canada
19 Feb 07
i know lots of quebec people. my first language is french. my family comes from quebec and i know live in ontario. so i know that a lot of quebec people don't know english and even their french is different from the rest of canada. they have a hard time understanding me now that i've picked up bad french grammer from living in ontario so long.
1 person likes this
@sizzle3000 (3040)
• United States
19 Feb 07
I live in Maryland and we are in the US. Here most speak english however, there are a lot of spanish people here now. They do not bother learning our language however, they do take out jobs. I think that it is not fair that you live in a province that makes you be bilingual and if you go outside that section you are governed by a different law. The whole state or country should be the same. But it is all about politics.
@emarie (5455)
• United States
19 Feb 07
well, in the area i'm in right now there are a lot of spanish speaking people. but since were in the US most places require you to have english signs and everything. although we have no official language, most people should speak english. to be bilingual here would make it better to get a job of course but its implied that english should be known.
1 person likes this
@WebMann (4732)
• Canada
19 Feb 07
It certainly is not fair but Quebec has been a pain in the tush for a long time. I don't even care to drive through from New Brunswick on my way to Ontario and we quite often take the U.S. route. The people are much more pleasant and speak english. I grew up in Ontario and never had to learn a second language. I have gone through Quebec and have been refused service because they pretened to not know what I was saying. Even when I put my finger on a product I wanted to purchase. That appears to be the norm in Quebec but as long as they wish to be like that and stay in Quebec I am willing to give my money to Americans.
• Canada
19 Feb 07
The language issue has been debated in Canada for years and will remain for centuries to come. Now, as you are well aware Canada has 2 official languages and that is 1 asset that makes the country so great. By in large the people in Quebec speak french with a good portion being bilingual. In Quebec to find a decent job you do require to be bilingual whereas in Ontario I don't think the same applies. I take my wife for example. She works for an insurance brokerage firm with offices throughout Canada, the head offices are shared between Toronto and Calgary. In the office in Toronto there is only 1 person that can understand French somewhat and in Cagary not one. Whenever a broker in Quebec places a policy it needs to be translated to English and the process is handled by my wife. Interestingly enough my wife is been paid less than her colleagues in the rest of Canada who are occupying a position that requires a bilingual person. You see in the top paying fields in Quebec the person has to be bilingual otherwise he/she will not be considered for the position. In contrast, the people in Ontario can get away with very little knowledge in French. I guess to answer your question about being fair, it all depends on the person and the situation.
@XxAngelxX (2835)
• Canada
19 Feb 07
I live in Canada too. Unfortunately I can only speak English , if you speak very very slowly in french and use really small words, I MIGHT be able to get the general idea of what you are trying to say, but chances are most of it will go over my head. However, I live in Nova Scotia and our province does not HAVE to have everything in English and French. Most of our signs are only in English. I went to Quebec a few years ago and found a lot of the signs were only french but this didn't discourage me from visiting. I guess it all depends on where you are from. I don't see why everyone should have to be bilingual although I do feel it's a great advantage if you are.
1 person likes this
• United States
19 Feb 07
I live in Iowa and here it isn't like that....yet. There are places though that have to have everything in English and Spanish. Also when I call for something there is always a "push 2 for spanish" option. There are even schools that teach English as a second language. No offense but if you want to live in the USA you should learn the language first and learn to read and write it and understand it. If we went to Mexico they would care if we understood their language I bet.
1 person likes this
@RAMONES (537)
• Belgium
19 Feb 07
I live in Belgium and we speak 3 languages : Flemish (Dutch), French and German. It is the same with us : the Flemish try to speak all languages + some more, as in our school system it is rated very important to speak other languages. But as soon as you cross the language border and go to the Walloon region, they only speak French. Most of them don't even bother to learn other languages, as they think French is a world language and they can help themselves with it around the world... I think in the end it is just smarter for yourself to know more than one language ...
1 person likes this
• India
19 Feb 07
hello....of course.... racism is every where...
1 person likes this
• Canada
19 Feb 07
I live in Montreal and I am bilingual. There is a law called law 101 that aims at protecting the french language in Quebec by imposing the use of both languages to companies. Also, independents like restaurants and grocery stores are supposed to have staff that is able to serve clients in both languages. This rule is not respected everywhere though. People are generally more indulgent towards anglophones who do not speak french in Montreal. Outside Montreal, people are not generally bilingual. On the other hand, anglophones here think that they are oppressed by francophones and that they generally have hard times getting a job. Many anglophones end up moving to Ontario. Finally, here is a blog authored by an Ontarian who writes about his journey in Montreal : http://albhere.blogspot.com