Gaelic speaking Nova Scotians are not happy with federal minister Jason Kenney.

Kenney has weighed in on the merits of the language and the government's role in preserving it. Kenney said federal government money should not be used to promote languages that are fighting for survival.

"I think we should focus on the common languages that unite us in our diversity, English and French," said Kenney. "I encourage communities to maintain their heritage languages, be they Gaelic or Punjabi or Mandarin, but that they do so with their own funds."

In the Cape Breton community of Mabou, those words are not going over well. In Mabou, you'll find street and road signs that show you the Gaelic language is alive and well.

Former Nova Scotia Premier and now CEO of the Gaelic College, Rodney MacDonald, said the Gaelic language is the cultural fabric of the Celtic community.

"I think the minister should apologize to the Gaelic community of Nova Scotia. He should apologize for the remarks. They were inappropriate. Like they say in politics, it's never too late to do the right thing."

In a report this week, Statistics Canada said only 1,645 people across Canada were raised speaking Gaelic. That's down 10 per cent from 2006.

For the last six years, the Nova Scotia government has had an Office of Gaelic Affairs. This year's budget is a little more than $500,000.

At the local grocery store in the heart of the community, people were saying the Gaelic language is important .

"It's a cultural thing and it's as important as Mi'kmaq and French is to the culture of the country," said Janice Langille. "It's all part and parcel of our heritage and should be preserved."

"Well there's a lot of things in French is that a waste of money," said Maureen Hart.

While Kenney says federal funds should not be used to help maintain the Gaelic language, another federal cabinet minister, Peter MacKay, will be in Cape Breton Saturday to announce funding for the Gaelic College.

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  • Chinese, n.o.s.

    <b>Language</b>: Chinese, n.o.s. <b>Originating country</b>: China <b>Decrease in Canada</b>: Approximately 8 per cent.

  • Italian

    <b>Language</b>: Italian <b>Originating country</b>: Italy <b>Decrease in Canada</b>: Approximately 5 per cent

  • Polish

    <b>Language</b>: Polish <b>Originating country</b>: Poland <b>Decrease in Canada</b>: Approximately 4 per cent

  • Greek

    <b>Language</b>: Greek <b>Originating country</b>: Greece <b>Decrease in Canada</b>: Approximately 1 per cent.

  • Vietnamese

    <b>Language</b>: Vietnamese <b>Originating country</b>: Vietnam <b>Increase in Canada</b>: Approximately 4 per cent.

  • Cantonese

    <b>Language</b>: Cantonese <b>Originating country</b>: China <b>Increase in Canada</b>: Approximately 4 per cent.

  • Portuguese

    <b>Language</b>: Portuguese <b>Originating countries</b>: Portugal, Brazil, as well as Mozambique and Angola, among others <b>Increase in Canada</b>: Approximately 8 per cent.

  • Serbian

    <b>Language</b>: Serbian <b>Originating country</b>: Serbia <b>Increase in Canada</b>: Approximately 10 per cent.

  • Ukrainian

    <b>Language</b>: Ukrainian <b>Originating country</b>: Ukraine <b>Increase in Canada</b>: Approximately 10 per cent.

  • Korean

    <b>Language</b>: Korean <b>Originating countries</b>: North and South Korea <b>Increase in Canada</b>: Approximately 13 per cent.

  • German

    <b>Language</b>: German <b>Originating countries</b>: Germany, as well as Austria and Switzerland, among others <b>Increase in Canada</b>: Approximately 15 per cent.

  • Romanian

    <b>Language</b>: Romanian <b>Originating countries</b>: Romania and Moldova <b>Increase in Canada</b>: Approximately 18 per cent.

  • Tamil

    <b>Language</b>: Tamil <b>Originating countries</b>: Sri Lanka, India, as well as Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius and Réunion <b>Increase in Canada</b>: Approximately 24 per cent.

  • Punjabi

    <b>Language</b>: Punjabi <b>Originating countries</b>:India and Pakistan <b>Increase in Canada</b>: Approximately 26 per cent.

  • Gujarati

    <b>Language</b>: Gujarati <b>Originating country</b>: India <b>Increase in Canada</b>: Approximately 28 per cent

  • Russian

    <b>Language</b>: Russian <b>Originating countries</b>: Russia, as well as countries of the former Soviet Union <b>Increase in Canada</b>: Approximately 28 per cent.

  • Urdu

    <b>Language</b>: Urdu <b>Originating countries</b>: Pakistan and India <b>Increase in Canada</b>: Approximately 32 per cent.

  • Spanish

    <b>Language</b>: Spanish <b>Originating countries</b>: Spain, most of Latin America <b>Increase in Canada</b>: Approximately 34 per cent.

  • Farsi/Persian

    <b>Language</b>: Farsi/Persian <b>Originating countries</b>: Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Bahrain and Azerbaijan, among others <b>Increase in Canada</b>: Approximately 34 per cent.

  • Bengali

    <b>Language</b>: Bengali <b>Originating countries</b>: Bangladesh and India, as well as communities in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Singapore and others <b>Increase in Canada</b>: Approximately 40 per cent

  • Creoles

    <b>Language</b>: Creoles <b>Originating country</b>: Haiti <b>Increase in Canada</b>: Approximately 42 per cent

  • Hindi

    <b>Language</b>: Hindi <b>Originating country</b>: India <b>Increase in Canada</b>: Approximately 48 per cent

  • Arabic

    <b>Language</b>: Arabic <b>Originating countries</b>: The League of Arab States, including Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan, among others, as well as Turkey, Iran and Israel, among others <b>Increase in Canada</b>: Approximately 45 per cent

  • Mandarin

    <b>Language</b>: Mandarin <b>Originating country</b>: Northern and southwestern China <b>Increase in Canada</b>: Approximately 53 per cent

  • Tagalog

    <b>Language</b>: Tagalog <b>Originating country</b>: Philippines <b>Increase in Canada</b>: Approximately 65 per cent

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  • Danish

    <a href="" target="_hplink">Danish speakers</a> refer to the at-sign as an "elephant's trunk."

  • German, Polish, Bulgarian, Indonesian

    <a href="" target="_hplink">These languages</a> all call @ a "monkey's tail" or "little monkey."

  • Greek

    <a href=",5753,-1773,00.html" target="_hplink">Greek speakers</a> have come to call @ the word "papaki," meaning little duck.

  • Hebrew

    <a href=",5753,-1773,00.html" target="_hplink">In Hebrew</a>, the at-sign is called a "strudel." (Yum!)

  • Italian and French

    Italians call @ a "chiocciola", meaning "snail." Another Romance language, French, also use this spirally mollusk in their translation, or say "at" like in English.

  • Chinese

    <a href="" target="_hplink">Chinese speakers</a> use the word "mouse" for the symbol.

  • Kazakh

    <a href="" target="_hplink">Kazakh speakers</a> refer to it as a "moon's ear."

  • Russian

    <a href=",5753,-1773,00.html" target="_hplink">The Russian language</a> uses the word "dog" for the at-sign. Kazakh speakers also refer to @ occasionally as the "dog's face."

  • Finnish

    The word "miukumauka" or "the sign of the meow" is how Finnish speakers describe @, which they believe looks <a href="" target="_hplink">like a sleeping cat</a>. Finns also might call the symbol a "<a href="" target="_hplink">kissanhnta</a>" or "cat's tail."

  • Korean

    <a href=",5753,-1773,00.html" target="_hplink">In Korean</a>, @ is called "golbangi," which translates into a word similar to "sea snail."

  • Hungarian

    The at-sign for <a href="" target="_hplink">Hungarian speakers</a> means "worm" or "maggot."