The National Capital Region will soon welcome a new CFL football club. At the time, Franco-Ontarian football fans (and those in nearby Gatineau, QC) expected a club in financial trouble would make efforts to reach as many supporters as possible, including 250,000 Francophones in the region. Fat chance. The Renegades even failed to include French on their official website.
In the aftermath of the publication of my most recent editorial -- "Let Them Learn French": Canada's Bilingual Elite Hold All the Power" -- I've been widely denounced by all manner of pundit, much of Quebec, and even our old pal Gilles Duceppe. On the other hand, I've also heard from numerous Canadians applauding me for finally confronting one of this country's most sacred taboos head-on.
To be prime minister of Canada you have to know French. To be governor general of Canada you have to know French. To be chief justice of the Supreme Court you have to know French. This is an awful lot of power to concentrate in just 17 per cent of the population. There is a Marie Antoinette-like bit of victim-blaming ("Let them learn French!") popular with segments of the Canadian elite who simply can't fathom why more peasants can't find the time to study an exotic dying language utterly irrelevant to their daily lives.
The last time the Canadian Forces made a huge effort to integrate a minority, there were serious concerns. There was a demographic forming 28 per cent of the Canadian population, which was said not to fit into the traditional military mould. They were seen as too "different", too "rebellious", too contrary to ever enter the fold of the military elite. They were French-Canadians.
It was revealed by confused Liberal party members that Ontario's premier-designate Kathleen Wynne's campaign sent letters in foreign languages to would-be supporters. In a gauche effort to connect with the ethnic vote, the Wynne campaign combed through membership lists and divvied them up based on perceived cultural origin. The Ontario Liberal Party's federal cousins have progressively lost their grip on traditional liberal-leaning communities by ignoring them or taking them for granted. History could repeat itself if the Wynne team fails to take corrective measures.