We do actually have a problem in this province between French and English and there is a growing division and a growing hatred. It is cyclic and endemic. Without going into where the latest rounds actually started (largely because I don’t know, the anger has been ongoing for a few years) it is cyclical in the fact that the English side says the French want to much and want to force everyone in the province to speak French, The French side says we need more rights to be able to protect our culture for assimilation. The more one side screams, the other screams back again and it is getting annoying to some of us who actually want nothing to do with either side of the argument.
Pure and simple as a bilingual province both English and French have equal rights to be served in their own language. Both have equal rights to protect their language and their culture from assimilation. No one on either side should ever be forced to give up their language for the simple expedient of finding of finding a job (even in the public service). No one on either side should be forced to move from the province to find a good paying job or get services in their own language.
Now lets look at a few things that are being demanded in these articles. Duality in education is a demand and in general is untouchable directly from the Canadian Constitution. I think we there could be tweaks to make this more efficient, things like sharing transportation between the various English/French districts to make it more efficient and less costly. However the issue of costs of texts and teaching materials is what it is. You can’t pay less for a text and still expect to get the same text. However I do have some question on the issue of needing more money per student so that they can teach French culture. Realistically English schools should be getting the same money so that they can teach English culture (such as it is) as well. Protecting French language cinema, TV, music and media I understand (though it is not mentioned here) simply because the overall market in Canada (or North America) is significantly smaller due to a smaller audience.
The SANB lawsuit against the Department of Education though I find to be troubling and that is because it is going to cause more bitterness and hatred. And this bitterness and hatred is going to be met with the same. This lawsuit should not be termed in reference to the fact that we should not be cut because we are French. It should only be termed as education should not be cut under any circumstances. To make demands of this nature only to cover the French population will do nothing to remove the levels of viciousness that is starting to erupt.
Philippe Ricard asks in his article what Anglophones want. While there are a very vocal and cranky majority that wants the French gone completely, what the majority of Anglophones actually want is equality. True equality, means that French can function in this province without being forced to learn English and English can function in this province without learning French. However on his list of items to be proud of he listed call centers, this is not exactly something that we as a province should be proud of (French or English) we have brought in a large number of high-turnover low income jobs with little chance of advancement. This is not an achievement this is selling out your province for job stats and paying each of these companies a lot of money to do it.
We as a province need to be looking at a truly equal society. Both getting access to the same services as the other and both as proud of our heritage and our provinces uniqueness as the other. This cannot be achieved if we are constantly fighting with each other over who gets more.
We may have a need from French and English schools separately to protect either group from assimilation however everything else should be bilingual with each group getting access to services in their language (at the same location, but not necessarily by the same person) at any public service.
Any private company should have the right to operate in their language (or the language of their employees) and the signage on the building should reflect the language/s that the company is capable of doing business in.
Basically the same rights of Francophones that need protection also needs protection in Anglophones as well as it is only through those protections that the anti-French rhetoric will be muted because the large majority who are upset at the demands of the francophones are only worried that their rights will be violated to protect the rights of the Francophones.
On the Duality in health care issue though I think we need to rethink our approach. Every person in this province needs access to health care, and in their language. This means that it should not matter what hospital any individual walks into in this province they should have access to health care in this language (again not necessarily the same person but equally qualified)
And never again should anyone in this province be denied employment to any government funded agency or institution solely based on the language they speak. And everyone should have access to service in their language, by someone who is a proficient speaker in that language.