My recent meeting with the linguists network did not leave me indifferent. In fact, it let me really concerned about certain systemic problems identified inside the government.
The work of these people is extraordinary essential in the delivery of French-language services. It’s them, the translators, coordinators and interpreters, who make possible the communication with Francophones. Again, according to my understanding, it’s in the planning and the integration of services that it’s breaking down. One of the recurrent examples is ministries that send last minute to translation very important documents prepared for the general public, and worst, sometimes they just forget to do it. Result; Francophones risks receiving late and bad quality information compared to the original documents. This situation and this impunity concern me, obviously.
This is not entirely new to me and I will continue to press on officials for the need to plan ahead. So I took good notes of these circumstances and challenges of linguists in the Ontario Public Service.
In the coming days and weeks, you will be hearing and reading many accounts of the life of Senator Jean-Robert Gauthier that depict him as larger than life. And indeed he was. It is with great sadness that I write of the passing of a great man who was a tireless champion of the Francophone community here in Ontario and across the country. I would encourage you to read Rolande Faucher’s excellent biography of Senator Gauthier and to “soak up” these wonderful accounts of his life.
With the passing of this great man, it is difficult to take the measure of his accomplishments or to fully grasp how he changed the landscape of Canada’s Francophone community. Jean-Robert Gauthier spent his entire life fighting for what he believed in, and that included the rights of the hearing impaired in the House of Commons!
We owe him a huge debt of gratitude. For example, for all of his work for the establishment and governance of French-language schools in Ontario. I personally remember the incredible energy and determination with which he tabled his bill to amend Part VII of the Official Languages Act. It is important to understand how difficult it is for a member of parliament—and how much more difficult for a senator—to amend a statute by means of a private member’s bill, especially with a minority government. But he succeeded.
I feel great sadness with his passing today, and I wonder who will take his place in our history. Individuals of the stature of Senator Jean-Robert Gauthier are few and far between.
On behalf of the entire Office team, I offer Jean-Robert Gauthier’s family my sincerest condolences.
I just came back from the launch of a new Francophone network in the Ontario Public Service. Close to a thousand employees are members of this network called FrancoGO (for Francophones, Government of Ontario).
I find this network important and totally relevant because it allows fighting the feeling of being isolated sometimes, as a Francophone employee. No one wants to be treated as the “Token Francophone“ by colleagues. This group allows rallying among employees and being able to see the richness and the potential of the French-speaking employees within the government. This new network will also help to exchange better work practices.
The mandate is notably the contribution to the cultural, personal and professional development of French-speaking individuals across the OPS.
You will be happy to know, as I did, that the terminology and linguistic data bank TERMIUM PLUS is now available and totally free of charge for everyone. This federal initiative has been made possible notably because of my colleague Michel Carrier, Commissioner of Official Languages of New Brunswick, who lobbied the federal government.
TERMIUM PLUS is one of the elements included in the new Language Portal of Canada that the federal government just launched. This portal promotes and encourages the use of the official languages, offers numerous tools and articles on all aspects of writing in English with Gateway to English, and also proposes hyperlinks to useful language-related sites.
I salute this federal initiative in this project and I strongly encourage everyone to make good use of this tool.
If someone asks me what the Franco-Ontarian Flag means to me, I would say that it helps me to pursue my life, in French, in Ontario. Because being Franco-Ontarian, is a question of personal choice, a question of daily struggles. Continue reading →