Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Jan Harder: "Less than desirable."

The city of Ottawa is Canada's capital. It's my understanding that my country - Canada - is officially bilingual. Every once in a while when I try to speak to a City of Ottawa employee in French, it's not possible to do so and I am given the choice to wait until a bilingual staff member is available or to switch to English. I believe that no Anglophone resident has ever had to deal with a situation where service is not available in their language of expression.

It doesn't anger me when the above occasionally happens; I recognize that Francophones are in the minority in Ottawa, certainly less than 50% of the population.

What does infuriates me are the constant bilious invectives and accusations from those who somehow feel persecuted or disenfranchised or deprived of ... something, because the city tries to live up to a national standard of bilingualism and biculturalism.

Ottawa councillor Clive Doucet responded to yet another screeching eruption from French-hater councillor Jan Harder, with regard to a bilingualism requirement for staffing two important management positions for the city:
"What's happened is it's limiting the job pool. And there's no question about it," Jan Harder, councillor for Barrhaven, said Tuesday. "People are being very honest in telling me that." Harder alleged that few candidates are applying and those who do are "less than desirable."
Doucet said that Harder's comments were "a bit insulting".

There's an understatement. But I think that Francophones might want to approach Harder with a different kind of energy, in order to deflect the hatefulness of her discourse. Perhaps a nice, juicy French kiss could be planted on her every time she opens her mouth to trash bilingualism?

I'd volunteer but she's so NOT my type.

Update: And just in time, the annual report from the French Language Services Commissioner:

“Integrating and offering French-language services are not some forms of special treatment. It is an obligation under the French Language Services Act. French-language services must be depoliticized and the funding allocated to these services must be protected from political influence and budget fluctuations,” stated Mr. Boileau. ...

Furthermore, the financial and human resources allocated to French-language services are not adequate, yet the need for these services continues to grow and is more urgent than ever.

This has a direct impact on the ability of the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner to deal with an ever-increasing number of complaints. In 2008-2009, the Office recorded 304 complaints — seven times the number reported in its first annual report released last year.

“It is becoming impossible to do more with less, and the quality of the services being delivered to the public is suffering as a result. The government must ensure that it offers services that meet the needs of Francophones. The vitality, development, and survival of Ontario’s Francophone communities depend upon
these services,” added the Commissioner.

Oh to be a fly on the wall to hear what Harder will shriek about Boileau's report.


Christian said...

From Wiki~ Controversy broke out when she was reported as referring to those who support extending mass transit to rural areas as "friggin yahoos." She also was criticized for blaming crime in her ward on "non-whites coming into our community looking to cause trouble."

Kelseigh said...

One note on that. I don't know what the requirements are to be considered bilingual in municipal service, but in Federal service they are very high. My roommate, who's been in government for quite a while, got her levels not that long ago, and it took her many years of intensive study, and even then it was considered a crap shoot whether she'd pass the oral exam or not. Apparently native speakers can have trouble with that part, since it's so exacting. The other parts aren't a whole lot easier really, and even though she does speak it at work on a regular basis, she'd definitely have to go on more training courses if she wants her language certification renewed. It may be less strict for the City, though.

Nothing about Harder's comments, more about the beginning part about difficulty finding bilingual assistance.

Bina said...

Re: what Christian said...sounds like she's an equal opportunity hater and snob. That is, she hates non-whites; she hates rural dwellers (thanks a lot, bitch, I live on the outskirts of my own widdle town!), she hates...oh, probably new immigrants too (lowers the tone of the neighborhood), and so on.

So you see, she's not discriminating against Francophones only...she hates everybody!

Christian said...

Yes, Bina. I was having technical issues last night but wanted to make the same point. Mine being, I wonder who else does she discriminates against?

Bina said...

Maybe the easier question would be who doesn't she discriminate against? LOL...

deBeauxOs said...

Jan Harder est une truie!!

No disrespect intended to the admirable Miss Piggy, who is a sow among men.

Jan Harder has made a career of rolling around in the swill.

Mandos said...

Jan Harder is one of the most deeply tedious things about Ottawa city politics.

Anonymous said...

French = Dying Language

Bina said...

French = One of the most commonly spoken languages on Earth. Half of Africa speaks it. So does about half of Europe.

Dying. Pffft. Yeah, right.

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