Monday, December 13, 2010

There are actually three official language groups--

English, French and Bilinguals.

Bilinguals are people who know both languages and can navigate between both cultures.

Bilingualism was their invention.

It was the invention of people who live between New Brunswick and Windsor.

And because they are able to straddle both cultures, they are able to convince both.

That being said, official bilingualism is bad for every day bilingualism.

There is really no point in hiring a bilingual postmaster in Pakenham, Ontario or Montmagny, Quebec.

The level of second-language knowledge will probably be poor in any case.

And it tends to put French at a disadvantage.

Rather than wall-to-wall bilingualism, Canada should have a practical bilingualism policy.

In places where there are at least 10% of the population that is of the second language, official bilingualism can make sense.

Otherwise, the language of work should be that of the local area.

It's widespread unilingualism that makes bilingualism necessary and valuable. When a lot of people are bilingual, it's not such an advantage in the job market.

So, we should really have a lot more flexibility on the language issue, and develop policies that reflect the local cultures, rather than the top-down vision of Central Canadian elites.