Sometimes I wish I didn’t work in the media industry. Crazy, I know, because I love my job and everything about it, but being a year-old Bachelor of Journalism graduate is tough.
Yesterday there was a Letter to the Editor in the local daily newspaper, and this is what it read, with my comments in bold:
French-first insults Canadians
I write this in protest. Not to the Olympics, but to the organizers. The opening ceremony was beautiful. I’m insulted that French was spoken first and then translated into English.
We are not a French country, not owned by France, not a French holding, French island or French province owned by France.
(You’re right there, but we do have a province that speaks French as a first-language, but go on …)
We are Canadian and English is our first language. Not French!
(Actually, Canada is a BILINGUAL country and we have TWO OFFICIAL languages.)
I am insulted that a lovely girl with a beautiful voice had to sing a crappy version of O Canada and that 90 per cent of it was sang in French.
(Without actually searching for the song and re-listening to it, I believe only one verse was sung in French. I watched the Opening Ceremonies.)
How are our children to learn English if everything is half English and half French? My Aussie and British friends watching wanted to know when Canada became a French country?
(Last I checked, not everything is half-and-half.)
I am proud to be Canadian and while Quebec still believes it’s French owned, it’s about time Canada opened its eyes. We are a Christian country with English first language and French as a second language.
(Again, no it’s not. And I doubt that ALL of Quebec believes it’s French owned. Not everyone in that province wants to separate. What bothers me most is that WE ARE NOT ALL CHRISTIAN.)
No other host country of Olympics would insult its people by speaking French first and its native language second, so why have we been thus insulted?
(Lady, you’re starting to piss me off…)
All I wanted to do after reading this letter was write once in defence of Canada’s history, but I shall not since one day I hope to work for this publication and fear it wouldn’t look good. I can only hope that someone out there in Kamloops feels the same way I do and writes in.
Anyway, to elaborate a bit more on my thoughts:
We have TWO official languages. Our cereal boxes have English AND French on them, which I thought was AWESOME while growing up. We started learning French in Grade 5 and had to take it in high school up to Grade 10 until it became an option. I can only remember one entire phrase that I learned (May I please go to my locker?) but never in a MILLION years did I not know English better because I read or heard French being spoken somewhere.
This person’s comment about Canada being a Christian country really bothered me the most, mostly because I am not a religious person. Yes, Canada may have been founded on Christian beliefs, however, in today’s world, we are free to believe in whichever religion we choose and not be judged by it. This is what I love most about being a Canadian. I would pray to gerbils and it would be fine.
My point is, I found nothing wrong with French being spoken first and then English. I was never insulted. I understood that there is a French version of our national anthem and I actually expected Nikki Yanofsky to sing part of the anthem in French. I found the writer of this letter to the editor highly ignorant.
What do you think of the letter? And more importantly, for those of you who watched the Olympics in the US or other countries, what did you think of the French and English being spoken during the events??
I shall note that I left out the woman’s name on purpose to protect her identity, even though she left it in the paper.