The Prime Minister at year’s end


From a pair of year-end interviews, the Prime Minister discusses the NHL lockout, Newtown, proroguing Parliament and the auditor general’s language skills.

Although Harper defended his decision to appoint Michael Ferguson auditor general even though he was not bilingual, Harper said he doesn’t want to do it again. “I admit that it is my responsibility to avoid similar circumstances in the future and I hope that Quebecers and francophones don’t doubt my commitment to the French language and our two national languages.” But while Harper said it is important for the head of an organization to be bilingual, he doesn’t feel all senior members of an organization have to speak both languages. For example, Harper said Canada’s prime minister and the chief justice of the Supreme Court should be bilingual but doesn’t believe every Supreme Court justice and every cabinet minister has to speak both English and French.

Harper shied away from commenting on Quebec’s PQ government’s plans to beef up the French Language Charter, Bill 101, saying it is provincial jurisdiction, and he defended his own track record on language. “Honestly, as prime minister, I have given a greater place to French than any other prime minister in the history of this country.”


The Prime Minister at year’s end

  1. Bilingualism is a required qualification. Just like doctors are expected to know anatomy.

    And it’s not up to Harper to ‘give’ a place to French…it’s not a favour….it’s in our constitution.

    • Sad but true…..

      • Well there are 200 languages spoken in Canada….would you prefer that all of them were official?

        Or maybe only 20 or so, like India?

        Be thankful we only have two….many countries have a lot more.

      • Why is it sad? Ignorance is bliss?

  2. Maybe the French-speaking community will feel better when the prime minister appoints officers of parliament and recommends candidates for the SCC who are unilingual francophones. ‘Til then, I, for one, will regard it as the promotion of xenophobia and a way to ensure the votes of those who fear that a few words of French on their Corn Flakes box will infect them with some disease that will land them in hell.

  3. The prime minister says he’s especially sad to see relations between owners and players fractured to a point where the national sport could be in peril.

    Funny. I feel it’s sad to see relations between political parties fractured to a point where good government could be is in peril.

    I guess it’s not so easy to make priorities

    • Yes of course because Government and opposition parties are always such pals…..

      • You’re suggesting owners and players were?

  4. “Honestly, as prime minister, I have given a greater place to French than any other prime minister in the history of this country.”

    This is a fascinating statement. Not backed up by any objective facts, and easily disproven. Greater place than, say, Pierre Trudeau, Wilfrid Laurier or even Brian Mulroney? Seriously?

    Yet he appears to believe it, or is just so self-unaware that he thinks anything he says is the truth, so long he believes it. I suppose the ‘Honestly’ is just a variant of his usual ‘tell’ of “Frankly” for when he is lying.

    Never thought we would have George Costanza as our Prime Minister.

    • He’s fluent in two languages – lies and the truth – and he moves between them flawlessly.

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