Welcome to the Olympics. Come look at the francophones

There simply wasn’t enough French at the Olympic Opening Ceremony on Friday

by Paul Wells

The Minister of Canadian Heritage is one of many people doing a good job of pointing out the simple fact that, for a public event in Canada, and especially for the games of an international association whose official languages are French and English, there simply wasn’t enough French at the Olympic Opening Ceremony on Friday. “Period,” as James Moore puts it. “Full stop.”

So I would have no particular interest in piling on if it weren’t for the transparently ridiculous excuses VANOC spokeswoman Renée Smith-Valade gave at a news conference this afternoon. There was plenty of French at the event, she said, in effect. You just didn’t hear it.

“Let me give you a bit of background on the French content at the opening ceremonies,” she said, before listing dance choreographers Jean Grand-Maître and Jacques Lemay; flag-bearers Julie Payette, Jacques Villeneuve and Roméo Dallaire; and acrobats from the École Nationale du Cirque.

Now, choreographers, flag-bearers and contortionists aren’t normally thought to have much in common, but one thing that does connect them is that they don’t speak.

I read the excuses offered by Smith-Valade, who is perfectly bilingual, to Graham Fraser, Canada’s Commissioner of Official Languages, and over the phone I could hear him sigh. “That speaks to an idea that people will tolerate French as long as it’s not actually heard. And that francophones are part of Canada, but not the French language.”

Fraser wrote his first report warning about serious limitations in the amount of French at the Olympics in December, 2008. He had meetings with 20 federal departments and agencies to encourage them to make French part of the experience of francophone visitors to the Olympics. “And a lot of them really stepped up to the plate,” he said. “I fully recognize that VANOC put a lot of effort into improving the infrastructure.” Cable companies put “a huge effort” into ensuring that coverage is available coast-to-coast through CPAC, Fraser said. “And that deserves to be recognized.”

But at the opening ceremonies, organizers “seemed to believe it would be an imposition on the audience to hear French spoken,” Fraser said. “So much so that they took a quotation by François-Xavier Garneau and translated it into English to read it to the audience.”

Garneau asked, “En quel autre climat la Reine du Silence montre-t-elle plus de splendeur?” In the circumstance, it seems an apt question.




Browse

Welcome to the Olympics. Come look at the francophones

  1. The French feel slighted?

    STOP THE PRESSES

    • French speaking Canadians were slighted. Start the presses.

      • Who cares? Game over.

    • Typical. An anglo who feels the right to disrespect francophones. Ça me dégoute.

      • Typical. A franco who can't comprehend that the eternal francophone bleating, whining and criticism has rendered itself irrelevant to real Canadians a long time ago.

      • Typical. A franco who feels the right to disrespect anglophones.

        • why cant we just all get along? its really not that hard is it??

  2. Sigh. Really? We're going to shift into fullspeed handwringing mode because not enough french was heard during the opening ceremonies? And the problem is that without having French heard, VANOC sent the message that "francophones are a part of Canada, but not the french language"? So, I wonder, wow many other "parts of Canada" were not heard during the games, and thus also received the same message? How about any other of the hundred languages or more that make up our multicultural mosaic– also not heard. So I guess many groups across this country are handwringing and feeling "tolerated" but only if not heard. Hm. But no — only more Quebec french language politicking from this hapless government.

    Paul, please, please can you go back to digging up info on Rights & Democracy, and leave this ridiculousness to useless government agencies and their heads, like Graham Fraser, the Commissioner for Official Language Politics and Handwringing?

    • The "other hundred languages of languages" don't represent a quarter of Canada's population and did not play the same kind of role as French did in the history and development of Canada.

      • a fifth of the population. but your point remains valid.

    • "How about any other of the hundred languages or more that make up our multicultural mosaic– also not heard."
      How many of them are official languages?

    • Dude, read the Constitution and read the Olympic Charter.
      These impose official languages which aren't discretionary.

      If you have a problem with that and can't recognize a blunder
      when you see one, moves south of the border. NOW.

      • Could you please point me to the part of the Constitution that says it applies to non-profit organizations like VANOC? Could you also tell me where it imposes french language requirements on sporting events?

        I actually like the idea that francophones and anglophones worked together to produce the opening ceremony; quietly working together, without fuss or complaint. That's the Canadian way.

        Well, other than when we turn that kind of success into another lame moment of cheap politicking. But thanks, all four of you, for your contribution to the handwringing.

      • As I noticed that all of the venues, public announcements and country placards were French-first, the "blunder" seems to have been that there was any inclusion of English at all.

        • thats an IOC req't didn't u watch Beijing ?

  3. Hey, listen, when you subcontract the opening show to an Australian who thinks Canada is about strange-looking gypsies playing the fiddle and girls hovering over the Prairies on a clothes line, you shouldn't be surprised when there's very little French.

    • so the comment board has degenerated to CBC quality input.

    • lol
      Maybe we should be happy there was any English? :)

    • That was a girl on that wire?

      • They already outsourced the show's production along with the Canadian Pavilion. There was no more dough to outsource anything to Sarkozy…

  4. HAHAA. Agreed.

  5. Does anyone honestly believe this sort of mindless political whining actually contributes positively to the language discussion in this country? Anyone? Anyone?

    By all means, let's work hard to have the two major (and secondarily, Official) languages well represented in all major national events. We should expect politician of all stripes to support exactly that. However, Moore's self-serving headlines do nothing to promote the acceptance of French outside Quebec Indeed, he likely diminishes the acceptance of each language among significant pockets of the population.

    Using language to score political points is worse — far, far worse — than VANOC coming up short on French during the Opening.

    • Well I'm actually appreciative of Moore (and Paul Wells for raising this point). The status of French in Canada (especially outside of Quebec) is no sure thing and requires vigorous advocacy.

      I know many English-speaking Canadians find this whole second official language thing a tiresome nuisance but it's one of the things that make Canada special. If we forget that we lose a valuable part of our identity.

      • The status of French outside Quebec is a non issue because it is a non-issue to anyone outside of Quebec. French is first and foremost on every provincial and federal sign on every building and roadway in the country. I live in a city made up of many French communities. If French is the language of precendence then that is what is spoken and nobody whines about it. When you feel the need to bash people over the head because of some imagined slight and you do it over and over and over again, what do you think the eventual repsponse is going to be? This is not an important issue. And besides, if you actually watched the ceremonies, there was enough French spoken. Period. Full Stop. How insulting!!

        • can I have my part of the federal money spent on the olympics back ?

  6. Is there a joke here that I'm not getting? There was more than enough French at the ceremonies. Arguably too much.

    • Idiot.

    • The official languages of the Olympics is French and English. Not mention that, you know, they're THIS country's official languages.

    • I agree, there was enough french..If Quebec had there way it would all be french and to act like they are so put out amazes me. I was in Quebec 3 years ago and will never go back ever, We were treated like trash because we were English speaking so before they point fingers i suggest they clean there own back yard up. I heard alot of french at the opening ceremonies some of who decided to start it in french so it is a ridiculous comment for any of them to make, but not surprising however…If they want all french go back to france. There is more languages in this country and I am sick and tired of the quebecers using the language card… How I wish the rest of canada could of decided on there separation…SIGH

  7. I'm not excusing it, these Olympics are Canadian so I agree more french is needed but Eastern Canada doesn't understand just how FOREIGN french sounds in Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton.

    • Perhaps what is foreign is the suggestion that French is not really an "official" language of this country. Perhaps something needs to be done about the education systems in Alberta and B.C.

      I don't think the lack of understanding has anything to do with Eastern Canada (sic).

      • Something does need to be done. We need to have more Mandarin Chinese programs. They'd be the most useful.

        • There's more to a country than what is "useful". Many things in our culture aren't especially "useful" either but help make us who we are.

          It might be useful to suppress all languages outside of English (and/or perhaps mandarin) but that wouldn't make it right.

        • Exactly right about the mandarin options. It's only going to help when Harper's minions do the 'get tough with China' while preoffering free oil sands acreage to Hu Jintao.

      • DAMMIT ALL, IF I WANT TO BE IGNORANT THAT"S MY RIGHT!!!

        I agree. Suck it up and learn another language… you might actually improve yourself.

        • But that won't be done learning French!

      • FYI, I am fluently bilingual born and raised in the Maritimes. You can all call me what you want, I am was not stating an opinion but rather a fact, like it or not.

        I for one am also tired of hearing flight attendents speak french quickly and badly on flights to and from cities where no one speaks only french. Hearing someone needlessly butcher such an elegant language does not help OPEN OUR MINDS.

    • French sounds pretty foreign in China too, but there was arguably more French in the Beijing Opening Ceremonies than there was in Vancouver.

    • Well it may sound "FOREIGN" (I guess that's a bad thing in your point of view) to folks out West but it's definitely NOT foreign. It's one of the two official languages in Canada and is the first language of about one quarter of the population. Not to mention the historical significance of it. And the role of the French language is one of the most conspicuous and distinct differences between ourselves and our American neighbours to the south.

      I get that many people in the West are ignorant about French but is that supposed to be some kind of excuse for the Vanoc organizers who are supposed to be thinking about the whole country and not just one region?

      • Not to mention that French settled here *first*

    • I don't understand why westerners feel so personally affronted by bilingualism… just put in the effort and learn french. It's not very hard. Most french Quebecker speak perfect english. Kids in Belgium are taugh flemish even if they speak french and vice versa (and seriously… flemish isn't the most versatile/useful language in the world)

      • People are frightened by what they don't understand. There's probably some feelings of inadequacy mixed up in there too.

        It's the same reason why the most acute xenophobia in Quebec is located in places like Hérouxville that have practically no minorities to speak of.

      • In fairness most french Quebecers don't speak English…although i confess it's been over 30 years since i was in the province – perhaps it's changed? I should also point out [ since i reside mostly in BC] that a surprising number of folks in the province speak french. Quebecers have helped pick the fruit, plant trees [ and mushrooms] and fished out of the QC islands and Prince Rupert for many years now.

        • I was in a small town in Quebec a few years ago. I don't speak French, I didn't meet anyone who spoke English, and it was awesome! We had to connect through hand gestures, a word here and there on each side, and a great deal of concentration. I mean to say, I felt like I communicated with a local quite a bit more than when I go someplace and ask, "where is Queen Street?" or whatever I'm looking for.

          • i was treated wonderfully in Quebec. But that may been because iwas just off the boat from Britain…i had the feeling they wouldn't have been so tolerant of a native Canadian not having any french. I'm glad to see your experience proves me wrong.

        • Francophones in BC do not only consist of migrant workers from Quebec. There are francophone communities in BC and even in the Lower Mainland – Maillardville, for example, which holds the Festival du Bois every year (a great weekend in March, highly recommend it).

      • Really? I've remember reading on a forum thread some Dutch-speaking Flemish (the Flemish speakers speak Dutch, of which there are Flemish dialects) users complaining that the French-speaking Wallons don't learn Dutch, being an optional subject (whereas French is a mandatory subject in Flanders, apparently). From Wiki Almighty, a study from the Université Catholique de Louvain found that only 19% of Wallons knew Dutch ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_of_Belgium… ). That's not much higher than the proportion of Canadian lest Quebec knows French (IIRC, that's around 10%).

        Of course, if anybody knows more about the linguistic situation in Belgium, speak up and I happy to concede if I am wrong.

      • Westerners, generally speaking, don't learn french because most of them would never use it. It's hard to get excited about learning something you'll likely never use. And your comparison between westerners and Quebeckers is silly. Many Ontarians learn french because of the proximity of Ontario and Quebec and that has much to do with why Quebeckers learn english. The vast majority of central Canadians learn the other official language because it's useful, not out of some idealistic view to understanding each other's culture.

  8. I would recommend to reporters and politicians (and particularly Quebec politicians) who automatically spout outrage about bilingualism that they ask some of the francophones in Vancouver whether they thought there was enough French in the ceremony, or not. I suspect they would think there was enough (but hey, what do I know… go ask them). I certainly thought there was enough.

    However, one thing I thought that was missed in the ceremony was there should have been more content about the multicultural communities in Vancouver (recognizing the Chinese and Indo-Canadian communities, for e.g.). But it's hard to summarize a complex city, province and country in a three hour show. The Aussie director overall did an admirable job despite the inevitable whinging about official languages.

  9. Let's see, the 'Own the Podium' extravaganza to date: Canadian pavilion – a day late and a lot of dollars short for what looks like nothing more than a storage facility; questionable safety measures on the luge track; Opening Ceremony – failure to launch one leg of the torch thingy, and forgetting the Canadian tradition of bilingualism; the refusal to recognize that women actually can ski jump without doing themselves harm; that firm VANOC commitment a couple of years ago that Games security would be well within budget was off by about 90%. Looks like VANOC and the IOC are on a roll. It seems only fitting that the weather is refusing to co-operate.

  10. I was struck by the lack of French at the opening ceremonies as well. Now this sounds silly, but I also noticed that Ontario was not referenced.

    • Huh. I'm a born and bred Ontarian, and I have to say, despite noticing the nods to the prairies, the Atlantic provinces and Quebec, t it didn't occur to me until I read that comment that there was no nod to Ontario (or was there?). Not much to worry about there though, as I think Ontarians would be pretty much the least likely of any regional group in Canada to moan about something like that. There's much more of a "Canadian first, Ontarian DISTANT second" here than there is in many other provinces.

      • That's because Ontarians are like the Castillains in Spain or the Han in China. They are a secure majority (or at least a plurality) and therefore project their identity onto the entire nation instead of thinking of themselves as another regional/ethnic group. They conflate Canadian and Ontarian into a vague mishmash.

        • They conflate Canadian and Ontarian into a vague mishmash.

          Huh. And here I thought it was everybody else who was too worried about remaining "distinct". Personally, I'll take my "vagues mishmash" of not worrying about a distinction between my provincial identity and my national identity over the petty regionalism often on display elsewhere any day. Although, maybe that's how Ontarians are distinct. We really distinctly wish everybody else would just stop whining about how distinct they are.

    • I noticed that, too. I also noticed just a very brief comment on Quebec, almost squeezed in as an afterthought.

      I felt slighted, but then quickly forgot about it.

    • You too? A friend of ours said that Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba were left out and that it was all about the Atlantic and the Sask/Alta/BC west….hmmmm.

      I think it's great when people can speak more than one language. It's not unusual in Europe to speak several languages.

    • Lack of french? what ever….Vancouver and anywhere west of quebec is not french if you want french and they want all this french then go to france I am so sick of this crap with the french all they do is shove there franco phone crap down our throats and I am sick of it.

  11. There were no explicit references to the one-armed lumberjack population of Canada. And of course, the lack of sign language was appalling, along with the lack of short people.

    • It doesn't strike you as at all odd that there was arguably more French in the Opening Ceremonies of Beijing and Turin then there was in Vancouver?

      • He doesn't care.

      • Actually, there is some logic to that. In Beijing, neither English nor French is the local language. So you might expect that they would have equal amounts of the two official languages of the Olympics. In Vancouver, one of those official languages is the local language, so you'd expect them to take advantage of that.

        So, no it's not odd. French is the 5th most spoken language in BC. There are 7 times more Chinese speakers than French speakers. French is the native language of 1.4% of the population.

        Anon Liberal is right, I really don't care how much French there was, I think it's petty and small-minded for people to make an issue out of this.

        • It's not odd, it's just wrong.

        • You didn't see the Chinese complaining about all the French in Beijing, but there are an AWFUL LOT of people complaining about all the French in Vancouver. I guess I just don't follow your logic that it somehow makes prefect sense that there'd be less French at a Canadian Olympics than at a Chinese Olympics.

          • Actually, no one has complained that there was too much French. I've read one so far.

          • Actually, I'm saying if there was more of another language in the ceremony, it should have been Chinese, not French, because there are 300 000 native Chinese speakers in BC.

          • Chinese is not an official language. Nor is Italian, Greek, Spanish or any other language other than French and English

    • Actually the Metis nation was explicitly referenced…. they were called in as one of Canada's Aboriginal groups to welcome the world to the games. Clearly you didn't actually watch the opening ceremonies and are just commenting to be a dick.

    • No kidding. If we had to reference every single aspect of Canadian culture for fear of exclusion the Opening Ceremonies would have taken 2 weeks.

      • It's kind of nice to think that we have 2 weeks worth of culture here in Canada.

  12. It's true. There wasn't enough French, and what there was was often pitiful. I was struck by Furlong's lack of command of French in his speech. As someone who, like many "ordinary Canadians" on both sides of the language divide, have taken the time and trouble to learn the other official language, it's distressing to realize that highly paid officials (who have access to free second language classes) can't get it together to properly pronounce even the few words or phrases they include in their remarks. Especially grating when those speeches ( and the opening ceremonies which surround them) appeal to sentimental manufactured notions of what it means to be Canadian.

    • Furlong is not a Federal employee. He was hired by Vanoc. I don't believe Vanoc employees are required to be bilingual.

      • Nor would they have access to free second language classes.

      • Just one entry from the VANOC website:

        "The Government of Canada, through Canadian Heritage, incorporated in the Agreement between the signatory parties specific official languages requirements that are to be met in organizing the Games. VANOC must acquire staff and volunteers with adequate bilingual capacity in order to meet these requirements".

        Furlong would most certainly have had access to second language courses and/or tutoring.

        http://www.ocol-clo.gc.ca/html/stu_etu_122008_p2_

        • The fact that Furlong made the attempt to speak in French and was obviously not a fluently bilingual person should be applauded as at least making the effort. The fact that you are complaining that his French wasn't good enough speaks volumes as to the problem with this issue. My wife was born in Manitoba and is fluently bilingual. She had a call centre job catering to a Quebec population. She actually had some complaints, very few mind you, that her accent wasn't proper Quebec French and the customer wouldn't speak to her. My point is that no matter what this country does it will never satisfy a certain segment of the French population. These are the same people who will refuse to speak English to you even though they are quite fluent. All this complaining is done, especially in this case, to simply try and embarass the country and its citizens. Shameful!!

          • "All this complaining is done, especially in this case, to simply try and embarass the country and its citizens. Shameful!!" Nonsense. Furlong embarrassed himself. As for your whining about Quebecers refusing to speak English, that is nonsense too. I moved to Quebec at the height of the first referendum and lived there through the second, learning French only when I arrived. I cannot recount a single negative experience as I struggled to become bilingual. And when the guy at the garage, dépanneur or beer store can learn to speak a second language fluently, for his job, I don't think it's too much to expect a high paid official in a national capacity to do the same.

          • "The fact that Furlong made the attempt to speak in French and was obviously not a fluently bilingual person should be applauded as at least making the effort"

            Too bad a certain segment of the English population couldn't give Dion the same credit.

        • No he wouldn't. And having staff with adequate bilinugal capacity does not mean they must all speak French.

        • There's nothing in that link that dictatates Furlong himself be fluently bilingual or that language courses are to be offered by the Federal government. VANOC's bilingual obligation is met by having a certain percentage of workers and volunteers by bilingual.

          • Sorry. If my pizza delivery guy can speak English to me, Furlong, and others who have access to language training, can manage a few un-mangled words. Besides, where do you think VANOC's money is coming from? “The federal government has contributed $20 million of the $38 million cost of the opening and closing ceremonies for the Games”, and “Last September, the federal government dedicated an extra $7.7 million for bilingual services at the Games”.

        • What exactly is your problem? If you want the English population to speak French in this supposedly bilingual country,does that not also mean that the French population should also be able to speak and read English? If that is the case, then why the noise about not enough French at the Olympics. It shouldn't be necessary if the Francophones have done schoolwork.

  13. Well, I am shocked and appalled that there were few, if any, references to Toronto. What have we become? Some kind of Vancouver-centred Olympic experience?

    • I'm not surprised! There is just no culture in Toronto, all there is is business, money and ugly landmarks…

  14. I don't know what an appropriate amount of French would have been, but translating the quote from François-Xavier Garneau into English was certainly a slap in the face.

  15. Such a Canadian thing, burning ones fingers lighting matches and then dropping them on kindling.

    • Bon fire!

  16. The Commissioner of Official Languages' comment was pretty funny: ""There are times I feel French in Vancouver is a bit like snow. Everybody was hoping that it would be here but sometimes it's hard to find".

    • Maybe they're keeping it on the mountaintop. They'll truck it in when they need it.

  17. Vanoc's decision to limit the use of French at the opening ceremonies did not surprise me in the least. A large majority of British Columbian and Prairie Canadians have always been hostile towards the Official Languages Act, 1969 (amended and strengthened 1988).
    Harper's Reform/Alliance/Conservative Party preached the gospel of two linguistic Canadas, Quebec unilingual French and the ROC unilngual English.
    Harper's Conservative government has not been a friend of the OLAct or the Commissioner of Official Languages – he merely tolerates the use of French in the Federal government and agencies outside Quebec and the government tolerates the use of French only in most of the federal government offices and agencies in Quebec.
    Welcome to Harper's new Canada!!!

    • Exactly right although James Moore deserves credit for speaking up about this. I think being in Ottawa might be having a civilizing effect on some of the brighter Reformers.

      • Yeah I'm really glad he spoke up about this, he definitely deserves credit, it wasn't cool at all. However it's true that there is a huge anti-french bias out west… I hope the government wasn't involved in the VANOC decision to limit Quebec/French content.

        • I doubt they were. They don't want to lose what little support they currently have in Quebec.

    • Maybe Wells will be awarding a prize for this comment.

      You probably blame Harper for the hydraulic failure during the Olympic ceremony.

      • You mean he couldn't get it up?…hmmm, maybe i oughten to go there at all?

    • The one government in Canada that has always promoted unlingualism is the government of Quebec. They've even gone so far as to enact laws that ban the usage of other languages on signs, in workplaces, and elsewhere.

      • "The one government in Canada that has always promoted unlingualism is the government of Quebec. They've even gone so far as to enact laws that ban the usage of other languages on signs, in workplaces, and elsewhere."

        And this here demonstrates the level of your ignorance, scf. Charest's government is one of the very few that provides all of their information (web included) in both languages.

      • can you blame them? they're immersed in a north american sea of anglophones. how else are they going to conserve their language and culture? inaction on their part would simply accelerate the erosion until assimilation, i.e. melting pot, reducing the french language to folklore status.

    • "Vanoc's decision to limit the use of French at the opening ceremonies did not surprise me in the least. A large majority of British Columbian and Prairie Canadians have always been hostile towards the Official Languages Act, 1969 (amended and strengthened 1988)."

      Oh I don't think that they were deliberate in their actions. I think that they genuinely believe that having names announced in both languages and having one song/performer in French was quite sufficient.

      Like most Canadians with little to no exposure to bilingualism, they just do not know or understand that putting on a bilingual event means that both languages get equal billing.

    • I am a prairie canadian and proud of it and yes I hate this french language shoved down my throat…What you lacked saying in your comment is how quebecers treat anyone that is non speaking french and it is deplorable so before you badmouth the west i suggest the little province of quebec brains up. As I have said before we do not live in France we live in canada a country of many languages if the french don't like it then leave. It is getting to be as bad with the mexican language in the U.S. I am not a harper supporter far from it but this franco phone and everything in french has cost tax payers millions and for what?

      • What an ignorant comment ! The French and English (without of course denigrating the First Nations) are the original co-founders of Canada. In other words if it were not for the French and the Brits, today Canada wouldn't exist. It would be part of the US.
        As such Canada is officially bilingual, while at the same time multicultural. Period. And regarding Quebec's French only laws, how else can they conserve and promote the French language and culture when immersed in a sea of anglophones ?
        The Olympics, whether hosted in Timbuctou, Mogadishu or Caracas are officially bilingual, and on top of that, given that Canada is officially bilingual, it should be reflected even moreso in the Vancouver games, not only on a communication level but also with regard to culture / entertainment.

  18. A little bit harsh on the Harper government aren't you? Especially given that it's a HARPER Cabinet Minister, James Moore, complaining in the article that there wasn't enough French in the Opening Ceremonies, and warning that the HARPER government will be looking for there to be more French in the Closing.

    • But why speak up AFTER said events? They could have pushed for more French while they were planning the whole thing.

      • This is what confuses me. Didn't VANOC get the script for the event vetted? The story doesn't say whether Heritage ever signed off on the script for the event…but if so then why, and if not, then why not?

        I don't doubt that Moore is upset by this, but isn't his staff responsible for making sure this sort of mess doesn't happen in the first place?

      • According to Moore, they did speak up before the events. I don't know how specific the conversations were, but Moore came right out and said that the feds were led to believe that there'd be more French than he ended up seeing.

      • According to Moore, they did speak up before the events. I don't know how specific the conversations were, but Moore came right out and said that the feds were led to believe that there'd be more French than he ended up seeing.

    • Ya, he complaining after he received complaints – damage control or what?

  19. Oh no…the French are unhappy? Say it ain't so…funny, most people I spoke to were appalled at all the stupid pandering references to indians and frogs. Don't like hearing English? Stay out of Vancouver.

    • Don't like learning French? Go move to the States.

      • Better yet, get the west OUT of Canaduh.

        • Yeah, you and six of your buddies…i'll chip in for the bus fare.

    • Wow, what a bunch of great replies from all you so called enlightened people. "what an idiot", "move to the States",etc…
      You people are obviously the problem. Again, there was quite enough French in the ceremony and if you don't think so YOU have the problem.

      • Yes, I agree. These people will complain about everything, they can't appreciate a damn thing VANOC and the BC people have done, instead they turn into insipid, petty, small whiners. Let's ask these pathetic people to leave Canada, but I know the US doesn't want them, so it's hard to know who will take them.

      • You are probably the intellectual elite of your family. Sorry but the word IGNORANT is totally appropriate for you

  20. Haha, it's easy to be magnanimus when you're the ones in charge.

    Don't worry if the balance of power shifts to Alberta (in terms of population and wealth and seats in the HOC) than Ontario will suddenly have a regional identity.

    • The oil will run out long before that happens.

      • I don't know about the oil, but I'll be dead and buried.

        • Ontario was represented. That truck Wayne was in wasn't an import, was it?

  21. Wow, what an idiot.

  22. By the way if you want to experience real horror than just scroll down to the comments scetion of the CBC story Well slinked to above.

    It reminds me of a quotation from Solange Chaput-Rolland about some of the Charest Commission which tried to salvage the Meech Lake Accord: "The crisis in Canada is not the result of the uncouth behaviour of a minority, but the ill will of the majority."

    20+ years later and I suspect things have gotten worse.

    • Get off your high horse. Getting beat over the head with a non issue for years and years solves nothing. French is alive and well in all pockets of the country where it should be nd always has been. Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec obviously, the Maritimes. I can't speak for anyplace west of Manitoba as I haven't experienced it for myself. Stop the whining for nothing.

  23. My overwhelming impression of the ceremonies from watching on NBC was that it seemed liked Canada's biggest objective was to improve public awareness of Canada in the US and the rest of the English speaking world. Having more of the opening ceremony in French I don't think would do much to further this. The BC government was constantly running featuring famous Hollywood celebrities like Kim Cattrall born in BC telling everyone how great a place it is.

    • Probably right. And predictably lame.

      • Other than for the fact I actually think for once the Americans for once are actually falling for it and taking some interest in Canada. US TV ratings for the opening ceremony were the highest they have been since 1984. I personally think the policy of using the games to advertise for Canada in the US was probably made at the highest level i.e. Harper so any crictism of it the ceremonies not having enough French is little hypocritical. Notice Harper and Gordon Campbell said it was the best show they had even seen or something to that effect leaving any criticsm to be made by Heritage minister Moore.

    • AKA Kim Victoria Cattrall

      Born: 21-Aug-1956
      Liverpool England

      The message, it seems, that what it means to be Canadian is to hate each other. Sad

  24. Apropos of nothing here, a Quebecois just won the first "home" gold for Canada.

    Cool.

    • The ironing is rather delicious. A French Canadian from Quebec who stayed in Canada wins the first gold medal on home soil by defeating an English Canadian from Vancouver who left to compete for another country.

      • That is ironical indeed.

      • Ah, delicious ironing. Only slightly less delectable than a nice dry-cleaning sauce.

    • Congrats to Alex…nicely done.

    • Funny…I thought he was competing for Canada not Quebec….

      • He was. I think that's actually what "won the first 'home' gold for Canada" means actually. Who said he wasn't competing for Canada? Now, the guy he beat? THERE's a Canadian who wasn't competing for Canada.

    • Maybe he could ski for France next time

  25. Wells,do you whiney dicks ever give it a rest ? Why don't you pseudo journalists & political hacks just go away for the duration of the olympics and let us the unwashed enjoy 16 days without the divisive political BS.

    • Uh . . . you are the one who is on this political magazine's blog section searching out articles. I don't think that you can tell Wells to go away from his own job. You on the other hand are free not to visit this blog. Politics is our greatest sport in this country and I enjoy reading about the political aspect of the games.

    • Don't blame, Paul. James Moore's the one who started this and he's from The West. Well he's lived in Ottawa since he's been out of university, but you know what I mean.

  26. Why do the francofones have to ruin EVERYTHING. Why do they have to always put a black cloud over celebrations?
    One question: why can't they just be happy to be Canadian first instead of french of english first? this is why we get annoyed by them. Let us just enjoy the Olympics.

    • First of all, it's not just Francophones that are upset. James Moore raised this objection. Paul Wells flagged it. Canadians who value the role of the French language are not limited exclusively to Francophones.

      You say you want to be left alone to enjoy the Olympics. Well guess what? The token treatment of French in the opening ceremonies made them less enjoyable for many of your fellow Canadians.

      • Anon Liberal, are you actually defending the actions of a Conservative cabinet minister? Wow, I guess bilingualism really can be a unifying force in our country after all, if an Iggy Lib can stand up and defend a Harper minister in a public forum. Good on ya!
        On the other hand, I'm a Conservative who wishes Moore would stop pandering on language issues to a province that suppresses its own English population.

        • Happy to give Moore credit on this one. He did the right thing.

        • "On the other hand, I'm a Conservative who wishes Moore would stop pandering on language issues to a province that suppresses its own English population"

          Apart from being patently stupid – the' English"- have always had carte blanche in BC [ along with the Americans]
          I should point out the further incongruity of your statement: many fellow Brits [non english] have helped build BC.But any one who isn't 'English"would know exactly where you're coming from. Your drive by smear of non English [ probably asian] culture is contemptible.

          • Why how racist of you kcm. Wonderfully enlightening statements from your accepting mind.

      • Please feel free to take James Moore out of Coquitlam. If he is so concerned about the lack of French-in BC and Vancouver-rather than the interest of his constituents, please feel free to run back east.

        • Actually James Moore happens to have a Francophone community in his riding – Maillardville.

          • Wrong Jan, Maillardville is in New West-Coquitlam, Fin Donnelly's riding. And even then, the token 520 "french speaking" population identified by StatsCan, is vastly outnumbered by English "non-official" language speakers.

          • You are correct – my mistake – it's not in his riding. So if he's not speaking up for his own constituents is he pandering to Quebec or trying to cover his ass? I'd be prepared to settle for either of those two explanations.

      • If the imagined token treatment of the French annoyed you for some reason, you weren't watching for the right reason. Vive la Quebec libre!!!

    • I don't think they ruin everything. They have great food, music, films,general hospitality,
      Pee-wee-wee, festivals, and they are happy to share it all.
      On the other hand, they do gawdawful things to perfectly innocent fries.
      They're keepers, I think.

      • On the other hand, they do gawdawful things to perfectly innocent fries.

        Sisyphus, since you're an avid observer of American media I'm sure you're aware that poutine was the hot new cuisine in NYC a while back….

        Poutine can't be gawdawful if it's trendy in New Yawk, can it?

        • I'd be willing to bet good money that trendy, New York "poutine" is gawdawful.

        • Well trained media monkeys can get ya good coverage for anything.

          Does Paris Hilton eat poutine ? I wonder ….

      • mmmmm poutine!!!

    • If I understand you well, the day you are hurt and go tell someone about it, you are the annoying one.
      Wow, I hope you're nobody's only friend.

    • I agree with you 100%. I'm from NB, and I thought all the focus on Maritime fiddling music was ridiculous, because the Olympics are in VANCOUVER.

      • i do so agree. Where were all those fiddling junkies?

  27. Mr Wells, there was a time when the West cared about Quebec, not so much any more. Don't their representatives in the House of Commons want to separate from Canada. I think if a referendum where held on Quebec the West would vote to let them go. Tell me does Quebec want anything more from Canada than the West's transfer dollars?

    • "Mr Wells, there was a time when the West cared about Quebec…"
      ——————————————————-

      Yeah back when it was the French/Métis exploring it and establishing the first European settlements.

      • Do you mean After George Vancouver?

    • I'd imagine it's hard to want to be part of a country full of racists who hate you. By the way, if you held a referendum in Ontario, we'd probably vote to eject the West. Oh wait… no, no we wouldn't (even though all the West/Alberta does is complain *even when they're the ones in power*) because we don't behave like petulant little children.

      • Please do..we would be so much better off without the anchor of Canada around our necks.

    • Oh please, jasperavenue. As a BC'er I've had it with people like you speaking for the West.

  28. This is a sporting event hosted by the country for the benefit of all. Can we not have politicians/magazine
    commentators/columnists/editorialists/hacks/party bagmen/hangers on, for once – just keep quiet? You will have plenty of time dealing with proroguement /Afghan detainee/ polling results etc, etc to the delight of those who follow and tune in. For those not interested, just give us this next number of days to enjoy.

    • Go to the Sports Illustrated or TSN web-sites moron.

      • A comment from a partisan political type, er bagman, hack, hanger-on, laps up all things blogging and lives the life of politics logging extensive keyboard time!!!!

  29. Off topic a bit but still a gripe about these Olympics…

    What the *%$#^! is with the "flower ceremony" at the end of these events!?!?!? Show me the hardware getting handed out! Am I the only one who watched Alex Bilodeau's amazing gold medal performance and wondered "Where's the anthem? What's with these stupid flower bouquets?"

    • They get awarded later in BC Place Stadium (or whatever it's called)- the hardware,the flag raising, the national anthem.

    • Yeah, they're not explaining it well, but there is a rationale. They give out the hardware later, away from the venue, presumably so that way more people can see the medals get awarded, and the whole thing can be more grandiose (which does make sense to me, and which I eventually figured out, but I STILL haven't heard ANYONE explain that on the teevee).

      Just saw Jenn Heil receive her medal tonight, and it was a good ceremony.

    • The same thing happened in Calgary … but it was handled with a bit more class there.

  30. I thought there was lots French. Every PA announcement was made in both languages. Even the VANOC chair who obviously struggled with the language tried. The IOC President gave more than half of his speech in French. There were a few French performances.

    The Olympics are for the world — they are not for Canada. The VANOC did a nice job of including French in the ceremony while recognizing the Global audience is primarily English speaking.

    Kudos VANOC, I thought the ceremony was brilliant.

    • There was still arguably less French than at Beijing. Every P.A. announcement is ALWAYS done in French at the Olympics. Beijing, Turin, Salt Lake City. It's the first language of the Games (though English is also official). The point I think is that once the actual "show" was on, with the exception of the one song it was English, English, English. And as for the VANOC chair obviously struggling with the language… just when did he find out the Olympics were going to be again?

      I don't know what the proper amount would necessarily be, but I for one still can't get over the fact that the one single French poem used as part of Donald Sutherland's ongoing narration (by François-Xavier Garneau) was TRANSLATED IN TO ENGLISH!?!!?

      Even leaving aside other criticism of the amount of French, WTF was that!?!?!

      • Lord would you STFU about comparing Vancouver to Beijing?! Also in Beijing: fake rain, children with faked ethnicity, fake stars, fake athletes, soldiers posing as athletes, etc etc.

        And so the chair of VANOC struggled with French; I thought it was admirable he tried. I think the only language bigot here is you. So go take your fake-ass language politics and shove them.

        • Fine, then it's perfectly acceptable for there to have been less French at a Canadian Olympic Opening Ceremonies than at a Chinese Olympic Opening Ceremonies? That's what you're saying?

          • You keep saying "arguably" there was more French in Beijing than Vancouver. Could you stop making baseless assertions and provide some evidence, other than your own subjective opinion?

      • Sorry, in my view, Furlong deserves a lot of credit for speaking French since he clearly is not fluent in the language. I doubt if speaking French was a requirement for his job (nor should it be).

        Anyone who makes the attempt to speak another language that he/she is not fluent in should be thanked for the effort not criticized. Not everyone in Canada is bilingual in both official languages. Indeed, many Canadians who speak other languages are often looked down upon because their "second" language isn't one of the two official ones.

  31. Fraser's got it all wrong. It speaks to the idea that bilingualism is about patronage. As long as you divert some cash to french communities, you're covered.

    I don't know where you got the idea that the audience has some sort of entitlement here.

  32. Focus here people, and get over the small-town whining.

    'French and English are the official languages of the Olympic Movement. The other language used at each Olympic Games is the language of the host country.'

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olympic_Games#Intern

    • So, using this methodology, it should be: English 1/3, French 1/3, local language 1/3

      In Vancouver –> local language is English thus: 2/3 English, 1/3 French

      Arguably, there was more than 1/3 French.

      Now go STFU.

  33. Congrats to Quebec, you spoke where it counts… performing under pressure but maintaining grace. In spite of the non-Olympians who got to organize the intro, Bilodeau showed that once the real event began Quebec was not only a full partner but a leader. Congrats!

  34. The better question to ask is how many people that live west of Ottawa give a damn about the French language content in the ceremony? I suspect that the answer to that question will illuminate why many Canadians from Manitoba to the Pacific Ocean are sick and tired of having to acquiesce to the second of the two solitudes.

    • Ah I was waiting for 'sick and tired". Now how much farther down this comments section do I have to scroll for "rammed down our throats".

      • In my experience most westerners under say 50, aren't in the least bothered.

    • Then why don't you just seceed and become the 51st state?

      Jackass!

    • How far away from Manitoba do you have to be to ignore its French roots? Louis Riel anyone?

    • You are sooo right…

  35. The French translation is annoying as hell it’s like watching a horrible movie with sub titles, you just change the channel, as a born Canadian I’m embarrassed by the overwhelming amount of French speaking in the Olympics, of course these Quebec separatists are whining that there’s not enough like your average hard core feminist group but every other Canadian thinks it’s ridiculous and over represented by a land slide. I can see the Saturday Night Live Canadian mocking skits piling up already because of the serious miss representation of Canada due to the absurd amount of french Canadians at the Olympics. The fact that the majority of our athletes are from Quebec is another story entirely.

    • And as a "born Canadian" myself you embarrass me.

    • Man, all the French in Beijing must have driven you BONKERS,

      • If you will not be a ignorant,you would know that french is the official language of the olympic with english. If you don t like the french at the olympic,dot not bid on it next time

  36. “En quel autre climat la Reine du Silence montre-t-elle plus de splendeur?”

    WTF does that mean?

      • Climat = climate

        It's imagery and personification of when a cold front follows a storm and and the air is dead still, bone dry, and bitter cold. You don't get to see or feel this effect West of the Alberta foothills or East of the Laurentians or South of Muskoka.

  37. You must speak with a real enlightened bunch Mediawatcher.

  38. Considering that French and English are the official languages of the games, and the official languages of our country, I think it would have been nice if the ceremonies had been split about 50/50. I also think it would have been extremely nice if someone had taken Furlong aside before he actually made his speech and given him a quick lesson in, at the very least, the rhythm of the French language. Hell, I'm unilingual and *I* was cringing at his pronunciations.

    That said, I also think that federal MPs and gov't should stay the hell out of it, because, contrary to what seems to be popular belief, the Olympics should not be about politics. In fact, that's sort of it's fundamental premise isn't it? That we get together for sport and politics can just go screw itself for a few days every couple of years.

  39. Wow! A lot of ignorance in here…
    First of all, French is one of the Olympic official languages, which makes perfectly normal that announcements are made in French. If you ever watched Olympic ceremonies from anywhere around the world, you would notice that French is always the first language to be used. So, those parts were not actually representing the bilingual nature of the country, but rather that of the Olympic movement.
    Except for those brief announcements, what French was left in the ceremonies? And, as it seems to be the important question, was it enough? To answer this question, you have to ask yourself, whose Games are those? The Vancouverites', the British Columbians' or the Canadians'? If you choose to answer the first two options, you would certainly find that the French presence was enough. British Columbians have a sense of ownership over the Games and this is just fine. But it is Canadian athletes that we are cheering with Canadian flags and 'maple leafed' red mits (I have yet to see my first flag of BC), and their medals will be compiled under Canada in the Medal Standings. Not to mention that the federal government contributed to over 50% of the ceremonies budget. Under these circumstances, I believe it would have been appropriate to better represent the official bilinguism of our country.

    PS- As a side note, I hope kim is not 'annoyed' by Bilodeau's first gold medal for Canada…

  40. The most surprising slight at the ceremonies in regards to language and culture was quoting a François Xavier Garneau prose in something other than the language it was written.

  41. Well, yeah, there is the never ending language debate (I'll leave u at it!) ….

    and then there are reporters who tell us that Vancouver isn't a typical Canadian city. Perhaps that's a good thing

  42. 'French and English are the official languages of the Olympic Movement. The other language used at each Olympic Games is the language of the host country.'

    source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olympic_games#Intern

    ———-

    So, using the methodology set out by the OC rules, it should be: English 1/3, French 1/3, local language 1/3

    And in Vancouver, the local language is English thus, we should have 2/3 English, 1/3 French

    Arguably, there was more than 1/3 French.

    /whining

    Now go STFU.

    • Thanks for the link, Bill, which clearly states " The other language used at each Olympic Games is the language of the host country" – COUNTRY – NOT LOCAL AS YOU STATE.

      By your own account, an honest person, which obviously you are not, would recognize that Canada being the host country and French and English being its official languages, it should be half French and half English.

    • I'm just glad Bill is not my accountant.

    • "The other language used at each Olympic Games is the language of the host country".

      So, Bill seems to be arguing that the "host country" of the Olympics is British Columbia. Now, I wasn't thrilled with the Quebec nation resolution recently, but if we're now going to declare B.C. a nation as well, then I think we've given up the ghost entirely. If we're going to count British Columbia as the "host nation" of these Olympics, have we given up even trying to PRETEND that Canada is still a sovereign nation?

    • Oh beautiful, beautiful Math:

      Bilingual: Oh Canada(barely), Athlete Parade, speeches and declarations, torch ilumination, Olympic Anthem = 5 parts of 16, =31%

      In english: Native Welcome(I exclude the 'Bianvunu' bit), 'Bang your drum', Winter dance, Atlantic song, Tree reveration, fiddlers, Mountain building, Jodi Mitchell song, Alelujia, tribute to Canada poem. = 10 parts of 16 = 63%

      In french: Plus loin plus haut. = 1 part of 16 = 6%

      Total French part: 21.5 %, Total English part: 78.5%

      Even by your flawed argument there is clearly NOT enough french.

      So YOU STFU…

  43. This demonstrates to the world that Vancouver has no more respect for the rules of the Olympics than it has for French-speaking Canadians.

    Why do English-speaking Canadians have to ruin everything?

  44. In his column today in La Presse, Jean-François Bégin writes about the decision of VANOC to snob Gaétan Boucher (my translation):

    …"The flag bearer for Canada at the opening ceremony on Friday Clara Hughes, agrees with me. "" It is an enormous mistake on the part of the organizing committee"" she wrote in an e-mail (to journalist Bégin). My teammate Brittany Schussler and I kept on asking ourselves, when will Gaétan get here? I was sure he would be at the centre stage, take the torch and light up the flame. It is disappointing, to say the least. "

    Why do these English-Canadians have to ruin everything, including the morale of our athletes, with their world-famous anti-French bias?

  45. When I first read about this, I simply thought of it as the Conservatives trying to regain some support in Quebec, especially since they got so much criticism recently regarding the federal position on Charest's auto emissions standards. It is simply part of the political game. I don't think the Conservatives actually believe what they are saying.

  46. Not enough French Culture portrayed? I guess we needed to see Fur Trapping Voyageurs in Canoes singing songs and killing small furry animals, EU would love that!
    I think it is the political morrons like Charest that don't have enough important business and are still smarting after Vancouver was chosen over Quebec City!

    Do you really think Moore opened his mouth because of concern for the french culture? Now that they are tied with the Grits in the polls, they need to create some sort of issue to atract Quebec voters.

    But I bet the the average french speaking Canadian watching the Olympics was not slighted and very proud that all Canadians, french and english will come together and enjoy the whole experience.

    Get the politicians outa here, they have done there part, no let the athletes go to work!

    Cheers
    Brant

  47. You seem to have no sympathy for the 340 000 native Chinese speakers in BC (there are 7 times Chinese speakers in BC than French). There are only two cities in Quebec that have more French speakers than the number of Chinese in Vancouver.

    So, by your logic, do you expect all olympic organizers to speak Chinese?

  48. Did anyone notice the lack of Mandarin in the ceremony? There are 340 000 native Chinese speakers in BC, 7 times more than the number of native French speakers. There are only two cities in Quebec with more native French speakers than the number of native Chinese speakers in Vancouver.

    Oh, I get it – Wells does not care about that, because Wells does not speak Mandarin.

  49. Obviously, you are only trumpeting the virtues of Mandarin to get a dig in at French Canadians. If someone seriously suggested making Mandarin an official language of Vancouver or BC, you would be up in arms. Give it a rest, for Christ's sake.

  50. No, I really wouldn't care one way or the other if they decided to make Mandarin an official language.

    What I'm doing is pointing out the absurdity of the people whining and complaining about French, showing how small-minded and self-centered they are.

  51. So you're in favour of making petulance and dyspepsia the official emotions wherever you live?

  52. What, you're gonna insult them even more? Even though there are 7 times more native Chinese speakers than native French in BC, you're gonna tell them they don't matter because they're not "official"? How big of you.

    • French is not an official language of Canada because they moved en masse after Canada was built. French is an official language because French settlers played the biggest part in its discovery, exploration, defense, and negotiation with the natives. The only narrow minded people are those who won't admit it.

      • OK, so you are gonna insult to the contributions to Canada made by the Chinese in western Canada by referring to explorations done by the French in eastern Canada.

  53. As a native Vancouverite, my friends and I thought that there was more than enough French spoken at the games. We were surprised that there was not more reference to our Chinese and East Indian populations, which is certainly 100% more relevant than French in BC.

    Like others have said – the French are upset? Quelle surprise…

  54. I'm not the one doing the whining. You're quite good at argumentative tricks and fallacies. Here you try to flip things around and make it seem like I'm the one doing the whining when in reality it's the opposite.

    Whatever happened in Quebec in 1976 has nothing to do with this. We're talking about Vancouver in 2010. And for the record, I'm not a Quebec "refugee", so give up your brainless guesses.

    Letting the locals direct their own show is different from not caring.

    I care a lot – I'm enjoying the Olympics tons, I thought the opening ceremonies were great, Vancouver has made me proud to Canadian. Bilodeau was awesome yesterday and I can't wait for the hockey. This smallness and this insipiid whining about French does not make me proud at all.

  55. The issue here is whether Canada is actually a bilingual country or not. The Olympics are not Vancouver's private property, they are also taking place in Canada.

    "this insipid whining about French does not make me proud at all. "

    Stop the presses!!!!

    • Maybe if you stopped whining about French you'd feel better.

      If I were the one doing the whining about French then maybe that comment would make sense.

  56. I think Paris Hilton would eat Tinkerbell's food before she would choke down a mouthful of french fries, gravy, and cheese curds.

  57. See, and I think translating a quote from a French poet into English is smallness. That arguably having less French in the Vancouver Opening Ceremonies than in Beijing, or Turin, or Salt Lake City is petty. And like others above, I'd like to know where Gaétan Boucher was. Unless he declined to participate, I can't for the life of me understand how Wayne Gretzky, Steve Nash and Donald Sutherland get a bigger role in the Opening than Gaétan Boucher!

    I've got to say, I'm with James Moore on this one.

    • Well said LKO,

      in an interview G.Boucher said that he wasn't even approached. I don't think that Basketball and Hockey millionaires represent in any way the spirit of the olympic movement. I understand the pride of western canadians towards these successful professional athletes, but they are not successful olympians! I don't understand how VANOC could have such poor judgement in having a professional athlete light up the olympic torch.

      In regards to the amount of French used during the opening ceremony, if VANOC would have been courteous enough to have François-Xavier Garneau's text read in French, perhaps most of this useless nonsense French-English confrontation would have been avoided. Canadians are much smarter than that.

      • I hate to break it to you, but both Gretzky and Nash have represented their country at numerous sporting events. And what the heck does income have to do with it? If they made money in their professions, that's not reason to penalize them, that's sign of how famous they are.

    • I really don't think translating a quote is smallness, I think that making an issue out of it is smallness.

      As for who gets a big role, I think all those individuals were deserving, and as one of the Maclean's writers said, it's a Canadian thing to lack the balls to choose a single torch lighter, the fact that we already had four is a little weird. People should take a valium and move on, this envy and jealousy is not endearing. So what if Gaetan Boucher and Donovan Bailey lost our to Gretxky and Nash. Everybody has an opinion about who is more deserving and for Canadians to quarrel and whine about it makes us look small.

  58. Who the hell cares how much French was used in Beijing? At this ceremony everything seemed to be presented in both official languages.

    And as I said on another thread, it wouldn't be an authentically Canadian event if it wasn't immediately followed by a dispute about whether French was given enough prominence.

    • Well, when juxtaposed against the "there was too much French already" arguments, the fact that there was arguably less French in the Chinese Opening Ceremonies than in the Canadian Opening Ceremonies does seem somewhat relevant.

  59. Some people just need to get a life. Really, there is plenty of French at the games for the 2/3 (or more) of our population whose mother tongue is English. Just think how much money could go to our athletes if we didn't have to spend so much with enforced bilingualism.

  60. An interesting tangent to this is how much French Quebec includes in their tourism ads that ran that night and have continued through the Games.

    This work is notable for it's lack of any language whatsoever (with exception of the text at the end). Perhaps not having any voice-over is part of their strategy, (especially to contrast their own to the work of British Columbia's California ad and Ontario's jingle) but it is interesting that when trying to get a point across to a national audience, and presented with a choice between promoting Quebec in French, English, or a bilingual approach, their choice was none at all.

  61. I attended a dress rehearsal of the opening ceremonies in person, and also watched the live event on TV and I honestly can't understand how anybody could say that there was not enough French content. All of the written text that was on-screen and most of what was spoken was in French first and English second. I absolutley support bilingualism and the celebration of Francophone culture, but as an Anglophone living in English speaking Vancouver, I was actually quite offended that English was presented second.

  62. I think it did feel more English than French, but then it was held in BC. There isn't very many Quebecois living in BC. To me, the whole thing; the Aboriginal element; the token French; as usual, felt forced. We Anglophones do our best, but it's always a difficult line to straddle.

  63. Why was there no Mandarin or Cantonese?

    为什么会出现没有普通话和粤语的? (Simplified)

    為什麼會出現沒有普通話和粵語的? (Traditional)

    (Google Translations)

  64. Poor little weak canadians.
    Those kind of comments makes me wonder why Quebecois want their own country. Maybe because THEY have a real culture and their own identity. Canadians are a weak copy of US Americans. Bunch of smalls USA followers. Canadians are only good to be laught at…

    • real culture….poutine anyone?? We used to call it fries and gravy…

      As for Quebec having its own country? GO ALREADY…NO ONE IS STOPPING YOU! Unfortunately they will have to leave their welfare at the door…so they will never leave…

      • No one is stopping them?! Go back to school kid… study "your" history… and learn what really happened in 1995.
        Canada needs Quebec more than Quebec needs Canada.

        • I am quite certain that the West does not need Quebec….at all. Heck, even the real French didn't want these New World hillbillies. The east is nothing more than an anchor around the neck of Cascadia.

          • real culture….poutine anyone?? We used to call it fries and gravy…

            You are just showing again how ignorant you are. Guy lailiberte and the cirque du soleil are known all around the world. The movies produces in Canada who get the biggest succes at the box office in Canada are always from Quebec.

            You don t know that because you never been to Quebec probably

            PS if the games who have been in Quebec, I dont think the job for the ceremony who have been subcontract to a australian

  65. I think part of the reason why French was spoken first is because the organizers didn't want an audience reaction until English was spoken. If it had been the reverse, the spoken French would have been drowned out by people cheering after an English announcement.

  66. I think part of the reason why there wasn't more French was because the organizers see themselves as Vancouverites and British Columbians as well as being Canadians. They are a distinct society.

  67. D'oh! I reversed that. There was arguably less French in Canada than there was in China.

  68. At the moment you have me so thoroughly confused that I will concede the argument, whatever that argument may be.

    • LOL

      The point was simply supposed to be that there's ALWAYS a fair amount of French, as French is the first language of the Olympics (as there was in Beijing for example). Once the actual "show" of the Ceremonies began, there was one French song, and the only part of the narration that was French (the quote from the poem by François-Xavier Garneau) was translated in to English. One song in a show that long just doesn't strike me as a heck of a lot of French in an officially bilingual country with two official languages.

  69. so much ignorance here….

    now i understand why quebec qants to seperate

  70. I wish they had just made it the Vancouver Olympics of British Columbia and left the rest of the country out of it. Then there wouldn't be all of this complaining. The society in this country is virtually divided by the provinces anyways.

    • They are the VANCOUVER Winter Olympics already, moron.

  71. How ironic. I was watching the opening ceremony and wondering why English was suddenly our second language. French preceded everything to the point where it was annoying. They were given not just a part of it, they were given the status of our main language, when they comprise 22.7% of our population – not 50%. I thought I was living in another country for a while there. It is difficult to organize an event this large, I thought VANOC did just fine when it came to pleasing Quebec. The problem is, you can never please Quebec.

    • French is the first language at all Olympics. It's the first language of the IOC.

  72. So let me get this straight…. James Moore complains about a lack of French in the Canadian Olympics a week after he complains on Twitter about the too many Canadian commercials on the Super Bowl. Which is it? I'm confused by this man.

  73. French is meaningless in Canada. That's why we are "officially" bilingual, which is doublespeak for we're not.

  74. Bienvenou!! hahhaha. Saying thing like that his very frustrating for french canadian. They have 4 years to learn word and they didn't know how to prononce it correctly. Bienvenue not Bienvenou!. If we exclude the presentation that was good for the bilingual language it was good. But for the show wow very instructive how the rest of the canadian threat other culture.

  75. I can't get uppity about the french or lack there of. But how about, during the introductions of the countries, that rude man who kept correcting that poor woman who kept on mis-pronouncing the country names.

  76. There was no emphasis on English either – the opening didn't deal with our linguistic heritage, it dealt with our climactic challenges and how we've overcome that in each region. If including French as a specific cultural piece is mandatory, even if out of context, wouldn't that ruin its sincerity? We love you, Quebec, but everyone gets airtime…not JUST you. calm down, small child, and stop threatening to run away.

  77. This is what happens when people who are not native to our country are hired to put on the show.

    BTW, many Canadian Olympic medal winners are from Quebec. Many Canadian Forces casualties in Afghanistan are from Quebec.

    • BTW…many Canadian Forces casualties are also from BC, Ontario, Nova Scotia…..ect. They died in the service of their COUNTRY, not their PROVINCE.

  78. The International Olympic Committee's Olympic Charter (2007), page 53, section 24, 1) The official languages of the IOC are French and English; 3) In the case of divergence between the French and English texts of the Olympic charter and any other IOC document, the French text shall prevail unless expressly provided otherwise in writing.

    This document was not written with Canada and its linguistic battles in mind. The Chinese understood, the Italians did too, that French is an important language of the Olympics.

    In Canada, hatred of French Canadians prevails. Vancouverites let their feelings cloud their good judgment. They are hosting the Olympic games, not a local event, but an international event with rules to follow, including the prevalence of the French language.

    • This an ignorant comment that demonstrates a lack of understanding of British Columbians. It is simply not true that a "hatred of French Canadians prevails in BC". Pleeeease cool it.

      I wouldn't be surprised if the organizers were more focused on responding to the need to be sensitive to the First Nations component in the Opening Ceremony. The result may have been that this may have resulted in less attetntion being paid to other aspects. If British Columbians are guilty of anything it may be not haviing an all-consuming focus on the English-French linguistic debate that dominates in Ottawa. It certainly is not a result of "hatred" of anyone.

    • This an ignorant comment that demonstrates a lack of understanding of British Columbians. It is simply not true that a "hatred of French Canadians prevails in BC". Pleeeease cool it.

      I wouldn't be surprised if the organizers were more focused on responding to the need to be sensitive to the First Nations component in the Opening Ceremony. The result may have been that this may have resulted in less attetntion being paid to other aspects. If British Columbians are guilty of anything it may be not haviing an all-consuming focus on the English-French linguistic debate that dominates in Ottawa. It certainly is not a result of "hatred" of anyone.

  79. I guess no FRENCH who had been the best solution for you. When you have to translate a quotation in english and hired a guy from Australia to do your opening ceremony,it s just showing that you have no culture. You can hate french people but you will have to recognize that it s make the difference between USA and Cananada

  80. I just don't know why I'm posting a comment. I'm so tired of the debate, and because of it, I'll generalyse. You guys just don't get what respect is. The respect of your language, and from it of your culture. Last time I checked, there were only two official languages, as in two founding nations. I welcome every citizens from different countries and I am pround that they choose to come here to start a new life, but I won't put Mandarins ou Pundjab ahead of French just because they are more speakers.

    What a exemple VANOC made. French is a official language of Olympic Games, and in a bilingual country, but we forget to use it as "un égal" to English. VANOC should have take their lessons from the Montréal Canadiens and all the games in the Bell Centre. Even if more than 90% of its customers are french speakers, everything is done in both language. Everything. And it doesn't bother anyone, it seems just normal… to respect the others.

    Is respect a French word?

  81. Hogwash! I am a native Quebecker and know full well that the French will only be satisfied with all French and no English. Otherwise they will always complain.

  82. I understand the complaint, to an extent. It would have been nice to see a segment on Quebec, in addition to the parts on the Maritimes, North, Prairies, West that we saw. They tried to incorporate it in the beginning of the Maritimes fiddling segment, but they could have done more. But I did think therer was enough French speaking in it.

    Its definitely a tricky subject….although I have an appreciation for French culture, having visited Quebec twice, I know my fellow West Coasters don't think about it much.

  83. Equal and open use of both official languages in such national and international events as the Olympics should be a given in Canada. This isn't about Quebec. It is about whether or not we actually recognize that we have two official languages including French spoken by 7 million French Canadians across Canada and practiced and nurtured by probably at least another 3 million Canadians. It is a pan-Canadian language institutionalized, alive and energetic contributing immensely to our national character and international stature. Many French Canadian musicians, writers, poets, sculpters etc come from Western Canada including Gabrielle Roy, Daniel Lavoie, Harte- Rouge to name only a few. I could go on, but in the end it is a question of mutual respect, of openness, of tolerance and of a common vision of one Canada not several.

  84. Okay, I am an anglophone living in Quebec and I am tired of hearing the whole french english debate, at least here in QC. I can't stand most separatists since they are almost nazi like, and try to shove the french language down our throats all the time. I should be able to lead my life in English because this is still canada, and english is an official language.

    That being said, I do agree that the opening ceremony was not really bilingual at all. The bit of french that was there was only there because french is used in any Olympic event. There are plenty of francophones who understand no English at all, so imagine what it must have been like for them watching that ceremony. Yes, many announcements were made in both languages, but pretty much all the performances and narrations were done only in english. The event is not simply a BC event, it is a canadian event, hence all the canadian flags. If the country is officially bilingual, why was that not reflected in the ceremony? A francophone should not have to learn English to understand what was going on, no more than an anglophone (like me) should have to learn french, if the games were held in Montreal or something and presented only (or majorly) in french. Other languages need not be represented because they are not official languages of the country. It doesn't matter how large the immigrant population is.
    I guess what all this is saying is what we have known for ages – the whole bilingual canada thing does NOT work.

  85. As an American, i use the sad example of how language divides peoples and hamstrings government when the subject of an official language comes up. I can not discern how french or any other minority language can enrich a society. It looks, to me, like the francophones will never be satisfied with anything less than 90% french.
    In Europe, the muslim invasion has ghettos full of people that only speak their native language and have little or no contact with the larger society, They seem to have no interest in assimilating to their new home, demanding that their cultural norms must be “respected”. HOGWASH!!!
    Your doom as a country will come from the foolsh notion that all cultures are equal. Look at the world as it is, not through Pollyanna lenses. There are winners and losers. There are those on top and those not. Respect for others is important, but submission to everyone is suicide.

  86. The HALF and HALF PEOPLE are alive and well. In Quebec half the people want to leave Canada half the time and the other half the time they want more from Canada.

    Dealing with confused minds is a waste of human talent.

    This country needs to move on to something more productive.

  87. I'd perhaps be willing to discuss the issue when Quebec's language laws reflect the same expressed expectation concerning English. Until then?
    Keep your language police at home in La Belle Province.

  88. Why can't each host country be able to speak their first language first? French is NOT Canada. Actually French outside Quebec is no longer the 2nd language for our multi cultural country. Canada is an English speaking ountry first.period!
    Who makes these decisions? Are Canadians ever given a voice for these language decisions?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *