Did Emmanuella Lambropoulos have the right to publicly doubt the decline of French in Montreal?
I do not share this doubt in any way and dispute the way she expressed it, but I believe so, she had every right to think so and to let it be known.
You will answer me: but she did not read the investigation of the “Journal”? Or that of the Office québécois de la langue française?
Indeed, it oozes incompetence, his business. She sits on the Standing Committee on Official Languages. At her request (we can bet that she was especially interested in anglophones in Montreal).
However, she should be proud to inform herself properly on all of these subjects raised in committee. This is what his colleague and Minister Mélanie Joly made him say bluntly: the decline of French is demonstrated by a number of studies.
But finally, I listen to the calls for its “cancellation” (a petition is circulating) and I find a deplorable trend of our time. This excessive indignation, leading to the desire for censorship, for bans. This desire to banish.
In addition, we forget that Ms. Lambropoulos has basically said nothing! She did not deny genocide! Or supported hateful theses of the type: Francophones are inferior.
She said she doubted a phenomenon and needed proof. Then ask the commissioner to tell him whether French was declining more in the workplace or elsewhere.
Certainly, through his mimed quotes and rolling eyes, one could feel his exasperated contempt. Although a former French teacher, we do not perceive any Francophile passion in Ms. Lambropoulos, who “always prefers English”.
However, the wounded sensitivity of the defenders of French (of which I am obviously part) does not justify certain punitive condemnations.
To Ms. Lambropoulos’ doubts, we must respond with evidence, arguments, debates, not calls for cancellation. Who knows, a good part of his constituents in Saint-Laurent, who certainly share his doubts, might learn something.
The freedoms of thought and expression take for their cold now. Minister Steven Guilbeault said on television on Sunday that “our law ends where someone else’s injury begins.”
It is as false as what Justin Trudeau argued a few days ago before retracting. Even if he hurt many people, Mr. Guilbeault had every right, in 2001, to hoist a banner on the CN tower in which he called “Canada and Bush” “climate killers”. (Climbing the tower, however, was prohibited.)
As climate skeptics have the right to “hurt” us by publicly questioning scientific consensus on climate.
Sorry, this is Canadian law! The Supreme Court in its Keegstra judgment writes: “if the guarantee of free expression is to have any meaning, it must protect expression which challenges even the most fundamental conceptions of our society. A real commitment to freedom of expression demands no less ”.
If Ms. Lambropoulos’ doubts are disturbing, let’s argue, let’s debate. It is the PLC or the voters who will ultimately choose to kick this MP out.