Media Commentary – July 19, 2009

Learning French a waste
A recent Legislature Notebook item speculated about Premier Brad Wall becoming Canada’s prime minister.
That might be all right, but I would rather see Wall as the prime minister of the western provinces when they separate from Canada. Then he wouldn’t have to waste his money learning French, which isn’t even among the top 10 languages by population in the world.
Why are we wasting millions of dollars on a dying language?
Stella Laming
Battleford

This letter to the editor appeared in the July 13 Saskatoon Star Phoenix. I don’t think there are words to explain how insulted I am by this letter. Yes, I am an Anglophone and proud of it. But this is beyond the pale. I’ve heard about this Western alienation thing, but this borders on outright racism. Yes, I said racism. It is not my place to accuse this woman of anything, so I won’t. All I will say is that I believe this woman has serious issues with accepting that the French and the English founded this country.

And here are some interesting facts about the French in Western Canada. Ok, they’re not exactly facts so much as they’re little tidbits about the French influence in this part of the country.
-Saskatchewan has a town by the name of Qu’appelle (which means ‘who calls?’).
-The Métis have a large presence in this part of the country. As a corollary, Métis is a French word.
-If it weren’t for Louis Riel (a Métis), there is a strong chance the CPR may never have been finished (or finished as quickly) and Western Canada could very well be American territory.
That’s all I can think of off the top of my head. Doubtless there is more to the French influence in Western Canada, I just do not recall it all.

That’s all I have on this woman’s letter. In closing, I do have this to say to her: “If you don’t like the fact we have French in this country, you are more than welcome to leave. If you can’t take the French, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”

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