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As Islam becomes the fastest growing religion in Canada and blond people increasingly get referred to as being, 'Aryan,' we can protect our cultural heritage by learning French...

In 2012 Parliament voted unanimously in favour of making it mandatory for the "auditor-general, the chief electoral officer and a number of commissioners, including those for privacy, information and ethics" to know French. Above a certain rank, most federal bureaucrats (regardless of what province they work in) invariably hit a promotional glass ceiling unless they know French.

This is an awful lot of power to concentrate in just 17 per cent of the population. If you heard of some third world dump where a linguistic minority of less than 20 per cent held a permanent, legally-protected monopoly on all of the country's top jobs, you'd probably think it wasn't much of a democracy.

You'd be right. Discriminatory, arbitrary barriers to full civic participation remain a blight no matter where they're practiced, and we undermine any pretence of being a truly egalitarian nation when we seek to normalize or rationalize them. Yet a lot of Canadians seem distressingly eager to do so.

Premier Brad Wall of Saskatchewan recently laughed off the idea that he had prime ministerial ambitions by quipping "I struggle with one official language," as if lack of fluency in a tongue only .5 per cent of his constituents speak at home was a perfectly rational reason for excluding Canada's most popular and competent provincial politician from higher office.

Justin Trudeau once quipped that non-bilinguals are simply "lazy," a Marie Antoinette-like bit of victim-blaming ("Let them learn French!") popular with segments of the Canadian elite who simply can't fathom why more peasants can't find the time to study an exotic dying language utterly irrelevant to their daily lives.

Since the party's 2011 Francofication, the NDP has never missed an opportunity to clamour that ever-larger segments of federal jobs should be exclusively reserved for bilinguals, while the Prime Minister has honed a habit of ostentatiously opening with French in absolutely every speech he delivers  --  even when speaking to the White House press corps or the Israeli Knesset. MORE


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