NDP demands next CRTC chair be bilingual

Conservative trend of ignoring language rights continues with new CRTC chair

 January 12, 2012

OTTAWA – New Democrats today blasted Stephen Harper for failing to make bilingualism a requirement for the new CRTC chair, saying it once again proves French is not a priority for the government.

“How can the Conservatives expect this person to protect Canadian culture without being able to speak both our official languages?” said New Democrat Deputy Canadian Heritage Critic Pierre Nantel (Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher). “It’s unacceptable and an affront to French-Canadians.”

New Democrats reacted quickly to the job posting to find a replacement for CRTC chair Konrad von Finckenstein, whose term expires this month. The new posting lists bilingualism as preferred—but not required.

“The chair of the CRTC is a very important position,” said Nantel. “This person will make key decisions that will impact Canadian culture every single day, so the ability to speak English and French is essential.”

New Democrats highlighted the worrying Conservative trend of disregarding the importance of bilingualism in Canada. Nantel said the recent appointment of a unilingual Supreme Court judge and the unilingual Auditor General shows the government isn’t taking French seriously.

“The problem is that French just isn’t a priority for Mr. Harper,” Nantel said. “Time and time again, this government has shown it can’t be trusted to protect French language rights.”