French for chefs

Listening to the last leaders’ debate in French on Radio-Canada television on September 8, I was pleasantly surprised to see the quality of the French spoken by the five federal leaders.

The previous election had accustomed us to hearing a Trudeau hesitating in front of a Bloc opponent sure of his effects and three other candidates gibbering somehow phrases learned in advance. With the exception of Jack Layton, the legendary ally of Quebec. Last Wednesday’s debate featured leaders speaking with relative ease. While admiring the eloquence of Yves-François Blan-chet, one could not but feel sympathy for the few fanciful turns ofErin O’Toole, the quiet assurance of Jagmeet Singh and the well-assumed accent ofAnnamie Paul. Even Trudeau spoke his father’s language with an ease he never knew. At the most, he still has to learn that we are not talking about things “that we need but about things” that we need. We will forgive him for this fault since in this he shows himself to be Quebecois.

In short, for the first time in my existence – and this is not my first televised debates – I was on the verge of believing in an embodiment of the institutional bilingualism set in motion by Trudeau senior.

Unfortunately, the debate the next day, which was held in English, made me understand that there was still a lot to do for Quebeckers to be heard in Canada.

Watch video

Leave a Comment