Graham Fraser Appointed Sixth Commissioner of Official Languages

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Wed Oct 18 12:45:08 UTC 2006

OCTOBER 17, 2006 - 15:25 ET

Graham Fraser Appointed Sixth Commissioner of Official Languages

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 17, 2006) - Graham Fraser took office
today as Canada's sixth Commissioner of Official Languages. Mr. Fraser
undertakes his mandate as Commissioner with nearly 40 years of experience
in examining official languages issues from the perspective of a
journalist, author and lecturer. Throughout his career, Mr. Fraser has
shown a deep understanding of official language policy and has been a
strong supporter of Canada's linguistic duality, a fundamental part of our
national identity.

The new Commissioner sees his appointment as an opportunity to continue
his exploration of official languages issues in Canada and to persevere in
the work of the Office of the Commissioner in the pursuit of meaningful
results. "It's a subject I am passionately interested in," he said. "It is
with a great sense of responsibility and humility that I take on my
mandate. I look forward to establishing a dialogue with citizens and
decision-makers across the country to discuss the realities and challenges
of official languages in Canada." As an English-speaking Canadian who
became bilingual, Mr. Fraser is also committed to engaging the majority in
a comprehensive vision of our country's linguistic identity.

Community leaders throughout Canada have welcomed Mr. Fraser's appointment
with enthusiasm while acknowledging the invaluable contribution to
Canada's linguistic duality made by former Commissioner Dyane Adam, whose
seven-year term ended on October 16, 2006.


A well-known and respected journalist and author with close to 40 years of
journalistic experience, Mr. Fraser was educated at the University of
Toronto, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in History.
Prior to his appointment as Commissioner of Official Languages, Mr. Fraser
worked as a National Affairs Writer with the Toronto Star. Over the years,
he has held positions of increasing responsibility with various newspapers
as well as with Maclean's magazine, including Montreal Bureau Chief with
Maclean's; Quebec Bureau Chief with the Montreal Gazette and then the
Globe and Mail; and Parliamentary Correspondent, Ottawa Bureau Chief and
later Washington Bureau Chief with the Globe and Mail. He was a weekly
columnist for Le Devoir from 1995 to 2000 and for the Toronto Star from
2000 to 2005 and has been a regular commentator on the TFO public affairs
program Panorama.

During a long and distinguished career that has straddled the language
divide, he has reported in both official languages on issues affecting
Canada and Canadians, including cultural and foreign policy;
constitutional debates and negotiations; and national, provincial and
international politics. He has been invited to speak on official languages
issues to minority organizations in Quebec, New Brunswick and Ontario, as
well as national minority language organizations, and has given
conferences on language policy as an adjunct professor at Carleton
University as well as at other universities.

Mr. Fraser is the author of Sorry I Don't Speak French, which was
published in March 2006, and which has helped stimulate renewed public
discussion of language policy in Canada. He is also the author of PQ: Rene
Levesque and the Parti Quebecois in Power, which dealt with Quebec
language policy and which was nominated for a Governor General's Award for
Non Fiction in 1984. In 1979, he helped found the Centre for Investigative
Journalism, the bilingual precursor of the Canadian Association of
Journalists, and served on the Centre's board for two terms. He is the
first recipient of Public Policy Forum's Hyman Solomon Award for Public
Policy Journalism.


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