Canada: Liberal MP defends his stand on language at Outaouais university

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Thu Mar 29 12:52:54 UTC 2007

Liberal MP defends his stand on language at Outaouais university

Critic says he spread disinformation

Dave Rogers, ottawa citizen Published: Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Hull-Aylmer Liberal MP Marcel Proulx said Wednesday the French-language
rights group l'Imperatif francais was continuing a campaign of
disinformation when it accused him recently of trying to anglicize the
Universit du Qubec en Outaouais. Mr. Proulx said the groups director,
Jean-Paul Perreault, went too far when he condemned the MP for suggesting
the university should offer graduate business courses in English,
Portuguese and Spanish.

On Sunday, Mr. Perreault awarded Mr. Proulx a lemon prize at an annual
Francofete dinner at Gatineau City Hall because of the MPs repeated
efforts to change the mission of the Universite du Quebec en Outaouais.
For the past three months, the university has been consulting students,
professors and the public about a proposed language policy that would
phase out English-language MBA and graduate project administration
programs for about 400 of its 5,500 students.  The university
administration is to decide on the future of its English-language programs
in April.

Mr. Proulx submitted a paper to the university recommending that it
continue its English-language business courses because they attract
fee-paying students from China and Europe. He suggested the university add
courses in languages such as Portuguese to serve students in the Outaouais
and attract international students. It may seem strange that a federal
politician would get involved in a provincial matter, but I feel very
comfortable doing so because a few years ago, I supported the language
technology research centre there, Mr.  Proulx said. I feel it is OK to
defend international languages. In his submission to the university, Mr.
Proulx said it is a Quebec francophone institution and should proudly
assert its identity while demonstrating openness to non-francophone
communities by offering graduate courses in languages other than French.

Mr. Proulx said he is not attempting to anglicize the university. He said
the university remains a French-language institution and as long as the
courses are available in French, francophone students will have every
opportunity to study in their native language.
The universitys English-speaking clientele accounts for five per cent of
the student body, while the percentage of anglophones in the Outaouais is
around 17 per cent, Mr. Perreault said. The 95 per cent of adults
attending programs in French make up the vast majority of students and are
not in danger of assimilation.

However, senior officials are advancing a new unilingual francophone
identity excluding all other languages, no matter how relevant or
indispensible, particularly to management disciplines. Such an orientation
would be detrimental to the groups that it would exclude and it would be
impossible to see any benefit for the people of the Outaouais or even for
UQO itself.
Mr. Perreault has said he was shocked that a federal MP like Mr. Proulx
would interfere with the Universit du Qubec en Outaouais, which is a
provincial responsibility.

In an interview Wednesday, Mr. Perreault said the university was created
as a French-language institution and its main responsibility is to serve
the francophone population in the Outaouais. He said Mr. Proulxs paper
supporting the continuation of English-language courses shows the MP is
trying to anglicize the university. This is certainly an effort to
anglicize and bilingualize the university and its services. The language
of work and of services at the university would have to be English in
addition to French, Mr. Perreault said. Francophones have less access than
anglophones to university education in the national capital region, Mr.
Perreault said. He said there are 100 more courses in English than in
French in Ottawa-Gatineau. As proof that francophones are educationally
disadvantaged, Mr. Perreault said Statistics Canada figures show that 43
per cent of Quebec anglophones fail standard literacy and numeracy tests,
compared with 55 per cent of francophones.


N.b.: Listing on the lgpolicy-list is merely intended as a service to its members
and implies neither approval, confirmation nor agreement by the owner or sponsor of
the list as to the veracity of a message's contents. Members who disagree with a
message are encouraged to post a rebuttal.


More information about the Lgpolicy-list mailing list