Eva Ludvig of the QCGN says Air Canada has had a poor record of respecting the Official Languages Act and that it’s “not surprising the problem goes all the way to the top.” During a lengthy interview with the cross-Canada CTV News Channel, she says that Michael Rousseau’s comments and lack of sensitivity, along with “a certain arrogance” toward the French language, have “really caused damage to the English-speaking community of Quebec…. I’m not sure an apology is enough.”
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Eva Ludvig of the QCGN’s Executive Committee tells Noovo during an in-depth video news report that Air Canada CEO Michael Rousseau’s comments damage the reputation of Quebec’s English-speaking community and have reinforced persistent myths and long-outdated stereotypes. Lesley Chesterman says she was mortified by Rousseau’s comments. Chesterman describes Rousseau as a dinosaur.
As soon as it was announced that Mike Rousseau, the new CEO of Air Canada, would be making his maiden speech to a Montreal business audience in English, he put himself on a collision course with Quebec language hawks.
Even the Quebec Community Groups Network, the defenders of English-speakers’ rights, issued a caustic statement denouncing of Rousseau’s “tone-deaf” and “narrow-minded” comments. QCGN president Marlene Jennings lamented that his remarks inflicted “lasting damage on Quebec’s English-speaking community and the core national value of linguistic duality.”
For the Quebec Community Groups Network, no official apology can erase the “damage” caused by the CEO of Air Canada to the English-speaking community of Quebec. The president of the group, Marlene Jennings, believes that Mr. Rousseau’s words feed the “myth” that English-speaking Quebecers are a privileged minority indifferent to the French fact.
There is widespread outrage across the country over comments made by Air Canada’s CEO that he doesn’t need to speak French. This, despite leading a company head-quartered in Montreal where he has lived for the past 14 years. As Raquel Fletcher reports, other leaders are now calling for Michael Rousseau’s resignation.
A public apology from the president and CEO of Air Canada Michael Rousseau Thursday over his inability to speak French has done little to calm the language tempest he sparked this week.
“His attitude simply does not reflect the values of our community,” QCGN president Marlene Jennings said, noting Rousseau’s “tone deaf” comments provide ammunition to language hard-liners as language strife is front and centre.
“Mr. Rousseau’s narrow-minded comment that he does not feel the need to learn French feeds the myth that English-speaking Quebecers are a privileged minority indifferent to French,” said Marlene Jennings, the president of the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN), an umbrella group made up of English-speaking community organizations.
No apology can undo the lasting damage that the CEO of Air Canada has inflicted on Quebec’s English-speaking community and the core national value of linguistic duality.
“Air Canada employs many Francophones and is obliged to communicate with the public in both official languages,” says Marlene Jennings, President of the Quebec Community Groups Network. “However, the attitude this week displayed by CEO Micheal Rousseau toward the French language was breathtakingly insensitive and arrogant.”
The head of the Quebec Community Groups Network, a network that brings together English-speaking communities, also deplored Michael Rousseau’s unilingualism. “The CEO of Air Canada is a disgrace to his company, to Quebec’s English-speaking minority community, and to all Quebecers,” chirped Marlene Jennings.
“Il en faut, de l’acharnement, pour occuper le siège de commissaire aux langues officielles dans ce pays : la défense des droits linguistiques des minorités, en particulier les francophones hors Québec, exige une volonté à toute épreuve.”
As Graham Fraser leaves office, Marco Fortier reviews the ten-year legacy of the exiting Commissioner of Official Languages. On the subject, QCGN Director General Sylvia Martin-Laforge mentions that linguistic rights are something that need to be used, to be kept alive. She thanks Graham for his last 10 years of service.