Of the 26 candidates contesting the municipal elections in the four districts where the proportion of francophones is the highest in Ottawa, 16 are reported to be bilingual. A figure that comes as no surprise to the Association of francophone communities in Ottawa (ACFO).
This means that 61 % of aspiring councillors of the districts Cumberland, Innes, Orléans and Rideau-Vanier, where between 29 and 36% of the population has French as a mother tongue, say master the language of Molière. The others have either not responded to requests made by The Law or indicated that they were not able to express themselves in French. Some have said they were able to manage to speak it and understand it, but in a minimal way.
Difficult to know with certainty if all of the candidates say is true, but the ACFO maintains that for such an exercise, it is necessary to rely on good faith of the people.
“These figures are not surprising. We ourselves, we have conducted a survey to talk about the challenges French-speaking, and some people speak French and we responded in English. It is expected that if you’re bilingual, you make at least an effort to provide a response in French, ” says the president of the ACFO, Soukaina Boutiyeb.
Soukaina Boutiyeb, president of the ACFO, maintains a doubt on bilingualism claimed by some candidates in municipal elections in Ottawa.
ETIENNE RANGER, RIGHT
In total, there are a little over 56 000 francophones in the four neighbourhoods. Nearly a third (32 %) of them live in the district of Cumberland.
The future elected officials of these districts should they speak French ? Yes, believes Ms. Boutiyeb, with some caveats.
“I think that in a francophone neighbourhood, if you need to talk to your citizens, you need to be bilingual. The person must make an effort to have a conversation, albeit minimal, with the francophones. This is a very serious one that should not be taken lightly, then the elected officials should represent all citizens equally, regardless of their language, ” said Ms. Boutiyeb.
The latter wished to add that this is because an elected official is French-speaking, that it will be ” automatically sensitive to the issues of the minority language “.
“From experience, I can say that this is not always the case. We should not stop just to the language of the people, but also to their intentions, ” she says, recalling that, in the end, the last word belongs to voters on October 22.