For the Harpocrites it means separate but equal languages. That is there is English spoken in English Canada and French spoken in Quebec. That is the meaning behind the Conservatives use of the term; linguistic duality.
This does not mean bilingualism as we know it under the Liberals. Because of course this government hates all things Liberal.
Despite Prime Minister Harper personally setting an example by using both official languages, the government is not living up to its commitment in this area, Graham Fraser, Commissioner of Official Languages, said in his first annual report presented to Parliament today.
"Prime Minister Harper's public behaviour is exemplary in terms of respect for Canada's official languages," Fraser said, noting that Josee Verner, Minister for La Francophonie and Official Languages, had expressed the government's support for the amendments to the Official Languages Act and the Action Plan for Official Languages. "Unfortunately, the government's actions over the last year have not reflected these public statements."
In 2005, the Official Languages Act was enhanced with the amendment to Part VII requiring federal institutions to take positive measures to promote linguistic duality and support the development of official language minority communities. According to the Commissioner, "Although this amendment was approved by Parliament, government action to date casts doubt on its genuine commitment to implementing this Act." The most telling example in the Commissioner's report is the announcement of budget cuts last fall, which abolished initiatives such as the Court Challenges Program.
As I wrote previously and it is worth repeating;
Harper, unlike Preston Manning, was a student of the Calgary School. Harper's political practice is influenced more by this than Manning was. Hence Harpers surprise; the recognition of Quebec as a nation, giving it the separatism it wants within a decentralized federal state. That is more the nuanced politics of the Calgary School than the Reform Party demand that the West Wants In.
The old anti-bilingualism of the Reformers is replaced with the subtle Two Distinct Languages policy of the Conservatives. Which again appeals to Quebecois nationalism, while also keeping the rest of Canada happy with one language; English.
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