So, there you are, a bilingual Canadian sitting in a coffee shop in Montreal. Some guy comes up to you and asks you a question “in English”. Do you respond in French? Because we all know that Montreal is in Quebec, which is considered a French province. Heck no, the guy asked you in English so you respond in English.
Apparently our PM was brought up in such a small bubble (or he’s been very poorly coached), that he doesn’t have the decency to answer in the language the question was asked. If someone in the room didn’t speak English, there are translators for that. The same would go for a French question is “let’s say” Alberta; answer in French.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau refused Tuesday to respond in English to several questions put to him in English in Sherbrooke, Que., telling the town hall meeting that because he was in Quebec he would speak French.
Ironically, one of the English questions put to Trudeau was about the availability of English-language mental health services.
The Sherbrooke event was Trudeau’s seventh town hall question-and-answer session since last Thursday. But it was the first one he’s held in the province of Quebec.
He held another town hall Tuesday morning in the officially bilingual province of New Brunswick but no one at that Fredericton town hall put any questions to him in French.
He did get a French-language question at a town hall last week in Peterborough, Ont. and, there, chose to respond in English.
The tradition on Parliament Hill or in press conferences is that bilingual politicians, like Trudeau, will answer a question in the language used by the MP or a journalist who asked the question.
According to the most recent data from Statistics Canada, about 42% of the approximately 200,000 people in the Sherbrooke area are bilingual, able to speak and understand both official languages.
Of the 10,000 in the region who listed English as their mother tongue, 77% were also able to speak French.
Sherbrooke is also home to Bishop’s University, where English is the language of most instruction.