‘What if’ is a series that imagines what would happen if the tables were turned. Today: what if the other provinces established their own language charters in the spirit of Bill 101?
At a recent meeting, the premiers of the Provinces of Ontario, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, PEI, and Alberta have announced that their governments will take immediate action to stem the degradation of Canadian English within their provinces. Each province has decided to introduce a document called “The Charter of Canadian English” into their legislature. The goal of such a charter is to ensure that Canadian English will be preserved in the face of the threat of American English, as well as the increasing usage of languages other than English across the country, such as French. According to the premiers, a few key points of the Charter will include:
1) English must be made the Official Native Language of these provinces;
2) A ban on the importation of all books and publications containing improperly spelled English words, such as color and favorite. While this may seem like a detrimental measure to encourage reading, it will help Canadian authors who will have their works printed in their native language. Famed feminist author from Ontario, Matilda Artwood, has given the Charter her full support. We are assured that, should the charter be passed into law in those provinces, American books may still be read, but must first be translated.
3) English is to be officially recognized as the language of business, communication, politics, and education. All businesses with more than 50 persons must have all their documents and memos in English and English only. All children shall be educated in English, unless one of their parents was raised with the French language in Quebec. Customers must only be given English signage to look at, and restaurants must also adhere to this policy.
4) The establishment of an inter-provincial English Language Police is mandatory. Their jobs include verifying signs to ensure that they are written in Canadian English, and to prevent any American English or foreign language signage from sneaking in. Any business that does not follow the Charter of Canadian English may be fined and, if necessary, closed down.
5) To further the development of English Canadian culture by the removal of all culturally detrimental influences, such as foreign and French, unpleasant religions, and physical displays of unique identity. In relation to this clause, Alberta attempted to include the LGBT community on the list of detrimental influences. The motion was, however, refused once it was pointed out that half of recognized Canadian culture has come from such persons, and the exclusion of such persons would be more of an American thing to do.
Although controversial, the five provinces that plan to enact this Charter believe it is imperative since we are at serious risk of losing our language in this sea of American culture, new immigrants, and French Canada. French Canadians in Ontario have voiced concerns over the proposed Charter and believe that it may contravene the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. All premiers unanimously agreed that, if this is the case, Section 33 of the Constitution will be enacted to insure the new charter’s continuity. When asked if this proposal is, in part due to the continued presence of Loi 101 in Quebec, all premiers answered “no” after a short pause. They assured the public that they would never be as vindictive, childish, or foolish as those who enacted Loi 101.
Manitoba’s Francophone lobby has ensured that the province withdraws its support from the proposed charter. Meanwhile, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador have decided to start writing their own language bills to be called “De chartah of d english language ov d maritimes”, or something similar. As of yet, they have not been able to agree on final title. When this reporter approached the legislature of British Columbia to hear their opinions on the charter, he discovered that the entire Legislative Assembly was unavailable for comment. Ann Hobbstadt, the junior undersecretary to the premier, said “They are all too high to care!” We will report their views, once they return from their rock climbing trip.