You represent a local organization which is an ally of French and bilingualism? Here’s how you can make a difference:
Request Meetings with the Candidates
Organizations can request individual meetings with candidates in a given riding or region. All you have to do is contact the candidates’ offices by phone, mail or e-mail. It is best to contact the candidates of every party in order to remain nonpartisan.
Prepare for the meeting. Read the messages and questions suggested in this website and pick what is the most relevant to your context, your region or your sector.
Review the candidate’s website, Facebook page to know more about his or her interests and recent activities.
During the meeting:
- Briefly introduce your organization and delegation;
- Talk about the positive impact of French and bilingualism for your region specifically and for Canada as a whole. Use examples;
- Stress the importance of the candidate taking a clear and firm stance in favour of our two official languages and bilingualism;
- Stress the importance of modernizing the Official Languages Act to ensure its full implementation and relevance for the Canada of 2020 ;
- Take time to discuss and answer the candidate’s questions;
- Seek a commitment on his or her part to take action:
- Make a public statement on his or her support for French / bilingualism / the modernization of the Official Languages Act
- Raise the issue with his or her leader, caucus or political staff so that commitments are included in the party platform
- Thank the candidate for listening;
- Take a picture with the candidate for later sharing on social media;
- Follow up with the riding office, f. ex. by sending a thank-you letter for the meeting;
- If possible, send a short report on the meeting to the FCFA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What to Ask – A Few Suggestions
Canada is marking the 50 th anniversary of the Official Languages Act this year, but the status and legitimacy of French, namely, remains precarious. What do you plan to do to consolidate and promote the status and value of our two official languages?
There have been attacks and challenges recently to the legitimacy of French as one of Canada’s official languages. In New Brunswick, for example, there is a political party that wants to roll back the language rights of Acadians. If elected, will you stand clearly and publicly for the equal status of our two official languages and the value they represent for Canada?
How will you act to protect the language rights of French-speaking citizens in your riding?
Over the years, the way the Official Languages Act is implemented and respected has left much to be desired. Furthermore, Canada has changed since the last overhaul of the Act in 1988. How will you and your party take action to modernize the Act? Will you personally push to fast-track this modernization if your party wins government?
For years now, the government has under-enumerated children and youth who have a constitutional right to education in French. This means French-language schools are built too small and are filled to capacity 2-3 years after opening. This is not an efficient way to plan and build schools. A modernized Official Languages Act should require the government to rework its data collection and account for every child who has the right to French-language education. Will you commit to taking action to make it happen?
French immersion and French as a second language education are very popular but suffer from a lack of resources. Parents must often wait in line all night to register their child for French immersion. What will you do to increase access and opportunities for Canadians who want to learn their second official language?
There is a shortage of French-language teachers in Canada. This has an impact both on French-language education and French immersion programs. Some are even calling it a crisis in the making. What will you do to resolve
According to the Conference Board of Canada, the contribution of bilingual Canadians outside Quebec to the country’s GDP represents $134.8 billion. How will your party capitalize on bilingualism to foster economic growth and prosperity for Canada?
There will be 715 million French speakers worldwide in 2050. How will your party work to grow the population’s bilingualism in order to give Canada an economic edge in this emerging market?