Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Worst Union of Them All?

Would you believe that there are public servants who have contempt for the public they serve?  Ok, not so hard to believe.  And given that unions often exaggerate the worst tendencies/preferences of a minority of a group, we perhaps should not be surprised when the Quebec civil servants union displays much contempt for the Angophone minority.  The QC union representing those working in government want essentially to eliminate any obligation/instinct to assist the Anglophones dealing with tax problems or otherwise work in English with those who are not comfortable in French. 
“What emerges from these few testimonials is the obligation for frontline staff to provide services in English under pressure from citizens,” the union wrote.  “While they should feel supported by their immediate superiors [in insisting on working in French], employees fear the warnings and penalties that could follow.”  As the union sees it, a “shameful bilingualism” is invading the civil service, and union president Lucie Martineau said the Parti Québécois government’s Bill 14, which updates the language charter known as Bill 101, does not go nearly far enough to correct things. ...
What is remarkable is that the union representing civil service workers has enthusiastically joined a campaign aimed explicitly at reducing service to citizens.
“We must repair the gaping holes left by Bill 101 that allowed rampant bilingualism to infiltrate the public administration,” the union wrote.
WTF?  Oh, the joy of tyranny of the majority.  The people who serve the public do not want to serve a chunk of the public.  Lovely.   It is one thing to ask a public service to start learning a language to catch up to a new group of people who have moved into the country.  It is another to say: you know the folks who have lived here for centuries?  Screw them.

The funny thing is that Quebec's bilingualism always seemed quite selective to me--very bilingual when it wanted my money (tax forms, parking/speeding tickets) and very unilingual when it came to grant applications and the like.  Why would Quebec want to make it harder for Anglophones to pay their taxes?  

To lobby to deny Anglophones from getting government services?   Just awful.  Democracy is such a wonderful thing, but we need basic protections to protect the minority from the majority.  Quebec does not seem to care about tyranny of the majority when they are the relative majority. 

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