Not enough French in Vancouver?

According to the CBC, Federal Heritage Minister James Moore had something to say about the Olympic opening ceremonies:

I thought the opening ceremonies were brilliant, beautiful, spectacular on television — but there should have been more French, period, full stop.

I was very surprised to read this. While I didn’t see the entire presentation, every part I did see had the announcements first in French and then in English. In fact, the only part that wasn’t in French were the brief speeches made by the aboriginal representatives, though they closed out their speeches by welcoming the visitors with a friendly “Bienvenue!”

I won’t speculate on why Moore ends his sentences with two periods.

Graham Fraser, commissioner of official languages, went further in his complaint about the lack of French:

What I saw at the opening ceremonies was a concert which had been conceived, developed, and presented in English, with a French song.

This leaves me wondering if we saw the same presentation. The announcements that went over the PA system at the event were in both French and English.

The Québec Premier, Jean Charest, was totally on board with this, according to the Vancouver Sun. He said:

everybody would have liked to have had more French in the opening ceremony

The amusing, and unsurprising part, is that when the Sun tried to contact Charest for further comment, they were told that the premier was not doing interviews.

It seems that people are complaining about the lack of French, yet I haven’t been able to find any specifics about what was so wrong. What I saw of the opening ceremony makes me wonder what they’re talking about, and they have nothing to offer that might clarify. I’ve asked around and no one I know remembers any lack of French.

I suppose being vague makes it far easier to complain.

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5 Comments

  1. _don
    Posted February 16, 2010 at 20:22 | Permalink

    It seems that people just like to complain. If the ceremonies were 90% French, 10% English, the french would complain there was too much English.

    I read some people complaining about the lighting of the torch was botched – complaining that they should have rehearsed it first (well d’uh. Apparently they did a few times. Doesn’t make thing work perfec the *next* time), that the final lighting of the outdoor torch was lame, how there should be a mercy rule in the hockey (afte the women’s team won 18-0). Hey, sure. I hope those complainers have their names down for the next Olympics to make sure it all goes perfect with their awesome wisdom. And I guess they were just too busy for this round.

    Christ people, shut the fuck up and enjoy it all for what it its. This isn’t hollywood; it’s real life.

    • Rick
      Posted February 16, 2010 at 20:32 | Permalink

      You’ve hit upon a fundamental truth in there. Someone will end up complaining no matter what.

  2. Shawn
    Posted February 17, 2010 at 08:32 | Permalink

    Ditto here, as I watched I too commented on how we always have to announce in French first and English second. For people watching around the world, it appears that Canada is a French nation with English as a second language. I think these guys need to understand that Bilingual means EQUAL. And you wonder why there is so much hatred towards the French in this country. It’s because knobs like our ministers promote it.

  3. Jonathan
    Posted February 17, 2010 at 13:49 | Permalink

    French and English are the two official languages of the Olympics.

    If the Olympics were held in Britain you’d also hear a bunch of French (and lots of complaining afterwards since they can’t decide who they dislike more the French or the Germans).

    Anyway… hockey. There is a reason that there is no “mercy rule” in Olympic hockey, as with most round robins. The reason is the standings are tallied to rank teams for the semi finals and finals if two teams have equal standing, the way to decide who is higher on the list is ‘goals against’. This means that total goals scored minus goals admitted.

    To run up the score pays in standings later on.

  4. gryan
    Posted February 17, 2010 at 21:09 | Permalink

    If only we could finally get rid of English… that pesky little language just refuses to fade away?

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