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B.C. condo language dispute sparks human rights complaint (merged with

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A good part of the HRC's squirming is probably due to a bunch of right-wing conservatives cackling in glee at the prospect of aggravating the issue.

That'll help the country for sure.

How on earth can you place blame on conservatives for this?This is something that will occur more and more in Canada as other cultures grow at a rapid rate and don't assimilate.What else can you expect from multiculturalism?

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How on earth can you place blame on conservatives for this?This is something that will occur more and more in Canada as other cultures grow at a rapid rate and don't assimilate.What else can you expect from multiculturalism?

Greetings from Toronto.

I'd say I'm integrating nicely. This is my second day in Toronto and I've used English only with hotel staff since arriving. All of my other conversations with friends and restaurant staff at two Chinese restaurants and one Malaysian restaurant have been in Chinese.

Last night though I understood little of the conversation since it was mostly in Cantonese, but most could interact with me in Mandarin without any difficulty, including the restaurant staff.

:)

I don't intent to assimilate though, only integrate. I still want to keep my French and English and see no reason to assimilate when integration suffices.

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They have zero duty to communicate anything to a 'guest'. Guests have n right to anything other than to sit and be quiet. Being a guest implies they are present to observe.

The council has a fiduciary duty to all owners. Part of demonstrating that they have met their legal obligations would include providing visibility into the decision making process. i.e. it is not enough to simply announce a change to the property management firm. They need to record the reasons for the change and the arguments for an against. You can't do that if the meetings are not in English.

Of course, the bigger issue in this situation is the suggestion that owners are not allowed to sit on council if they don't speak Mandarin. That is pure discrimination.

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How on earth can you place blame on conservatives for this?

The original title of the thread, the tone of the OP and the author's conservative leanings.

This is something that will occur more and more in Canada as other cultures grow at a rapid rate and don't assimilate.

I agree conservatives will increasingly jump up and down the more they refuse to assimilate multiculturalism. And while I think the condo owners have a legitimate need to clearly understand what's happening in the administration of their property including at meetings I have a sneaking suspicion personalities, politics and cultural differences between individuals on all sides have grated against one another in an unfortunate albeit easily rectifiable disagreement over how to accommodate everyone's needs.

What else can you expect from multiculturalism?

The same reaction we've come to expect, from good olde conservatism at least - where there's smoke pour gasoline.

Edited by eyeball

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The council has a fiduciary duty to all owners. Part of demonstrating that they have met their legal obligations would include providing visibility into the decision making process. i.e. it is not enough to simply announce a change to the property management firm. They need to record the reasons for the change and the arguments for an against. You can't do that if the meetings are not in English.

Of course, the bigger issue in this situation is the suggestion that owners are not allowed to sit on council if they don't speak Mandarin. That is pure discrimination.

Nearly all of that is incorrect. As elected officers representing the condominium corporation, they have the duty to operate the business of the corporation. Boards change management companies and other service providers routinely, most often for reasons of cost or poor performance. They do not have to provide details of bids to the owners, just that they determined the price or performance was improved. Is there any indication that the officers have failed in this duty?

All officers to a board are elected by the owners. Any owner can be nominated at the Annual General Meeting where officers are democratically elected. Is there some indication otherwise? Or is this just the usual racist drivel?

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They do not have to provide details of bids to the owners, just that they determined the price or performance was improved. Is there any indication that the officers have failed in this duty?

The reasons for the change were apparently not communicated to the owners.

All officers to a board are elected by the owners. Any owner can be nominated at the Annual General Meeting where officers are democratically elected. Is there some indication otherwise? Or is this just the usual racist drivel?

There were non-Mandarin speaking council members until last year when one council member managed to acquire 34 proxy votes and used those vote to eject all non-Mandarin speakers from the council and appoint Mandarin speakers. As with most cases of blatant discrimination it is impossible to prove that the move was motivated by a prejudice but inferring such a motive is not unreasonable in this case. Edited by TimG

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Canada has a unique type of multiculturalism. Cultural mosaic. USA has a melting pot.

Canada is also a melting pot, and most Canadians, including immigrants, want it that way. Those immigrants who are reluctant to embrace Canada's culture, including its language, should be invited to leave.

Edited by Argus

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The reasons for the change were apparently not communicated to the owners.

Not required. Boards change management companies all the time, what is the issue? All that is necessary is one line in the minutes.

There were non-Mandarin speaking council members until last year when one council member managed to acquire 34 proxy votes and used those vote to eject all non-Mandarin speakers from the council and appoint Mandarin speakers. As with most cases of blatant discrimination it is impossible to prove that the move was motivated by a prejudice but inferring such a motive is not unreasonable in this case.

That is an astonishing number of assumptions and errors for just 2 sentences.

Note that every set of bylaw I've seen allows for written proxies from people that cant or won't attend the AGM where officers are elected. If 34 persons choose to assign their proxies to one person, so it goes. Next, nobody is 'appointed'. All the officers are duly elected by the process outlined in the bylaws, the same rules for all skin colours. Nobody was 'ejected', the other candidates failed to gain enough votes and were not elected.

The only blatant discriminztion is in some fevered brains fearing the Yellow Peril.

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Not required. Boards change management companies all the time, what is the issue? All that is necessary is one line in the minutes.

If owners question the reason for the decision then they are entitled an explanation. Any thing else would simply allow a dishonest council to rip off the other owners and keep it hidden.

All the officers are duly elected by the process outlined in the bylaws, the same rules for all skin colours. Nobody was 'ejected'

Well it really depends on the reasons for their ejection. If it was because of language then it is based on prejudice but given the limited information there could be underlying factors.

http://www.theprovince.com/technology/mandarin+only+edict+splits+richmond+strata+council/11608387/story.html

Nizam Dossa, executive director of the Strata Property Agents of B.C., said there are “so many things wrong” with the strata council’s behaviour.

“It’s really upsetting when you’re coming to a meeting — even as a guest — and you can’t understand the comments,” Dossa said.

Typically, efforts are made to ensure there’s a notice on a strata meeting’s agenda saying, in several languages, “Please have this translated,” Dossa said.

But Dossa said he’s never heard of a B.C. strata council deciding to forgo including its English-speaking contingent altogether.

“I think they have a good discrimination case,” Dossa said.

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Canada is also a melting pot, and most Canadians, including immigrants, want it that way. Those immigrants who are reluctant to embrace Canada's culture, including its language, should be invited to leave.

An argument could be made Canada is in practice showing many elements of a melting pot. Of course any country with a large group of mixed ethnic groups will have some degree of interactions. However it was planned as a mosaic and advertised as a mosaic. I cannot say immigrants want a melting pot, the federal government is advertising the nation as a mosaic where you can come to Canada, practice your home culture and more or less keep on living how you were iving before and that is part of the mosaic. You do not have to integrate, you do not have to assimilate, you do not have to learn English and you do not have to interact with people who don't speak your language or come where you come from.

Well you have to first tell the federal government to stop advertising in federal documents to the immigrants that we are a mosaic and not a melting pot.

Good luck finding the American federal government publishing documents talking about the "american cultural mosaic"

"Heritage walking tours are a chance to see how history, geography and society have intertwined and helped to create Canada’s cultural mosaic, all one step at a time."

http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/media/multimedia/video/heritagewalk/heritagewalk.asp

"Canada, with its two founding nations, never bought into the melting pot concept in quite the same way as the United States, says Dr. Meinhard. In the late 1960s, the idea of the cultural mosaic - or multiculturalism - captured Canada's imagination. That dual vision of integration - encouraging immigrants to embrace the values of the new country while maintaining ethnic traditions - still holds to this day. "

In fact I still recall reading both in my grade 9 textbooks and in official government documents from citizenship and immigration (my best friend was naturalized in grade 11 and showed me the citizenship documents)

that canada was a "mosaic” that encourages immigrants to maintain their old values and traditions."

convince the French immigrants in 2 provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick to learn English. After that convince the native Indians to assimilate into being Englishmen too. then you have to convince the Englishmen to cut the cord from the queen and declare real independence. The weird part about Canada is that its largest group, English descendant people, main loyalty is to the Queen and England not even to Canada. So good luck convincing Chinese immigrants to be loyal to Canada when the man who was suppose to win the last election (NDP leader Thomas Mulclair) is a dual citizen with France or where Harper made it clear he had intense loyalty to the Queen of England. If I was an immigrant from China or India or whatever, I'd look at that canadian politicians are not loyalty to Canada, and the federal documents in immigration telling me I don't need to learn English or how even older Italian immigrants don't assimilate in Toronto, why would I?

I've also noticed hypocrisy in that when I travel around the world and find expat groups/immigrants, I'll find Americans, Uk, English, Canadians, Aussies and South Africans living in 3rd world nations for decade + and not assimilating.

I think you are underestimating the difficulty it takes to make friends with locals who have a different culture, language and life outlook and values that an immigrant. Its like you go to Thailand and will see groups of white western men all sticking together and not integrating, and I am not talking about tourist here.

And I don't see any white people lining up to learn cree and ojibwe.

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An argument could be made Canada is in practice showing many elements of a melting pot. Of course any country with a large group of mixed ethnic groups will have some degree of interactions. However it was planned as a mosaic and advertised as a mosaic.

During a particular period, say prior to the Tories, the previous liberal governments embraced the idea of multiculturalism but that has since largely been abandoned, except by progressives. Diversity is one of those things the media and political elites embrace, but which can cause enormous problems if it develops into ethnic enclaves with more commitment to their home countries and home cultures than this one.

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I'd say we've been far more accepting of multiculturalism since we closed the last residential school in 1996, and even more so since 2008 when the Prime Minister formally apologized for the attempted cultural genocide of the indigenous peoples.

We'd abrogated the Chinese Exclusion Act long ago, gave indigenous people's the right to vote in the 1960's, and have not interned Japanese Canadians since WWII.

The evidence seems to point to more multiculturalism over the devades, at least in the non-government sector.

The Federal Government is de-facto bicultural, the private sector increasingly multicultural.

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Argus, you apparently don't like ethnic enclaves and yet there is nothing more certain to keep us is in our enclaves than the things you prescribe and preach. You're really sure this is the way forward?

Given the energy you put into this it's just too bad you couldn't channel it towards cultivating a commitment amongst human beings towards our home planet. That said you're probably only one extraterrestrial invasion away from seeing things my way. Of course, you'd probably revert back to form after we repel the invaders and pick up your squabble where you left it.

Edited by eyeball

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The chinese in Richmond are just doing what the federal government told them they could do. Come to canada, stay in their ethnic enclave and not leave it and still be full Canadians. Is it the Chinese who should be blamed or a federal government which refused to assimilate French Canadians and make them speak English and set the bad example for all other groups to follow. Soon BC will be the Chinese version of Quebec, demanding chinese language rights, chinese federalism, chinese supreme court justices and so on and so forth. And they are correct to do it because the English government didn't make the French assimilate so why should the Chinese or any other immigrant group. I don't want to hear but french founded blah blah blah, no they didn't Quebec was run by Anglos as was Montreal and French were 3rd class citizens in their own province which is why there was violent rebellion by them. The French got their butt beat in a war hundreds of years ago fair and square and were lucky the English didn't forcibly assimilate them. Should Chinese and native indian be nation languages too?

Multi-culturalism isn't about many cultures in the same locality, just same nation. French in Quebec, Chinese in Richmond, and English in between. Still multi-cultural. Don't like the chinaman's way of doing busness return to a place with more white people, like whistler.

There are many ethnic enclaves in the States too, do you think people behave any differently just because of some label like "mulitcultural" or "melting pot"? There are 422 different languages spoken in the States, compared to 177 in Canada. Why do you think things are so much different in the States in that regard?

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Interesting experience just a few minutes ago. The Via Rail ticket agent at Toronto's Union Station switched to French on seeing the family name on my credit card. We both laughed at the irony of the fact that I'd used much more spoken Mandarin than spoken English and had heard no French whatsoever in the last few days in Scarborough except during a phone conversation with my mother in French.

Of course Via Rail is under Federal jurisdiction and so must submit to the Official Languages Act.

The contrast just showed the apparent disconnect between the languages of Government and of the private sector.

I had been using more English today though as I'd traveled from Scarborough town centre to downtown Toronto. Earlier today at a bookstore I'd had a conversation in English with the manager and teller (she was the only person working at the bookstore today), and after I'd mentioned just how Chinese Scarborough is, she'd mentioned one shopping centre (I forget the name) where she doesn't even bother shopping anymore because she can't communicate with the staff there.

She wasn't saying it in any meanspirited, bigoted or prejudiced way, bit just in terms of factual practicality.

My trip from Scarborough to Toronto and the corresponding linguistic shift that accompanied it was like transitioning from one ghetto to another. I was even surprised at the multiculturalism of the Chinese-speaking community itself, comprising Mainland Chinese, Hongkongese, Macauese, Taiwanese, and Malaysian (and others I'm sure), as well as noticing both a Buddhist vegetarian restaurant and at least one Christian Church that I can recall with Chinese characters on the front, and hearing a hijabi speaking Chinese at one restaurant.

The shift from no face-to-face French in neither Scarborough nor Toronto's private sector to experiencing it for the first time only at a Federally-regulated institution (Via Rail) further accentuated the seeming disconnect between Federal policy and my experience among friends and my experience in the non-federally regulated parts of the region.

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I can also say that a lack of knowledge of English does not seem to prevent the Chinese brom becoming gainfully employed.

Sure they are relegated to the non-Federal sector (restaurants, shops, etc.), but still doing well there.

In fact, Federal policy probably contributes to the de-anglicization and de-francization of the private sector by having the Federal government suck up many of the English and French speaking human resources for itself.

I would not be surprised to hear more English and French in neighborhoods offering more Federal employment as is the case in parts of Ottawa and Gatineau for example.

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We both laughed at the irony of the fact that I'd used much more spoken Mandarin than spoken English and had heard no French whatsoever in the last few days in Scarborough except during a phone conversation with my mother in French.

I think you have a myopic view of Canada. Mandarin Chinese is spoken widely in a few enclaves but the rest of the country is filled with people who speak any number of languages (even in Vancouver only about 8-10% of the people speak Mandarin at home). Ensuring that Canada can function moving forward requires a common language and that language is not going to be Mandarin. Edited by TimG

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I think you have a myopic view of Canada. Mandarin Chinese is spoken widely in a few enclaves but the rest of the country is filled with people who speak any number of languages (even in Vancouver only about 8-10% of the people speak Mandarin at home). Ensuring that Canada can function moving forward requires a common language and that language is not going to be Mandarin.

My mastery of spoken and written English, French, and Esperanto; and my fluent knowledge of spoken and Romanized Mandarin have influenced my Canadian experience.

Though I acknowledge many other linguistic communities, I can say from personal obserbation that Canada's Chinese-speaking community is quite econominally self-sufficient, at least in some geographical locations. I can also say from personal observation that a monolingual English-speaker would not find work easily in Quebec City or a French-speaker in Toronto. Yet a monolingual Chinese-speaker could find work in parts of Scarborough (and I presume Burnaby too).

What linguistic knowledge and experience has informed your Canadian expeience?

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Though I acknowledge many other linguistic communities, I can say from personal observation that Canada's Chinese-speaking community is quite economically self-sufficient, at least in some geographical locations.

They exist because of a large influx of new immigrants with a lot of money. This creates a demand for services that cater to their wealthy clientele. Outside of those enclaves a Mandarin only speaker would have a tough time.

What linguistic knowledge and experience has informed your Canadian experience?

Speaking 2 languages and living in Asia for a couple years. I have also been living in Richmond, BC for the last 20 years and putting kids through the local school system. The children of Chinese immigrants, like most other immigrants, learn English and are indistinguishable from any other Canadian. Edited by TimG

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They exist because of a large influx of new immigrants with a lot of money. This creates a demand for services that cater to their wealthy clientele. Outside of those enclaves a Mandarin only speaker would have a tough time.

Speaking 2 languages and living in Asia for a couple years. I have also been living in Richmond, BC for the last 20 years and putting kids through the local school system. The children of Chinese immigrants, like most other immigrants, learn English and are indistinguishable from any other Canadian.

The same applies to monolingual English-speakers or French-speakers outside of their respective enclaves too, only that their enclaves are much larger.

Also, Chinese entrepreneurs are not catering only to wealthy immigrants, but anyone who knows Mandarin, including me, a white Canadian-born native French-speaker tracing my roots back to New France on my mother's side and the UK on my father's.

We can't ignore the combined relates of free trade (which encourages immigration and emigration, which in turn leads to Canadian-born learning other languages) and local linguistic critical mass (which eventually allows a person to maintain the language independently of official status, as is the case in parts of Scarborough).

I'd learnt Mandarin neither at home nor in school, yet in Scarborough I'd instinctively initiated conversation with restaurant staff in Mandarin out of habit.

How much more is this likely to be the case for those who'd learnt Mandarin at home and at Sunday school and who live in a predominantly Chinese-speaking community.

Among the circle of friends and businesses I was exposed to in Scarborough in the last few days, it was clear that the instinctive language between strangers at neighboring tables and restaurant staff was Chinese. It was usually in Cantonese (bearing in mind that while most predominantly Mandarin speakers don't know Cantonese, most educated predominantly Cantonese speakers speak Mandarin. We could compare that to the educated bidialectal Scott or Texan who speaks his dialect with others who know it but can switch to a more standard British or American pronunciation if he must.

Most of the people I'd met conversed in Cantonese which I can't understand, but if I addressed them in Mandarin, they would immediately switch to Mandarin to accommodate me no problem. I'd even found myself slowly picking up some Cantonese simply through exposure over the last few months, both in the National Capital Region and Scarborough. In the Ottawa region though, most Chinese is Mandarin except among my closer circle of friends who speak Cantonese with each other but Mandarin with me.

The last year has made me far more aware of just how much communion occurs among family and friends compared to with Government officials.

My circle of friends had expanded in the last year, with more time spent with my Chinese friends for various reasons. This is what made me so aware of how a language does not need to be official to be very useful.

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The same applies to monolingual English-speakers or French-speakers outside of their respective enclaves too, only that their enclaves are much larger.

You mean the country we call Canada where the laws and the political discussions take place in English or French?

Also, Chinese entrepreneurs are not catering only to wealthy immigrants, but anyone who knows Mandarin, including me, a white Canadian-born native French-speaker tracing my roots back to New France on my mother's side and the UK on my father's.

People like you are few and far between (Mandarin speaking person who is not of Chinese descent). I suspect the novelty of you speaking Mandarin attracts a lot of attention which you enjoy so you seek out opportunities to show off and practice your skills. I have been where you are 20 years ago. I take a much more utilitarian view of language now.

The novelty means you don't represent a sustainable source of revenue for these businesses because you can and will take your business anywhere. These businesses are not sustainable as monolingual without a steady flow of new immigrants with money. If that stopped they would eventually need to cater to clientele in the common business language (i.e. English).

My circle of friends had expanded in the last year, with more time spent with my Chinese friends for various reasons. This is what made me so aware of how a language does not need to be official to be very useful.

Any language can be useful for socializing but ultimately a society needs a common language to function. We have enough problems with 2. Edited by TimG

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Any language can be useful for socializing but ultimately a society needs a common language to function.

I agree, but we lack a common language already with English and French. If we had a common language, I could see your point. But since we already don't have a common language, a linguistic free market will contribute nothing to further divisions.

In fact, other languages might even contribute to bridge the gap between English and French. As an example, while a monolingual English speaker and a monolingual French speaker can only remain strangers to one another in spite of a common citizenship, a French-speaker and an English-speaker who share an alternative common language (whether a common sign language, Algonquin, Esperanto, Chinese, or any other common language) could then interact with one another in their common language unlike their monolingual counterparts above.

If Canada had only one common official language, unofficial languages might not be as useful. But with Canada lacking precisely that, unofficial languages can serve to bridge the official gap in a way that might not be necessary in states that have only one official language.

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In fact, I'd come across one example about three years ago of two Algonquin who shared only Algonquin as a common language that they could communicate effectively in. One knew Algonquin and English. The other knew Algonquin, French, and a little English. The the strongest common language between them was Algonquin (though it did sound to me like many French words had crept into the language even when I listened to the one who did not know any French. I don't know how aware he was of the francicisms in his Algonquin.

Though this is the only example I'd consciously come across in Canada (I remember meeting an English-speaking Alberta at an international congress in Beijing in 2004 communicating with me and others in Esperanto), I can imagine plenty of French and English Canadians breaking the language divide between one another through through Arabic and other languages too.

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