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Without fluently Bi-lingual leadership candidates, is the Conservative Party headed for an election defeat?


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Have not been paying much attention to the Conservative leadership race until recently due to Covid-19 crisis.

I see there are only four (!!) candidates contesting the Conservative leadership and none of them are fluently bilingual.   Two of them don't even have basic french language skills.     I feel like the Conservatives are destined to lose the election before one is even called if they can't win some seats Quebec and they simply will not be able to do so without a bilingual leader.     

Thoughts?   Should the CPC make fluent bilingualism (subject to testing) part of any leadership candidate consideration?  Why are we seeing so few interested candidates for the job?

 

 

Edited by Wayne Chapman
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Welcome, Mr. Chapman.

It should not be part of the vetting process. You don't want to disqualify an outstanding candidate because she isn't bilingual. It should be the decision of the membership. The reason for the lack of electable candidates is because the best people are driven off by the nasty partisianship that they would have to endure, partly due to social media and partly due to the growth of extremist ideology. Life is too short. Emminent people have better ways to use their time. Of the four candidates, none of them, inspire confidence. O'Toole does seem almost okay but even he has delivered a couple of clangers. I say this as an activist of 35 years as a Progressive Conservative. The CPC missed out when Ambrose turned it down. If she became leader, I would have joined the party and worked 24-7 for her. I almost choke on the words but, I will likely vote Liberal next time.

Always remember (and when you do, remind me because I tend to forget my own advice), Canadian Politics is a sport. It is our national sport. We do politics better than anyone. Democracy is strongest when you don't take politics too seriously. In my work, I had the opportunity to meet people from all over the world and I learned that the countries that take politics too seriously are countries like Iran, Nigeria, China and Zimbabwe for examples.

Finally, and most importantly, Wayne, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, for posting something that is not about the virus. You have introduced a breath of fresh air.

Edited by Queenmandy85
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1 hour ago, Wayne Chapman said:

Have not been paying much attention to the Conservative leadership race until recently due to Covid-19 crisis.

I see there are only four (!!) candidates contesting the Conservative leadership and none of them are fluently bilingual.   Two of them don't even have basic french language skills.     I feel like the Conservatives are destined to lose the election before one is even called if they can't win some seats Quebec and they simply will not be able to do so without a bilingual leader.     

Thoughts?   Should the CPC make fluent bilingualism (subject to testing) part of any leadership candidate consideration?  Why are we seeing so few interested candidates for the job?

 

 

 

Welcome to the forum.

Peter McKay was asked by Evan Solomon months ago about his inability to speak French.  Peter McKay gave his lengthy explanation in French.

I'm just saying, maybe some folks are secretly honing their skills in that language.

 

I think, if a candidate has a platform that Quebecers agree with - I think they'd be willing to support him even if his French isn't fluent.....after all, isn't tolerance a virtue in Quebec?

Edited by betsy
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I would never say Peter MacKay is a Judas who stabbed his own party in the back. That would be taking politics too seriously. 

8 minutes ago, betsy said:

I think they'd be willing to support him even if his French isn't fluent.

That worked for Mike Pearson and the Chief. You are probably right, Betsy.

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2 hours ago, Wayne Chapman said:

Have not been paying much attention to the Conservative leadership race until recently due to Covid-19 crisis.

I see there are only four (!!) candidates contesting the Conservative leadership and none of them are fluently bilingual.   Two of them don't even have basic french language skills.     I feel like the Conservatives are destined to lose the election before one is even called if they can't win some seats Quebec and they simply will not be able to do so without a bilingual leader.     

Thoughts?   Should the CPC make fluent bilingualism (subject to testing) part of any leadership candidate consideration?  Why are we seeing so few interested candidates for the job?

 

 

Being able to speak both languages certainly is crucial for a national leader. Whether it has to be mandatory is a moot point...without it..it gives you a very real handicap maybe a fatal one for the reasons you said so the practical reality makes it so necessary it doesn't need to be mandatory. You do not need to pass a law for example telling someone to wear a winter coat in the winter. I mean their are some who ignore the reality of Canada....but they eventually put the coat on.

 

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4 hours ago, Wayne Chapman said:

Have not been paying much attention to the Conservative leadership race until recently due to Covid-19 crisis.

I see there are only four (!!) candidates contesting the Conservative leadership and none of them are fluently bilingual.

To translate: "Why do political parties allow anyone but Quebecers to run for office!?"

And the answer is that Quebec is becoming a smaller and smaller portion of the electorate. Now about one fifth. I don't see why four fifth of people should be shut out of the opportunity for leadership due to the provincial and bigoted mindsets of the one fifth.

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4 hours ago, Queenmandy85 said:

 I almost choke on the words but, I will likely vote Liberal next time.

Of course you will. Because those who cling desperately to idea of Progressive Conservatives are all liberals. They just preferred a slight blue tinge to their liberal politics. It's why your party died.

Edited by Argus
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2 hours ago, betsy said:

I think, if a candidate has a platform that Quebecers agree with - I think they'd be willing to support him even if his French isn't fluent.....after all, isn't tolerance a virtue in Quebec?

Most Quebecers will not vote for anyone who isn't a Quebecer. Period. End of story. It doesn't matter how good his or her French is. And it doesn't matter what their policies are. The only time a non Quebec leader has gotten much in the way of votes from Quebec in the last half century was because the Liberals, who alternate between Quebec and Ontario leaders had an Ontario leader.

Edited by Argus
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On ‎4‎/‎12‎/‎2020 at 8:06 PM, Argus said:

Most Quebecers will not vote for anyone who isn't a Quebecer. Period. End of story. It doesn't matter how good his or her French is. And it doesn't matter what their policies are. The only time a non Quebec leader has gotten much in the way of votes from Quebec in the last half century was because the Liberals, who alternate between Quebec and Ontario leaders had an Ontario leader.

Jack Layton.

Bang! You are demolished. Do not attempt to save your face by claiming he is born in Montreal. Because he was born and raised in a very English community and he moved to Toronto in 1970. I remember his poor level of french at his debuts. He eventually managed to make it fluid and understandable. He never been identified has, someone coming from Quebec, or a Québécois. Although he said it few times, he did not play the card "look, I am from Québec" that much. He never pretended to be something he is not.

Jack Layton was having poor results in Quebec at every federal elections until the day he said something like "The situation of Quebec with the constitution is unacceptable. It's time to reopen the door and repair the injustice caused to Québec.". 2 weeks later, he wins the biggest amount of seats in a very long time in Quebec and become the leader of opposition in Canada.

Even if you have someone with a bad french, a leader can easily win the heart of Québécois if it shows respect and the sincere will to repair the injustice that still leaves us out of the constitution lap. But if you keep presenting a wolf to a horde of sheep, do not accuse the sheep to be xenophobic toward the wolf when they refuse.

By the way, despite Harper represented the exact opposite model of what the Québécois are looking for, he still have win alot of respect from us when he decided to recognised the Québécois people, even among ennemies. At the next election, he gain some seats in Québec and destroyed the best liberal tool used to manipulate the anti-Quebec people in the ROC.

Every time you try to portait Quebec people as evil, you just shoot yourself in the foot and you bit the dust like every before you.

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11 minutes ago, Benz said:

Jack Layton.

Bang! You are demolished. Do not attempt to save your face by claiming he is born in Montreal.

LOL :lol:

Not only was he born in Montreal but his great victory came against Michael Ignatieff.

And in the following election it was them against Trudeau and they lost most of their seats. And in the one after that, with a fluently bilingual Jagmeet Singh, they lost every single one. No one gave a shit about Singh's bilingualism or his leftist policies when there was a Quebecer to vote for!

Even if you have someone with a bad french, a leader can easily win the heart of Québécois

Examples? Who has managed to do this against a Quebec opponent?

Edited by Argus
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Nearly all native-born Canadian politicians took French in school and it's a closely related language to English. These are verbally adept people. Is it too much to ask them to speak reasonable French? Here are the languages spoken by my last three colleagues apart from fluent English: Afrikaans, some Hindi, a little Zulu; Kurdish, Arabic, some Farsi, a little French; Arabic, Circassian, some French. None would regard themselves as particularly good at languages and they were busy people. Any immigrant who comes to anglophone Canada from outside the anglosphere to work in health care speaks at least two languages, often completely unrelated ones. We can argue about the meaning of fluency in a language - few are perfect in a second tongue - but something approaching the equivalent of the English-speaking ability of most senior francophone politicians would not be an unreasonable expectation for somebody who could be PM.

 

Edited by SpankyMcFarland
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On 4/12/2020 at 2:22 PM, betsy said:

Peter McKay was asked by Evan Solomon months ago about his inability to speak French.  Peter McKay gave his lengthy explanation in French.

Lol. "Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated". 

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On 4/17/2020 at 6:26 PM, SpankyMcFarland said:

Nearly all native-born Canadian politicians took French in school and it's a closely related language to English. These are verbally adept people. Is it too much to ask them to speak reasonable French?

Do you speak French? Fluently? I worked in the federal government for years and I can tell you that the only anglos I ever met who spoke fluent, fluid French were Quebecers. To say most people took it in school is nonsense. Lots of people in Ottawa took French immersion for years and shortly after graduating they weren't considered bilingual. If you don't use a language constantly it disappears. And outside a few narrow corridors where there are lots of Francophones there's nowhere that French is useful. To suggest that after going to college, then starting a career and working at it for ten or twenty years you're going to remember your old high school French enough to do more than ask where the bathroom is is wildly unrealistic. The Conservatives select leaders from a very narrow group of people who are bilingual, sacrificing higher quality people who might be much more capable and charistmatic for someone who can speak halting french, like Harper and Scheer and Clark, and now McKay. And what does that get? A half dozen seats in Quebec? Hardly worth it.

If the Conservatives want to win more seats in Quebec the only way to do it is get a Quebec leader.

Edited by Argus
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5 hours ago, Argus said:

Do you speak French? Fluently? I worked in the federal government for years and I can tell you that the only anglos I ever met who spoke fluent, fluid French were Quebecers. To say most people took it in school is nonsense. Lots of people in Ottawa took French immersion for years and shortly after graduating they weren't considered bilingual. If you don't use a language constantly it disappears. And outside a few narrow corridors where there are lots of Francophones there's nowhere that French is useful. To suggest that after going to college, then starting a career and working at it for ten or twenty years you're going to remember your old high school French enough to do more than ask where the bathroom is is wildly unrealistic. The Conservatives select leaders from a very narrow group of people who are bilingual, sacrificing higher quality people who might be much more capable and charistmatic for someone who can speak halting french, like Harper and Scheer and Clark, and now McKay. And what does that get? A half dozen seats in Quebec? Hardly worth it.

If the Conservatives want to win more seats in Quebec the only way to do it is get a Quebec leader.

No, I don’t speak French fluently but I’m not running to lead a major political party in Canada any time soon. I gave you multiple examples of ordinary people who have mastered other languages that are completely unrelated to each other, unlike English and French. Another friend of mine, middle-aged, has learned German and Italian from scratch over the last fifteen years through evening classes (while performing a highly onerous job during the day) and gives medical lectures in these languages. Now he’s learning Arabic. My best friend immigrated to Canada the same time I did and put his four girls in a French-speaking school in Ontario. One went on to earn a degree in France and worked for a French-speaking organization in Ontario. Another translates scientific papers into French and English. 

At least Harper made an effort to improve. These are political animals; they’ve been dreaming of running the country before they became MPs and they must have known this might come up if things worked out for them. At the very least, I would say ’could try harder’. I’m not expecting perfect Jean Charest fluency here - a heavy accent would be fine as long as they can understand and answer questions. 

Edited by SpankyMcFarland
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8 hours ago, SpankyMcFarland said:

No, I don’t speak French fluently but I’m not running to lead a major political party in Canada any time soon. I gave you multiple examples of ordinary people who have mastered other languages that are completely unrelated to each other, unlike English and French.

English and French are related, but that can actually make things harder because anglos see a french word they recognize but it's used differently in French. Also, English is a simplified language which is basically an unorganized bastard amalgam of a wide variety of other languages. There's as much Swedish and German as French. It doesn't use gender, so gendered words confuse the hell out of anglos learning french. It has far less formal and complicated tenses, and the grammar is completely backwards.It is NOT easy to learn. I've seen managers dispatched to boarding schools in Quebec for a full year to try and master it, and still fail the testing.

8 hours ago, SpankyMcFarland said:

At least Harper made an effort to improve.

And Quebec rewarded him by spitting on him and his French skills. Just as they rewarded Hagmeet Singh and his better French language skills. Look, Quebec's vote is not going to go to a non-Quebec-led party unless the Liberals have a non-Quebec leader. It doesn't matter how good his or her French is. If you want to earn substantial votes in Quebec you need a Quebec leader. End of story.

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On ‎4‎/‎16‎/‎2020 at 3:15 PM, Argus said:

LOL :lol:

Not only was he born in Montreal but his great victory came against Michael Ignatieff.

And in the following election it was them against Trudeau and they lost most of their seats. And in the one after that, with a fluently bilingual Jagmeet Singh, they lost every single one. No one gave a shit about Singh's bilingualism or his leftist policies when there was a Quebecer to vote for!

 

 

Examples? Who has managed to do this against a Quebec opponent?

Layton's french had a big english accent. His french was not better than the one of Harper. For several years, Quebec did not want him at all and he had no chances. Until the day he said Quebec must be bring back into the constitution. So yes, it's an excellent example that contradicts you.

Following election was not Layton, it was Mulcair. Although he is an English, hs french was very fluent. Perfect biingual. However, in the past, he fought against bill 101. He took care to remove the promesse of reopen the constitution for Quebec. That is why he lost in Quebec. With Jagmeet, a guy who thinks you can avoid wearing a helmet and replace it with a turban on a motorcycle? He was considered as a big joke. None of those two guys are comparable to Layton, none of them have the same success, despite both of them had a better french. So yeah, the point still prevails.

Example of a leader that can win the heart? I did not say it happened, I said it can happen. Since Quebecois are not conservatives at all, very few are, it is indeed difficult to find someone among the conservatives that could please Quebec. But if an English speaker with bad french really get interested in quebec politics and what Quebec wants, it is possible to say something Quebec will like. It's not because it never been attempted that it can't happen. I could return you the favor. Name me someone with poor french that did promise to Quebec something that is important to Quebec. Layton did. His french was just ok, not elegant.

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4 hours ago, Argus said:

And Quebec rewarded him by spitting on him and his French skills. Just as they rewarded Hagmeet Singh and his better French language skills. Look, Quebec's vote is not going to go to a non-Quebec-led party unless the Liberals have a non-Quebec leader. It doesn't matter how good his or her French is. If you want to earn substantial votes in Quebec you need a Quebec leader. End of story.

Jagmeet rewarted in Quebec? Jesus! You definitely not looked at the results in Quebec. He got almost wiped out. Only one seat in Quebec while the cons had 10. It's the second time you say something false. You can easily found the facts on internet. 

1) An anglo from Toronto with average french won Quebec's heart, Layton. No one cares if he is born in Montreal, there no differences between an anglo of west island and someone of outside Quebec.

2) Jagmeet got rejected and had less support in Quebec than Harper had.

You are grieve yourself of rediculous. End of the story.

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I wish I was as eloquent in French as Jean Charest or Chantal Hebert in English or even better Rene Le Cavallieres. 

I think people put up with Chretiens who spoke neither English or French so..to defend Quebec for a second they never gave Harper an attitude over his French..it was some of his policies. It ain't the accent its the effort you make. Guys like Levesque, Trudeau,  Mulroney, Charest, the Johnson Brothers, Grant Garneau, they are born learning both..it helps a lot...I know more bilingual French Quebecers than I know English ones.  It was easier to avoid learning French than  English back in the 60's.  I learned because I wanted to speak French. It was part of the Habs and the Habs was a truly French soul with an admiration for its Anglo supporters and players. The only person allowed to mangle  French names was Danny Gallivan.  In Quebec God can be prounced Mo ris reee shu ard. 

Edited by Rue
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Actually, the only one time I remember we were mocking his french, is when he said "nous allons en erections" instead of en élection. Translated back in English, it is "we are going to have a boner". ;)

We got a good chuckle on that one.

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5 minutes ago, Benz said:

Actually, the only one time I remember we were mocking his french, is when he said "nous allons en erections" instead of en élection. Translated back in English, it is "we are going to have a boner". ;)

We got a good chuckle on that one.

Lol. Lol and lol. Colis.  Surj Savard.  Ro gat ee yan Vah chin.   Even  corn why er.  

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43 minutes ago, Benz said:

Example of a leader that can win the heart? I did not say it happened, I said it can happen.

And I said we should not be selecting leaders based on the very unlikely possibility that Quebec might have some unexpected interest in them. Not if it means turning away charismatic, capable leaders in favour of some drone like Clark or Scheer whose only redeeming qualities were bilingualism.

43 minutes ago, Benz said:

Since Quebecois are not conservatives at all, very few are, it is indeed difficult to find someone among the conservatives that could please Quebec.

So we shouldn't hamstring our efforts in the rest of the country in order to try.

43 minutes ago, Benz said:

But if an English speaker with bad french really get interested in quebec politics and what Quebec wants, it is possible to say something Quebec will like. It's not because it never been attempted that it can't happen. I could return you the favor. Name me someone with poor french that did promise to Quebec something that is important to Quebec. Layton did. His french was just ok, not elegant.

Harper recognized Quebec as a distinct society. Which gained him nothing.

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37 minutes ago, Benz said:

Jagmeet rewarted in Quebec? Jesus! You definitely not looked at the results in Quebec. He got almost wiped out.

Duh. That was my point.

37 minutes ago, Benz said:

1) An anglo from Toronto with average french won Quebec's heart, Layton.

Running against Michael Ignatieff, the Harvard guy.

 

 

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23 hours ago, Argus said:

And I said we should not be selecting leaders based on the very unlikely possibility that Quebec might have some unexpected interest in them. Not if it means turning away charismatic, capable leaders in favour of some drone like Clark or Scheer whose only redeeming qualities were bilingualism.

So we shouldn't hamstring our efforts in the rest of the country in order to try.

Harper has proven that it is possible to win without substantial supports from Quebec. Indeed. Not easy thought. Still, it is a faisable strategy.

Now that Trudeau is destroying the little credibility left in the eyes of those unicorn-rainbow dreamers, it might be more possible than ever.

 

Harper recognized Quebec as a distinct society. Which gained him nothing.

Not exactly. He said, the Québécois are a nation. He did not recognized Québec as a nation-state or distinct society in the form used by Meech. He was very clear that for him, it means nothing and changes nothing. At least, he destroyed the Quebec Liberal's distinct society confusion bu****it card. The sovereignists are thankful for that. I also think it helped him a little bit in Quebec because he won more seats than we would have expected from a very conservative party. 

Is it possible to formulate a party where the western conservatives and the Quebec progressives can both find satisfaction? I do not think so. The former Progrssive-Conservative party was transvestite into a second liberal-like and it was against nature. The biggest mistake of Harper was to turn his back on the promise of decentralisation and reform the senate. It did not looked like a bad move to drop that at the moment but, in the long run, it brings us all to square one once the liberals get back the power.

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18 hours ago, SpankyMcFarland said:

The first time I heard him on the telly, I though he was a native English-speaker. 

I know his real name is John James Charest and he is a child of both worlds. It is impossible to say what languages is better at, just like Mulroney. Both perfect bilinguals.

Unlike Justin Trudeau, his french is so poor and hesitant, he sounds like he needs a french immersion. Or maybe it is just his personality.

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