Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

English-only directive from MP Fantino

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OTTAWA -- The office of International Co-operation Minister Julian Fantino twice issued a directive that all communication with his signature be in English only.

Official Languages Commissioner Graham Fraser has agreed to look into the matter after a complaint from the New Democrats, who argue the order may violate the Official Languages Act.

The legislation guarantees the right of federal employees to work in their own language.

NDP MP Yvon Godin is pushing ahead with the complaint even though he says civil servants working for Fantino were told verbally last February that people who write to the department in French can receive a response in French.

The first directive was issued last July, shortly after Fantino was named to his current post in a cabinet shuffle.

The order was received by employees of the Canadian International Development Agency, says a staff member there who spoke to The Canadian Press on condition of anonymity.

The directive was withdrawn after it was questioned, the employee said, but was reissued -- in English -- in February.

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 8, 2013 A11

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