December 13, 2018

Winnipeg
-2° C, Overcast

Full Forecast

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Francophone community concerned about minister's inability to speak French

WAYNE GLOWACKI / FREE PRESS FILES</p><p>Rochelle Squires </p>

WAYNE GLOWACKI / FREE PRESS FILES

Rochelle Squires

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 5/5/2016 (951 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Some Manitoba francophones are cautious about criticizing cabinet minister Rochelle Squires' inability to speak French — even though francophone affairs is one of her many duties.

They're willing to see how she does in the job.

"The ability to speak French is important, but even more important are actions. Actions will speak louder than words, in any language," said Coun. Matt Allard (St. Boniface).

"Obviously, it's not ideal. It would be preferable if the francophone affairs minister spoke French," Liberal MP Dan Vandal (Saint Boniface-Saint Vital) said Thursday in an interview from Ottawa. "What's important is she should show engagement to the community."

Get the full story.
No credit card required. Cancel anytime.

Join free for 30 days

After that, pay as little as $0.99 per month for the best local news coverage in Manitoba.

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Join free for 30 days

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Subscribers Log in below to continue reading,
not a subscriber? Create an account to start a 30 day free trial.

Log in Create your account

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Mon to Sat Delivery

Pay

$34.36

per month

  • Includes all benefits of All Access Digital
  • 6-day delivery of our award-winning newspaper
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 5/5/2016 (951 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Some Manitoba francophones are cautious about criticizing cabinet minister Rochelle Squires' inability to speak French — even though francophone affairs is one of her many duties.

They're willing to see how she does in the job.

"The ability to speak French is important, but even more important are actions. Actions will speak louder than words, in any language," said Coun. Matt Allard (St. Boniface).

"Obviously, it's not ideal. It would be preferable if the francophone affairs minister spoke French," Liberal MP Dan Vandal (Saint Boniface-Saint Vital) said Thursday in an interview from Ottawa. "What's important is she should show engagement to the community."

Squires is the minister of sport, culture and heritage, and minister responsible for francophone affairs and the status of women.

But she can't speak French.

Several members of Premier Brian Pallister's caucus are reportedly fluent in French, though his office has yet to provide a requested list.

There's a lot of disgruntlement on social media, Jacques de Moissac, student president at Université de Saint-Boniface, said Thursday.

"On Facebook lately, it's pretty heavily people complaining about that. There'll be a barrier created," de Moissac said. "We're a bit worried what happens if francophone affairs falls on the backburner," given her many disparate duties. "How are we going to be prioritized?

"Obviously, we are worried — Greg Selinger pushed for francophone affairs. We're worried they won't focus, because St. Boniface isn't one of their ridings."

But, he cautioned, "A lot of people are jumping the gun. It's the wrong thing, jumping to the conclusion that she won't do anything."

De Moissac said he is aware Finance Minister Cameron Friesen can speak French.

Squires must recognize French language rights, said Vandal, who sits on the official languages committee: "They're incredibly important in the province's history."

Said Allard: "I look forward to working with the new minister in my capacity as city councillor responsible for French language services, and I communicated that to the minister in a congratulatory email."

Université de Saint-Boniface chose not to comment on Squires' lack of French language skills.

Peter Dorrington, Université de Saint-Boniface academic and research vice-president, said by email: "Université de Saint-Boniface is looking forward to working with the current government in matters of French and francophone post-secondary education. We expect we can count on a full collaboration from all parties involved in helping students meet their academic goals. USB is committed to strengthening its relationship with all levels of government, and to continue offering a quality university and college education in order to shape today’s leaders in society."

Bernard Lesage, board chairman of the Division Scolaire Franco-Manitobaine, said he is not apprehensive about any impact on Manitoba's French-language public schools.

As a school trustee, "I have had to work with different people in different ministries. A lot of them didn't speak French, but we got things done. I don't think you necessarily have to know French to know the French community."

However, he has met with St. Norbert Tory MLA Jon Reyes: "I had a bit of a conversation with him in French — it was interesting," said Lesage.

On Tuesday, shortly after being sworn into cabinet, when Squires was asked in French about her facility with the language, she could only smile, admit to the "steep learning curve" and pledge to be an advocate for the community.

Tory officials said there may be further comment Friday.

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

History

Updated on Thursday, May 5, 2016 at 4:43 PM CDT: Updated

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective January 2015.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us