Fraser frank on lan­guage is­sue

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Staff North Hat­ley

Gra­ham Fraser, Com­mis­sioner of Of­fi­cial Lan­guages since 2006, spoke in North Hat­ley last Sun­day, on cre­at­ing community be­tween French and English speak­ers.

Lan­guage com­mis­sioner Gra­ham Fraser was on fa­mil­iar ground at Sun­day’s meet­ing of the United Univer­sal­ist Church of North- Hat­ley, UUestrie. He could start his con­fer­ence by quot­ing his fa­ther, forty five years ago, at a sim­i­lar func­tion at the Montreal chap­ter. Mr. Fraser has of­ten spoke of the her­itage that his fa­ther gave him, the cottage on Lake Mas­saw­ippi, but on Sun­day, he took us back to the War years be­fore he was born, when his fa­ther, Blair Fraser, a jour­nal­ist like him, along with Ma­son Wade, the Amer­i­can scholar who was the first to study French-Cana­dian, with oth­ers, took a drive to Ma­gog to hear Henri Bourassa, be­ing pre­sented by a young An­dré Lau­ren­deau, speak­ing for the Bloc Pop­u­laire, who would win the Stanstead rid­ing.

The nar­ra­tive lead­ing nat­u­rally to an older Lau­ren­deau, co-pre­sid­ing, the Lau­ren­deau-Dun­ton Royal Com­mis­sion on Bilin­gual­ism and Bi­cul­tur­al­ism of the 1960’s which brought the post of Lan­guage Com­mis­sion­ers pos­si­ble when the Trudeau gov­ern­ment started act­ing on its rec­om­men­da­tions. Thrown in, the di­verg­ing groups of North Hat­ley, fed­er­al­ist on one side, sovereignist on the other, Mr. Fraser sad that both never met to­gether, it would have been in­ter­est­ing to hear him ar­gu­ing with an­other jour­nal­ist, turned poet, Gérald Godin who later be­came a PQ min­is­ter on the Quebec sit­u­a­tion. It should be re­mem­bered that when René Levesque was faced with build­ing his first cab­i­net in 1976, he chose North Hat­ley as the venue.

Mr. Fraser’s com­mit­ment to bilin­gual­ism is not the re­sult of his job but the con­trary. He is not one to skirt the is­sue, ad­mit­ting bluntly that out­side of Quebec, pro­vid­ing ser­vices in French is not easy, that is when they are avail­able, while de­plor­ing that out­side of Montreal, the sit­u­a­tion for An­glo­phone could eas­ily be im­proved.

What was in­ter­est­ing about this con­fer­ence and its ques­tion pe­riod was that, in for all in­tent and pur­pose an English au­di­ence, not too many lis­ten­ers were lost when Mr. Fraser spoke in French, there were no blank faces when Gérald Godin or his spouse Pauline Julien were men­tioned nor that the only news­pa­per quoted was Le Devoir, both by Mr. Fraser and one of the in­ter­vener at the ques­tion pe­riod. The au­di­ence at the Uni­tar­ian Un­ver­sal­ist meet­ing was what the dream of bilin­gual­ism and bi­cul­tur­al­ism was in the 1960’s, the per­fect venue

for Mr. Fraser speech.

Photo Stanstead Jour­nal

Mary-Ann McCarron, vice-Pres­i­dent of the Uni­te­rian Univer­sal­ist or UUEstrie, Rachel Gar­ber, Gra­ham Fraser and Pas­tor Ca­role Mar­tig­nacco.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.