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OUR LANGUAGE RIGHTS BIWEEKLY
Canadian. Language. News.

July 19th, 2021

On our mind this week: Three retired major-generals who previously commanded Canadian forces in Afghanistan have said there are at least 115 interpreters in Afghanistan who who have received death threats from the Taliban, but have no way to escape. Retired corporal Tim Laidler, who served in Afghanistan in 2008 and is now executive director of the Centre for Group Counselling and Trauma at the University of British Columbia, said Ottawa should simply restart a previous program that settled more than 800 Afghan interpreters and their family members in Canada between 2009 and 2012.

BIWEEKLY NEWS

Indigenous Languages

  • Nunavut Day itself is a reason for optimism - EaQuassa has echoed that sentiment, saying, “We are still quite a bit behind in terms of our government using Inuktitut as a working language. Our government is still an English-speaking government, our government also seems to put policies and regulations that are very European. Certainly there’s still a lot of work that still has to be done on that end.”
  • Oh, Kanata. Time for a new flag and a new name? Last week, the Times Colonist announced that for Canada Day, it would be running a full-page pull-out of the Canadian Indigenous Flag. Designed by the late Curtis Wilson (Mulidzas) of the Wei Wai Kum First Nation near Campbell River, it is a revised maple leaf flag with swimming salmon in the side bars and an orca in the maple leaf.

Francophone

  • Immigration is essential to the vitality of Francophone communities across Canada, including New Brunswick's Acadian communities. That's why today, the Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, and Liane Roy, President of the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne, visited Bathurst to invite French-speaking temporary residents in Canada to take advantage of the recently launched temporary pathway to permanent residence. While this new pathway will make a difference across Canada, it is especially crucial for the future of Acadian and Francophone minority communities like Bathurst. It will help retain French teachers to address the shortage of French-language teachers in Canada. To support Canada's objectives for Francophone immigration, the streams for French-speaking or bilingual candidates have no limit to the number of applications that can be received.
  • Almost 200 complaints lodged over new GG's lack of French,  Raymond Théberge said. “I believe her perspective and experience will no doubt enable her to contribute to the protection of Indigenous and minority languages across the country, which includes our official language minority communities… we must not forget that our official language minority communities are becoming increasingly diverse.”
  • Next governor general's inability to speak French leaves francophone communities conflicted - When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office announced that Canada's next governor general would be Mary Simon, there were approving nods across much of the country, but for many francophones, it also raised questions about their place in the federation. Simon, who is bilingual in English and Inuktitut, has a long-standing reputation as an advocate for Indigenous people. But Simon, who was educated in a federal day school in the Nunavik region, says she was not given the opportunity to learn French as a child. She has promised to try to learn it in her position as governor general.
  • Senate committee highlights key points in language reform document - Prior to the federal government tabling Bill C-32, an Act for the Substantive Equality of French and English and the Strengthening of the Official Languages Act, the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages studied the original proposed reform document. Committee Chair Senator René Cormier spoke to The Record about some of the challenges the committee faced in studying the ‘English and French: Towards a substantive equality of official languages in Canada’ document during a pandemic.
  • Today's letters: Honour Indigenous people; they came first - As a francophone Canadian, I applaud the appointment of Mary Simon as our new governor general. I have full respect for her bilingualism, which includes an Indigenous language as well as one of our two official languages. Yes, “Indigenous Canada trumps French Canada,” as Andrew Cohen put it. A way out of our colonial past will be for French and English, and all immigrants, to give precedence to Indigenous Canadians. Consider this principle in systemic coaching: “What came first has precedence over what follows.” Honouring those who came first will be key to re-establishing respectful partnerships and achieving reconciliation.

Language Rights, Revitalization and Advocacy

  • Parks Canada hopes to install a trilingual sign aimed at reconciliation at Cavendish Grove, despite a disagreement with the local resort municipality about its size. Parks Canada said installing the sign is part of the national commitment toward Indigenous reconciliation. The proposed 144-square-foot sign would have text in Mi'kmaw, English and French.
  • Mohawk language school seeking permanent home in eastern Ontario -An Indigenous organization in Tyendinaga, Ont., is calling on the federal government to help build a new language and cultural centre in the territory because their language is under threat of extinction.  Hill says there are few first generation Mohawk speakers in the region and only an estimated 2,500 Mohawk speakers across Canada and the United States.
  • Kitikmeot Heritage Society launches Inuinnaqtun revitalization project - Slated to begin in the fall, the project will involve interviewing older members of the community who speak the language in Cambridge Bay, Kugluktuk and Gjoa Haven in Nunavut, as well as in Ulukhaktok in the Northwest Territories. The interviews will be used as part of a virtual resource on the language.
  • Kotierk urging federal Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly to give Inuktut full standing in Nunavut through a revision of Canada’s Official Languages Act. “It needs to recognize that in Nunavut, both official languages of Canada are minority languages. There needs to be equality, equity provided to Inuktut and Inuktut needs to be recognized as an official language of Canada in Nunavut. The idea behind that is it would allow for resources and support to be afforded equitably to Inuktut as it is to other language minorities. I really think Inuktut needs to be absolutely everywhere in Nunavut.”
  • Fanshawe program aims to reverse decline of Oneida language - Oneida – Language Immersion, Culture and Teaching will take in about 20 students for a curriculum designed to help many graduates become teachers, translators and storytellers.
  • Indigenous businesses in Atlantic Canada get $13M from Ottawa to help pandemic recovery - Miller also announced $513,492 to help revive the Mi'kmaw language. Mi'kmaw Kina'matnewey, the body governing Mi'kmaw education in Nova Scotia, said it wanted $2.1 million. Blaire Gould, the executive director of Mi'kmaw Kina'matnewey, said the money will cover the costs of communities and organizations running programs promoting the language. But she said it leaves them with a financial gap. "It is of course a priority for us to close that gap through not just federal supports, but provincial supports and our supports as well," Gould said.

Immigration/ Settlement and Emergency Communication 

  • Province announces $7.7M in funding to support newcomers impacted by COVID-19 - As someone who immigrated to Canada, I understand the importance of providing equal opportunity to everyone, including our newcomers,” said MPP Andrea Khanjin. “This investment will help our local community businesses and newcomers alike by giving them the tools to succeed in the workforce.”
  • Food banks, literacy groups to distribute 150000 children's books across Canada this summer - Read On Canada! is a coalition of 16 non-profit organizations, including the Canadian Children's Literacy Foundation, First Book Canada, Harvest Manitoba and Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, whose goal is to assist with children's literacy during the pandemic.
  • Chinese language sportscaster spreading the love for hockey among Chinese Canadians - "There are teams made up of East Asian immigrants playing in shinny leagues, beer leagues, or non-contact leagues, but not many. But playing is a different thing as they have concerns about possible injuries." Wong said he tries to get his mostly Cantonese and Mandarin-speaking audience to connect to hockey by using sporting terms the audience is familiar with, some of which are drawn from soccer.
  • Young Asian-Canadians reconnect with home through their stomachs - "There's always been a language barrier between me and my dad," said Tsukamoto, whose family moved from Japan to Canada in 1999. He says he only learned bits and pieces of Japanese, growing up in Toronto. "And so food has always been another kind of love language."
  • The Saint John Newcomers Centre hosted the forum Wednesday morning at the Diamond Jubilee Cruise Terminal, which included several experts in the field who shared insights on what newcomers to the area should know. Mohamad Bagha, managing director of the newcomers centre, said in an interview Tuesday afternoon that newcomers can often face several barriers when looking for jobs. Some challenges typically include culture shock and language barriers when they first arrive in Canada.
  • Claudia Hepburn: Refugees are an untapped pool of human resources - Windmill Microlending, a national charity, has worked with 540 refugees from 53 countries in the past five years. All are adults who needed an affordable loan and help navigating the hurdles to restart their careers in Canada. What have we learned from them? A lot about refugee resilience. Those with the language and job skills Canadian employers are hiring for should be fast-tracked for economic immigration.

The Politics of Language, Culture and Technology 

The Afghan Interpreters (Full-Length)

OUR LANGUAGE RIGHTS BIWEEKLY is curated list of Canadian language related news brought to you by Language Access Coalition of Canada (LACC), a community of forward-thinking organizations and individuals in the non-profit, public and private sectors, driven by the desire to make a positive impact by advocating for access to information and services in languages people understand.
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