Saturday, 5 November 2011

Audit me this, Batman

It's the old "I can learn French in a year" trick, aye?

That's the rabbit our new Auditor-General of Canada, Michael Ferguson, is pulling out of his hat. Interesting. While he was A-G in New Brunswick, the guy never did manage to "parlez".

We heard the same thing here in Ottawa from our fire chief, John de Hooge, who promised he'd learn French between putting out fires on the 'hood and at city hall. I haven't checked, but I'm pretty, pretty sure that John is still an ever-loving Anglo.

Graham Fraser must be ready to throw himself into the Ottawa River. Bwah hah hah.

Despite the fact that bilingualism is a prerequisite for most jobs in Ottawa, the Prime Minister seems to like to throw that principle by the way side whenever it suits. Like when he feels like appointing an Anglo to the highest bench or, heaven for fend, appointing a director of communications who can order spaghetti in Italian at Mamma Teresa but can't get his poutine order right at the chip truck.

Frankly, I applaud the PM.

He's proven what I've always believed -- that people should get jobs because they are qualified to do them, not because they can talk perty. Language ability is a skill, like mastering HTML and unless it's absolutely necessary, it shouldn't be the deal breaker on a job interview.

And let's face it: how many times have we had to listen to higher ups at news conferences who speak English so badly they can't be understood. Like, let's see, Nycole Turmel?

But some of the appointments made by the PM have even got me scratching my head. I think the A-G should be bilingual, at least be able to speak French in order to answer questions from the media and other constituencies. Ditto for Harper's fart catcher whose job is 50 percent talking to the Francophone media.

The Supreme Court judge, well, there are enough of them on the bench to pick up the ball, but these other two appointments are strange.

Methinks this whole debacle will have an interesting effect on hiring in Ottawa. What's stopping me, say, from objecting to the fact that I can't get hired for an English writer's position because I'm not bilingual? Can't I just stand up and say: "What about that guy, that Ferguson bloke?"

"How come you can break the rules for him and not me?"

Riddle me that, Batman.

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