I do think Canadians are tolerant and polite; bilingual, euh... not so much.
|My Alberta birth certificate. Photo by Den Nation.|
I was born in Alberta but grew up in Ottawa. My father was working temporarily in Calgary at the time of my birth. I only spent the first 2 months of my life in Alberta so Calgary is just another Canadian city for me. I feel like I was born in Ottawa, but my birth certificate reminds me that I was not.
I am Canadian. My country is officially bilingual. Trudeau, Canada's prime minister during the 70s, really pushed bilingualism in Canada. The issue wasn't really about getting everyone to speak both languages, but Trudeau recognized that not all Canadian citizens are bilingual and that everyone had the right to access services in their own language when dealing with officialdom, aka the Canadian government. In doing so, he pushed more Canadians to be bilingual (as it is really difficult to obtain a position as a civil servant in Ottawa without being bilingual).
So how is it that I can't get my birth certificate in French and English? Alberta as a province is not officially bilingual, that's why. Birth certificates are issued by the provinces and territories, not the federal government in Ottawa.
If you look at my picture above, it does appear to be in both languages. What you are looking at is the template, which is in both languages. The information specific to the person in question only appears in English. Why, if their template is in both languages, can't they also insert my personal details in both languages?
I wrote to the Alberta government about this. Their response? "The province of Alberta is not required to provide access or reports in both of Canada's official languages."
How can this be? I just can't believe that I can't access official documents like my birth certificate in both languages. How come the federal government has not forced the provincial and territorial governments to do so? We are talking about my birth certificate, an official document.
I was so angry when I got this response from the Alberta government. I have to admit, I am so disappointed by "my province", and that I come from such a close-minded and right-winged province (so now you all know about my political beliefs).
I used to think when I was a little girl that it was cool to have been born in Alberta. I used to go around saying to everyone, "I was born in Calgary, I'm a cowgirl!" Hahahahaha. I can't believe I was so proud.
I can't believe that hate groups against bilingualism exist. Just check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4370WLcgeYU and a couple of their other videos to get an idea of their stance.
Of course, these people are a hate group and most Canadians are not as extreme as them. The speaker in the video for the above link seems to think they represent the average Canadian, but they do not. (I hope I won't start receiving emails from these people now.)
So while I am proud that my country set up bilingual services, I just wish that the provinces would follow as well. Don't just start something and only do it halfway.