Language commissioner chastises John Baird for unilingual business cards

·Politics Reporter

I think Canada's 'language police' have a little too much time on their hands.

We've all heard about the never-ending silliness in Quebec — the latest story there was about a 17-year-old entrepreneur who failed in his attempt to launch a business because the name of his company sounded 'too English.'

[ Related: Quebec teen, Xavier Menard, fights French language law ]

Well, it seems that's it's also silly season in our nation's capital.

As reported back in 2011, Foreign Affaris Minister John Baird has chosen to carry around two sets of business cards: one that is bilingual — in English and French — and another in English only.

According to the Canadian Press, people complained and Graham Fraser — Canada's official-langauges commissioner — is now ordering Baird to dispose of his English only cards.

Fraser issued a preliminary report in April this year, calling on the Foreign Affairs Department to ensure that all communication tools — including business cards — reflect both official languages.

Fraser's final report [issued Thursday]...[says] that "providing bilingual business cards on some occasions and cards in English only at other times does not foster the promotion of linguistic duality in Canada and abroad."

In 2011, the cost for both sets of cards was a negligible $622.63. Not bad for our Foreign Affairs Minister who represents Canada at meetings and conferences all around the world.

[ Related: John Baird vacationed for free at Canada's official residence in London ]

In an email exchange with Yahoo! Canada News, Baird's press secretary dismissed the story as rather insignificant.

"Minister Baird has always had bilingual business cards," Rick Roth said adding that they had just received Fraser's report and will "review it in the normal course of action."

"While the opposition and the media play cheap political games at home, Minister Baird has been promoting Canadian interests and standing up for Canadian values throughout Latin America this week.

"I think all Canadians, no matter which language they speak, can be proud of that fact."

[ More Poltics: Canada, Mexico become part of U.S. ‘homeland’ during NSA Senate briefing ]

I understand the need for all communications to "reflect both official languages."

But Baird was doing that by carrying two cards. He can give his unilingual card to people who speak only English and his other card to people who are either French-speaking or bilingual.

Doesn't that make logical sense?

Oh I forgot..language 'watchdogs' in this country don't have to adhere to concept of common sense.

(Photo courtesy of the Canadian Press)

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