Saturday, May 19, 2007

102 Official Languages?

According to CBC Radio's The House this week, the Canadian Senate is looking into providing translation services for their speeches. The translators will cover a number of aboriginal languages so that aboriginal senators can speak in their native tongue in the senate.

The House interviewed a Liberal Senator from New Brunswick who is pushing the idea. When The House asked about the high cost of such a service, the senator said that these are living languages that we should preserve, and compared to the cost of digging up dinosaurs and building museums, this will not cost much.

That, of course, begs the question of how speaking in the senate will help preserve a language.

More importantly, it shows remarkable short-sightedness. We have two official languages, French and English. Will we now add a hundred-odd aboriginal languages to our list of official languages? When asked whether this will set a precedent that the House of Commons will also have to meet, the senator said, "Of course. It will be difficult for anyone to back away from that practice once it is accepted."