Sunday, February 14, 2010

Alexandre Bilodeau, Canadian Nationalism, and a Bilingual Olympics

First off - kudos to Alexandre Bilodeau for breaking Canada's home-turf Olympic curse and winning the gold medal in moguls!

Tomorrow morning, he will be on the cover of every Canadian newspaper. Canadians coast to coast are celebrating his victory.

Now for the serious stuff. Amidst all of the other potentially problematic issues associated with the Olympics and Canadian nationalism, think about this: Bilodeau is a francophone from Quebec. As Heritage Minister James Moore, and Paul Wells have pointed out, the Olympics opening ceremony didn't do a great job of incorporating the French language. Both have been pilloried in comments boards for this statement. There have been quarrels over bilingual signage at the Olympics. And yet I am absolutely confident that virtually all of the Canadian sports fans who hate bilingualism are cheering for Bilodeau. And yet, they don't think a Canadian Olympics on home soil should give reasonable billing to the French language, the mother tongue of so many members of the Canadian team - including our first gold-medalist. They should think again...

Anyways, back to the festivities. And good on all the members of the Canadian moguls team for putting in such a great effort!

ETA: I see that someone on the Globe and Mail's editorial board agrees with me.

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At 9:01 pm, Anonymous Josh said...

In the aftermath of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games here in Vancouver, there is much talk about a renewed Canadian patriotism. Spontaneous bursts of O Canada in the streets, red wearing and flag waving were staples of the Games. Now that they are over, where does it leave us?

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