P.E.I. is frothing about nothing

Plaques bilingues : si le PEI le fait, pourquoi le Québec l'interdirait?...

"We're having French rammed down our throats."

Where have we heard this before? All across the land, unfortunately, just about any time the use of French is extended by any government outside Quebec. The latest blast of this tiresome and depressing refrain comes from Prince Edward Island, where some people are making a fuss over the introduction of optional French language provincial licence plates. Instead of "Prince Edward Island" and its slogan "Canada's Green Province," they say "Ile du Prince Edouard" and "La Province Verte du Canada."

Keep in mind no one is being forced to use the new plates, and the French ones cost an extra $5.

This is nothing more than a commendable recognition of the province's enduring francophone element and heritage; about one-quarter of islanders are of French or Acadian descent, and five per cent speak French daily.

The only conclusion is that the uproar comes from ignorant louts who can't grasp the fact the extension of French in the rest of the country is a cultural enrichment for Canada - not to mention an aid to national unity - on which P.E.I.'s storied bucolic lifestyle is greatly dependent.

Francophone community leaders say only a small minority of Island anglos are raising a fuss. That's reassuring.

The majority of islanders, peaceable and accommodating folk by reputation, should tell the mouthbreathing bigots in their midst to shut up and think.
Who's the bigot?

26 juillet 2007

Re: "P.E.I. is frothing about nothing" (Editorial, July 24)

You referred to Prince Edward Islanders who complained about the introduction of optional French licence plates as "mouthbreathing bigots" who should be told to "shut up and think." According to The Gazette, these people are "bigots" because they don't appreciate the "enrichment" French provides to their culture.
I have no problem with optional French licence plates in P.E.I. It sounds like a well-intentioned idea. What bothered me was that your editorial seemed like a backhanded insult aimed at our provincial government because it won't allow optional English plates here.

It's easy to label anonymous people far away, but do you have the courage to call our provincial government "mouth-breathing bigots"? By The Gazette's logic, isn't that what our provincial government is?

Mark James

Notre Dame de Grâce

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