Tip to Canadian politicians: when you give a "bilingual speech" to a unilingual audience, use Brian Mulruney's trick and pepper your French with "amour", "respect", "democratie", "Canada" and other French words that even Albertans can understand.
What you don't want to do is forget to speak French. Bob Rae spoke "without a net" last night and it showed. He only talked in French when talking about Quebec. And he didn't talk much about Quebec.
And get this, from the Liberal Party web site:
Notice, December 1, 2006
Montreal - The Liberal Party of Canada inadvertently played
an English-only version of a video produced by the campaign of Mr. Scott Brison,
rather than the bilingual version supplied by his campaign. The Party
unreservedly apologies to the Brison Campaign and all delegates for this error.
When you give a speech in Montreal, you start off in French. Ignatieff didn't do this. He spoke French about 25% of the time. Not enough. Rae was the worst offender. He was at least half way through the speech before he spoke a few words in French. Then he quickly reverted back to English.
Gerard Kennedy's French is still horrible, so I wont complain about the lack of quantity. How he can still make grammatical errors while reading his speech (that I assume he rehearsed) is a mystery. He is the only top 4 candidate for whom I didn't flick between the French station and the English stations. I was glad there was a translator to figure out what he was saying. Oh, and parts of Gerard Kennedy's French web site are still under construction! And the "dans la médias" error is still there.
Stephane Dion's English is less than perfect, even when read. You'd think a guy with a Canadian PHD in political science would speak better English. He reminds me of the Political Science teacher I had in college who kept using obscure Belgium examples but couldn't answer the simplest question about the USA. Did you know in Belgium they do exams orally? It was cool that my teacher imported the concept as that was the only course in which I didn't lose 10% for bad spelling.
Contrary to popular belief, the majority of Quebeckers are not fluent in English. Heck, the majority of Quebec university graduates are not fluent in English. So when you give a speech to people who don't have simultaneous translation, keep it simple. Not Gerard Kennedy simple, but simple enough to be understood by people in their second language.
The speech should be about 50% in English and 50% in French. By that standard, all the candidates failed.
If you read French: Julie Bélanger