Bruce, I suggest that your farm living has given you a somewhat unusual
perspective on Canadian life and may be distorted the view of Canada on an
interntional web list. Canada certainly did not adopt centrigrade because
the French Canadians use it. It was adopted because the whole world except
the US runs on the metric system. Our economy is heavily dependent on
trade. In fact, we are one of the largest traders in the world when measured
as a percent of our GNP, unlike the US which has a very small percentage of
its total GNP in exports. Working in metric is obvious if we wish to
satisfy our international customers.
In the case of French, I would suggest that a very high percentage of
Canadians are bilingual, not a small number as you suggest. The
availability of immersion schools as well as French language training across
the country has meant that most Canadians can read and write in French and
understand some spoken French. In large areas of the country people tend to
be fluently bilingual - driven by a business need, by the fact that
promotion in the Federal Government requires bilingual status, and by
general interest. Many have parents from both linguistic groups,
I am having difficulty thinking of someone I know personally who is not
bilingual or willing to converse in the other language even if not fluent.
This is off topic but I did not wish to see mis-information on a topic of
great sensitivity in Canada!
Ian E. Efford
Ian E. Efford
Ottawa zone 3