Marois soldiers on after English gaffes

Posted By: Angelica Montgomery · 2/11/2013 1:49:00 PM

The premier's office says she will continue to occasionally speak to the media in English, but may avoid the language if she is feeling tired.

Three francophone columnists have come down on Marois' English in the past two weeks. They all advised her to start using an interpreter. The criticism may have touched a nerve.

Yesterday, her press secretary told journalists Marois would only answer questions in French to avoid any misunderstandings. "I get advice and will try to follow it," Marois said.

Strange identity

The criticism started when Pauline Marois gave a 15-minute English interview to BBC Scotland.

She meant to to tell the Scottish they had a strong identity, but accidentally said that they were weird: "Scotland is a people with a strange identity," she said.

Some other parts of the interview were not easily understandable.

Another unfortunate mistake

Marois tried to avoid answering questions in English last Sunday, but after an appeal from some reporters, she said a few words.

This lead to another unfortunate mistake. Marois tried to tell English media that she wanted to always be on the offensive for sovereignty.

However, what she said was quite different: "We wanted to be offensive on the sovereignty all the time."

Reporters did not broadcast the quote out of context, but her opponents quickly started circulating it on social media.


"The criticism was virulent," says the premier's press secretary, Marie Barrette. She says Marois was treated unfairly considering that she is speaking a second language and is making a sincere effort.

But Barrette says all Marois' work is never enough for some. "It's not Anglophones criticizing her. It's Francophones," she says.

Marie Barrette says the premier may avoid speaking English when she is too tired to chose her words properly.

Though she says, despite the mistakes and criticism, Marois will still make some comments in English. "It depends on how she feels."

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  1. sam posted on 02/11/2013 02:05 PM
    I like the way she thinks.. in fact I think I will adapt the same concept. When I am tired.. I will only speak my mother language. I mean a slip up could mean big trouble. So depending on how I feel, slept that night what my night has been like will now determine what language I speak.
    You know.. last time I checked this was still Canada. As a person who is suppose to speak on our behalf. I am uncomfortable with her being unilingual. I mean if my kids are force fed french then why has she been able to slip through her politial career with one language?

    oh and this is in english because I had a tough night.
  2. Devin posted on 02/11/2013 02:21 PM
    Applebaum's French isn't much better and he doesn't receive that much cr*p
    1. albert posted on 02/11/2013 03:37 PM
      @Devin So sorry but Applebaum's French is far better than Marois' English...I have spoken to both parties and Applebaum has a far better command of his french than does Marois master her English. To his credit, Applebaum makes an effort to bridge the two solitudes while Marois has a hard time admitting that they exist and always gives you the feeling that she wishes that they would just go away..
    2. Karen posted on 02/11/2013 05:07 PM
      @Devin Applebaum is completely bilingual compared to Marois' English ;)
  3. Steve posted on 02/11/2013 02:26 PM
    I wonder if she used the same reasoning when she was in Scotland? I mean she was there promoting separation…
    Hmmm all her interviews were in English. Guess she wasn’t tired…
  4. JohnH- posted on 02/11/2013 02:39 PM
    Who cares. It's all verbal diarrhea.
  5. Marky Mark posted on 02/11/2013 03:42 PM
    Typical of the woman, party and beliefs.
    Anyone who will not be voting YES in the next referendum is, and always will be a second class citizen with second class rights, and who will be spoken to when she`s damn well good and ready.
  6. Alex Hankewicz posted on 02/11/2013 04:08 PM
    People sometimes ask me if I speak french and my reply is :" yes but only when I feel like it and now may not be one of those times"
  7. Theo posted on 02/11/2013 04:44 PM
    The simple solution is for Marois to speak English all the time. Practice makes perfect!
  8. MichelRB posted on 02/11/2013 05:13 PM
    Some argue that Applebaum's French isn't much better and he doesn't receive that much cr*p. Excuse me? I got it, that is a joke!
  9. Umaga posted on 02/12/2013 09:49 AM
    Oh my what a disgrace !! Our Premier's second language skills are so deficient that she misspoke a couple of times during an overseas mission .
    I wonder if Mr. Harper would even attempt to speak French during a trip to France , or how many mistakes he would make if he did .
    1. LMAO posted on 02/12/2013 11:56 AM
      @Umaga If you took notice of anything that happens outside Quebec you would know that Prime Minister Harper speaks excellent french and uses it very regularly. He did not have to learn both languages but clearly saw the benefits of being able to converse in both as do many Canadians.
      Having said that i think it's admirable that Madame Marois attempts to speak in English as she represents Quebec as a province as well as a separatist and as such must be able to converse in both languages as a matter of respect to all Quebecor's.
    2. JohnH- posted on 02/13/2013 04:02 PM
      @Umaga If you want to pretend your a leader of a pretend country. Don't pretend that you can speak English. Because reality doesn't pretend.
  10. Sam posted on 02/12/2013 08:22 PM
    Is it because she can't or just prefers not to learn the english language. Either way this is not how a leader should represent herself, her province, or her country. I feel that she in no way has proven to be the type of leader the Parti- Quebecois voters were counting on. To the contrary, she has brought shame and regress to their cause.
    If there were an election today or in the days to come the P.Q. would no longer be in power.
  11. Doug posted on 02/13/2013 09:44 AM
    She's trying.Can't imagine what people would say about my French
    1. PmcD posted on 02/14/2013 02:48 PM
      @Doug But Doug you are not the Premier of the Province of Quebec.
  12. Sarah A. posted on 02/13/2013 01:00 PM
    How outrageous!!!!
    I think she should be forced to take english communication courses at least. She should be forced to learn the basic of the English language as she is forcing every person who is coming tp Quebec to learn and pass the French exam. It is so called adaptation to the Country values. Canada is a builingual country, not only a French, and I understand that she is trying to protect Quebec values. But Quebec is also a builingual province. As the English Quebecers are forced to learn basic french to communicate in society, she should be forced to learn the basic English to communicate with the population that has not voted for her!!!!
  13. James posted on 02/13/2013 07:05 PM
    Strange? about a low education..if their minister came into Quebec saying the very same would people react? but they wouldn't too smart for that.

    But I guess anglos are all from England right Marois? Painting everything with the same brush again eh..

    Scotland succeeding from England compared to Quebec succeeding from Canada is Apples & much for that model. As far as containing their population with Bill 14, well it goes to show you this gov't is more like the Stasi of the 1949-1989 in East Berlin without barbed wired, walls & mines.

    We need to VOTE OUT the PQ forever - extinguish them all..
  14. Marc posted on 02/14/2013 07:00 PM
    Mme marois you are an example of the impact of bill 101 on your generation. You are not alone as many of your fellow québécois have been handicapped by such shortsighted and outdated thinking. You reap what you sow. English is essential to function in the world .
  15. SteveF posted on 02/15/2013 04:36 PM
    Its hard to understand Marois "Antoinette" at the best of times, regardless of language. At least this time she has offered up some kind of "excuse", other than leaving everyone to wonder if she and her party are completely out to lunch - off in a corner eating their cake.

    I find it rather galling that Marois deems to know what is best for us common folk. Her family's wealth has obviously put her as out of touch with the needs of ordinary folk much as her "namesake" from pre-revolutionary France.

    I would be very interested to know if her own children were denied any form of education in English and hope that they too have been told to remain in Quebec and only take on jobs where a knowledge of English is not required. Why is it that politicians'c children are always off-limits, when the government cannot keep their hands off ours?
  16. Anna posted on 02/15/2013 05:57 PM
    I saw the interview from Scotland and was surprised that her English is as good as it is. Ok so she made a few dumb mistakes, but it's only natural when speaking a second language and I think she should be applauded for her effort rather than ripped appart. As an Anglophone that is what I would expect when speaking french so I am willing to give her the same respect.

    That being said, I found it to be hypocriitical on many levels. She refused to engage in an English debate during the last election IN HER OWN PROVINCE - seemingly to prove a point that French is the only language she supports here. Now she's off touring the world trying to get businesses from ENGLISH speaking countries to invest in Quebec at the same time that she is trying to squash the language here. She met with the leader of and English-speaking country in the attempt to drum-up support for her Sovereigntist regime, while that same xenophobic regime is doing everything in its power to turn Quebec in to an intolerant society that shuns language and cultural diversity.

    The people of Quebec - Franco/Anglo, Federalist/Sovereigntist - need to stand up and say ENOUGH! We need to demand politcal leaders that can turn this in to the thriving region it could be - bilingual, multicultural, economically sound, and able to meet the health, educational, resource development, and employment needs of its people. Quebec could and should be a model for the rest of the world, rather than a joke.
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