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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