Despite his apology and promise to learn French on Thursday, Air Canada CEO Michael Rousseau is still reeling from the turmoil. On the contrary: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau added a layer on Friday morning.
“This is an unacceptable situation and I’m glad the Minister of Official Languages is following it,” Mr Trudeau responded during a scrum when he left the pharmacy in Ottawa, where he received a seasonal flu shot.
Mr. In a statement to the QMI agency on Friday, Trudeau echoed new official language minister Janet Petitpas Taylor, who described Michael Rousseau’s remarks as “unacceptable”.
“I have observed his apologies, but he must take definite action to prove that he takes his responsibilities seriously. It is a matter of honor,” she added.
In the minister’s office, we were assured that we had contacted Air Canada and the Department of Transport to discuss the situation.
Ms. PetitPass Taylor wants to approve a version of the Official Languages Act introduced earlier this year within 100 days of Parliament’s recall. It plans to give more “bite” to the current law and give more authority to the Official Languages Commissioner, including the power to impose more severe punishments.
If the liberal government seems to be taking the issue seriously, others will not hesitate to call for Mr. Rousseau’s resignation. These include, in Ottawa, the NDP and the Black Quebecos, and in Quebec, the Liberal Party and the Quebec Solidarity.
All of these parties are calling for Bill 101 to be applied to federal chartered businesses on Quebec soil.
Recall that on Wednesday, Michael Rousseau spoke only in English after a very brief opening comment in French. He explained during the scrum that he had been living in Montreal without speaking French since he moved to Montreal in 2007.
His answers to journalists were more moldy than his speech in English.
It should be noted that Air Canada has been alerted by the Quebec Premier Office and the Official Languages Commissioner about the problems that may arise from monolingual speech in the Quebec metropolitan area of Montreal.