Yesterday I wrote about living in a foreign country. Today, one of the top news is about the new rule of Canadian citizenship; applicants for Canadian citizenship have to prove their proficiency in either English or French. It sounds obvious to me, but in fact, it seems controversial.
Some people insist that it does not matter whether they can speak either of the Canada’s official languages or not. They typically argue that immigrants strengthen Canada’s economy. If they live in a certain community and work in a certain industry, they may not need to speak either of the languages. It is true. Butchers and plumbers for examples may not need to speak English or French fluently. But is it really all about citizenship?
From my point of view, they also need to think of worst situations. A simple example is emergency cases. If they call 911 but cannot tell anything and cannot understand officers’ advise, what happens? More complex issues include cultural and social concerns. It may be OK if they spend their entire life in their community. But if someone needs to go out from the community for some reasons, can you imagine what he/she will feel? Isolation, solitude, anxiety, fear…. It may eventually cause conflict with Canadians and other immigrants who have adapted themselves to Canadian society. If those advocators truly think of immigrants, they should understand the necessity of language proficiency. Anything like the “Halloween tragedy” should be avoided.
From another perspective, being a part of Canadian society is simply fun.