New CEO Tracy Robinson and CN management will likely have to justify themselves to elected officials in Ottawa for the company’s decision to ban Francophones from the board.
• Also read: No francophone on his CA: CN makes his mea culpa
The NDP passed a motion asking leaders of Canada’s largest railway company to explain the controversy of recent days and the place of French at the company.
“When we heard the news, I was disgusted and frustrated, but at the same time I wasn’t very surprised because CN and the railroad companies in Canada are still above the law,” said MP Alexandre Boulerice in an interview with The newspaper.
The latter considers it important to hold discussions with management in order to obtain commitments “for a better respect for French in the future”. “We want to shake them up a bit, they have to show respect for the Quebecers,” assured Mr. Boulerice.
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Federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra, also a monolingual Anglophone, and Official Languages Commissioner Raymond Théberge were also called into the committee.
This will be an opportunity for MPs to question the new leader, Tracy Robinson, for the first time.
The railway company assured that the manager continues to “take her French classes regularly” in order to be able to communicate with CN employees and customers.
Presentation in English
Before a parliamentary committee yesterday, CN was due to raise issues related to the supply chain, but it was the lack of French within the company that drew attention.
French-speaking Vice-President Sébastien Labbé, who perfectly illustrated the criticism of CN, gave his five-minute presentation entirely in English.
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During question time reserved for elected officials, bloc member Xavier Barsalou-Duval bombarded the chairman with questions, asking him if there was an “anti-French corporate culture”.
“I’ve been with CN for 24 years, I’m from Beauce. I am currently in Alberta and have always had the opportunity to communicate in English and French,” replied Mr. Labbé.
“Do you think that a monolingual Francophone would have as many opportunities to climb the career ladder and get a job as a monolingual Anglophone at CN? asked Mr. Barsalou-Duval without getting an answer.
Mr. Labbé assured that CN will sort out the situation on the board over the next year, as the company announced last week.