Olympics need more French: heritage minister
Federal Heritage Minister James Moore said Sunday that "there should have been more French" during the Vancouver Olympics opening ceremony Friday.
"I thought the opening ceremonies were brilliant, beautiful, spectacular on television — but there should have been more French, period, full stop," he told CBC News.
Now the federal government is pushing the organizers to ensure there will be more French during the closing ceremony, he said.
Quebec Premier Jean Charest had complained about the lack of French, saying the opening failed to respect and reflect Canada's francophone community.
"We were led to believe there would be more," he said.
He said there should have been "more content" on the creative side and mentioned the official speeches as lacking enough French.
As for the closing ceremony, "we're continuing to make it known" that the federal government expects more French, Moore said.
"We were disappointed with the opening ceremonies and we hope that the closing ceremonies will have a better reflection" of Canada's two languages.
Graham Fraser, the commissioner of official languages, echoed the minister's complaints.
"What I saw at the opening ceremonies was a concert which had been conceived, developed, and presented in English, with a French song," he said.
But he noted the Vancouver organizing committee has "made a lot of progress" from reports he had made in 2008 and 2009 that said there were significant official languages shortfalls.
Fraser pointed to a number of changes VANOC has made and the presence of translators, French signs, French events and helpers who speak French.
But "there are times I feel French in Vancouver is a bit like snow. Everybody was hoping that it would be here but sometimes it's hard to find," he quipped.