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Late last year, the Journal undertook a change to its layout; bilingual pages were added. This replaced the former structure where pages were either strictly French or English.

Late last year, the Journal undertook a change to its layout; bilingual pages were added. This replaced the former structure where pages were either strictly French or English. This change came in response to new        rulings by the Office de la langue française stipulating that English-only advertisements must accompany English-only text, French-only      advertisements with French-only texts, and bilingual advertisements with bilingual texts.
Despite the general sentiment at the Journal that the new bilingual layout would better serve the whole Pontiac population by offering texts in both languages, with many translations, approval doesn’t seem to be unanimous. Some people have approached me saying they are concerned with the Journal’s changes because it appears to be “all French,” or merely that “there is too much French.” Although the amount of French texts in the paper have increased with the new bilingual layout, these statements are not true.
Examining the March 26th edition of the Journal, there were 22 French articles and 47 English. French       occupied a mere 32% of the paper. Similarly, in the March 12th edition, 27 French and 47 English, with French occupying 37% of the paper. In the February 26th issue, 15 French articles and 30 English, or 33% French. And once again, in the February 12th issue; 22 French texts and 41 English, with French representing 35%. This proportion is not limited to these four issues, French articles consistently represent a smaller portion of the paper despite some persons’ convictions of the reverse.
So why all the fuss? Is it a fear that the French language is taking over? Regardless of the reasons or              prejudices, we should welcome true bilingualism where equal value is placed on both languages. Besides being convenient to be able to speak more than one language, the Canadian Council on Learning reports that    bilingualism (French/ English) has   positive effects on children’s attention, it diminishes the effects of aging on the brain in adults, and offers better employment rates and, on average, higher incomes. Aren’t these huge   benefits?
Why not see the bilingual layout as an opportunity to improve your second language skills? Read one of the texts available in both languages, first in your second language, and then in your mother-tongue to see if you were able to extract the same meaning from the article.      
And where a translation of an     article in not provided, the Journal is more than happy to respond to any requests asking for certain texts to be translated. The solution is an email or a phone call away! Contact us.
The Journal is not “an English paper” nor is it “a French paper” – it is the Pontiac’s paper, and it deserves that title not only because it carries news from all over the Pontiac but also because it honestly uses both of Pontiac’s languages. This explains the Journal’s motto, “Uniting the Pontiac.” Don’t we need more unity, not less?
Allyson Beauregard, Editor