Pauline Don’t Speak Too Good English

Pauline Marois was crowned the leader of the Parti Québécois a few months ago and has returned to the Québec National Assembly last week following her byelection win in Charlevoix.

Marois is a seasoned and experienced politician, having held several key folios in past PQ governments, including health and finance. Some find her too matronly and condescending, and others hold grudges against her for decisions she has made while minister. Personally, I don’t dislike her personality, and I wasn’t affected by her decisions since I didn’t live in Québec at the time. However, strangely, I think my mother who also doesn’t live in Québec doesn’t like her much, as I remember her bitching about “la Marois” and her policies that she heard about on the news even though they had no impact on her.

Today, she forwarded this link to a TQS news report (in French) suggesting that her poor command of the English language would be a handicap to someone aspiring to become the premier of any province, including Québec. I’m not sure if Mom sent me this link because it’s a jab at Marois or because it reminds her of her own inability to speak English (as in, “See, even she can’t do it!”).

A few things come to my mind as I look at this video. For one thing, I think that a premier would have access to interpreters, so I really don’t think her lack of English is such a big problem. But for me watching this video, I can’t help but squirm for her personally. I don’t think she should be embarrassed; rather, I’m thinking that, as bad as it is, her English is a lot better than my Spanish. And I can so relate to searching and searching for words and only having a long string of “uhs” and “uhms” filling the airwaves. It’s maddening and you feel like an idiot.