Liberal Party website: French an afterthought?

The Liberal Party of Canada launched quite an attractive new website this week. It features a large photo slider panel, well-designed action tabs at the top, and great integration of blogs and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

However, what the website lacks is representation of the linguistic duality of Canada that Liberals so often get red-in-the-face when chastisizing Conservatives. Take, for example this press release put out in October of 2007 by then Liberal Party president Marie Poulin criticizing Conservatives for ignoring french-Canadians,

New Conservative Site Snubs Francophones

Francophones across Canada have every right to feel a little snubbed by the Conservative Party of Canada, Liberal Party President Marie-P. Poulin said today.

That’s because their language doesn’t show up on the front page of the party’s new site.

“The party that has trying [sic] to reach out to French-speaking Canada has a strange way of showing they care,” Ms. Poulin said. “You’d think something as prominent as your new election web-site would have at least one French word on its front page.”

The Conservative Party’s new web site, launched this morning, has a background of Conservative blue featuring a photo of the Prime Minister, his name, and six bold white words – none of which is in the French Language.

“The Liberal Party of Canada cares about Francophones across Canada and has ensured that every word on our web site is printed in both official languages. Clearly, the Conservative Party cannot say the same,” said Ms. Poulin.

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For more information, please contact:

Liberal Party of Canada Press Office

Elizabeth Whiting
(613) 783-8405
ewhiting@liberal.ca

Poulin misfired as I wrote on my blog back in 2007.

Liberals are always finding outrage where there is none. Indeed, the Conservative website was recently redesigned and it is true that there aren’t any French words at Conservative.ca. However, if you go to Conservateur.ca (that’s the French word for “conservative” by the way), you’ll find a lot more French words!

Unfortunately, for the Liberals, the frech word for “Liberal” is “Libéral” so they cannot easily split content across two domains. But what happens when you go to Liberal.ca?

ENGLISH! (click the small link in the top-right to switch to French)

Francophones can access the Liberal Party website in French by going to http://www.liberal.ca/fr/. Anglophones can go to http://www.liberal.ca/.

Even web browsers with French language settings as the default go to the English version of the page.

To solve this dilemma, Liberals might try this bit of code:

<?php
$lang = substr($_SERVER[‘HTTP_ACCEPT_LANGUAGE’], 0, 2);
if ($lang == “fr”) {
load_french_page();
} else {
load_english_page();
}
?>

This would load up the relevant page depending on self-selected settings of the end-user’s browser. You could still include links to the other language in the top right corner just to show you care…

(I changed my browser language to French for the purposes of testing the Liberal website above. The page loaded in English)

In and Out, Conservatives respond

A copy of a letter sent to the President of the Liberal Party Senator Marie Poulin and Executive Director Greg Fergus landed in my inbox tonight. It concerns Conservative Party assertions that statements made in a recent Liberal Party backgrounder on what they’ve named the “In and Out” scandal concerning the “Conservatives’ apparent scheme to violate election spending limits” are in fact defamatory. The Conservatives stress that “Chief Electoral Officer Marc Maynard…has not accused any of the candidates or agents of breaking the law”.

The letter concerns the defense of Michael Donison, Neil Drabkin, Andrew House, Aaron Hynes, Andrea Paine and Ian West. The letter states that “it is defamatory to suggest or imply that these individuals have engaged in illegal conduct”.


Click to enlarge

In this document, found on the Liberal Party website, the Liberals seem to imply that rewards in the form of government jobs were received by candidates who participated in the scheme that the Liberals allege.

Liberal MP Dominic Leblanc stated,

“To date, we have learned that eleven of the former Conservative candidates and official agents implicated in this scandal were named to federal appointments or were hired in high profile government jobs. One has to wonder if there is a connection between their willingness to participate and employment by this Conservative government”

The Conservatives allege that such statements are libelous as the letter addressed to the Liberals reads, “In particular, it is defamatory to suggest or imply that the positions that these individuals have or have had on Ministers’ staffs are “rewards” for having engaged in illegal conduct.”

The Conservatives seem to assert that the Liberals must prove that their accusations are true or else the Grits have libeled the aforementioned individuals.

Please read Steve Janke’s groundbreaking posts concerning this story, here, here and here.

Liberal outrage!

While they won’t offer a binding opinion (ie. a vote) on the government’s mandate, the Liberal Party of Canada is offering their anger on behalf of all francophones for what they perceived to be a snub against Canada’s bilingual nature.

New Conservative Site Snubs Francophones

Francophones across Canada have every right to feel a little snubbed by the Conservative Party of Canada, Liberal Party President Marie-P. Poulin said today.

That’s because their language doesn’t show up on the front page of the party’s new site.

“The party that has trying [sic] to reach out to French-speaking Canada has a strange way of showing they care,” Ms. Poulin said. “You’d think something as prominent as your new election web-site would have at least one French word on its front page.”

The Conservative Party’s new web site, launched this morning, has a background of Conservative blue featuring a photo of the Prime Minister, his name, and six bold white words – none of which is in the French Language.

“The Liberal Party of Canada cares about Francophones across Canada and has ensured that every word on our web site is printed in both official languages. Clearly, the Conservative Party cannot say the same,” said Ms. Poulin.

-30-

For more information, please contact:

Liberal Party of Canada Press Office

Elizabeth Whiting
(613) 783-8405
ewhiting@liberal.ca

Liberals are always finding outrage where there is none. Indeed, the Conservative website was recently redesigned and it is true that there aren’t any French words at Conservative.ca. However, if you go to Conservateur.ca (that’s the French word for “conservative” by the way), you’ll find a lot more French words!

You’d think this was a rookie mistake, but consider that this release quotes the Liberal Party President (a francophone at that!)

If one considers that “Liberal” is both a French and English word and that “Conservative” as a word must be translated into “Conservateur” in French, one can presume how they could have made the mistake especially in this time of desperation when they need to shift attention from their party to the Conservatives.