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Language commissioner revisits standoff over bilingual tweets by ministers

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Published: 11:20 GMT, Dec 13, 2015 |
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Canada’s languages czar is revisiting a Harper-era battle over the unilingual tweets of cabinet ministers to see whether things have changed under the new Liberal government.

Earlier this year, official languages commissioner Graham Fraser locked horns with three federal departments whose ministers unapologetically tweeted about policy or announcements in English or French only.

Fraser’s investigation concluded that those tweets violated two sections of the Official Languages Act, which requires all government business to be communicated in both English and c.

Ministers are free to tweet in one language about their personal life and other matters, Fraser ruled, but any content referring to government matters must be bilingual – even if a minister is using a personal and private Twitter account that is not maintained or overseen by public servants.

Fraser told the departments to start fixing the problem by June 2015.

But the three departments under investigation – Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Public Safety and Foreign Affairs – categorically rejected the finding, maintaining they should not be held responsible for the personal social-media accounts of their ministers, including Twitter