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New CN chief executive says francophone board member coming soon

Click to play video: 'Modernization of Official Languages Act proves promising for English-speaking Quebecers' Modernization of Official Languages Act proves promising for English-speaking Quebecers
The federal government released its plan to modernize the Official Languages Act. The minister says the use of French is on the decline. The proposals are to protect the French language, but some people say it could strengthen minority English communities in Quebec too. Raquel Fletcher reports – Feb 19, 2021

The new chief executive of Canadian National Railway Co. did not apologize on behalf of her company for the absence of francophones on its board of directors.

Tracy Robinson told a parliamentary committee on Wednesday that she is committed to appointing a French-speaking director from Quebec very soon.

Read more: CN Rail promises to beef up francophone presence on board

Speaking partly in French, a language she has been learning since joining the railway three months ago, Robinson told the standing committee on official languages that the Montreal-based rail company has identified a large number of qualified candidates.

She said CN is “leading by example,” noting that two-thirds of senior executives and 90 per cent of executives working in Quebec speak French.

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Read more: Preliminary report finds complaints about Air Canada CEO speech founded: commissioner

Canada’s largest railway was plunged into a linguistic storm when the Montreal-based company failed to replace Quebec premier Jean Charest, who resigned to run for the federal Conservative party leadership, with another francophone.

Robinson is the second CEO from a company subject to the Official Languages Act to appear before the committee in recent months. Air Canada CEO Michael Rousseau was put on the spot following an outcry over a speech he delivered mostly in English in Montreal last fall.

Click to play video: 'Air Canada’s CEO apologizes after admitting he doesn’t need to speak French' Air Canada’s CEO apologizes after admitting he doesn’t need to speak French
Air Canada’s CEO apologizes after admitting he doesn’t need to speak French – Nov 4, 2021

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