by Fonban Emmanuel
The Canadian High Commissioner to Cameroon, H.E Richard Bale on Tuesday, 29 September 2020 visited the National Commission for the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism.
The High Commissioner was received in audience by the President of the Commission Peter Mafany Musonge, the Vice President of the Commission, Mr. Oumarou Djika and the Commission’s Secretary General in the person of Dr. Chi Asafor Cornelius.
The maiden visit of the top Canadian diplomat in Cameroon was aimed at following up the discussions the Commission had with the officials from Canada when the Commission’s officials visited Canada in 2019.
H.E Richard Bale visiting the Musonge Commission depicted a sign that Canada has interest in knowing how the Commission could improve itself using consultation from the Canadian experience as another bilingual country that has swam in almost the same linguistic challenges as Cameroon.
“I was interested to understand the objective of the Commission and its achievements. We are always interested in talking about how Canada can provide any further assistance to Cameroon. As you know, Canada and Cameroon have a lot in common because we are both bilingual, English and French Countries. We both have civil and common law systems. We feel that Cameroon can learn from our own experience. We are not here to tell Cameroon what to do when it comes to bilingualism but we have experiences that we are happy to share” said the Canadian High Commissioner to Cameroon.
Considering challenges of the COVID 19 pandemic, the Canadian High Commissioner to Cameroon assured the media more follow up meetings could be scheduled remotely though video conferences to further share experiences.
“When the Commission visited Canada in 2019, it was with the objective of learning how our system operates, looking at our law on official languages. Now that the law on Bilingualism has been passed, the Commission has already started doing its work, I think they will be interested in understanding from Canada how we handle certain issues” added the High Commissioner as he granted an interview to the media after the audience.
As the Commission continues to look for ways to better the linguistic setbacks in Cameroon, it is evident that some public institutions are not yet ready to welcome the new linguistic reality. The consequence of this is soiling all the commitments of the Musonge Commission and making the task even harder.