French in Canadian National | CN confirms she wants a French speaking manager

(Montreal) In the midst of a language storm, the Canadian National (CN) reiterated its intention to hire a French-speaking official, but members of senior management did not comment on the headlines reporting the dissatisfaction of the company’s French-speaking employees at its annual meeting Friday.

Posted at 3:02 p.m

Stephane Rolland
Canadian Press

Its chief legal officer, Sean Fein, said the railway company, whose main office is in Montreal, has begun a process to find a French-speaking director on its board. “We expect to appoint this person in the coming months,” he said.

Former Quebec Prime Minister Jean Charest was appointed to CN’s board in January, but resigned less than two months later to run for the leadership of Canada’s Conservative Party.

If the language of the board of directors does not reflect the diversity of the population of Montreal and Canada, the outgoing chairman of the board of directors, Robert Pace, has emphasized the diversity of directors in other respects. Half of our independent directors come from a diverse community and we go above and beyond gender parity standards. »

In French, Mr. Finn said CN respects Montreal’s heritage. CN has been headquartered in Montreal for over 100 years, and the board itself respects and is proud of the company’s rich history in Quebec, where the official language is French. »

Unconvinced critics

However, this respect is not felt by the French-speaking defense groups and the French-speaking staff, who have been captured by the media.

The Saint-Jean-Baptiste Association in Montreal, earlier Friday, deposited a statue with a lemon statue in front of the company’s head office to denounce the absence of French speakers on the board of directors. “The general language and working language of Quebec is French and its complete absence from the highest sphere of decision-making in CN shows a contempt for Francophone speakers,” said company president Marie-Anne Albin.

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The absence of French-speaking officials caused waves all the way to Ottawa, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau saying he was “stunned” by the situation last April. The carrier was also summoned before the Standing Committee on Official Languages.

Several French-speaking and ex-employees also expressed dissatisfaction with the company’s language practices in Journalism. Although the company claims to “review” its language practices, the Edmonton-based French-speaking manager would have had to provide explanations for the French-language communication request, according to a letter obtained by the daily.

Company spokesperson Jonathan Abekasis responded by email that CN has begun an internal review of its language practices. “It is important for us to lead by example in the field of official languages ​​and to respect the obligations of the law. The CN will investigate and address any situation that comes to the attention of the CN where the employee believes that any of these obligations have not been met.”

President and CEO Tracy Robinson declined an interview request. So it was not possible to ask him about the language controversy or the logistical challenges affecting the company.

When his appointment was announced in January,me Robinson was committed to learning French. During the meeting, she gave the first minute of her speech in French and spoke in Molière’s language for about 30 seconds.

Suppliers

At the end of April, CN lowered its forecast for 2022 due to difficult logistical conditions. There was a big shock in the supply chain. m . explainedme Robinson to financial analysts in late April.

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During the meeting, a.me Robinson said the company will need to be “agile” to manage supply chain challenges. She said she would attach great importance to dialogue with clients.

Some CN customers have been affected by supply chain disruptions. Such is the case of Resolute Forest Products, which reported at the beginning of May that the company’s wagons had been less available in recent months in the Lac-Saint-Jean region.

Its president and CEO, Remy Lalonde, explained in an interview with The Canadian Press: “The way that’s reflected in the home is a huge increase in our lumber stocks. Our inventory nearly doubled during the quarter. [trois premiers mois de l’année] $43 million for the finished wood product. »

Shares of CN, which did not release financial results on the day of its meeting, rose 27 cents, or 0.19%, to $142.37 on the Toronto Stock Exchange at noon.

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