Been watching that second Liberal leadership not-a-debate thingy, and ranking the candidates’ ability to speak French, in descending order of competence:
1. Martin Cauchon: most natural French speaker. Perhaps not quite as flamboyant as Trudeau but much more natural, in the normal-people sense of that word. Good rhythm.
2. Justin Trudeau: elegant, posh, flamboyant. A little on the snob side, but excellent French.
3. Marc Garneau: He’s equally boring in French and English.
4. David Bertschi: Very natural. Excellent grammar. Middle-class pronunciation.
5. Karen McCrimmon is teachable: at the moment she’s not at all elegant and makes basic mistakes (le pauvreté crée la crime) but I am able to follow what she’s trying to say. About as bad (or good) as Stephen Harper was 7 years ago.
6. Joyce Murray: I can tell she’s attended good-quality lessons. She’s visibly nervous speaking it, and makes several mistakes, but what she’s saying is understandable. More or less on the same level as Karen McCrimmon.
7. Martha Hall Findlay: Fairly good but then she switched to English very quickly. Fail.
8. Deborah Coyne: Brilliant Ontario high-school French. Halting, heavily accented, and only the first four words of every sentence make sense. Switched to English very quickly. Fail.
9. George Takach: Ouch! Ew! Not working!