What’s in a middle name?

What’s in a middle name?

My name is Brigitte Pellerin. My full name is Marie Carmel Brigitte Pellerin. 

I was born in Quebec, of francophone parents, in 1970. In those days in that place, every francophone mostly catholic little girl was named Marie after the mother of Jesus. 

Marie is a name we all share. Boys, as you may have guessed, all started their full legal name with Joseph. 

Carmel was my maternal grandmother. She was also the one who picked my given name. And religious as she was, she no doubt approved of Marie. 

The only times I use my full legal name is when I’m renewing official documents. Also, weirdly, my ex insisted on using it in divorce proceedings; I swear if we weren’t already separated that would have done it. 

But seriously, the official documents bit is where the province of Ontario fails the hundreds of thousands of its citizens who are in the same situation as I am. 

How many people who were born of francophone mostly catholic parents and are named Marie/Joseph Something Firstname Lastname currently live in Ontario? 

Let’s see. There are over 600,000 Ontarians who identify as francophones. They weren’t all named the same way I was, but I’ll bet you the majority of them were. And that’s not counting all the folks who live in this province who are from cultures that aren’t Anglo-saxon and who don’t have middle names. 

Here’s my second question. Why is it that when the government of Ontario asks for my full legal name for my health card and I answer “Marie Carmel Brigitte Pellerin,” it sends me a health card that reads “Brigitte M. Pellerin”? 

I don’t know if there is a Brigitte M. Pellerin with the same birthdate in this province. But I assure you she doesn’t live in my house. 

I don’t know where the Ontario government gets the idea that it’s OK to play cultural supremacist. I assure you it’s not funny.