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Quebec Language Police Target Store Owner's Facebook Page 506

Posted by timothy
from the at-least-they-don't-require-german dept.
New submitter wassomeyob writes "In Canada, the province of Quebec has their Official Language Act of 1974 (aka Bill 22) which makes French their sole official language. It has famously been used to force business owners to modify signage to give French pre-eminance over other languages. Now, the Quebec language police seem to be extending their reach to Facebook. Eva Cooper owns Delilah in the Parc — a shop in Chelsea, Quebec near the Quebec/Ontario border. She received a letter from the language office telling her to translate everything posted on her store's Facebook page into French."
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Quebec Language Police Target Store Owner's Facebook Page

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  • by gandhi_2 (1108023) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @12:29PM (#46358457) Homepage

    "it needs to"

    How fucked up has the world become where everyone gets to decide what a store owner "needs to" do but the store owner.

  • by AvitarX (172628) <me AT brandywinehundred DOT org> on Thursday February 27, 2014 @12:39PM (#46358615) Journal

    Why wouldn't I think I have that right?

    In the US at least it's a pretty common tradition for immigrants not to learn the local language. My Great Grandparents never really learned English, as it wasn't so useful in Little Italy, the Polish neighborhoods were similar too.

    The attempts to mandate language use in the US are gross, and countries/provinces that do it already are being ridiculous. If your official language doesn't have value to the people that live there, perhaps the problem is not with the transplants.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27, 2014 @12:51PM (#46358797)

    this is Canada, not France

    When it comes to Quebec, what's the difference?

    That's like asking what is the difference between a Texan and an american. :)

  • by sjbe (173966) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @12:53PM (#46358817)

    How fucked up has the world become where everyone gets to decide what a store owner "needs to" do but the store owner.

    Oh you mean we shouldn't require people to keep their storefront clear of trash? We shouldn't require them to pay their employees? How about we let them dump hazardous chemicals wherever they want? Look, this language law is stupid both morally and economically but let's not expand the stupidity by claiming that every requirement a business is subjected to is dumb. Some are very good ideas and others not so much. This language law falls into the not so much category.

    What I'm confused by is why both France and Quebec are so damn defensive about their language. It's not anything special.

  • by MadCow42 (243108) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @01:15PM (#46359195) Homepage

    I'd actually say that being a native English speaker is a DISADVANTAGE overall. You come to believe that the world must speak in your language, and never make any personal investment in learning the language (or culture) of another land. I am a native English speaker, and felt "disabled" when I live in Europe amongst people that routinely spoke 4-5 languages fluently (including English). Simply growing up with exposure to those languages is enough to help diversify their brain... and in my experience, their outlook on the world as well.

    The world is not nearly as US-centric or English-centric as most of us believe.

  • by Shados (741919) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @02:13PM (#46360057)

    Its important to a small zealot minority. I'm also french Canadian and have lived there most of my life. There's a couple of people who are impossibly vocal about it. The rest don't care or even dread it. They do a heck of a lot more than give slaps on the wrists, with daily fines and penalties, forcing companies to have "councils" that oversee usage of the language, etc.

    The only reason stuff like Best Buy is still Best Buy, is because you can negotiate. I worked for a very large international company that opened an office in Montreal. They couldn't realistically comply with all the laws, so they were making deals: one of the deal was to have everyone, including english-only speakers, have only access to french computers/operating systems/keyboards and not be allowed to change them.

    Yeah, that was a pain.

    I worked for another that was almost exclusively english speakers. We were still forced to translate all our reports in french, including the one offs that were only read by a single specific executive who didn't even know french.

    In the end, it hurts competitiveness on a global level. There's a reason salaries are so much lower in Montreal than in other large Canadian cities. The cost of doing business is just insane. So I left.

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