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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 JcMorin (930466) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @12:29PM (#46358453)
    I live in Québec and because of those law I can't purchase product from the local store because the box is not en French. It happend to me last year where I purchase some headphone (nothing fancy there were even NO paper in the box to explain how to plug it). But since the box wasn't available in French, Best-buy would not have the product, online I could see it but they would refuse to sell it to me if my address was in Québec. So I've went to competitor in Vancouver that is not affected by Québec law and purchase it. Result? The law has remove a sale from my local store and move that else where.
  • by mrbene (1380531) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @12:33PM (#46358517)

    In the late 90s, I worked at an internet software company in Quebec - we developed software for servers and sold it over the internet. No boxed copies, but your standard suite of services - a knowledge base, online documentation, phone and email access to sales and support staff, all of which was based in the province of Quebec.

    Eventually, we got big enough to be noticed by the Quebec language police. They sent a letter, and then there were phone calls. They provided us with a list of requirements - you must answer your phones in French first, your web site must have all content that is available in English available in French as well, and so on.

    We started costing out the implications of this, especially the confusion of the majority of our international (as in, American) clients. Then someone asked the important question - what happens if we don't comply?

    "Well, you won't be allowed to sell to anyone in Quebec!" came the indignant response.

    From then on, I took so much pleasure in informing the our small number of Quebec government clients that no, they would no longer be able to buy upgrades, tech support contracts, or anything else. The 98% of our out-of-province sales were unaffected.

    Unfortunately, it sounds like Eva runs a brick-and-mortar store, so will need to comply or face actual fines.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27, 2014 @01:14PM (#46359183)

    No, language police is exactly correct, and 1974 is when it happened.

    Quebec has been reduced to a bunch of whining, bitching idiots who believe it should be their right to suppress the rights of others based on their language or religion.

    We've all had official bilingualism rammed down our throats for several decades.

    That you can't realize that the rest of the French speaking world thinks you sound like a bunch of illiterate tools is your problem.

    Official bilingualism in Canada has resulted in the people of Quebec being illiterate in both official languages at the same time, because they can speak neither French nor English in any form recognizable to anybody who speaks either.

  • by Fusione (980444) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @01:20PM (#46359285)
    I'm a born and raised anglophone Quebecker. This is an issue I've faced (yes, faced) my whole life. There is a great deal of prejudice and discrimination against anglophones in Quebec, both socially and legislatively. Two applicants to the same job, both perfectly bilingual, one Francophone, one Anglophone, most times the Francophone gets the job. I've had people pick fights with me in bars, because I was speaking English with my friends privately. If you didn't attend English school as a child, you can't send your children to English school. I've gotten attitude from merchants for using the wrong conjugation or gender. The language issues touch every aspect of life here and truly divides Quebec. I've been against these discriminatory laws my whole life. In spite of all this, recently, after the last federal election, I'm starting to get it. Quebec is different than other provinces. The things we care about are different than the general population of North America. We believe in free health care and education for all. Not as a concept, but to the core of our being. It's ironic that we care so much for everyone, but lose sight of it over something as trivial as language. Francophone Quebec is afraid that we're going to lose these differences, this identity by way of dilution of the language. This is where the animosity comes from. It's rooted in fear, not in hatred. The fear of losing the language is justified and real. French is fading and being mixed against the cultural influence of English media. In 50 years, it will be the second language in Quebec. The fact is, today it's a French province with clear laws that signage and publicity must be in French first, and in English second. This said, the language police are overly aggressive and make silly moves like this pretty often.. and unfortunately it undermines Quebec and the social issues it faces. It makes us seem silly and petty to the rest of the world. If you live here, after things like this you have a harsh taste in your throat once you're done rolling your eyes. It is getting better. The next generation understands the world better than the previous generation, and things continue to improve.
  • by mpmansell (118934) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @01:55PM (#46359797)

    nope. USA is a country. England is not. The country is "The United Kingdom" of which England is one part.

    Well, that comes as a big surprise to those of us who were born in one of the countries that comprise the United Kingdom. All this time we believed that Wales, England, and Scotland were each separate countries, with unique cultures and languages that were just part of the UK. Maybe history and having separate laws and legislative systems got us poor little souls confused.

    How lucky we are to have such experts on the InterWebz who can set us straight.

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