QUEBEC REVIVES FRENCH ‘LANGUAGE POLICE’

QUEBEC REVIVES FRENCH ‘LANGUAGE POLICE’
BC-CANADA-QUEBEC-LANGUAGE
BY PATRICK WHITE

QUEBEC CITY, JUNE 6 (REUTER) – THE QUEBEC GOVERNMENT ON FRIDAY ADOPTED TOUGH LEGISLATION THAT REVIVED THE CONTROVERSIAL "LANGUAGE POLICE" TO ENFORCE THE USE OF FRENCH AS THE PROVINCE’S MAIN LANGUAGE.
THE BILL, PASSED BY QUEBEC’S PROVINCIAL LEGISLATURE, SET UP A COMMISSION TO PROTECT THE USE OF THE FRENCH LANGUAGE.
THE MOVE BY THE SEPARATIST PARTI QUEBECOIS GOVERNMENT EFFECTIVELY RECREATED THE MUCH RIDICULED QUEBEC AGENCY CREATED IN 1977 TO ENSURE THE PROMINENCE OF FRENCH ON COMMERCIAL SIGNS.
THE LANGUAGE POLICE, CREATED BY AN EARLIER PARTI QUEBECOIS ADMINISTRATION, WERE ABOLISHED IN 1993 BY THE LIBERAL GOVERNMENT OF THEN-PREMIER ROBERT BOURASSA.
THE NEW AGENCY WILL HIRE 20 INSPECTORS TO ENFORCE QUEBEC LAWS THAT PERMIT THE USE OF ENGLISH AND OTHER LANGUAGES ALONGSIDE FRENCH ON COMMERCIAL SIGNS ONLY IF FRENCH IS PREDOMINANT.
FRENCH-SPEAKING QUEBEC HAS TWICE HELD UNSUCCESSFUL SOVEREIGNTY REFERENDUMS ON WHETHER THE PROVINCE SHOULD SECEDE FROM CANADA.
QUEBEC HAS LONG STRUGGLED TO PROTECT ITS LANGUAGE AND CULTURE FROM BEING SWAMPED BY ENGLISH SPEAKERS IN THE REST OF CANADA AND NORTH AMERICA.
THE LIBERAL OPPOSITION IN THE QUEBEC LEGISLATURE ON FRIDAY DENOUNCED THE GOVERNMENT ACTION. "IT IS OBVIOUS THAT IT IS A GOVERNMENT THAT IS SYSTEMATICALLY RUINING THE PROVINCE WITH ITS MISPLACED PRIORITIES. THIS BILL IS LAMENTABLE. IT WILL CREATE A WALL AROUND QUEBEC," SAID LIBERAL DEPUTY LAWRENCE BERGMAN.
TWO STUDIES RELEASED IN 1996 SHOWED FRENCH WAS FRAGILE IN QUEBEC, HOME TO 7.1 MILLION OF CANADA’S 29 MILLION INHABITANTS.
THE CHARTER OF THE FRENCH LANGUAGE, THE ORIGINAL LEGISLATION MODIFIED BY FRIDAY’S VOTE IN QUEBEC’S NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, PROHIBITED THE USE OF ENGLISH ON COMMERCIAL SIGNS.
THAT WAS STRUCK DOWN IN 1988 BY THE SUPREME COURT OF CANADA, AND THE QUEBEC GOVERNMENT WAS FORCED TO PERMIT BILINGUAL COMMERCIAL SIGNS.
THE OFTEN ABSURD ZEAL OF QUEBEC’S LANGUAGE POLICE HAS IN THE PAST PROVOKED DERISIVE HOWLS IN ENGLISH-SPEAKING CANADA. IT CREATED A CATALOG OF EMBARRASSING INCIDENTS FOR QUEBEC’S SEPARATIST POLITICIANS, NOT LEAST WHEN INSPECTORS WERE WITNESSED MEASURING THE SIZE OF THE LETTERS ON COMMERCIAL SIGNS TO ENSURE THE FRENCH ONES WERE LARGER.
IN ONE OF THE MORE FAMOUS INCIDENTS, DUBBED "MATZOHGATE", THE QUEBEC GOVERNMENT LAST YEAR BANNED THE SALE OF KOSHER PRODUCTS LABELED ONLY IN ENGLISH DURING THE JEWISH PASSOVER, CREATING AN INTERNATIONAL UPROAR.
"IF QUEBEC’S LANGUAGE LAWS TIGHTEN JUST ONE MORE NOTCH, I MAY HAVE TO WRITE MY NOVELS IN WORDS HALF THE SIZE OF THE FRENCH, SO AS NOT TO ANTOGONIZE OUR LINGUISTIC VIGILANTES," QUEBEC ENGLISH-LANGUAGE AUTHOR MORDECAI RICHLER WROTE IN THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW LAST SUNDAY.
REUTER

Lascia un commento

0:00
0:00