Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Language Militants Sink to New Low

Imperatif-francais  has published hundreds of pictures of signs, posted in Montreal that supposedly contravene Quebec's French sign laws.

The comprehensive effort was surely undertaken by a small army of committed radicals, whose dedication to the cause would make an Al-Qaeda recruiter green with envy.

It was quite a treat perusing the many different signs, many of which had me laughing out loud.

Pages and pages of signs seemingly impressive at first, belied the fact that its was a largely trumped up affair with duplication, slight of hand and outright dishonestly par for the course. A lot of the content included English only websites that puffed up the numbers by printing multiple pages from the same site. Some of these sites like Urban Outfitters are not even available in Quebec. (See my previous post,) and some don't even exist -972telecom.com

Some of the unilingually English signs were photographed without the accompanying French sign posted beside it. Some signs were clearly legal and some signs were just silly. 

You can see the whole list  HERE or enjoy these pearls that I've pulled out for your enjoyment;

Poor Tobie, Even in Bankruptcy they don't let up
Attention! Illegal transactions must be in French as well!

No Change for Anglos!

If it isn't French it must be English, Right?

Guilty!! But if you are looking at the writing, you need help!

No attack on Anglos would be complete without an assault on that bastion of rich colonizing next gen students living in the McGill Ghetto.

Oh the humiliation!!!!!

And finally, now I'm no making this up.... what do you think about the idiot who complained about this sign. I shall let readers provide a caption for it....

.... WTF!!!!....



  1. Michael says; What the french media and phony separatist groups (masquerading as language groups) always avoid mentioning is city demographics. They'll use isolated cases within a heavy English speaking area to then blow it up out of proportion and state the whole island and province is under siege. Kinda makes me think of the Infoman video you posted a while back exposing "Le Journal's" sensationalism.

  2. Who cares about Francophones...


  3. It was very considerate of IF to include the civic address of each offending business. This will facilitate the vandalism of these scofflaws.

    Seriously, IF doesn't seem to even understand how the language laws are applied. For example, political and religious signs are exempt from the law. Businesses which do not specifically cater to the Quebec market are also exempt (my ad agency's website is all English since we cater to those in the US, Europe and Asia). IF states these are all infractions under Bill 101.

    Given the way these laws are written, it is difficult to determine whether a certain sign falls under the law without seeing the entire facade of the store. It seems it many cases, they selectively took pictures of English signs when there may well have been French signs alongside which conveniently didn't make it into the frame. Most businesses jump through these hoops, making sure the font size is just so etc... I am glad that as a small ad agency, I don't need to bother.

  4. Hey Christian,

    I live and work in downtown Montreal so I know exactly what those pictures are. I can comfortably tell you that by posting some of the pictures, Imperatif Francais has enganged in a dishonest practice. Some examples:

    *) Three Monkeys, Urban Outfitter are trade marks, therefore they can not be translated.
    *) Churches are religious institution, they are exempted.
    *) Political campaigns are also exempted. However, right behind Marc Garneau English board was the French version.
    *) CPE Autour du monde (Daycare Center) with CPE in large font. What does CPE stand for and in what language? CPE = Centre des petits enfants.
    *) In BMO and Desjardins, around the English signs there are ALWAYS the French signs.
    *) The screen in Place Ville-Marie shows information in both languages.
    *) Private citizens making non-commercial signs on their own premises is definitely exempt.

  5. Troy:
    Thanks for confirming my suspicions. I haven't worked downtown in a few years, but having lived in the sea of French there, these isolated English signs seem almost ridiculous to point out.

    The IF seems to like to pay particular attention to businesses owned by immigrants, one example: Bombay Palace. These enterprising businesspeople must really get in the IF's craw as they have not immediately started a belle-province clone restaurant and are actually serving food from their own culture (GASP!). Assimilation be damned.

  6. This place is so retarded... They have money to waste on this foolishness, however, they're still rejecting applications from qualified (and willing) doctors to work in this province, cuz they didn't pass their French written with a 70%...

    Maybe they could take some of the budget these jokers get and repave a highway somewhere.

    I travel quite a bit and everytime I drive home from the airport I can't help but think how much better the roads were in the 3rd world country I just left...

    How embarrassed is it when you have to drive on our MTL highways when you've just picked up an out of Towner from the airport and you almost blow a tire 3 times on pot holes over a foot wide!

    Hey, but at least we have the language police... who else can boast that... right?!?

  7. Jason,
    The Imperatif Francais (IF) is one of many non-governmental organizations that defend the French Language. The IF obviously lacks in proper legal counsel and seems to be quite an amateur organization. L'office Quebecois de la langue francais (OLF) is the official government body in charge of upholding language laws. Believe it or not, they are quite reasonable in their interpretation of the law (an unconstitutional law, but I digress).

    I have been in contact with the OLF in the past and they have always responded courteously and professionally without a hint of the froth-at-the-mouth separatist mentality that make up IF or La Societe-Jean-Baptiste (SJB).

    That being said, I hate to see my tax dollars go towards such nonsense.

  8. I was commenting with my husband that honestly... I think Montreal should run a referendum to separate from Quebec :)

    We're a bilingual city thank-you-very-much and don't need fascist police going crazy because suddenly the percentage of anglophones has increased 2%.

  9. I agree with you, Montreal tragedy was that I never reverted to a separate entity as was the case under the french regime.