Thursday, July 8, 2010

Offending English Sign Contest Fizzles

One of the recurring themes of radical French language groups is that the Province of Quebec is being overrun by an army of English and immigrant scofflaws, bent on turning the pure and chaste Francophone landscape into a quagmire of English filth.

This contrived narrative is promulgated by a coterie of hysterical radicals bent on raising a false panic in order to hype a nonexistent scenario that describes the imminent decline and fall of French Quebec.
Although the idea that English signage is on the upswing and supplanting French is patently absurd, it is an idea that has gained traction, even in the non-radical community.  Anybody who has lived in Quebec and Montreal in particular for an extended period can attest that English signage is becoming as rare as a hen's tooth.
Even in Anglo towns, where the English population number upwards of 70%, signs are almost uniformly French, notwithstanding that the law allows for English as well (albeit in a smaller format)

Repeating a big lie over and over again is a tried and true formula for conditioning people to believe what is not true.
And so we hear each day that English signs are everywhere, that the situation is getting worse and worse and that the  Office québécois de la langue française is useless and cannot or will not confront the evil law-breakers.
Soon Quebec will become Anglicized....blah....blah...blah.

The Mouvement Montréal français, a radical French language group is one of the biggest promoters of this idea and in consequence has invited readers to send in examples of these illegal signs and advertisements to their web site, where they are dutifully published. The organization promises some sort of reward to the best of submissions but so far, the pickings have been decidedly slim.

It seems that even this radical group of burning language zealots cannot produce much content. After several weeks the site has posted just fifty-three examples of offensive material.
See the complete collection of offending material HERE.

Some of the examples are not even violations of the law and many are downright stupid or hilarious!

Here's some of my favourites;

Complaint Numbers 1& 2

Companies that use their corporate names on the door are especially bothersome to radicals when the name is clearly English. This practice has remained a bone of contention among militants who want all names translated into something more 'French.' By the way, the practice doesn't contravene the language law.
Complaint Numbers 11
A Westmount street sign is cited for not having  RUE or AVE under the name MELVILLE. But there's no English either, it just says MELVILLE.

  Complaint Numbers 14

In an attempt to be inclusive and demonstrate an openness towards minorities, a Caisse Populaire was denounced for placing signs saying WELCOME in many different languages. 

Complaint Numbers 25
The Montreal Alouettes  were chided for having Westmount Movers as one of their sponsors. The complaint was that there was too much English in the name, again, something completely within the law. The Montreal Gazette was also cited for promoting  an English language Alouette fan web site. I'm  not sure what the complainer wants,  the English newspaper to run its web site in French  or to advertise the English web site in French?
 Complaint Numbers 26
 An English only sign, pasted on a Université de Montreal door got somebody's dander up. The sign described a meeting of the 'Pattern Review' group, which after a bit of research, I determined was a an American sewing club based in Massachusetts. Apparently the group came up to Montreal for a fun weekend and rented out some meeting space from the school. Perhaps they should have hired an interpreter. Worse still, they probably ran their whole meeting in English. Call out the stormtroopers!!!

 Complaint Numbers 53
Another Caisse Populaire was the target of a complaint because a flat screen TV showed an English message. What the complainer failed to consider was that the TV toggled between English and French.
 Of the 53 complaints 13 sprung from one source, a Greek telephone directory, destined for a community that speaks  English and Greek almost exclusively. The multiple complaints were submitted by resident Anglo Basher Louis Prefontaine, who led the intrepid  pack with 17 of the 53 complaints, followed by a certain Gaetan Ledoux who complained ten times. Between the two of them, they submitted over half the complaints and as I said previously, it seems that the pickings of offending material is decidedly slim.
"While we obsess over the legality of the language of  signage, Montreal English speakers  are taking the city, district by district, based on institutional  bilingualism imposed on us by our cowardly politicians.  They are laying the foundations of a future Anglophone metropolis in the heart of Quebec, dispossessed of it's native  language."  Louis Prefontaine, Quebec language zealot.

In another complaint which had nothing to do with signage, the borough mayor of NDG was chastised for speaking to a Filipino group in English without the requisite French.  Of course Filipinos are closely aligned to the English community and speak English at home, even if their children are forced into French schools.

At any rate, many of the signs weren't even illegal at all and some of the complaints were so petty that it would be funny if not so sad.
I've already written two pieces about the The Myth of the Anglicization of Montreal  nonsense HERE and HERE.

By the way, I'm thinking of submitting this picture of an English sign which I snapped last year in the window of a government-owned SAQ, blatantly flaunting the language law.

Perhaps I can win a prize? Are Anglos even eligible?

Whadda think?


  1. Sadly, there are hateful people who don't have lives, so they have to justify or at least bide their time on this sphere. Seems like Messrs. Préfontaine and Ledoux aren't getting any or simply cannot rise to the occasion, so naturally they have to seek out a scapegoat for their misfortunes.

    Their impotence lies not only within their gonads, but between their ears as well.

  2. The real demographic problem for Quebec (Francophone Quebec) is not some English signs, but rather that its share of Canada's population is steadily eroding. Canada just passed the 34,000,000 mark. Quebec now has just barely 23% of the total Canadian population, down from 28% in 1970. It has seen a 5% decline in its part of the total population of the country. A similar decline over the next four decades will put it at only 18%, below the psychologically and sociologically critical threshold of 20%. That would - or rather WILL mean - that even if everyone in Quebec was a pure-wool Francophone more then four out of five people in Canada will be living outside of Quebec. We will eventually come to the point where it will be possible and then normal to form majority governments in Ottawa without Quebec support. Consider Quebec had 74 of the 262 seats in the house of commons in the 1960s'. It now has 75 in a 308 seat house (with 30 more on the way, none in Quebec). Separatists have long been aware of this. During the 1980 referendum, the P.Q. published charts showing how Quebec's representation in the house of commons would decline. The problem for them is that it is simply happening too gradually to shock the Quebecois into action, although the recent planned 30 seat addition has taken Quebec aback somewhat. Much worse is on the way. Canada's population will probably hit 40 million before mid-century. According to the book FEARFUL SYMMETRY Canada will need at least 375 seats in the house of commons with Quebec staying at its current level. This is probably a low estimate too. The cause of all of this is, of course, Canada's ridiculously high immigration levels. The Toronto guy.

  3. La langue commune du Québec est le français ! On devrait afficher en français from coast to coast !

  4. The name of the blog come by the the signs at Sunnyside Beach in Toronto said “No Dogs or Jews Allowed” Don't try to make like you are persecute !

  5. To 1:59PM:

    My liver bleeds cold borsht for Quebec! The reckless population growth until the Quiet Revolution was caused by people being led astray by bad leadership, namely the Roman Catholic Church for too long and then later the Church was joined by autocratic government (esp. Duplessis).

    Those Catholic schools left their parishioners with complete skulls full of mush while the English schools filled their students with a strong work ethic and knowledge.

    Now that the Québécois «pur laine» aren't living the old doctrine of «la révenche des berceaux» (i.e., Revenge of the Cradles) and churning babies like mimmeograph machines, the process is starting to reverse. Worse yet (for the «pur laine»), the French-speaking Arabs they're immigrating are now producing babies faster than they are, but not in the dizzying quantities the P'tit Québec were in decades long gone by hence the population is decreasing.

    Another mark against Quebec is they have made their jurisdiction (I no longer recognize Quebec as a province, just a displaced jurisdiction imposing its will on Canada--the REAL Canada...and North America, for that matter) very unwelcoming to Anglophones.

    Unless you come to Quebec to take a job offer, it's barely worth coming at all if you're a minority and your French is not strong. That pretty well leaves that market to sports pros in the CFL and NHL, where French is the minority and a virtual non-issue. That was true of baseball as well.

    On the topic of pro sports in Montreal and team owners, the one-time Expos existed only because multibillionaire Charles Bronfman wanted it that way. Once he sold, the team went straight down the tubes (under the dubious and incompetent ownership of Claude Brochu, who played the Canadian national anthem one hour before game time on la fête national so as not to offend separatists). Brochu ran the Expos the way Quebec governs--deficits, taxes and failure!

    The gentil Alouettes? Never owned ONE DAY by a Francophone!

    Interestingly, too, in its 100-year history, the Habs have only been owned for 36 years by Francophones (Léo Dandurand from 1921-1940 with various Francophone partners, mostly Louis A. Létourneau, then Senator Donat Raymond from 1940-57).

    The other 64 years have seen the Habs run mostly by those WASPy Molsons and for a brief seven years by the Jewish "Edper" (Edward and Peter) Bronfmans (as opposed to cousin Charles of the "CEMP" (along with his Seagrams brother, Edgar) Bronfmans who successfully owned the Expos for their first 23 years).

    Like Reed Scowen wrote in "Time to Say Goodbye", the Quebec economy is shrinking, but it's now Francophones who are getting the larger share of that smaller economy (no thanks to racist government intervention).

    Is it any wonder Quebec's percentage of the Canadian population is shrinking? The PQ rightfully pointed this out 30 years ago, but they failed to explain WHY it was happening (probably due to the embarrassment they would have faced had they honestly explained it)!

  6. "Le Magasin UPS", that would sound so chic or ...just plain stupid lmao