The argument put forward by the OQLF and language militants who support this position is based on the notion that an English name, in and of itself, is somehow offensive and shows contempt for the Francophone majority.
This notion is odious and nothing short of bigotry.
All of these retailers offer impeccable service in French and do an outstanding job in translation and signage which is generally unilingually French. They make sure to offer no products in English versions, without the equivalent product in French (Buzz Lightyear?) All costs related to translation are spread among all stores across Canada, so that prices remain the same as in stores in other provinces. As far as corporate citizens go, they are outstanding examples of companies that respect their Francophone clientele.
But that's not enough for the OQLF, which believes that operating under an English name is somehow disrespectful and offensive to francophones.
I reminded readers about a demonstration that occurred last April in front of a Repentigny, Quebec, "The UPS Store" by French language bigots who demanded that the company Frenchify its name. The whole episode was barely newsworthy, because, well,...err....this isn't big news in Quebec!
Could you imagine a similar demonstration in Calgary, with idiots picketing a Big Top demanding that Cirque de Soleil change its name to something more appropriately English, like Sun Circus or failing that, add a modifier to become Cirque de Soleil 'CIRCUS' while performing in Alberta?
The story would make the National news in English Canada and be the subject of every newspaper and talk show in Quebec, where Westerners would be mocked for their stupidity and called out for Franco-bashing.
Such is the politics of language in Quebec.
There comes a point when defence of the French language crosses over into intolerance and bigotry.
And that's the territory that the OQLF has invaded. It is, without a doubt, a hateful and intolerant bureaucratic monstrosity, run by a coterie of bigots, who pretend self-righteously, that they aren't persecuting Anglophones, just promoting the well-being of Francophones.
Bestowed with the gravitas of officiality by the Quebec government, the OQLF encourages a minority of hateful separatists, who detest Canada and Anglophones, to come out of the woodwork, anointed with an official cachet of legitimacy.
For those of you who defend the OQLF by saying that it's not a big deal to demand that a French modifier be added to make the English name more palatable, you are one and the same as the bigoted OQLF.
The modifier is just a device to make the point that English, all by itself, in any form, is not acceptable in public.
Can anyone honestly believe that francophone consumers are so thick that they need the word Electronique added to Best Buy in order to realize not to go inside if they are looking for groceries?
Canadian Tire has been operating in Quebec for almost 75 years. Is the OQLF telling us with a straight face that the masthead now needs a French modifier to describe what's going on inside the store?
By the way, a good deal of Francophones still pronounce the store name as "Can-a-dienne Teer," a cherished tradition!
The truth is, that for French language militants, any public display of English, in whatever form, is utterly offensive. The OQLF empowers them and gives legitimacy to these haters. Shame.
What is also telling, is that in the OQLF's pursuit of the defence of the French language, the target of its regulatory zeal is always aimed at anglophones, ethnics and English businesses.
While companies like Best Buy and Future Shop are singled out, the pillars of the Quebec Francophone business community are always given a free pass.
How can the OQLF complain about Best Buy and not complain about French television shows that have English names?
The entire French media, is replete with English, something the OQLF seems to have no concerns over.
And before I get a slew of comments reminding me that the OQLF doesn't have jurisdiction, when has that ever stopped them from sticking their nose in before?
And so the OQLF remains silent in the face of television shows like Shopping TVA, which should, by OQLF logic, be required to add the word "MAGASINAGE"
What does the OQLF have to say about the obsession with English words on French TV show names?
Rock'n'bull - Room Raiders - Clip Dub - Cliptoman - Le Playlist - Drag Queen - Miss Personnalité - Shopping TV - Chatterbox - Spécial bloopers - Les Gags - Call TV.
These are not American shows dubbed into French, but original programming from Quebec.
Francophone programmers can't even resist using English when translating movie titles and so we get abominations like 'Le Karaté Dog'....ugh!
By the way, Musiquplus, the French music channel, does more to anglicize francophone teenagers than all the English signage and all the English-speaking clerks combined, a hundred times over!
Last week, fifteen of the twenty top videos shown on the MusiquePlus were English.
The rest of the content is dubbed or semi-dubbed American trash teenager shows and video commentators who use about 50% English terms while on air.
I pulled this screen shot from the Musiqueplus website, it's a 'teaser' (apparently a French word??) for the American show"Jersey Shore," which the French music station broadcasts ENTIRELY IN ENGLISH, complete with English subtitles to make understanding what is being said, a bit easier for francophones. The only accommodation is a bit of French voice over to explain what's going on. See for yourself, HERE
I can't think of a better tool for anglicizing francophone teenagers.
But hey, according to the OQLF, it's Best Buy that is insulting Francophones, while Snookie and 'La' Situation are complete innocents!
V telé, another French network broadcasts a version of High Stakes Poker completely in English, with a bit of French voice-over just to pass muster, probably because they are too cheap to pay for proper dubbing, but shouldn't the OQLF be concerned?
By the way, what do you think the name of the show is on French TV?
Yup, it's High Stakes Poker and just like Wipeout, another American show imported onto Quebecois television, there are no modifiers, before or after the name!
Shouldn't the OQLF step in and regulate this insidious infiltration of English on Quebec television? Isn't this situation infinitely more damaging and Anglicizing than a store name?
While Anglos and Ethnics are being scapegoated for the Anglicization of Quebec, the reality is that the biggest perpetrator of this so-called Anglicization is Francophone society itself.
Francophone television, radio, newspapers and magazines use an over-abundance of English in their stories and more importantly their advertisements. Who is to blame? Not Anglos.
While the names of stores like Canadian Tire or Future Shop have long become embedded in our common consciousness, the fact that they are English names is really of no consequence. It's just a name, like Henry, Angela, Pedro, Pierre, Moishe or Salim.
Talking to a sales clerk with an Arabic, Chinese or English name doesn't really matter to Francophones when the conversation is in French.
When people shop at Best Buy, what is important is that products are desireable and offered at a fair price and when service is provided in French, the name of the store is irrelevant.
It is sad that our Liberal government chooses to allow the OQLF to run riot because it is afraid of appearing too 'federalist' and too 'accommodating' and so stupidity and bigotry reigns in the name of protection of the French language.
The reality is that the vast majority of Quebeckers recognize zealotry when they see it.
Wednesday, I'll share their mocking reactions with you.
Until then, I look forward to your comments, in English or en français, or even with a 'Joisy' accent!