"The Brick" and "Second Cup" are a no-no, but "Brick meubles et électroniques" and "Les cafés Second Cup" are fine, according to a new campaign by the Office québécois de la langue française.Starting Monday, French TV commercials and an Internet site will induce companies to add French descriptions or slogans to their brand names, said Louise Marchand, president of the provincial agency in charge of protecting the French language.
|Militants protesting a legal store sign...|
And so the
The first question we must ask ourselves is why these descriptors are necessary, since everyone knows what is sold in Canadian Tire, Best Buy, The Brick etc.etc.
Even the staunchest of French-language militants will readily admit that the imposition of descriptors is based solely on desire to publicly aver that in Quebec, French is the king of the castle and English, the dirty rascal.
The demand that 'English' signs be
According to my research, the above regulations have been on the books since 2003 and likely long before, but the OQLF until now, has never demanded that stores using English trade-marks modify their signs.
Regulation respecting the language of commerce and business, RRQ, c C-11, r 925. On public signs and posters and in commercial advertising, the following may appear exclusively in a language other than French:(4) a recognized trade mark within the meaning of the Trade Marks Act (R.S.C. 1985, c. T-13), unless a French version has been registered
EXPRESSION THAT MAY SPECIFY FIRM NAME27. An expression taken from a language other than French may appear in a firm name to specify it provided that the expression is used with a generic term in the French language. LINK
Readers, I'm no lawyer, but over the years I have become somewhat expert at reading laws, rules and regulations and have discovered rather surprisingly that not everything is as well written clear and precise as one would imagine.
In my humble opinion, Regulation 25(4) and Regulation 27 are not concordant.
First things, first.
There is a principle that in law, that holds that the specific trumps the general and this clearly is the case between the two regulations.
Nothing can be clearer than Regulation 25(4), while Regulation 27 uses the undefined term "expression."
Is a trademark an 'expression'?
Most likely not, because in using the term 'trade mark' in one rule and the word 'expression' in another, the writers imply that there is a difference.
If the intention of the writers was to make trademarks subject to descriptors, they should have said so unequivocally.
And so Regulation 27 should have read that when companies avail themselves of the benefits of rule 25(4) (that is, to use trademarks in their banner), they must add descriptors, but it doesn't.
And so, the current interpretation of the regulations by the OQLF may very well be faulty and hasn't, as of yet been tested in court, because the provisions have never been imposed.
It remains a legal question as to whether the OQLF is over-reaching and misinterpreting its own regulations.
That being said, there remains a more important legal issue as to whether a provincial government may impose limitation on the commercial use of trademarks at all, since trademarks belong in the federal jurisdiction.
Aside from all this, there remains the utter stupidity of telling a company like Canadian Tire that after 60 years of operation in Quebec, that its name is offensive.
At the right is an example provided to the media by the O-feece describing a fictional merchant named "DAILY LIVING' and examples on how it can comply with the OQLF's current interpretation of the regulations.
Readers, how on earth does "DAILY LIVING" translate to "LES BEAUX JOURS"?
Utter, utter nonsense!....
Going back to the photo of the demonstrators above who are protesting the signage at the SECOND CUP, which is actually 100% in line with these new regulations, it underlines that separatists and language fanatics aren't interested in anything else except the total eradication of English in public.
They make no bones about it.
Incidentally, the O-feece announced that banners like 'Harveys' are exempt because they are proper names, but technically that isn't really true.
While 'Harvey' is a proper name, 'Harveys' with an 'S' acts as an English possessive, even though the apostrophe is gone.
In French no 'S' is added to indicate the possessive.
Readers of a certain age will recall that 'EATON'S' was forced to become 'EATON.'
And so unless the 'S' refers to a plural, such as in the McDonalds brothers who started the hamburger chain, the names should actually be disallowed!
Now the Wendy's hamburger chain has taken a page out of the Liberal Party handbook and replaced the apostrophe with a little Canadian Maple leaf.
Very clever, but I'm sure the O-feece will look closely at that and perhaps demand that a Fleur-de-lys replace the hated Canadian symbol!
You never know how ridiculous plays out in Quebec.
Such are the deep and esoteric questions that the O-feece must ponder.
I've nothing more to say except to express a profound sadness at the utter mindlessness and vindictiveness that drives people to hate.
This sign initiative is not driven by the desire to preserve the French language but rather motivated by a desire by one portion of society to impose its will on the other, solely because it can.
When language militants tell us self-satisfyingly to 'respect' an unjust law, I'm reminded of all the minorities around the world who are discriminated against on a daily basis, based only on the tyranny of numbers.
An unjust law need not be 'respected' and to language militants who tells us to obey or suffer the consequences, we should choose to suffer the consequences.
Remember the utter humiliation that language militants suffered by one article in the New York Times and one interview on 60 Minutes by Mordechai Richler. It still reverberates today.
I'm not sure that Quebec could stand a concerted publicity campaign in the USA decrying the rule that forces American companies to forsake or bastardize their names.
In the end Quebec Anglos have the power to resist and resist we should.
None of we Quebec anglos want to impose English on Quebec, but we'll be damned if militants attempt to take away what is ours, our names........
THE GAP- Vetements pour les nuls.
TACO BELL- TACO BELLE
WINNERS - Vetements pour les perdants.
BANANA REPUBLIC- Republique du Quebec
Readers......How about some suggestions to help out the OQLF?