|Minister to OQLF "Woah! Les moteurs"|
The OQLF position that the pasta incident at the Buonanote restaurant was just an isolated case of an over-zealous inspector didn't quite fly and after a few days of trying to ride out the storm, during which time more and more incidents of language intolerance became public, it became clear that some action was required to restore public confidence.
The indefensible attack on Pasta and the subsequent public humiliation of Quebec in the international press so infuriated the general public that without a major reaction by the government , the OQLF and the PQ itself risked becoming the butt of a permanent joke.
And so De Courcy did what all politicians who find themselves in such a pickle do .....throw a scapegoat under the bus, in this case the head of the OQLF, Louise Marchand.
Now the media portrayed her removal as a resignation, but nothing could be farther from the truth, the announcement of Marchand's departure came from the minister herself in a press conference devoted to shoring up confidence in the PQ government.
When politicians or highly placed civil servants actually resign on their own, it is usual for them to call a press conference and give the reasons why, thank their co-workers and employees and otherwise wind up things professionally.
In this case, Marchand was shown the door like a fired employee frog marched out of the company premises with a box of personal effects under her arm, escorted by a trailing security agent.
"Ba-bye, don't talk to anybody and don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out!"
Anyways, I'm not sad to see her go, quite the opposite.
Marchand was the embodiment of everything evil about the OQLF, which under her reign became even more repressive, turning the agency into a dogmatic and cruel organization that reminds me of religious police in Islamic fundementalist countries where inspectors roam the streets, verifying the modesty of women's clothing.
Madame Marchand is your classic anglophobe, somone who let her true feelings surface once in a while as exemplified in this statement.
"Greeting a client in two languages isn't against the Charter, but it's an irritant.... Link
And so it's not hard to understand in what direction the anglophobic Marchand led the OQLF.
As we say in English...."Good riddance to bad rubbish."
As we say in English...."Good riddance to bad rubbish."
Of course Louise Marchand will preserve a high-paying government job, we would expect no less, after all this is Quebec.
But she will end her career as damaged goods, like a pilot who crashes her airplane, killing the passengers, but who herself survives.
She will always be looked upon as a pariah, a bureaucrat who brought shame and humiliation to her province, because that is what the public demands, an individual scapegoat to carry the burden of what should be a collective shame.
The fiasco can't be laid at the PQ's knee exclusively, let's remember that Madame Marchand was a Liberal government appointee and that her particular reign of terror was tolerated by the party that was supposedly the defender of minority rights.
At any rate, De Courcy was surprisingly honest about the whole affair, telling reporters that it wasn't in fact a case of one or two over-zealous inspectors, but rather an institutional problem, where strict application of the law across the board, damn the consequences, was the order of the day.
The minister promises changes and a gentler approach. In fact de Courcy is just getting ahead of the prevailing wind, like a pompous ass standing at the sea shore at the beginning of low tide, ordering the waters to recede.
In light of Pastagate, the OQLF could never continue in its previous iteration.
The unfortunate inspector who triggered Pastagate may not be officially sanctioned, but I don't think she should hold her breath waiting for much in the way of career advancement.
Inspectors don't need De Courcy telling them to be gentler, the message has been made loud and clear.
If anything, government workers are resilient and these inspectors will shrug their shoulders and carry on according to the new rules.
As for over-zealousness, it is a thing of the past, no inspector or supervisor in the OQLF is going to risk getting their ass waxed over an English or Italian word or two.
For the OQLF, an agency hitherto obsessed with the elimination of English and now Italian from public purview, I can sum it all up with this simple remark from the dreaded Italiano.... '“Finita la commedia” (the farce is over..)
Also to consider is the fact that potential business targets have been emboldened and in many cases are spoiling for a fight with the sad-sack OQLF.
Make no mistake about it, the restaurants involved in the latest fiasco reaped invaluable publicity, so much so that others, like the shameless self-promoter David McMillan of Joe Beef restaurant, jumped on the bandwagon claiming that his restaurant was also a victim, hoping for a similar public relations windfall!
And guess what? He was justly rewarded by an obliging press, with OQLF language horror stories generating gads of media interest. You've got to admit it's a little comical. Link
|Political cartoonist Marc Beaudot elegantly captures the spirit of Pastagate|
As I said in a previous post, we've crossed a critical tipping point, where the OQLF will never again spread fear and reap havoc to the extent it did so for these last years.
By the way, the insufferable Minister De Courcy gave another speech in which she proposed giving the Commission de Normes de Travail, the government agency mandated to protect workers rights, the new task of protecting workers right to work in French. I can only imagine the boondoggle as anyone pissed off with his or her boss can sic the dogs of the agency renowned for its unmitigated hatred of bosses.
At any rate I digress, the only reason I bring up the above is because of another statement she made during that presentation;
That's a pretty bold statement, especially from the indefatigable Madame De Courcy who speaks nothing but French and warns reporters before her press conferences that she will take no questions in English. It actually would be funny if not so sad."I believe it is time that we in Quebec adapt to the reality of the twenty-first century, and we encourage the learning of a third language, or even a fourth, a fifth, in schools and colleges, "said the minister." Link
But let's go on.....I'd like to offer the OQLF an olive branch, a project where they can actually help promote French with the blessing of this blog and the entire English and Ethnic community.
The subject concerns the bad French that some consumer products bear because the company used Google or some other free Internet service to translate the French on the packaging.
The results are sometimes hilarious, sometimes sad and always disrespectful.
While small companies in China can be forgiven, I'll start the photo roll with a picture of a truck from that Canadian furniture institution LEONS.
The company translated the phrase, "Serving Canada", painted on its familiar yellow truck into the French "Canada de portion," a moronic mistake that invokes the other meaning of portion (like a meal portion)
I'm not even mentioning the other dog's breakfast of a translation, on the bottom of the truck.
Laziness, stupidity, disrespect?
All of the above.
|Picture credits Fail.Qc.com|
For those who don't speak French, I'm reserving the explanations to the comments section so that readers can have some fun describing the gaffes.
Now wouldn't it be neat if the OQLF opened a website where small companies could get some help with French used on packaging.
They could submit some French text and the OQLF could verify and offer appropriate changes quickly and without much fanfare.
The whole project could be funded with two or three employees and a webmaster at a cost of a two- hundred thousand dollars, tops. This in an agency with a budget of over $25 million.
It's a positive project that can make a meaningful difference, at a relatively low cost and one which we can all support.
But this is Quebec where no-brainers don't often make sense......