Language cops to ignore petty complaints
Published Friday, October 18, 2013 2:22PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, October 19, 2013 12:20PM EDT
MONTREAL - Quebec’s French language watchdog is taking steps in hopes of ridding itself of petty linguistic complaints.
Quebec’s minister responsible for the French language charter, Diane De Courcy said Friday that complaints of a personal nature will be given priority by the government.
Those personal complaints would be, for example, if a doctor gives a francophone a note in English or a bank sends outs an English bank statement to someone who wants it in French,
Currently only about five percent of complaints fall into that category.
Other complaints, such as those dealing with commercial signs, will be not be treated as a priority.
The Office Québécoise de la langue francaise (OQLF) was thrust into the international media spotlight following the “Pastagate” scandal earlier this year, which De Courcy admitted was an “embarrassment” and a catalyst for the change.
Controversy simmered when Massimo Lecas, owner of Montreal restaurant Buonanotte, informed the public that he had been warned for having a menu sprinkled with Italian words -- even though every item on the menu was described in French.
The government later dropped its threats to fine the restaurant without offering any explanation.
“French should be accepted and glorified, not brought down to use with a big stick,” Lecas told CTV Montreal Friday. .
Other anglophone consumers believe that the language police has already made it difficult to get information in their language while out shopping.
“It’s a disgrace. You go into McDonald’s: not one English sign, you go into Second Cup: not one English sign,” said Harold Staviss of a group which calls itself the Quebec Office of the English Language.