English-speaking Quebecers upset over delivery of French-only COVID-19 pamphlet
MONTREAL -- Engligh-speaking Quebecers are upset about informational COVID-19 flyers the provincial government distributed last week because they aren’t bilingual.
"We received it in the mail, and my immediate response was ‘where is the English version?'" said Catherine Foster, a Quebec resident.
The federal government sent out bilingual flyers last week, meaning Quebecers weren't left completely in the dark. But the provincial version outlined more specific COVID-19 resources for Quebecers to consult.
Foster has no problem understanding French, but that’s not the case for the rest of her family.
"To me, it would be normal to provide it in both official languages," she said. "I understand they can’t cater to everyone… They could have one side in French and one side in English."
A marketing professor from Concordia University says the French-only policy is dangerous, particularly for seniors.
"There are some people out there, especially older people, who don’t go online, who don’t have access to the internet," said Harold Simpkins.
An English version of the province’s flyer can be found on the government webpage and people can request to have it mailed to them.
Kathleen Weil, the Liberal MNA for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, stepped in when she heard the news.
“We had no information about that and so we quickly contacted the minister’s cabinet politique,” she said. “They said ‘Because of Bill 101, we can’t distribute it’.”
The minister responsible for relations with English-speaking Quebecers tweeted that he will be printing English copies. He and his colleagues are looking for alternative ways to distribute them, perhaps through a food depot that delivers baskets.