French language activists find 850 violations in Montreal
Published Wednesday, April 18, 2012 2:07PM EDT
MONTREAL - French language activists say there are hundreds of violations of Bill 101 going on in Montreal, so on Wednesday morning they filed 850 complaints with the Office Quebecois de la langue Francaise.
Led by the Societe Saint-Jean Baptiste and the Mouvement Quebec Francais, 300 of the complaints were collected by one retired worker who spends his days looking for egregious language violations.
Standing in front of the bust of Camille Laurin, the father of Bill 101, English-only flyers from grocery stores and tailors were presented as examples of violations.
"For the last 15 years, Montreal is becoming increasingly English. The national language of Quebec is French and French is a minority in North America," said Paolo Philpot, a spokesman for the SSJB.
"It is very important that the Office de la langue Francaise make sure that Bill 101 is respected."
Former head of he Equality Party, Robert Libman said he's bothered by all the recent Anglo-bashing.
"Why is the pot boiling again? Is someone bored out there and they're just looking to pick a fight?" he said.
Libman points to a recent editorial in the French newspaper L'actualite which blamed the demise of French on Anglos not buying into Bill 101.
"It's tantamount to getting beating up by a bully and the bully's mad at you for denting his steel toe boots," he said.
The majority of the violations were found in Cote-des-Neiges and the St. Laurent industrial park—some of which fall within the riding of Culture and Communications Minister Christine St-Pierre.
St-Pierre said more needs to be done.
"We are 2 per cent in North America. The French language will have to be protected forever," she said.
Libman said it's unnecessary.
"The promotion of French doesn't have to be a zero-sum game. You don't have to diminish English to promote French and that's something many people have never understood in Quebec," he said.
Complaining about some employers in the industrial park who ask for bilingualism from prospective workers, the activists demanded that the Liberal government do more to combat what it called the "progressive spread of Anglicization on the island of Montreal."
Under Jean Charest's tenure, the OQLF has added 10 new inspectors to the 50 already on staff.