Language police investigate bilingualism in Chateauguay
MONTREAL - A war over words is brewing in Chateauguay after the province's language watchdog launched an investigation into the city's monthly newsletter.
A citizen complained, saying that the city's publication contained too much English. Other citizens are now hanging onto the bilingualism that they cherish in the south shore town.
"We feel like if we don't do something about it, we are going to lose it," said Stacey Tapp, who thinks that the OQLF is creating divisions in Chateauguay.
Tapp has started a petition.
"It's not pro English. It's not anti French. It's pro bilingual," said Tapp.
She and her supporters showed up at city hall, to keep the newsletter the way it is.
"We're English and we want to continue having the bulletins published in English," said Beverly Lisiecki.
But it's not so simple. Chateauguy is not considered a bilingual city, because only 26 per cent of the population is English, as oppose to the 50 per cent needed to benefit from certain provisions in Bill 101.
"We have a committee and we are trying to see what exactly the complaint is about and what we are not doing properly," said Mayor Nathalie Simon. "If we are not doing something properly, we want to know how we can correct it."
The OQLF says city administrators should set an example for citizens.
"They have a role to play in attaining the objective of the French language, which is to make French the normal and everyday language of work, communication and business," said Martin Bergeron, a spokesman for the OQLF.
A fringe nationalist group was present to show support for the French language.
"We walk around in Montreal and we no longer recognize our city. French just isn't important anymore, anywhere," said Denis Ratte, speaking for the Reseau de Resistance du Quebecois.