Political commentator Jean Lapierre said yesterday on CJAD that the Office quebecois de la langue francaise is bringing poor publicity to Quebec as news of the “Pasta-gate” spreads internationally, including on CNN and Fox News. Lapierre noted that several prominent restaurants have come out to say that they too have been targeted by the language cops for foolish infractions from washroom door signs marked “WC” (typical for Europe) to memorabilia and art on the walls and Italian words in restaurants (such as musica or caffe).
Lapierre says that while responsibility for the regulations lies with the government and the OQLF is simply out of control.
The OQLF, and the regulations they enforce has been out of control for years and years. This is not the first time we’ve heard of witch hunts by the language police. Remember “Matzah-gate” when the OQLF swooped down and pronounced themselves against the absence of French on boxes of US-imported Matzah used by Jews during the eight day celebration of Passover?
Maybe we’ve just had enough of this petty, ridiculous, out-of-control situation that will never end as long as the repressive and mean spirited language laws stand as is.
We’re finally hearing from hard-working folks fed up with paying taxes to squander on government workers who have nothing better to do than to harass small business owners and simple citizens for trying to earn a living and to live a peaceful life without intrusive disruptions by the tongue troopers.
Is all this really about protecting the French language? I think not!
The OQLF is shining a light on the level of intolerance that exists in Quebec toward the English language and yes, English-speaking people.
Every contravention cited by the OQLF should be openly listed. While a small group of language zealots are permitted to anonymously file thousands of complaints with the language police these files should be posted online. We should be able to know what these complaints are all about and how our tax dollars are being spent.
Lapierre is right. The OQLF is out of control and its time to shine the light right back on this government agency that spends more than $20 million each year on serious infractions on restaurant menus and washroom doors, on bike shop signs and city street signs. We should know how this expenditure is protecting French. And we should know what the implications are to small business forced to comply with these regulations.
When the spotlight is turned onto the OQLF they back away and lay low, waiting for the next opportunity to pounce. How sad for us all.
- Postscript: OQLF funnier than Monty Python (montreal.ctvnews.ca)
- Language watchdog admits being overzealous on word ‘pasta’ on menu (montreal.ctvnews.ca)
- ‘Pasta’ is verboten on Quebec menus (montreal.ctvnews.ca)
- Editorial: Nothing funny about being a global laughing stock (Montreal Gazette)