The Suburban, Jan. 7, 2015
Harold Staviss is keeping up the fight to have bilingual highway safety signage in Quebec, rejecting the transport department’s argument that the signs have nothing to do with health or public security and thus do not require English under the law.
“Don’t such words or phrases as ‘cahouteuse’ (bumpy road), ‘degel’ (thawing), ‘ralenti’ (slow down), ‘securité’, ‘incident voie droite bloquée’ (right lane blocked because of incident), the requirement of installing winter tires prior to Dec. 15 and/or important alerts for construction, which appear on the electronic signage in French only, have to deal with public safety?” Staviss wrote to the department. “These words/phrases on the electronic signage from time to time have everything to do with public safety messages and should most definitely be in both the French and English languages, the whole as provided for under the relevant provisions of the Charter of the French Language… In any event, if there appears to be some doubt, wouldn’t it make more sense and be more logical to err on the side of safety and have them in both of the aforementioned languages?”
In my opinion: Thank you Harold for continuing to press the transport department on their misguided application of the overly restrictive language laws.
The large panels placed strategically by Transport Quebec are there for one reason only: To provide safety alerts to motorists. For them to argue that these messages do not constitute public safety information is completely dishonest and downright dangerous.
D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum must also take up the cause and push for bilingual communications in public safety from various Quebec departments as permitted under the law.