Hydro-Québec tweets in English

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Côte St. Luc Councillor Glenn Nashen is hailing Hydro-Québec’s decision to present information on Twitter in English as well as French.

Nashen, who has called for English content on Montreal and Quebec government websites and Twitter feeds for the last few years, revealed the news on his blog. We looked at Hydro-Québec’s English-language @hydro_customer Twitter feed and discovered that it has existed since the end of this past April.

Nashen mentioned the lack, for the most part, of Hydro-Québec English tweets on his blog in 2014.

“Previously, the public utility would only Tweet in English when they deemed the message to be an emergency and even then they required reminders or requests to do so,” Nashen wrote last week. “Information about power outages, general information and power saving tips, promotions and other info is now available on Twitter at @hydro_customer.

“There is hardly a good reason for a critical infrastructure public utility to restrict their messaging to French only,” Nashen added. “They could easily have created two Twitter feeds, in both languages, from the outset. Their response to me was that they only Tweet out emergencies in English. Dissatisfied, I pursued this matter until they finally created their English Twitter feed. Hydro also has an excellent mobile app to report and monitor power outages and useful tools on its website, all available in English.”

Nashen credited D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum and his chief of staff Elisabeth Prass with “advocating with the minister and bureaucrats in Quebec City on behalf of constituents. They take this responsibility very seriously and on behalf of my constituents I wish to express my gratitude to them both.”

The councillor also lauded the continuing efforts of Hampstead lawyer Harold Staviss and fellow Côte St. Luc Councillor Ruth Kovac for language respect for the anglophone community from private companies and government agencies, and The Suburban‘s ongoing coverage of the issue.

“Now this is a call to all you Twitterers out there,” Nashen added. “There are only 150 followers (157 as of Thursday afternoon-I just added my name) on Hydro’s Twitter feed. Please click @hydro_customer now and follow them. Let’s see how quickly we can double this number. And let all of your followers know as well and we’ll increase it even more and send a message to the utility that this was a necessary and positive initiative. So thank you Hydro-Québec for doing what was right and sensible. Their positive actions should shine as an example to be followed by other agencies and departments. Merci beaucoup.”

The Hydro-Québec Twitter feed actually responded to Nashen’s blog. “Thank you for your kind words,” says the Twitter entry. “We are more than happy to serve our English-speaking customers on @hydro_customer.”

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Nashen touts Hydro Quebec’s new offering of English tweets

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Free Press | Sept. 27, 2016 | Click to enlarge

Tweet in English, too: Nashen to Montreal fire department

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The Suburban, Joel Goldenberg, January 14th, 2015

Côte St. Luc councillor Glenn Nashen is continuing his efforts to have government institutions dealing with safety and security provide content to the population in English as well as French.

Last year, Nashen called attention to the fact that the Montreal fire department’s website was in French only. Recently, much English content was added to the site.

Nashen and lawyer Harold Staviss have also been calling for English as well as French on safety messages on Quebec highways.

This past Friday, the Montreal fire department posted an advisory, in French only, cautioning the population to be careful if they are in the presence of sources of carbon monoxide “since this gas can be fatal.”

Nashen responded, in French, on the Twitter site that Article 22 of the Charter of the French Language allows for the use of another language in matters regarding health and public security.
“Please also tweet in English,” Nashen wrote.

A couple of hours later, the fire department responded with a tweet of the same safety message regarding carbon monoxide, in English.

Nashen copied his original request to The Suburban, as well as Staviss and Côte St. Luc councillor Ruth Kovac, who have been asking for linguistic respect from companies serving significant anglophone populations.

Staviss was pleased with Nashen’s request for English.

Kovac was happy to see the English tweet from the fire department. “Small victories all around,” she said. “A great way to start 2015.”

We checked out the fire department’s Twitter postings for the last several days. Most were in French only, except for some very general messages. “Your fire department wishes you a marvellous New Year,” says a Jan. 1 posting. “We’ll be keeping an eye on your safety at all times. Be aware.”
“The Service de sécurité incendie de Montréal encourages you to keep safety in mind during your festivities,” says a Dec. 22 posting.

The few other English postings in recent weeks highlight positive activities, some of  which emanate from English media coverage. There was also a Dec. 18 posting linking to Christmas tree decoration safety tips in English.

In contrast, there were more frequent English Twitter postings by the Montreal police department regarding safety and security, including one Friday alerting the population to the closing of Papineau south at Ontario East because of a fire, and advising motorists to access the Jacques Cartier Bridge via Ste. Catherine or René Lévesque.

Other postings included an alert that traffic was reopened downtown after a gas leak (Jan. 4), an advisory of inoperative traffic lights at Lacordaire and the Metropolitan (Dec. 22) and updates on a Nov. 29 downtown demonstration. However, some postings were in French only.

We also checked numerous Transports Quebec Twitter highway traffic alerts, all of which were in French. Some were short enough to be easily understood, such as references to accidents, but there were also less common French terms like “capotage.”

Birnbaum to look into SQ tweet language issue

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Suburban Newspaper | Oct. 1, 2014 | Click to enlarge

Suburban Newspaper | Oct. 1, 2014 | Click to enlarge

Thank you to our MNA David Birnbaum for taking an interest in this issue. David has taken up the cause of a few emergency services issues very quickly in his mandate out of concern for our residents. His keen interest and quick action is appreciated.

Contrary to what the SQ has stated, Bill 101 does not prohibit English when it comes to public safety as the Montreal Police Department has correctly determined, in large part, in its use of social media. Indeed, there is some question as to whether or not Bill 101 has any jurisdiction at all over the use of Internet communications. Nevertheless, the provincial police has a mandate and duty to communicate, and logically to be understood, by residents of Quebec and visitors to our province. Tweeting in French only is a misinterpretation of their requirements to communicate effectively.

I will follow this dossier closely and next will encourage David to investigate why Transport Quebec is using the same narrow rulebook to exclude any English public safety messages from its enormous digital billboards on autoroutes across Quebec.

We tweet in French, Quebec Police Force

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Conversation with the Quebec Police Force on Twitter, July 30, 2014

Conversation with the Quebec Police Force on Twitter, July 30, 2014

 

How ludicrous it is that the provincial police will not communicate with hundreds of thousands of English-speaking Quebecers plus hundreds of thousands more tourists and visitors unless they are asked a question in English?
This nonsense has gone unchecked for far too long and it’s high time that the Liberal government correct the overzealous policies of its departments that are nothing short of mean-spirited, disrespectful and counter-productive in the dispensing of public safety and public service messages.
The Surete du Quebec / Quebec Police Force has a mandate to serve all who live in or visit Quebec. They have an obligation to communicate with the people they serve, through various means including social media. Yet, their policy on use of English on Twitter, as indicated above, shows a blatant disregard for all English-speaking Quebecers and English-speaking visitors. Public safety messages are broadcast in French only. To hell with English, they’ll only reply to specific questions in that other language. And forget seeking out a job with the QPF, errr SQ, in English, as that section is in French only on their website.
Premier Couillard made it clear in the election campaign, barely four months ago, that English is not a disease and English-speaking Quebecers are not the enemy here. Our language does not diminish the French language at all. He said not a single Quebec parent doesn’t want their children to be bilingual. It’s time to prove he meant what he said and to loosen the stranglehold that Bill 101 has on every public agency, department and service under the Quebec Government. Then, even the SQ could wish us all a happy and safe vacation.

Social media and local politics

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As someone whose day job keeps me immersed in public relations and corporate communications at the Jewish General Hospital, I’ve embraced social media as an indispensable tool to reach the public and to hear back from them too. This is also true for City Hall and City Councillors to reach out to residents with timely and important information.

My blog, Nashen Notes (GlennJ.Nashen.com), has more than 1,600 posts dedicated mainly to local issues dealing with public safety, current and historical CSL clippings, local breaking news and my opinion pieces on issues such as language rights for Quebec’s English-speaking community, environmental issues such as preserving Meadowbrook, Jewish and cultural community issues, and more. This is a wonderful way to reach out to you, my constituents, and equally important, for you to reach back and let me hear from you.

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My Twitter feed @GlennJNashen is active with tweets about local emergencies and time sensitive matters. Please retweet me to your followers. My Facebook page is another go-to place for matters affecting daily life in the Luc. Please like me!

Whatever your preferred method of connecting there are many options to be kept informed about civic issues around your neighbourhood and to be heard back at City Hall.

 

Médias sociaux et politique locale

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De la même façon que les médias sociaux sont devenus pour moi un outil indispensable dans le cadre de mon travail en relations publiques et communications à l’Hôpital général juif, ils sont utilisés de plus en plus par l’Hôtel de Ville et le Conseil municipal pour joindre les résidants et leur transmettre de l’information importante en temps opportun.

Mon blogue, Nashen Notes (GlennJ.Nashen.com), contient plus de 1 600 billets consacrés surtout aux questions locales portant sur la protection civile, des coupures de presse courantes et historiques sur CSL, des nouvelles locales importantes et des textes d’opinion sur des sujets comme les droits linguistiques pour la communauté québécoise de langue anglaise, des questions environnementales comme la préservation de Meadowbrook, des articles sur la communauté juive et la culture juive, etc. Il s’agit d’un merveilleux moyen de vous joindre, de joindre les résidants de mon district, et, tout aussi important, une façon pour vous de communiquer avec moi.

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Mon fil Twitter @GlennJNashen est bien actif également, avec des messages sur les situations et les questions de nature urgentes. N’hésitez pas à faire suivre mes messages à vos abonnés. Ma page Facebook est un autre lieu indispensable pour les sujets qui touchent la vie quotidienne à CSL. Aimez-moi S.V.P. !

Peu importe le moyen que vous choisirez pour communiquer, il y a toutes sortes de façons de vous tenir informé des questions d’intérêt local et communautaire, et de donner votre avis à l’Hôtel de Ville.

 

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