STM investigates language complaint

Posted By: Kelly Lapare · 10/30/2012 9:09:00 PM

The city's transit authority says it's taking a complaint of harassment against one of its ticket agents seriously.

It's launched an internal investigation after a metro user claims she was attacked for speaking English.

STM vice chair Marvin Rotrand says they can't confirm whether language sparked the assault and admits they have yet to speak to the employee involved since she remains in hospital. It's not clear if the hospitalization is due to the incident yesterday at the de la Savane metro station.

The victim, Mina Barak, says she was punched and put in a headlock after she complained, in English, about a malfunctioning ticket machine. She says she went to hospital complaining of a bad headache.

A witness to the attack tells CJAD news the incident was violent and horrifying.

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  1. Ram posted on 10/30/2012 09:57 PM
    25 years ago being new in Montreal, I was lectured by a rude bus driver, a Montreal Police officer that I should speak French. I do speak French now & that is because I was not forced in to it later. What is so difficult to understand. You can not force people to learn French by being rude or racist. You have to welcome & encourage people. Unless PQ supporters absolutely do not want any immigrants or Anglos in this province & that is what it looks like to me.
  2. Deborah Ann posted on 10/31/2012 07:34 AM
    This ticket agent should be fired on the spot. If I did that at work I would be out the door. What kind of people are working for the STM. That violent ticket agent is probally in the hospital with a breakdown scared to see what will happen to her. Marvin fire her have respect for the customers of the STM. And by the way they all should be billingual.
    1. Jen posted on 10/31/2012 10:43 AM
      @Deborah Ann It is the uneducated PQists that cannot put a phrase together in PROPER French - let alone in English. The STM is known for hiring UNEDUCATED - HIGH SCHOOL DROP OUTS!!! Hence the low-class service they provide. Mr. Rotrand should STOP making excuses about his incompetent employees and actually do something. We are not asking them to speak Sri Lankan for Pete sakes, we are asking to be served in the OFFICIAL LANGUAGE of OUR COUNTRY - CANADA !!!!
    2. Sharon posted on 10/31/2012 02:28 PM
      @Deborah Ann I doubt very much that this person will be fired or even disciplined I am sure this person is being praised by the separatists (PQ)
  3. Jacques posted on 10/31/2012 08:17 AM
    The STM workers are supposed to be providing a service to the customers, not act like language police. For the money that they are being paid (coming from our tax dollars) they should be greeting us with a smile and trying to help us in any language. Is there no courtoisy anywhere in the STM?
    In today's world, we should be putting up bilingual signs in the Metro system and other public places informing users, including the many needed tourists that We Speak French and English !
  4. C.J. posted on 10/31/2012 08:31 AM
    Ladies and Gents...Nothing will happen to the ticket agent, She will get off and go on CSST claiming stress and trauma from the incident. They are rude, lack compassion and common courtesy. This is what they hire at the STM, The leadership at the top is a reflection of whats at the bottom. If they are not willing acknowledge the problem it will never change.
  5. sam posted on 10/31/2012 09:04 AM
    I've been fortunate enough to travel in my lifetime. One place I went to wa paris france and funny.. their signs are in many languages without worry of their precious language being taken down. Their staffs in public locations always friendly, always kind and speak many languages easily.
    What is happening here is uncalled for. It's ignorance and shameful practice among our citizens as well as our visitors.
    If the hard core seperatists think that scenes like this will force us to speak french they are very wrong. In fact.. this only encourges me to speak more english to the STM. As an anglo married to a francophone we are both outraged and embarrassed at these actions.. And where is Mme Marois through this ? You voted her in folks..Nice Job.
    1. Seven posted on 11/01/2012 04:47 PM
      @sam Precisely Sam - you got it right - since the recent incidents of xenophobia exhibited by the separatist STM workers - their union being officially in support of the PQ - I insist on speaking English to them always. They are screwing themselves and forcing their language to drift in a sea of other languages so pervasive in Montreal.

      Certainly their leaders will not wake up.
  6. Jen posted on 10/31/2012 10:52 AM
    Why are we all so surprised when incidents such as these take place is beyond me. C.J is correct. The STM employee will take a year off for "stress" (which we will have to pay for unfortunately). Poor Ms. Barak will be dismissed as all the English speaking population has been dismissed all too often. STM does not care about their service - all they care about is protecting their uneducation, illiterate, low-class employees by hiding behind Bill 101. What a shame. They are getting paid 75,000$ ANNUALLY ladies and gentlemen to abuse English citizens. WAIT, THIS WILL GET WORSE in the next couple of years Mrs. Marois is in power.
    THIS IS WHERE Mr. TREMPLAY wants us to put our hard earned taxes toward PQist like himself.
    They raise our taxes on gas, on property, on our income so we can SUPPORT these uneducated-high-school-BARELY-graduates. WHAT A SHAME>
  7. Eric posted on 10/31/2012 02:01 PM
    I was in Japan last year, and though I speak about 20 words of Japanese and the conductors spoke less english, we were still able to communicate.
    Funny how people who live in the same city can't seem to make the same effort.
    Moreover, I'm hoping that charges are laid against the STM employee. For her to leave her booth where she is perfectly safe and attack someone seems criminal to me.
  8. James posted on 10/31/2012 05:24 PM
    the need to give these high scholl certificate holding STM candidates psychological screen tests for crtain markers that indicate that the individual may hold certain views against certain members of our community. Either the STM has the BALLS to stand up for the right thing and change the perception in the company that the STM is a great place to execise their political opinions against Quebec's second and third class citizens. Either we are all citizens worthy of first class treatment or Quebec is aspiring to promote an apartheid like society where french speaking people receive all the benfits.
  9. Mindy posted on 10/31/2012 09:54 PM
    This is why I take my car to work...
  10. Adam posted on 11/01/2012 07:19 AM
    I am going to pose an old and odd question, "What language does my money speak?"

    It could be your first time on a metro/city bus, it could be your 10,000th time. In the end you have helped pay for it, regaurdless of what language you speak. The STM has a responsibility to try its customers to the best of thier abilities. Clearly since the PQ election this has been a failing grade.

    As per this ticket taker, under the rules of engagement, she should be in jail. She left an enclosed place to attack another person. Words are just words, she's the one who became physical!
  11. Mike D posted on 11/02/2012 10:43 AM
    I feel for the poor ticket agent. I hope the Union fights this to the end so she can get back to her job. As we have all heard the radio ads mental health issues are as serious as cancer. We know this must be true as the government has been advertising this for a long time. She should take all the time she needs on disability leave for stress as working for the STM must be a very stressful job. The agent didn't spend all those years in school to be bullied by some young person. The STM should immediately start a ad campaign on all buses and metros stating that any interaction with their employees should be in French only, in fact their union should INSIST on this. Any deviation from this would result in a beating!!!
    1. Murray posted on 11/02/2012 11:45 PM
      @Mike D Did I see you at the Comedy Nest last week?
  12. Frank posted on 11/02/2012 09:05 PM
    Bet you a 1-way fare that Rotrand will not do anything but sit back and let this blow over. The employee is well protected by her union and by extension, the PQ hardliners.
    1. John posted on 11/06/2012 02:12 PM
      @Frank A week later now and we haven't heard a word on any progress of the investigation. How can we let this happen, over and over again, in a democratic society? Where is justice?

      If we can't even get an answer from this incidence, I say we should organize a STM boycott for a month. We can walk, we can do car pool, etc. I know people may live very far from work, in that case it's totally understandable that you can't participate).
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