OQLF cracks down on business promotion sign

Posted By: Shuyee Lee · 1/15/2013 2:25:00 PM

A small sign seen in NDG shops with eight words, four in French and four in English, has drawn the ire of the province's language watchdog.

Some people working and walking along Monkland Avenue say they think the OQLF - Office Québécoise de la langue française - has gone too far in going after a small ski equipment shop on the street for displaying a sticker that says, "I'm active in NDG. Je m'active a NDG." The English words are the same size as the French, and that, says the language watchdog, is a no-no. The shopkeeper complied and took it down.

The local economic development corporation, the CDEC CDN-NDG, created the sticker along with Equiterre to promote greener and healthier living and shopping locally. It said it believed it shoudn't be illegal since it's neither an ad nor a business sign.

But OQLF spokesman Martin Bergeron said it's a general rule of thumb.

"When you put public signage, you have to do it in French. If you use another language than French, you also need to have the French markedly predominant," Bergeron said.

"Except for a few exceptions, for example for political messages or for some instruction at a gas station for example. The usual rule, the general rule applies here."

Bergeron said they were acting on a complaint. Some residents and merchants agreed with the OQLF, saying the law is the law.

But Gigi Cohen, owner of a vegetarian cafe on Monkland, has the same sign up and has no intention of taking it down even if the OQLF asked them to. She said small businesses shouldn't be harassed for such things.

"If anything, (they should) encourage people. Sizing of lettering should never be an issue. That sounds completely crazy," Cohen said.

"It's a free service, and it's to help people so I don't understand what anybody has anything to say about it. It's becoming very sad."

"I think it's ridiculous and don't they have better things to do and who's paying for this?" one woman told CJAD 800 News.

One merchant said he just may get rid of the sticker sign.

"I'll think about it. Probably it's going to give us problems. I really don't need any problems. I don't need the hassle or to go to court."

 

Photo: Shuyee Lee

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  • 28
  1. Eduardo G A C posted on 01/15/2013 02:51 PM
    Some people really have time to waste to file complaints against cases where abuse is clearly not what's going on! This may impact adversely the credibility of the whole French language protection effort.
  2. Stephen Chambers posted on 01/15/2013 03:01 PM
    To whom it may concern:

    This language nonsense has been going on for eternity and does not seem to be improving in an intelligent direction. Bilingual, yes, but I left Montréal in 1975 to get away from this stuff. Some things just never change...and some just get worse.
  3. doug worsley posted on 01/15/2013 03:08 PM
    I had bought a existing variety store in Pine beach, Dorval.. It was there for years uner the name. ETHIC Variety. When went to get our license, was told..No,,can't use that name as its not bilingual. So,had to change it to Cardinal Variety, named after the street it was on.
  4. Skibble5150 posted on 01/15/2013 03:47 PM
    The OQLF can suck a big fat grape.

    No, not a 'raisin', a grape!
  5. Harold Staviss posted on 01/15/2013 05:37 PM
    Three BIG cheers for Gigi Cohen, the owner of the vegetarian cafe on Monkland for standing up to the stupidity of the OQLF. She deserves une GRANDE MERCI, a BIG THANK YOU. To those merchants who took down the sticker, SHAME ON YOU. It amazes me that the Quebec Government has enough money to waste on the OQLF and the ridiculous sign laws, but yet does not have enough money to pay for our doctors, nurses, hospitals, etc.
  6. Harold Staviss posted on 01/15/2013 05:44 PM
    Further to my recent comment, it is not a matter of language, it is a matter of RESPECT, respect for both official languages of Canada. What the stupidity of the OQLF is encouraging is for more people to leave Quebec. Remember, last one out turn off the lights. Are you listening Pauline???
  7. rosanne posted on 01/15/2013 06:00 PM
    This Party Quebecois, need's a wake-up call, What kind of people act like this? We
    need DOCTOR'S, MORE JOB'S, CITY FALLING APART, and there worried about the langue??? they cut the budget for the hospitals, they give the student's what they want ?? going after all the big name store's to put French in their sign's??

    Want the Lachine general, to turn French?? it was fine before both langue's ???

    They really need to be stopped, if we let this continue, we are going to be tHE GENERATION THAT LET IT ALL HAPPEN.. THIS IS ALL THE STUDENT'S FALT, THAT'S WHY WE HAD THAT ELECTION..AND THEY GOT WHAT THEY WANTED??? ENGLISH PEOPLE WAKE-UP AND STOP LETTING EVERYBODY ELSE DO THE WORK... COME TO RALLY'S, YOU ALL HAVE A MOUTH, MY GOD WE HAD SOLDIER';S FIGHT RIGHT HERE FOR THIS COUNTRY.CANADA

    ALL THIS PARTY DOES IS RACK BILL'S UP... BE PROUD TO BE CANADIAN.

    MAKE TIME FOR THE RALLY'S PLEASE THERE ONE IN FEBURAY IN FRONT OF THE SPAWN'S OFFICE..SHERBROOKE... PLS COME AND SUPPORT CANADA
    1. Katherine posted on 01/16/2013 10:17 AM
      @rosanne Hello Rosanne, please provide the details of the rally, where, when, what time and maybe call the radio station and make sure they advertise it daily. Rally up the troops. Ask each of the hosts to announce it daily. Let's see what happens. Just give the information here so I can pass it on to my friends.
      Thanks and good luck.
    2. Harold Staviss posted on 01/16/2013 02:11 PM
      @rosanne Where and when is the rally? Rally aside, I would love to have hundreds, if not thousands, of people picket outside stores, restaurants and other establishments that do not have the b-lls to post English signs. Most of these establishments are owned by anglophones and people from outside Quebec. Enough is Enough. Anyone interested?
  8. Alice Fraser posted on 01/15/2013 06:08 PM
    This is where are tax dollars are going to harass small business'. Well this is totally ridiculous the sign was in both languages still.

    The thing that is not being taken into consideration is that stores make money if they sell stuff. When they sell stuff the govt gets taxes paid to them. Now if you have tourists coming to these stores you should be able to show them what you are selling in their language too. It's a win, win situation.
  9. Daniel posted on 01/15/2013 06:14 PM
    I think everyone should put these stickers on their own houses and windows everywhere. Like all the apartments over shops on Monkland. Let see what they say about residential domiciles showing the signage. It is completely ridiculous and if it does get any worse, which I thin it will with the offfice getting more and more funding from Marois on her idiot clan, it will drive a lot of business out of Quebec.
  10. Lynn posted on 01/15/2013 07:50 PM
    These are vigilantes who go around taking pictures of signs and filing anonymous complaints (how very brave) but yes, those who have nothing better to do, like a lot who stay home on welfare!
    1. Katherine posted on 01/23/2013 12:12 PM
      @Lynn I think that one of them is Umaga. LOL :)
  11. murray posted on 01/15/2013 09:16 PM
    If everyone in QC who does not like the OQLA and the PQ were to make wine instead of buying it at the SAQ, there would be no money available for the OQLA. We have not bought wine in QC for four months :o)
    1. LMAO posted on 01/16/2013 07:51 AM
      @murray I think it's great that the OQLA does my homework and points out these gems where i will now spend my dollars in support of the survival of the English language. Ii never spend money in stores where i am not addressed in the language of my choice and neither should others.
    2. Katherine posted on 01/16/2013 10:21 AM
      @murray Great idea Murray. I personally cross over to Ontario CANADA and give my money there. I never EVER buy any alcohol at the SAQ. Once a month or two when I need I take a nice drive (from RDP) and spend my hard earned Canadian Dollars in CANADA for my booze. Not to mention for my groceries as well. MUCH CHEAPER than Quebec. VIVE LE CANADA SANS QUEBEC
  12. Marc posted on 01/15/2013 09:46 PM
    Unfortunately in Quebec bill 101 is law and English must be half the size. That being said, all that the bureaucrats of the Qolf can come up with to support the ridiculous department of nonsense is to go after some inconsequential sign which again exposes quebec to ridicule outside of our borders. This inept bureacracy is overfunded and has nothing else to do. Clearly if they did this would never make it to the news headlines. French quebecers need to vocalize their disdain and opposition to such needless apparatchiks .
    1. Katherine posted on 01/16/2013 10:30 AM
      @Marc Dear Marc, Bill 101 was written by a bunch of drunken fools. SCRAP IT and start over, take away all the power it has towards the french language and allow Quebec to work like ALL the Provinces of Canada. EQUALITY to both languages NOT ONLY FRENCH. I don't give a rat glorious asssssss if the law says that French should be Predominant - that's insane. They need to protect their "french" language and poutine-eating-Pepsi-eating CULTURE then do like most immigrants do that have come to this beautiful country- How did the Greeks, Italians, Portugueses and all immigrants do it?? THEY KEPT THEIR CULTURES ALIVE IN THEIR FAMILIES - not jam it down our throats. GET A LIFE.
    2. a 1 posted on 01/22/2013 04:24 PM
      @Marc Does it mean the english got better eyesight?
  13. Terry posted on 01/16/2013 07:36 AM
    Now we're getting somewhere - The beginning of the downfall of Quebec. I don't support french language laws in a province that belongs to a country with 2 official languages and one of them is not even recognized in that province of this country. The rest of Canada has to abide by some french laws too. All food labels have to be in both languages. No one really cares out west, it is what it is because they accept that french is, in fact, one of the languages too. You can put the letters in any size you want too, french OR english. So why here, does french have to be prominent? Maybe its overcompensation for a losing battle and they need to "win" at something. They say they want to "preserve" their "way of french" (language). Ontario is a good example of how full of shit these people are. How many towns are there that speak french AND english, both have the same equal rights and have not lost the french language? A lot. No need to talk more about the subject. They've got something shoved way too far up their ass and that's just the way it's going to be until someone can be named King Aurthur and pull it out.
    1. Umaga posted on 01/16/2013 07:49 PM
      @Terry Bill 101 has been around for more than 30 years it's here to stay , the vast majority of Quebeckers support it . Which means your only choices are accept it , stress out over it , or sell your pied a terre in the Anglo suburbs and move to the fiscally responsible , culturally diverse , free enterprise nurturing , corruption free , less taxed , motherland of Ontario . Which raises the question , why the hell are you people still here ?
  14. chuck posted on 01/18/2013 04:13 PM
    There must be a lot of people who, with so much time on their hands, they can skulk around with rulers to measure the size of letters. I think some should try to get a life.
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