OQLF admits to being overzealous

Posted By: CJAD · 2/20/2013 9:52:00 PM

Criticism from both the Marois government and the opposition could be behind Wednesday's admission by the language watchdog that it may have been a bit overzealous in going after a St. Laurent Boulevard restaurant for using words like pasta on its menu.

In a statement, the OQLF says it will consider the characteristics of the Italian eatery and take into exception the foreign specialities offered by Buonanotte.

The restaurant, popular with well-heeled Montrealers and celebrity visitors to the city, was paid a visit recently by OQLF inspectors.

They followed up with a written complaint about a couple of words on the Italian restaurant's menu. One being pasta, the other bottiglia to indicate its wine selection by the bottle.

Co-owner Massimo Lecas says he thought it was so ridiculous he could not help but laugh.

"Basically they're saying we don't like the predominance of Italian over French in your menu," he says, "so they circled the word pasta, they circled the word bottiglia, they circled the word antipasto, but they didn't circle the word pizza."

He says he is consulting a lawyer on the case. 

A spokesperson for the OQLF said Wednesday he wouldn't comment specifically on this case, but the rule for menus is if there are other languages on it, there has to be an equal amount of French.

"In the public signage French must be predominant, but in the case of menus, French must be equivalent."

The Minister responsible for the OQLF is also weighing in. She says she was actually surprised by the actions of the inspectors.

"We will look into it and get back to you," says Diane de Courcy. 

photos by Massimo Lecas 

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  1. LMAO posted on 02/20/2013 07:35 AM
    They had better hurry of to the super markets too where they sell Salsa and Spaghetti products with no clear definition of what they are. It seems there are many violations of the bill 101 but there is one thing you can't fix and that's STUPID.
  2. LMAO posted on 02/20/2013 07:39 AM
    They had better visit the local supermarkets who sell Pasta, Salsa and many other products with no clear meaning of what they are. They can strive to fix many things but you can't fix STUPID.
    1. TS posted on 02/21/2013 07:08 PM
      @LMAO The mother of stupidity is always pregnant....
  3. Leo posted on 02/20/2013 07:52 AM
    Bonjour!

    Italien?? I thought it was only the English language was illegal in Quebec? At the least, that's what the law says. I think Italian is still legal in Quebec. Isn't it?
    I can't figure out who's more stupid, the Quebec government for assuring that their french Quebecers stay a unilingual minority in a multilingual world, or the Canadian government for allowing their citizens lose basic rights.
    1. Jason posted on 02/20/2013 01:52 PM
      @Leo I was born in Montreal from portuguese parents. I speak french, english and portuguese fluently. A can handle myself in spanish, and currently learning japanese, just for the thrills. I am not gonna let anyone tell me whiat language to speak, and I agree with your point. If , let's say, germany or norway were to forbid other languages from being displayed on menus, or signs, it would be stupid, for tourism mainly. here in quebec though, it is a good thing to try and preserve the french language, but it should not be exaggerated like it is right now.Most elders don,t care anymore and fight for French only culture, but they are close minded, most are retired and have never done any business outside of buying milk at the (ironically) chinese corner store. Evolution has to leave traces of the past generation, and that is what we should aim for.
    2. lor posted on 02/20/2013 07:12 PM
      @Leo ever language is illegal in quebec but french, now that is stupid.
  4. crj posted on 02/20/2013 08:00 AM
    And the nonsense continues. Surely the government can find better use for their resources.
  5. SK posted on 02/20/2013 08:10 AM
    is this a joke? disgusting if not.
  6. George Ostrowski posted on 02/20/2013 08:57 AM
    Let's go to Buonanotte before it gets burnt down by a french mob.
    I bet that the a-hole from the office was shunned by one of the hot
    waitresses that work there. Looser
    1. Dino Zappi posted on 02/20/2013 12:51 PM
      @George Ostrowski Pretty funny stuff, but I'm not surprised as I am an ex pat who left in 96 to T.O. where your menu can be in any language, in fact I don't even understand it sometime.

      All kidding aside, this may actually prove to be beneficial to the restaurant, may see a surge in this week ends business.

      The owner should actually create a dish in honour of the occasion, call it "La Pasta -ffice de la langue francaise, or Pasta 101.
  7. Angie posted on 02/20/2013 09:03 AM
    You have *got* to be kidding me. Like, this is getting to be ludicrous. Maybe we should now simply use hieroglyphics or emoticons to title our "public" stuff in Quebec???
    1. Seven posted on 02/20/2013 11:40 AM
      @Angie It has been a ludicrous situation in Quebec for a long time - and we tolerate it.

      It is said, "The government we get is the government we deserve."

      Of course things are this bad. In the words of David Suzuki, "The problem is there is no democracy."
  8. Canadese posted on 02/20/2013 09:04 AM
    The OLF ought to pay a visit to La Belle Province.. What does hot-dog mean? I havenàtseen any French translation..
  9. Jonathan Eustace posted on 02/20/2013 09:28 AM
    I'm so glad I don't live in Quebec anymore. I find it is selfish for English speaking parents to raise their children in such a hate mongering province because they feel that they have roots there. Don't be foolish, leave the province. You'll make twice your wage in BC or Alberta, pay a fraction of the taxes... and best of all you won't have to deal to total BS like this.
    1. monmon posted on 02/23/2013 03:57 PM
      @Jonathan Eustace are you kidding me?? Selfish?? I love my province for everything except it's politics and I won't let them win on this nonsense for one reason alone!! It is wrong!! It is wrong in every sense and by leaving or giving up for lack of words, you are simply giving them what they want which is have every single english Quebecer and their family up and leave!! Well I won't and I hope my children never do either!! We are bilingual, fully bilingual and proud canadians and I will never let the seperatist ruin my province without a fight!! It is a beautiful province in every way, from it's people to it;s culture to it's gorgeous landscape!!! It is certainly not a bunch of PQ seperatist and their ignorant followers who have been stirring up crap for as long as I can remember that will get their way because, it simply makes no logical sense whatsoever, it is suicide for the economy of this province and has been since they began. Quebec used to be one of the most prosperous provinces in Canada until they pushed out all of the major international companies, and now they want to do the same to the small business!! I do not agree with you that leaving is the solution, it only let's them think they are correct!!
  10. Giuseppe (Joseph for the non English speaking "Office" idiots) posted on 02/20/2013 09:35 AM
    It is an insult to eveyone living in Quebec. Now, not only are they (OQLF) trying to abolish English which will destroy business and ultimately any financialy stable company left in this province, but now they are dictating what language the menus will be in ethnicly European style restaurants. Say goodbye to the European culture of this city, the language Nazis are here. The Office, and PQ have gone too far, they are using our tax dollars for stupidity instead of governing our province. I just want to make your day by reminding you that our tax dollars are going to fund these peoples' salries - many who are new hires at the Office, and will ultimatly be given a large pension when they retire.
    Is this what the PQ voters wanted when they voted them in? If so, we are in a sorry, and internationally shameful state here n Montreal.

    Giuseppe in Lasalle. ( that's Joseph for the "Office" people)
    1. Costa posted on 02/20/2013 01:13 PM
      @Giuseppe (Joseph for the non English speaking "Office" idiots) Not to forget that our tax dollars also pay for their free meals at the restaurants they "investigate".

      Since the majority of restaurant owners are of international ethnicity maybe they should refuse to serve french speaking clientele as a wake up call to french Quebecois whom are the ones who voted these idiots in office in the first place
  11. clint posted on 02/20/2013 09:43 AM
    Hey...OLF....don't mess with the Italians...U Gonna Geta Wacked by Mr Sidewalk and friends
    1. mrsaad27 posted on 02/22/2013 03:11 PM
      @clint I'm in!
  12. Joe posted on 02/20/2013 09:43 AM
    First they came after the English. Now it seems that they have moved on to the Italians. Who is next on their list of bad guys. I would like to know after they have gone after every other nationality here in Quebec will the finally go after themselves? What is spoken here for French is not proper French at all. Like others have said, you cannot fix stupid, it is in their DNA.
    1. Anthony posted on 02/20/2013 10:29 AM
      @Joe By the way, before the English and the French, a man named Giovanni Caboto reached the shores of Canada. ( ITALIAN)
  13. Tina Wilson posted on 02/20/2013 10:02 AM
    LUDICROUS!!!!
  14. Paul posted on 02/20/2013 10:07 AM
    The PQ and Bloque are raciest political parties who do things like in this story. The Quebecois keep voting for them so it tells me and the rest of Canada what the Quebecois are like and it's not a positive message.
    1. Joe Mac Neil posted on 02/20/2013 11:57 AM
      @Paul Pardonne moi I must go and have a hamberjoie or some funny noodles with sause on it... mais tbk ill just have a poutine a place
    2. monmon posted on 02/23/2013 04:02 PM
      @Paul We as Quebecois do not all approve of this nonsense!! As a matter of fact, we are completely against it and not all of us voted for them so please do not put us all in the same boat!! We are english speaking and bilingual speaking Quebecers that are being made to feel unwelcomed and even pushed out of our home province.
  15. Angelo posted on 02/20/2013 10:23 AM
    Just want to let you know that I left Quebec 3 years ago, and found work in Ottawa. The city is not as big as Montreal, not as entertaining or beautiful. I miss living Montreal, but do not miss the garbage that goes on there., I was thinking about going back, but after reading this, there is no way I will comeback unless the PQ is voted out , Racist Bill 101 is abolished, the economy shows improvement and taxes decrease substantially.
    I wish all Quebecers the least pain possible in living there, my pain ended 3 years ago. I visit Montreal often and eat in restaurants that serve pasta.(I will only order in English, and if the waiter or waitress objects, It affects teir tips. I expect total and polite service when I am paying for it.)
    1. Rob from Rigaud posted on 02/21/2013 12:49 PM
      @Angelo You could not have stated it any better. Like!
  16. JP posted on 02/20/2013 10:31 AM
    They have gotten away ith bullying the anglos-but watch out if you try tobully the Italians-capice!
    1. mrsaad27 posted on 02/22/2013 03:20 PM
      @JP Why don't we both anglos and Italians join up to beat the language gestapos to the curb.
  17. Jonathan posted on 02/20/2013 10:43 AM
    This is simply going to far! Why are my tax dollars going to waste on a program that benefits NO ONE. Really.....Pasta?!?!? Are the French school systems so out of whack that they cant teach BASIC English reading skills? Has there ever been a complaint from a customer saying they can't understand the word Pasta? If there was then they must be living on Mars. It's so frustrating to see this kinda of attitude from the government that can't even get their act together....you know voting again themselves and all.
  18. Rita posted on 02/20/2013 10:46 AM
    Oh gosh what about the actual name of the restaurant Buonanotte? Does that "puppet" for the OLF know what that means? Such ignorance & intolerance! Why do we live & pay taxes here again??
  19. Joellelise posted on 02/20/2013 10:54 AM
    JE trippe que le OQLF (OUATCHER) le restaurant Buonanote!
    c;est BADLOQUE qu'il KIQUER ce restaurant!
    je veut BARFER!

    enough said?
  20. Ben posted on 02/20/2013 10:59 AM
    First, come on, these language laws are destroying what culture quebec has. We may be quebecers, but first and foremost we are Canadian, loyal to the Queen. We are supposed to have rights as Canadians, and Canada is a BILINGUAL country. How can a province take away the rights garantied by the country!?!

    Secondly, to people who are saying why stay in QC, and it's not fair to raise English children in such a place, YOU are half the problem. If we leave instead of staying and fighting, then they win. the PQ and BQ parties WANT the English to leave, which will strengthen their hold. I for one, refuse to give up my family homestead, which has been in my family for 5 generations, built by a member of my family.

    I will continue to fight for my rights.

    That said, we English ARE a minority in Quebec, so if we want to get by, we MUST adapt, and be bilingual enough to get by. HOWEVER, the government should give back as much. I may need to speak french to communicate at a french store, but I should NOT have to struggle with my 2nd language to read government documentation!

    As a small business owner, I have to work in french because my customers are french, but I should have the right to deal with my English customers in English! How am I supposed to deal with US clients if all communication has to be in French?
    1. LMAO posted on 02/22/2013 07:48 AM
      @Ben Unplug the phones pack up the computers and drive to Ontario where you will find a waiting workforce, lower taxes and a community that wants to succeed.
    2. monmon posted on 02/23/2013 04:32 PM
      @Ben Very well said Ben and I completely agree with you!!!
  21. Funny posted on 02/20/2013 11:06 AM
    I'm an anglophone, born of an Italian father and a Quebecer mother. I'm trilingual and proud of my heritage on both sides. My parents sent me to an anglophone school.

    I was raised in a french speaking sector, I can tell you I've seen both sides of the medal properly.

    Most the anglophones have francophobia. You assume that any french speaking person is a separatists, that they are "stupid" and support the PQ and the Bloque and that every "Quebecois" is racist (english is not a race).

    French is part of this province, and it's here to stay, it's not going anywhere despite all the fuss you'll give it. L'office de la langue francaise was established for a reason and I believe it has it's place, but what they are going after, I'll have to agree with you, is a waste of time, money and overall resources. It's purpose is not to abolish English, it's to prioritize french. Meaning if you want any other language, make sure french is there too.

    My mother and my girlfriend are "Quebecoise de souche" and both speak perfect English. In fact, my mother has been working at an English school for more than 15 years. Despite being "stupid", as you claim, they both want to conserve the french language and their roots in this province.

    I'm a proud anglophone born and raised from an Italian and a "Quebecoise", so stop being so ignorant because you're exactly what you're accusing the "Quebecois" of being. Stupid.
    1. ap posted on 02/20/2013 02:31 PM
      @Funny You went to an anglophone school and your mother is working at an english school, I think you have more french in you than what you might think... And when you say that most anglophones have francophobia, then as a Quebecoise most must be anglophobia.
      Conclusion I suspect your Italian father was not in the picture. If he was in your life there wouldn't have been a OLF.
    2. KR posted on 02/20/2013 02:54 PM
      @Funny Wow...seriously, there should be more comments like this. People like you should speak up more often.
  22. Tim posted on 02/20/2013 11:15 AM
    A move to english Canada is looking better and better, enough is enough, you can only suppress people for so long, call the moving company...
  23. rosato1954 posted on 02/20/2013 11:20 AM
    This is the reason most Head Offices are in Toronto and so many Montrealers have moved there. Such stupid actions have turned most etnics to English
  24. Rob posted on 02/20/2013 11:20 AM
    This is what happens when you put fools in position of power. No common sense.
  25. Seven posted on 02/20/2013 11:38 AM
    Remember everyone - *Your* HARD EARNED tax dollars are paying for this insanity.

    First there were the Language police - now we have PASTA POLICE.

    We are becoming the laughing stock of the civilized (sic) world.

    Quebec - society of hatred, intolerance and discrimination.

    Practice civil disobedience - Gandhi was right.
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