OQLF now targeting Plateau bike shop

Posted By: Richard Deschamps · 2/21/2013 12:58:00 PM

A bike shop on the Plateau has become the latest target of Quebec's language police.

Bicycletterie J.R. on Rachel St. has been visited twice by inspectors with the Office Québécois de la Langue Française, which objected to a handful of signs posted in his store.

The offending signs are: one that advertises bike rental rates in English, a cute drawing that depicts a bird saying 'cuida tu carroceria' (watch your bodywork in Spanish), a novelty shop sign that says the same thing, and a couple of other novelty signs in English. One of them says, 'prices subject to change, according to customer's attitude', the other says, 'stupid mistakes are made by others; we only make unavoidable errors.'

All this was too much for an anonymous complainant to the OQLF.

Jaime Rosenbluth is the shop's owner. He's an immigrant from Bolivia who speaks four languages, French, English, Spanish and Portuguese, and serves his customers with ease in each of them. He says in the 25 years he's been in business on Rachel St., he's never had to confront Quebec's language politics, until now.

"They go into my privacy," says Rosenbluth of the manner in which the OQLF inspectors conducted their visit. "They go inside the place, and they're taking pictures of my business, my store, my little things that I have here that are really personal."

Rosenbluth says, he will comply with the OQLF's requests. In doing so, however, he'll take a page from the OQLF's playbook, and use a little masking tape.

"I'm going to put a cover on top of the signs, saying, in French: 'Warning. Non-French poster or sign underneath. Read at your own discretion.'

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