History has a slower pace in Canada’s Quebec Province. Old wounds are often rubbed raw as the shibboleths of long ago, such as Duplessis’ Padlock Law, are repeatedly turned against minorities. And the hounds of l’office Québécois de la langue française are to be loosed on business large and small under an oppressive Bill 96.
In Bill 96, Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms is brushed aside with the use of the ‘Not Withstanding’ clause. If the National Assembly did not know that their proposed law was contrary to the rights and freedoms of Canadians, why else would they use the clause?
Legault’s government in Quebec has its own Gestapo ready pounce on the unwary firm that defies the purity of the French language. Like the “Racial Purity Act” of Germany of 1933, the law in Quebec has its language police who will not only determine who speaks French, and what is correct French and what is the forbidden anglicised French.
You can assume that you no longer can say “Le weekend.” And I guess, “Le hot-dog” is verboten. It is ignored that these terms are common in Parisian French. The Quebec version of French must be locked somewhere in the last 300 years. And, for gosh sake, don’t label your small store in Quebec as “The Olde Shoppe.” Let the tourists figure it out for themselves.
The most invasive part of Bill 96 is the provision of search and seizure, without cause or warrant, by these language police. You can bet a lot of long-standing piques are being satisfied as Bill 96 becomes law in Quebec.
It is not as though the Legault government has not been advised of the draconian nature of the bill. They know that the anglophones and allophones are angry and the politicians are laughing. They know that they will win nothing where the anglophones and allophones reside. They win without those seats. They just want their traditional voters to hang with them. That is all they need.
But they also annoy the rest of us. Canada is a country that wants to be an example to the world of racial and language harmony. People seeking sanctuary, or seeking peace or acceptance can find it here in Canada. Maybe not in Legault’s Quebec. Don’t dare be different there.
Copyright 2022 © Peter Lowry
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