By Robert Frank
The Coalition pour l’avenir du Quebec has come out against giving language police the power to enter a business and seize anything that they deem offends the province’s language charter.
“CAQ will not support any irrational provisions to Bill 14 like the search and seizure measures that it proposes,” Paola Hawa, told The Suburban, soon after returning from the party’s convention in Boucherville last weekend.
“Montreal’s English community has remained here, many of us have sent our children to French schools and we have done everything that we can to support Montreal and Quebec,” said Hawa, who unsuccessfully ran for the CAQ in Jacques Cartier riding during last year’s provincial election.
“We have done all that we can do,” she emphasized.
Hawa also underscored the many legal challenges to Quebec’s restrictive language laws launched by French-speaking parents.
“They want the same access to English schools that we have,” she observed.
Earlier this month, The Suburban reported that delicatessen owner Harry Schick had received yet another infraction notice from the Office québécois de la langue française, after he decided to add Pasta Salad Marois to the fare he offers.
For 36 years, Quebec’s language police have persistently pestered the Pointe Claire entrepreneur for posting a sign saying Welcome in 35 different languages in the window at the entrance of his store.
If Bill 14 passes without amendment, the tongue troopers would henceforth be allowed simply to show up with glass-cutters to remove Schick’s glass panel and seize any other expressions of hospitality that they deem offends Quebec’s language charter.
They will not need prior court authorization to get a warrant before doing so. Likewise, they will also be able to obtain a court judgment against alleged language offenders, without notifying them beforehand of their crime. Bill 101, passed in 1977, has long allowed anyone to make a language complaint anonymously—an unusual measure in the Western world, where most jurisdictions guarantee alleged offenders the right to face their accuser.
“It defies logic, and CAQ will oppose any such provision,” Hawa concluded.
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