December 6, 2017

Speaking of government-compelled speech for shopkeepers...

... and I've been speaking about it a lot in my long "live-blog" of my reading of the oral argument transcript in the Masterpiece Cake case (where a bakery store was forced to "speak" via wedding cake)...

... in Quebec, the legislature has passed a resolution — 111 votes to 0 — to require shopkeepers to greet customers with "Bonjour" — "bonjour" and only "bonjour," not "bonjour hi," which is, apparently, a popular greeting in the bilingual province.
“It is absurd,” Olivier La Roche, a French-speaking Quebecer who runs the shop said, referring to the resolution. “What are they going to do, come into my shop and arrest me for how I greet people?... I am a proud Quebecer... but we are in a free country and this is business and it comes down to the customer. We should be allowed to greet people how we like.”...

“I’m a French-Canadian bilingual hostess in a restaurant and it’s the first thing I say when I greet customers,” Maude Lussier-Racine, wrote on Twitter. “It’s not irritating, it’s respectful for everyone. Stop trying to make us do what you want and go do something else more important.”

53 comments:

KK Kraska said...

Non mon ami! You're NOT in a free country when the government believes it has authority do demand things like this.

sparrow said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sparrow said...

They've had hate crime laws in Canada for years that have be used against traditional Christians. No real freedom of speech there.

John said...

I seem to recall that Eaton's Department stores, a national chain, had to remove the apostrophe.

Not just in Quebec but im all of Canada.

John Henry

Unknown said...

Quebec has long been like this. Being surrounded by English-speaking provinces/states, the underlying fear is the loss of the French language/culture. This fear is so great that they resort to ever more draconian measures to prevent English from becoming the norm - forcing kids into French-only schools, preventing signage in English, and now mandating how businesses speak to customers.

As Canada is officially bilingual, this strategy has paid dividends. Government employees, particularly at the management and senior management level, are required to be able to fully conduct business in French. Quebecers, despite being a relatively small percentage of the population, make up a disproportionate share of the bureaucracy at the senior levels.

-AP

rhhardin said...

I talked to 2 Quebecers less than an hour ago, who so far are not affected by the law.

dda6ga dda6ga said...

At least they are not required to give a stiff arm salute, Vichy style. Not yet anyway...

Infinite Monkeys said...

It's just a motion, it's not legally binding. But, at least, now the people of Quebec know what kind of people they've elected. If they're happy with this, I hope they get more of it.

rhhardin said...

The story is that a Quebecer in France who orders in French gets replied to in English.

Michael K said...

Canada is useful as it shows us what would happen here if Hillary had been elected.

George M. Spencer said...

My hobby is painting (See tiger at right.)

Let's say a bakery hires me to paint its cakes.

Uncle Sam is going to force me to paint things I don't want to paint?

tcrosse said...

So much for 'Au revoir bye-bye'

Au Revoir Bye Bye

Owen said...

"Quebec has long been like this." Yes: a huge investment across Canada to encourage or require French fluency. Every Federal civil servant above parking lot attendant had to comply: emergency language courses, months of training (sometimes in Quebec to maximize the authenticity and intensity of the exposure but also, purely coincidentally, to enhance the revenue stream to the aggrieved region). The outcome is mostly wasted effort. Quebec chased away a lot of big employers and Toronto happily accepted the migrants.

When you let angry activists, fuzzy-headed romantics and cronies run things, you tend to get these impacted zones of resentment and graft. Quebec and Detroit have something in common. IMHO.

rhhardin said...

I telephoned a record store in Quebec to buy a Claire Pelletier CD long ago and there was a long exchange with the lady speaking French and me speaking English until she realized I wasn't Canadian and probably wouldn't knuckle under.

tds said...

shop staff greeting with "bonjour hi", and customers responding with "hi bonjour" actually sounds pretty cool. Government is weird

Mike in Keller said...

"Stop trying to make us do what you want and go do something else more important.”

Priceless, and important.

Darrell said...

They've arrested shopkeepers with bilingual signs, so I wouldn't put anything past them. They have a corps of brownshirts on the lookout for infractions and to issue fines and shutdown offenders.

Greg said...

Another famous case involved one of Quebec's most famous citizens, Jacques Villeneuve. He opened a restaurant in Montreal and wanted to call it Newtown. The province sued, but last time I was there the Newtown sign was still up.

mockturtle said...

French chauvinism is exceeded only by Quebecois chauvinism.

Bob Boyd said...

But when the customer leaves you can still say, "Adios Motherfucker!"
So there's that.

Hagar said...

"Bonjour" is a kind of formal morning dress coat for men.

MadisonMan said...

I note that the Parti Quebecois-sponsored resolution has no legal teeth. It's rather like Republicans passing doomed-to-be-overturned Abortion Laws.

They can go to their funders now and say "See? See? We're *DOING SOMETHING!!*"

Caligula said...

I suppose a motion-activated recording of "Bonjour!" wouldn't comply, that it must actually be spoken? Even if spoken by a full-size animatronic robot?

Perhaps there's a new job category being born here, a Francophile "Wal-Mart greeter" who does nothing but greet customers with a hearty, "Bonjour!"?

holdfast said...

Quebec is NOT a bilingual province. By law, French is supreme in all places. Since the "Quiet Revolution" of the 1960s there has been a very slow, quite polite, ethnic cleansing of Anglophones and Allophones. This is a deliberate policy of successive Quebec governments - and it's been very good for the economies of Toronto and Calgary. Montreal sort of pretends to be English-friendly to keep the tourists coming, but that produces tension with the political overlords in Quebec City - as we see here.

New Brunswick is actually the most bilingual province - English and French are both spoken and respected.

Quaestor said...

I must be going deaf. The word is spelled B-O-N-J-O-U-R, but it sounds like H-E-I-L H-I-T-L-E-R.

Rob said...

Further to what Infinite Monkeys wrote, this is a resolution. It encourages the use of “bonjour” and not “bonjour hi,” but it does not require it.

AlbertAnonymous said...

But But But Trump is a Nazi and all the Libs are gonna run away to Canada...

Now what?

Oh that's right, they probably like this kind of government control when its run by the left.

Unknown said...

"Every Federal civil servant above parking lot attendant had to comply: emergency language courses, months of training (sometimes in Quebec to maximize the authenticity and intensity of the exposure but also, purely coincidentally, to enhance the revenue stream to the aggrieved region)."

The cost of this cannot be understated. Pretty much everyone I know in the federal government has undertaken 6 months to 1 year of full-time French language training, while still drawing a full salary (generally $100K+). Despite the fact that every employee in those departments can speak English, the mandate is that if a Francophone employee requests business be conducted in French, management must comply and be capable of using only French.

In the real world, this would be considered insanity. In the Canadian government, its the norm.

-AP

Rick said...

Since the "Quiet Revolution" of the 1960s there has been a very slow, quite polite, ethnic cleansing of Anglophones and Allophones.

I'm not sure how polite that is. I used to work for a company with Canadian operations and we had all kinds of problems between our Quebec ops manager and the company ops manager who was an anglophone Canadian.

Seeing Red said...

Canada should have let them secede when it had the Bon chance.

tcrosse said...

David Steinberg used to speak of his Grandfather's dream of a Yiddish-speaking Canada.

Yancey Ward said...

Vous prononcerez les mots que vos supérieurs vous diront de parler.

Owen said...

The fact that this resolution by the Quebec legislature is non-binding is somehow to me symbolic of the larger insanity: the legislators are consumed by a politics of resentment, prioritizing it over any real agenda (do they even have one?), but cannot or will not try to produce more than spiteful and preening gestures.

This is the problem in miniature of Quebec and any other system captured by idiots: they can't fix the real situation (a sluggish economy, a declining relevance) so they dramatize something of no real consequence.

john said...

It seems time to fart in the general direction of Quebec.

mockturtle said...

It seems time to fart in the general direction of Quebec.

But the fart must be en française

tim in vermont said...

I like Montreal and the shopkeepers are aces in my book.

exiledonmainstreet said...

mockturtle said...
French chauvinism is exceeded only by Quebecois chauvinism."

12/6/17, 8:59 AM



In France the mandatory greeting will soon be "Salam wa aleikum."

At least they won't have to worry about Franglise any more.

tcrosse said...

Montréal was my mother's ancestral home. My French is awful, but hers was worse.

Tarkwell Robotico said...

Pithy, pithy.

A motion that means nothing and takes 45 minutes to pass.

Meanwhile, the politicians have:

Put Quebec in surplus, lowered taxes and launched massive infrastructure projects.

Quebec's unemployment is the lowest it has been in 40 years and many industrial sectors cannot hire for lack of available workers.

Folks should remove their heads from their ideological arses or else they will end up with a frenzy of right-wing politicians who talk tough on finances but continue to plunge their country deeper and deeper into debt.

Ah, but you can sooth yourselves with that South Park tune, "Blame Canada" - cancel free trade with those evil northerners and suddenly the government coffers will overflow with milk and honey.



RichardJohnson said...

My brother and his wife have, over the decades, made a number of trips to Quebec.Their impression is that Quebec has more English speakers today than it had in the 80s. At least they haven't gotten the "no speak English"- or its French equivalent- response as much in recent years.

I met a Canadian from Quebec - Quebecker or Quebequois?- when I was a tourist in Ecuador. He had the gall to correct my proficient to fluent Spanish. My reply was that in the context, subjunctive mode was the proper one to use, and as such my Spanish needed no correcting. The next day, he had a problem in the market. He assumed that an Ecuadorian girl- whom he had just met- was in love with him. The violent response from her Ecuadorian boyfriend told him otherwise. Sexual harassment with an international flavor. That French Canadian had a touch of arrogance- not unlike many French from France I have known.

Because of him, I pronounce Quebec as Kebeck, not as Kwebeck.

Where I grew up in New England, there were a number of locals with roots in Quebec. They had no problem speaking English.

Angel-Dyne said...

"Stop trying to make us do what you want and go do something else more important.”

Ah, but madame, what could be more important than making you do what they want?

That's the whole point of the exercise, their raison-d'être.

I'm afraid the only way to get rid of such pests is to get the tumbrils rolling.

Angel-Dyne said...

But you can never get rid of them permanently.

holdfast said...

@Rick - Compared to ethnic cleansing in places like Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, it's pretty darned polite.

The requirement to speak French also causes the Canadian military to lose a lot of high quality officers and senior NCOs who cannot make the bilingual requirement for further promotion. A huge waste of talent.

Plus of course the insanely privileged position enjoyed by the Vandoos infantry regiment - an undisciplined bunch of drunks, whoremongers and cowards still coasting on their rep from WW II (you know, back when that "Quebec" regiment was mostly manned by Anglophones).

Gospace said...

And people who oppose English only for official U.S. government documents, elections, ballots and such absolutely approve of French only in Quebec enforced on non-government actors.

Jay Elink said...

Next thing, the "authorities" will be requiring people to use the pronouns and adjectives that LGBTQUERTY "community" demand they use.....

Oh wait---in California, some asshole legislator has proposed just that.

Talk about "compelled speech"!

Richard Dolan said...

Compelled speech cases are hard when they present a stark conflict between liberty and equality. That's the basic issue in the Masterpiece Cake case, and from all accounts liberty seems to be edging out equality on that one. In this Canadian case, there is nothing in the scale to weigh against the liberty interest, and so it's not hard at all (at least if you accept personal liberty as an important value). Cultural or linguistic chauvinism is all that seems to be in play.

BTW, is anyone else having issues with Blogger -- lots of comments have been getting lost supposedly because of 'conflicting edits.'

Michael K said...

"BTW, is anyone else having issues with Blogger "
The last two or three days.

exiledonmainstreet said...

sparrow said...
They've had hate crime laws in Canada for years that have be used against traditional Christians. No real freedom of speech there.

12/6/17, 8:18 AM

Last week, Tucker Carlson had a Canadian journalist on his show to discuss a proposal to make Canadian teachers address LGBTQDDPPXYZ students by the proper pronoun, The Canuck was as PC as can be, and contrasted his country's wonderful tolerance and respect for diversity with us close-minded Yanks.

His station suspended him just for appearing on Fox. He was going to make a return appearance on Carlson's show but cancelled at the last minute, undoubtedly fearful that he'd get canned for good by his oh-so-tolerant fellow Canucks if he sinned again.

No, they do not have freedom of speech in Canada. But they make up for it by feeling enlightened and superior to us primitives south of the border. If virtue-signaling caused global warming, we'd be able to sunbathe in Newfoundland in January.

Unknown said...

Jay Elink, you are behind the times: it's already a crime in california to not call someone by their preferred "Gender pronoun". It only applies to nursing homes right now, but that won't last long.

--Vance

Jay Elink said...

Vance, I didn't realize they had actually passed that law.

In any case, it's just the camel's nose under the tent.

I wonder what Ms. AA thinks of this, especially in view of the baker case.

J Melcher said...

What does Jordan Peterson say about this?

Kevin said...

Is this a win for the anti-discrimination side, or the pro-discrimination side?

The fact that outside of our own context we can't tell exposes the question as a fallacy.

Roy Jacobsen said...

It seems time to fart in the general direction of Quebec.

But the fart must be en française


Paging Joseph Pujol . . .