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Language law makes it impossible for non-Quebecois to find work in the province

by admin October 26, 2010

Language law makes it impossible for non-Quebecois to find work in the province

by admin October 26, 2010

There’s a bakery in Westmount with exposed brick walls and warm danishes in glass cases, luring its customers inside with the smell of rising bread. It sounds like working there would be a pretty desirable job, doesn’t it? Well, that job can’t be yours if you don’t speak French.

I applied at this quaint bakery a few weeks ago, and after a game of phone tag, I finally reached the owner of the establishment. I was quickly informed that the bakery was recently fined under Bill 101 for having some employees who spoke only English and that it would be impossible for me to work there unless I spoke French.

This is Westmount, mind you. This is Montreal’s wealthy anglophone area and I figured this, if anywhere, would be the place where I could find a job where language barriers wouldn’t be as much an issue. Apparently I was wrong.

The employees who knew little French had to be let go, thanks to the bill that perpetuates a divide between English and French Canadians.

This raises the question: who are we protecting here?

While article five of the Charter of the French Language does state the “right of consumers to be informed and served in French,” the deterrent for English speakers comes as a blow of discrimination.

As much as I would love it if French had come pouring out of my mouth the instant I landed in Quebec, that is just not the case. Anyone coming from Western Canada can probably relate to my pain and the frustration that ensues when people don’t understand that French is not a part of daily life there.

The fact of the matter is, though, I am still a student, I am still a Canadian and I still need a job.

How else am I supposed to eat and possibly buy a lovely danish or two?

While Bill 101 was implemented to safeguard the French language in Quebec, it has now become a ravaging wildfire, taking out anything remotely anglo in its wake.

It was revealed earlier this month that the South Shore’s Riverside School Board spending $5,000 on new keyboards to comply with the French laws, even going so far as covering up “shift” and “delete” keys on laptops. In order for English school boards in Quebec to operate in English as well as French they must obtain a “francization” certificate, forcing taxpayers to continue funding frivolous spending in compliance with demands of language officers that some have referred to as “tyrannical” and “Kafkaesque.”

As for deterring employers from hiring anglophones by fining them, it seems to me that gross human rights issues are being violated.

Even the United Nation’s Human Rights Committee deemed the bill as a violation of its charter of rights and freedoms, stating that “a state may choose one or more official languages, but it may not exclude outside the spheres of public life, the freedom to express oneself in a certain language.”

I guess that until French lessons kick in and I am able to say “une p’tisserie, s’il vous plait” with the proper accent I will just have to stand outside the bakery and admire the rows of warm scones from afar. And probably live on boxes of KD.

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There’s a bakery in Westmount with exposed brick walls and warm danishes in glass cases, luring its customers inside with the smell of rising bread. It sounds like working there would be a pretty desirable job, doesn’t it? Well, that job can’t be yours if you don’t speak French.

I applied at this quaint bakery a few weeks ago, and after a game of phone tag, I finally reached the owner of the establishment. I was quickly informed that the bakery was recently fined under Bill 101 for having some employees who spoke only English and that it would be impossible for me to work there unless I spoke French.

This is Westmount, mind you. This is Montreal’s wealthy anglophone area and I figured this, if anywhere, would be the place where I could find a job where language barriers wouldn’t be as much an issue. Apparently I was wrong.

The employees who knew little French had to be let go, thanks to the bill that perpetuates a divide between English and French Canadians.

This raises the question: who are we protecting here?

While article five of the Charter of the French Language does state the “right of consumers to be informed and served in French,” the deterrent for English speakers comes as a blow of discrimination.

As much as I would love it if French had come pouring out of my mouth the instant I landed in Quebec, that is just not the case. Anyone coming from Western Canada can probably relate to my pain and the frustration that ensues when people don’t understand that French is not a part of daily life there.

The fact of the matter is, though, I am still a student, I am still a Canadian and I still need a job.

How else am I supposed to eat and possibly buy a lovely danish or two?

While Bill 101 was implemented to safeguard the French language in Quebec, it has now become a ravaging wildfire, taking out anything remotely anglo in its wake.

It was revealed earlier this month that the South Shore’s Riverside School Board spending $5,000 on new keyboards to comply with the French laws, even going so far as covering up “shift” and “delete” keys on laptops. In order for English school boards in Quebec to operate in English as well as French they must obtain a “francization” certificate, forcing taxpayers to continue funding frivolous spending in compliance with demands of language officers that some have referred to as “tyrannical” and “Kafkaesque.”

As for deterring employers from hiring anglophones by fining them, it seems to me that gross human rights issues are being violated.

Even the United Nation’s Human Rights Committee deemed the bill as a violation of its charter of rights and freedoms, stating that “a state may choose one or more official languages, but it may not exclude outside the spheres of public life, the freedom to express oneself in a certain language.”

I guess that until French lessons kick in and I am able to say “une p’tisserie, s’il vous plait” with the proper accent I will just have to stand outside the bakery and admire the rows of warm scones from afar. And probably live on boxes of KD.

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