I should give fair play to Jamie Orchard. My last post about her blog was unflattering. But her latest post, about the whole McKibbin’s language-police debacle, is much more interesting:
The OLF insists that all the owner has to do is write back and explain that the signs are artifacts. In fact, when the OLF saw our TV footage of the signs, they said right away the case could be solved easily – here’s the quote from Gerald Paquette:
There are many Irish pubs in Quebec that have these kinds of artifacts and they have all asked for an exception.”
We told this to the owner of the pub on Thursday, and he seemed relieved. But then, on Friday, the co-owner of the pub was on talk radio insisting that he would have to go to court to fight this, making a big show of inviting the premier to his pub to look at the signs, insisting he would refuse to pay the fine. He was getting all the sympathy in the world from the host, from the callers, from everyone, and never once did he mention it could all be solved with a simple letter.
I like this post (especially compared to the previous one) for two reasons:
- It’s a simple, rational, thought-out opinion rather than an uninformed reactionary “stupid OLF” rant
- It brings some new information to the table (Global’s conversation with the bar’s owner) that is perfectly placed in a journalist’s blog.
I’m not going to leave the OLF (actually the OQLF) off the hook entirely, since they did, in fact, bring up these signs in their complaint (which was from a customer who said he wasn’t served in French and an outdoor menu was in English only).
But it’s clear the media (and I have to include myself here, since I edited the big article in Friday’s Gazette about it) played up the signs and outrage campaign while burying the other complaints and the comments from the OQLF that they could easily get an exemption. (Second-day stories are pointing these things out, but that wouldn’t have been necessary if they weren’t buried in the first place.)
And McKibbin’s owners are clearly using this as an excuse to launch an anti-OQLF publicity campaign to boost anglo business and line their pockets with outrage money (or just get their name in the news). They’ve already got a Facebook group. And another. And another. And another. And another.
Elsewhere in the blogosphere:
UPDATE (Feb. 27): A video on YouTube shows the original letter from the OQLF to McKibbin’s, which clearly is much more about the posters than the office later suggested to reporters. Also plenty of discussion on some franco forums.