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.
I think it’s more than a simple letter required to get those idiots off his back, because it’s also been stated that the posters aren’t the only grevance that they have against him. The reporting & commentary on this issue has been unimpressive.
Wow… how did my blog end up here? (linked)
Anyway.. interesting reads and thoughts here. I’m curious to know how this will all pan out.
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I can see that their are some details that Mr.Paquette left out in his interview. We were never told that we could discuss keeping the signs. Rick spoke to Mr.Paquette about the signs on the list and he said that we NEEDED TO PROVE THEIR HISTORICAL AND OR CULTURAL VALUE BY WRITTEN before March 7th. If we could not do that then we needed to translate or remove those signs mentioned and any other sign similar to it. END OF DICUSSION.
If this was about a couple of complaints about my chalkboard and our waitress not using the L’angue D’acceuil, this would have been resolved the very next day. We have been in business for 10 1/2 years and we never got a complaint about service. Do you honestly think that we would react this way if we did’nt feel it neccessary. They wanted ALL our signs translated or face a fine of up to $1500.00. Do the math. Plus the pub in the West Island, which I’m sure they would have gone to next. This was much more than about service! This was about getting the OQLF into the papers before St-Patricks and the elections to get some Bloc Quebecois votes. What they did not expect was a fight, and with so many supporters.
We never wanted this. By the way, the byebyeolf site was not to eliminate the OLF. It was to get them to change their methods of processing the infractions.
Jamie; One more very important fact then I will consider this matter closed. At the meeting with the OQLF, they had pictures of every single sign that was on your TV footage! Mr.Paquette admitted to examining the pictures and even stated on CTV that the GUINNESS AAROW did not conform and would have to come down. NOW IT DOESN’T? What’s going on? They saw all those signs a long time ago. Don’t try and tell me that your TV footage was the first time they saw the signs. That’s the OLF and their 1970’s textbook tactics. Get your head out of the sand.
I like that they found a way to use the government’s blundering against them in the form of public outrage and disgrace. I’d think we’d get more from our elected officials if we all treated our civil servants this way.