- The CAQ may soon decide to ban "bonjour-hi" in small businesses and crown corporations in Quebec.
- The discussions were re-opened after some pointed questions by the Parti-Québecois.
The fight to potentially ban "bonjour-hi" as a greeting in Quebec reached a new height today after Simon Jolin-Barrette, Minister Responsible for the French Language declared that the government is considering the possibility of legislating merchants to greet their customers only in French.
UPDATE: TVA reports that the CAQ government is now rejecting the idea of passing legislation to ban the Montreal greeting. More details to come.
EARLIER: Two motions toward legislating a unilingual greeting were unanimously adopted in the National Assembly, according to Le Devoir. Minister Barrette feels that the CAQ will take action and table a bill towards legislation in the next few months.
When asked how the government would police such a law, the Minister said that the CAQ is looking at all possibilities. He assured people that they would not have a "language police" as some might fear. The Parti Quebecois has long pressured the CAQ to expand the scope of Bill 101 to include business below 49 employees and to also include a mandate of this nature.
According to CBC News, Barrette insists that people want to be greeted in French only in Quebec and hopes to completely eliminate the bilingual "bonjour-hi" greeting. He's setting his sights not only on crown corporations like the SAQ but also on commercially owned businesses.
In April, a Le Devoir report claimed that many young Francophones are indifferent to the "bonjour-hi" greeting.
Despite that, the 2016 census indicates that the proportion of 18-34-year-olds in the province is still outweighed by the older generation. Of people aged 55 and older, 53% felt "negative feelings" about being greeted by "bonjour-hi".
The CAQ will proceed with legislation should the mandate gain more steam in the National Assembly. Previous motions, though not legally binding, stirred up a ton of controversy in 2017.
Aujourd'hui, j'ai annoncé un investissement majeur de 70,3 millions de dollars pour la francisation des immigrants.… https://t.co/EaE6YXaTge— Simon Jolin-Barrette (@Simon Jolin-Barrette) 1562349710.0
Translation: Today, I announced a major investment of $70.3 million for the francization of immigrants. French is an essential element for the successful integration of all immigrants.
Some might also remember the infamous "pastagate" incident in 2013, where the OQLF targeted Buonanotte Restaurant (since closed) for having the word "pasta" on its menu.
The incident made international headlines and the OQLF was ridiculed until they dropped the matter.
According to Le Devoir, though members of other parties supported the motion, the Liberal leader said that her party would not comment on the CAQ's intention to ban the bilingual greeting in Quebec stores.
Minister Barrette made headlines recently as the man who spearheaded Quebec's controversial Bill 21, which prohibits all public servants from wearing visible religious symbols. Some Federal leaders have called the bill divisive and discriminatory.
Recently named French Language Minister by Francois Legault, Barrette has wasted no time pouring into his new duties.
It was unclear whether or not the CAQ would outright ban the use of "bonjour-hi," as Barrette was cagey on the issue, saying that anything is possible.
There won't be language police, that much is certain, but many are understandably worried about what the consequences of such legislation would be if it passes the National Assembly.
Stay tuned for more updates on this developing story right here on MTL Blog!