After being generally silent on the “Bonjour-Hi” debacle, Quebec’s Minister of Anglophone affairs has finally weighed in on the customer-greeting-controversy.
For those who need a reminder, last week Quebec politicians at the National Assembly voted in favour of a bill encouraging business owners and their employees to drop the “Hi” in “Bonjour-Hi” to make the bilingual greeting all French.
The key word in the bill’s phrasing is “encouraging,” since the piece of legislation doesn’t actually make “Bonjour-Hi” illegal. Really, the bill is only symbolic in nature.
That hasn’t stopped angry calls and complains from flooding the office of Kathleen Weil, Minister of Anglo affairs.
But even though people are pretty miffed about the province’s polemic against “Bonjour-Hi,” Weil says the bill is misunderstood and, for the most part, a good thing.
Speaking to CTV News, Weil said, in her first interview since taking office, that most people getting in touch with her office actually think the provincial government banned all use of “Bonjour-Hi.” Again, that isn’t the case.
Weil also went on to support the motion, explaining why:
“You cannot function in Quebec, we won't be able to keep our young people here if they don't speak French. Everybody understands that” said Weil, adding that French is the predominant language of the province.
Weil also supported the actions of Premiere Philippe Couillard, who was a vocal opponent on the original draft of the “Bonjour > Bonjour-Hi” bill. When first proposed by the Parti Québécois, the motion described “Bonjour-Hi” as an “irritant” because it contained English.
“We would never have supported it if it had been in its original version, but once all that was removed, what was the negative message in it? There was no negative message” said Weil.
Weil also took a moment to criticize the PQ during the interview, calling the incentive behind the bill “petty politics” on the part of Jean-Francois Lisee, leader of the PQ. Weil said the PQ leader only brought the bill forward to “score some points” through his stance on the use of the French language in the province.