At first, I thought it was a nice idea, and it is. But there's one problem...
Notice anything weird about this ad? Just look... LOOK AT IT!!!
It's all in French. Every word.
You need to know French, to read a sign, in order to know you can take free French classes.
Am I the only one who thinks this is insane?
The government actually spent money on an ad that targets an audience who can't read it. That ad might as might as well be about a dating service exclusively for blind people, they're not gonna see it anyways.
I have better way this money can be spent, they can just pay me personally to spread the word about these classes and I'll just stay at home and no nothing. Same result.
But this article isn't just about making fun of the Quebec Government, I actually want to spread the word that these programs exist, because unfortunately a lot of people aren't aware of them for obvious reasons.
So in case you're genuinely interested in these classes or know someone else that could greatly benefit, here's the link (In English) where you can sign up.
Let's take a mot-clic #égoportrait. This November, the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF) is conducting a campaign to get young Quebecers to use French on social media.
The campaign, entitled Partage ton français, targets teens aged 13 to 17 and includes posters offering French alternatives to common Internet lingo like selfie (égoportrait), binge-watching (visionnement en rafale) and newsfeed (fil d'actualité), among other casual terms relating to fashion, sports and video games.
The OQLF has also designed shareable social media stickers on Giphy that encourage students to "Partage ton amour," "Partage ton exploit," "Partage ton humour," "Partage ton œuvre" and "Partage ton escapade."
High school teachers can also find workshops that challenge students to think about the language they use on social media.
Le Marché Fooderie, a kosher market on Avenue du Parc, and Cible Jeu, in Ville Saint-Laurent, both pleaded guilty to violating section 52 of the Charter, which says "Catalogues, brochures, folders, commercial directories and any similar publications must be drawn up in French."
The infractions were specifically related to their websites, and each business was fined $1,500.
Guy LaRue, a notary in Verdun, pleaded guilty for posting public signs in French and another language, with French not being clearly predominant. He was fined $600.
Diebold Nixdorf Canada, which specializes in global banking and retail technologies, was fined $1,500 for violating section 140 of the Charter, meaning it did not submit its "francization program" to the OQLF within six months of receiving a notice about it.
"The francization program is intended to generalize the use of French at all levels of the enterprise," the Charter says.
This article's cover photo was used for illustrative purposes only.
It would create a new "language policy of the State"
The minister of the French language would create a new "language policy of the State" that would apply to government bodies, government departments and municipal bodies.
This policy would lay out rules that government agencies have to follow in terms of whether they can use a language other than French in their communications.
It would also include ways to "control the quality of French used in an agency." And it even includes a section on "vocal music" in a government agency workplace for the "implementation of a French-language environment" that prioritizes Quebec "cultural works."
It would add two new clauses to the Canadian Constitution
The provincial government wants to amend the Canadian Constitution to include two new clauses: one declares Quebec a nation, and one says Quebec's only official language is French.
It could prompt changes to municipalities' bilingual statuses
Bill 96 proposes that municipalities could lose their official bilingual statuses if census data proves that less than 50% of their population considers English their first language.
However, CBC News reported that the government added a loophole allowing municipalities to vote to keep their bilingual status — regardless of demographics — "as long as that vote happens within 120 days of the bill's adoption."
Montreal does not currently have official bilingual status.
In a May 13 statement, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said, "As the only French-speaking metropolis in North America, Montréal will be an ally of Bill 101 and its reform."
It would mean additions to ministries, commissioners and OQLF powers
The government proposed creating "Francisation Québec" within the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration, which would serve as a point of access for people who want to learn French.
It would also open a position for a French-language commissioner who would monitor the progression of the language situation in Quebec.
There would be an early French requirement for new immigrants
The government proposed that all government communication with new immigrants to Quebec will be in French after six months of their arrival.
However, the bill states that "An agency that provides services in a language other than French to immigrants shall, where the volume of the demand for such services by those persons warrants it, give preference to using their mother tongue."
Judges and Members of the National Assembly would not need to be bilingual
The government's bill proposes that provincially-appointed judges need not be bilingual to be appointed, "unless the Minister of Justice and the Minister of the French Language consider that the exercise of that office requires such knowledge and that all reasonable means have been taken to avoid imposing such a requirement."
The bill also says those appointed to the National Assembly do not need to know a language other than French.
Smaller companies — with 25 or more employees — would form "francization committees"
The current Charter of the French Language requires companies with 100 or more employees to form francization committees.
These committees evaluate the state of the French language at the company and report to the management of the company as well as the OQLF.
The new bill would apply this to companies with 25-99 employees as well.
Businesses with non-French trademarks would have "predominantly French" signage
The government wants businesses with registered non-French trademarks to make their signs "predominantly French."
In a press conference last week, Premier François Legault explained that a company like Canadian Tire would have to make the explanation of its business activities, such as "centre de rénovation," larger than its trademarked name on all signage.
It would cap spots at English-language CEGEPs
The Quebec government wants to place a cap on the number of students who can enroll in English CEGEPs, as well as the number of students receiving English-language education in French schools.
As well, the Quebec government will not grant a Diploma of College Studies (DEC) to students living in Quebec who do not have spoken and written knowledge of French as laid out by the minister of higher education.
To evaluate students' knowledge of French, the government is creating a uniform exam for all CEGEP students in Quebec, regardless of their language of instruction.
However, students who have received CEGEP education in English and been declared eligible to receive instruction in English, according to Quebec law, are not required to take that exam to get a DEC.
However, Jolin-Barrette said he doesn't think it would be customers who'd sue companies individually.
He said the OQLF will "accompany" businesses that are the subject of complaints to "bring about a change" and ensure that, going forward, customers are served in French.
A lawyer weighs in
Virginie Bourgeois-Plante of Devichy Lawyers told MTL Blog that it's not yet clear how the law, if passed, could be applied in this context.
"What we have right now is that the OQLF [goes through] the penal court. What that law [does] is it opens the door to civil suits [...] but in the end, the courts might see it differently," she said.
"Often, you put an amount of money on that," Bourgeois-Plante said, but she noted it could be difficult to determine how much customers should be compensated through civil lawsuits in those situations.