Blue Notes

What have we learned from Pastagate?

  • Now on sale in Pointe-Claire.
    Now on sale in Pointe-Claire.
    Photo credit:

What have we learned from Pastagate? We already knew the language police were a hapless gang of idiots. And we all know Bill 101 is an unjust law. It’s only justification is: “…but we need it”. And most anglos in Quebec understand that. We are willing to live with it if it is applied with some common sense. But when it isn’t, our only hope is the bright light of the media. We have to bring shame and ridicule on them.

Because we have an indifferent government in Ottawa we are not protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights. And because we still live in the nation of Canada, we are not considered a “minority” under the UN charter of rights. So we have no legal recourse. We can be discriminated against by a $25-million-a-year Quebec government department.

And we are.

Our choices are:

1) To leave;

2) To meekly accept;

Or 3) To fight back through demonstrations and/or boycotts.

All of these come up in conversations all the time in anglo circles. Especially when the PQ is in power in Quebec City.

The PQ wants to strengthen Bill 101 so all human rights are secondary to the primacy of the French language. They also want to strip towns of their right to choose to communicate with their citizens in English. They also want to eliminate the right of small businesses to use English in the workplace.

In the next few years it ain’t gonna get any better. We are under attack. So what does a community do in this situation?

There is always sabotage.

It turns out that the language police were actually enforcing the letter of the law. It was only when the story hit the media that the government tried to blame them for excessive zeal.

And these inspections can be investigated because of a complaint from as few as one citizen. And the anonymity of that citizen is protected.

So if all anglos were to fill out the forms on the OQLF website to make a complaint about every possible infraction. The sillier the better. Especially about government institutions. (For instance, is “office” a French word? Should it not be “bureau?”)

It is only by shining the light of the media on the absurdities of this law that we can fight it. We will get no help from anyone else. As we have learned last week, our only tool is the shame and embarrassment of the Quebec government.

Here is an addition to the above blog:

I just found out that comedian Abdul Butt had the idea before me.




  1. By Martin Talbot

    I am more and more ashamed to be a francophone Quebecer. Emancipation of a culture must proceed through living it and promoting it, not by turning on oneself and repressing alterity. I am still shocked I had to fight bill 104 to have my daughter taught both of Canada’s official languages at ECS – because both her parents are francophones. Talk about inbreeding and nearsightedness. There is no future for French in America if Quebec francophones do not start to embrace difference, learn both official languages – one of them being the lingua franca (!) of world business – and stop being paranoid. Isolation got us through from 1763 until the 1960s. It won’t work for the 3rd millennium.

    It is already late. Young francophone teachers barely master French grammar and our schools graduate functional illiterates. I see a very bleak future.

  2. “Especially about government institutions. (For instance, is “office” a French word? Should it not be “bureau?”

    What about L’orifice to la langue francaise?

  3. I completely agree with the message of the article, but I’d like to point out that in french, “office” is a completely legitimate word and does not have the same definition and use as “bureau”. So complaining about it to the departement would only make anglophones sound like idiots who do not know french and hence make it easier for them to target us with their bill.

  4. I too left Quebec, rather than deal with the blatant discrimination. How is it the one culture supersedes another when there are 2 official languages. In the 60′s 74% of Montreal was anglophone and the hub of the country. Major corporations had there head offices there and employed many local people. Yes you needed to speak English in order to communicate both nationally and internationally. One by one they began to leave, mostly to Toronto. You would think that this would have been a grave concern to the French populous, however it is evident that what was most important was their language.
    How sad that a culture cannot see passed there nose despite their face.
    Too bad for all the level headed people who have already recognized that a bilingual Quebec is the best Quebec.

  5. Did you say sabotage? Yes, Occupy OQLF and DoS their site.

    (Please note PQ: I’m not really Anonymous so please don’t track me down!)

  6. By David Keenan

    I know so many Francophones who have left, never mind Anglophones……such a terrible brain drain which has taken Montreal and Quebec from possibly being the most important city/area on the continent to a laughing stock. And the anglos of Quebec need to learn from Franco-Ontarians about standing up for their rights/language’ etc……

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>