Make Your Own Bill 101

with 431 comments

So you think you know a better way of protecting the French language in Québec? You’ve figured out how to balance the rights of 7 million French-speakers gasping for air in a sea of more than 300 million English-speakers while respecting the rights of a historical English-speaking minority, natives and newly arrived immigrants? You’ve figured out the precise spot where one person’s right end and another’s freedom begins?

Do it!

Today AngryFrenchGuy introduces Make Your Own Bill 101, a fully public Wiki where Purzédurzs and Angryphones can work together, hand in hand, to create a better language law for Québec.

If my past attempts at fixing bill 101 are any indication, you bitches only enjoy whining and you don’t have many actual alternatives offer.  But I’m giving it another shot anyway.

MYOB101 begins with the Charter of the French Language as it stands on March 31st 2009. In the spirit of Wikipedia, Make your Own Bill 101 makes the French Language Charter Open Source. Anyone can change it, tweak it, fix it, add rules and remove rules. It was inspired by, a make-your-own-language-law wiki created by Hywel Williams, member of the British House of Commons to design a language law for Wales.

To get things started, I’ve already made a few changes to the law myself.

1.  From now on, a minimum of three complaints against a business or commerce will be required before the Office Québécois de la Langue Française can begin an investigation and potentially issue a fine.

2.  To discourage vigilantes, persons filing complaints with the OQLF shall provide proof that they live, work or own property in the same postal code, or in a postal code adjacent, to the business against which the complaint has been filed.

3. Businesses will no longer be required to have a French name.  That is silly and useless.  (English-only names are cheesy, tacky, and unimaginative.  But we can’t start having laws against that…)

4.  fines for repeat offender will be tougher.

You have a better idea?  Please be my gest.

Written by angryfrenchguy

April 6, 2009 at 2:32 pm

431 Responses

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  1. That’s actually an awesome idea.


    April 24, 2009 at 6:17 pm

  2. …and geographically is hard to spell.


    April 24, 2009 at 6:18 pm

  3. Even if California Anglos wanted to set up a Spanish-language public school system, they couldn’t do so.

    I’ve said it here before, but I cannot stress enough that a hypothetical separate public school system anywhere in this country primarily for Hispanics where Spanish would be the primary language of instruction would be illegal under federal law because it would promote segregation. The only way Hispanics in the American Southwest (or anywhere else) could obtain such a school system would be for them to secede from the Union. Such a project (reversal of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo) is supported by a tiny group of Hispanics here.

    All this notwithstanding, there are plenty of people here—not just in the Southwest—who complain like hell that we are giving too many (expensive)concessions to Spanish; this includes people who are offended by seeing the doors to their favorite store marked “Entrada” and “Salida.”


    April 24, 2009 at 6:25 pm

  4. “I’ve said it here before, but I cannot stress enough that a hypothetical separate public school system anywhere in this country primarily for Hispanics where Spanish would be the primary language of instruction would be illegal under federal law because it would promote segregation.”

    I know that’s not what YOU are saying littlerob, but you can understand that I’m losing patience with pontificating Americans who come here and say that, then add: “But you, the French, must provide English-speaking people with their own school system because an education in English is a human right.”


    April 24, 2009 at 6:36 pm

  5. That’s not quite right. A publically funded Spanish-only school could happen so long as it did not exclude anybody who wanted to attend.

    Anglos in California couldn’t use the school as a dumping ground, obviously, but why would they want to prevent new immigrants from learning English the same way francos (for the most part) would prefer anglos in Quebec to learn French?

    I’m just saying theoretically its possible.


    April 24, 2009 at 6:59 pm

  6. Ok, I’ll bite…

    And I’m not quite sure what Edward is trying to say either.

    Immigration is a big topic in America right now and I keep seeing the stat that latinos comprised 5% of the US population in 1972 as opposed to a larger number today.

    I’d love to see the breakdown in that number. Remember, that would have included Puerto Picans (perfectly free to have Spanish only on the island) and Cuban refugees.

    So of the remaining, how many latinos are you really going to try to convince me really spoke Spanish only after being in the US since the US-Mexican war. C’mon now.

    The vast majority of Spanish speakers came from another country as opposed to anglo-Canadians who live in CANADA, a professed bilingual country.

    Ok, so you think their full of shit. Fine, then GTFO.

    But until then, I can perfectly understand an anglo asserting their right to an English education. They don’t want to assimilated any more than you do.


    April 24, 2009 at 7:14 pm

  7. I hope you all have day jobs…and if you do perhaps you should spend more time at that than on this blog. Your employers might be quite annoyed!

    Why not repeal 101 entirely…and see what transpires after the fact. ( We all know that will likely never happen).

    Let the french language stand on its own merits and see if it has continuity without laws to “enforce” its presence both in Quebec and in the ROC.

    Or, is it some are afraid it will not continue in North America without enforcement. It would appear by statistics that the language is diminishing even with 101 and the failed OLA in Canada.

    As with many things, if something cannot stand on its own merit it will likely wane and fade out of existence.

    Of course, the answer may be for Quebec to separate from Canada and become an island of French in a mainland of english ( and espangol from the numbers) Would that provide continuance of the language?

    The double defined system we are presently persuing is not likely to be an option going forward for much longer.

    I am quite tired of flying on a Canadian Airline (crown) out of the US with silly pre-recorded messages being played for and audience of zero in another attempt to define this country as being bilingual. How pathetic.


    April 24, 2009 at 8:05 pm

  8. courts , particularly activist courts, often heave large heavy objects into the machinery – albeit, with the best of intentions.

    i have heard arguments that suggest the laws passed by congress, challenged and then upheld in the us supreme court have broached the us constitution – namely the right to associate freely.

    i recently read where the governor of texas, rick perry, sent an official notice from the state legislature up to washington reminding the new administration that texas joined and was accepted with the knowledge that they could withdraw from the union. something about the feds walking heavily on the state of texas and clearly defined/non-defined powers that are held alone by each of the 50 states.

    sound familiar?


    April 24, 2009 at 8:25 pm

  9. abp,

    i got a day job and if it isn’t work-related – it doesn’t get up on the screen. the one time this ethic went off the rails was 9/11.


    April 24, 2009 at 8:36 pm

  10. Good, hope you paying taxes


    April 24, 2009 at 9:06 pm

  11. no choice – source deductions. way too much.


    April 24, 2009 at 9:34 pm

  12. 1. Québec’s separate but equal system is wrong.
    — my sentiments exactly.

    2. Québec should have one system, like in the states.
    — no. Quebec could have one two or ten systems if it chooses but regardless of how many systems it has it should assure that adequate French education is received in all systems.

    3. But anglos should have Freedom of choice.
    — as should francos, allos, and bozos like me. This is the crux of the argument here. IT IS FINE TO HAVE MORE THAN ONE SYSTEM BUT NOT TO RESTRICT WHICH SYSTEM PEOPLE CAN USE ON THE BASIS OF ANYTHING OTHER THAN MERIT (e.g., accelerated track)

    4. So québec should provide them with a second English school system if it’s what they wish.

    5. But a separate but equal system is wrong

    6. So Québec should have one system like in the states…


    April 24, 2009 at 10:23 pm

  13. I think we can all agree on that…


    April 24, 2009 at 10:28 pm


    My issue is with the existence of the English school board. I think it is bullsh*t to have a separate but equal system just for Anglos in a province where French is the official language. BUT for some reason you guys generously provide it only to a limited segment of the population. This is not the way public services should work.


    April 24, 2009 at 10:33 pm

  15. that’s not difficult edward – it’s funny because there does not seem to be any evidence that it is working to anyone’s satisfaction. the good news is that we learn from our mistakes.

    and that can be celebrated sooner than later if it turns out that our society is the quick-learning type.

    i cringe at the thought of the amount of energy that has disappeared into this language “pit” over the years – when choice would allow for the possibility of that energy to be directed into positive and fulfilling pursuits.


    April 24, 2009 at 11:07 pm

  16. I don’t advocate two school systems, but neither do I oppose it. I only say that IF you offer two systems then offer them to everyone.

    Here in Quebec there is evidently some worry about French disappearing, so that restricts the options a bit. You can:
    1. only offer a French system for everyone.
    2. permit multiple systems but make sure even in schools where kids read Shakespeare instead of Molière, that these kids know French well enough to integrate perfectly into Francophone society.

    Here’s what you should not do:
    1. Make two systems, one of which serves and perpetuates hopeless Anglos who can’t be bothered to integrate into French speaking society.
    2. Ban people from that egregious English school system that you are tolerating, because sending kids there threatens the future of French in the province.


    April 24, 2009 at 11:15 pm

  17. I guess bill 101 proves at the very least that this place is willing to try very creative measures to bring about what one hopes will be positive change.


    April 24, 2009 at 11:18 pm

  18. What about the Montreal Air Canada passengers from Paris returning in their country (?), being serve in english only by people unable to say merci? What about the personnal of Montreal airport considering french like a alien language and quebecois like illegal immigrants? ABP, have you ever heard about respect?


    April 24, 2009 at 11:21 pm

  19. “I hope you all have day jobs…and if you do perhaps you should spend more time at that than on this blog. Your employers might be quite annoyed!”

    I’m self-employed, but I have been thinking seriously lately about laying myself off as my performance has been slacking.


    April 24, 2009 at 11:23 pm

  20. roger,

    nobody knows that percentage – there are so many illegal immigrants stateside that estimates (they’re guessing) are the best numbers available. and we think we have problems here.

    the one thing i am sure of, concerning that problem, is that they go “el norte / estados” for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – one of the few places on this planet where that is possible.


    April 24, 2009 at 11:34 pm

  21. Well, I wasn’t referring to illegal immigrants but the number of latinos in 1972 who never integrated in over 100 years. Illegal migration really began in large numbers in the 1980s.

    But I agree that they don’t come to the US to conquer or perfect their Spanish. They come to be a part of the United States and all that entails.


    April 24, 2009 at 11:42 pm

  22. jacqsminuit,

    a federal employee working in montreal’s airport who can’t speak french is unqualified for the position – this person lied on their resume – or has a brother, aunt or cousin with too much influence in the bureacracy – or is capable of speaking french but got cut off in traffic on the way to work by somebody who swore at him in french.

    it would merit making a stink right there – but giving a customs agent a hard time after seven hours on an airplane has its own rewards.

    having said that – if some federal airport official gave me a hard time (in french only) after a flight to ottawa – i don’t know if i’d go passive (and speak french) or go aggressive. i probably would end up shouting and you would read about me getting tasered in the newspaper. another language scandal.

    anyway, making contact with assholes is a hazard in life and is small stuff when you think of people who were flying to india on air canada and only made it as far as lockerbie.


    April 25, 2009 at 12:16 am

  23. if it doesn’t work out – i recommend a train trip through the rockies.


    April 25, 2009 at 12:26 am

  24. I am sure most flights to and from the “country” of Quebec have bilingual flight staff…We really don’t need the announcments between Denver and Vancouver as there is not an audience as I said before.

    Perhaps Quebec should get their own airline (Air Quebecois) and designate it uniligually french (joual) so everyone could make a choice. I am sure you could get a subsidy from Ottawa; for such a worthwhile endeavor!

    Now that’s respect, n’est pas.


    April 25, 2009 at 1:08 am

  25. No EI if your self employed mon ami.


    April 25, 2009 at 1:10 am

  26. I have heard West jet have bilingual staff on their flights: if they can do it and this is their choice, i don’t know why Air Canada can’t. Also ABP, is it so painfull to hear some french on a plane? Many airline in the world have more than a language on their flight, depending where they operate. Do you tolerate earing french when you visit your daughter in Montreal? Or you become sick and search your earplugs…I’m sure you are not that kind of intolerant guy, that is surely the perequation thing that obscess you..


    April 25, 2009 at 1:53 am

  27. that be true – but there’s nothing stopping anyone from spending their own money. do you think edward will tell us how much money he has stashed away in that piggy bank of his that is an authentic 1:16 scale replica model of fort knox?


    April 25, 2009 at 1:56 am

  28. I think that the chances that such a school system would pass constitutional muster are zero, not to mention the fact that the idea has no support among either Anglos or Hispanics.


    April 25, 2009 at 5:42 am

  29. My point is that the laws and traditions of the US and Canada/Québec are totally different on this issue, and that comparisons between them don’t work very well. A lot of us here don’t even get the idea that a neighboring federal government could countenance two different public school systems in two different languages, because such a thing would be unheard of here.

    The American Southwest and Canada/Québec have a good bit in common in that they are both areas where cultures overlap, but when it comes to schools, the traditions are totally different.

    I guess that the simple way to explain what you are trying to get across is, “If you come from Mexico to California, by law your kids lose their right to free education in Spanish. If you come from New York to Québec, by law your kids lose their right to free education in English. C’est la guerre.”


    April 25, 2009 at 6:05 am

  30. I thought I had stashed away a little bit until I was informed that Quebec taxes my wife, who works in NY, on her US income even though she is neither citizen nor landed immigrant here. Her only link to Canada and Quebec is that we’re married.

    Tough break, but somebody’s got to pay for duplication of all social services, even if that somebody can’t use them.


    April 25, 2009 at 7:14 am

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