Bill 101 and the English press

Did you hear about the pastagate? A Montréal restaurateur wants to give an exotic experience to his clientèle and uses Italian in his menu. A government representative working for the Office québécois de la langue française sees it as an offense against the state and issues a warning. The PQ government denounces the public servant's gesture, deeming it overzealous, and calls off the warning. End of story?... apparently not.

In Toronto, Canada's National Newspaper writes an editorial on the topic accusing the PQ government of fostering conditions leading to the event. The situation sheds such a ridiculous light on the province's language law, why not take advantage of it?

Apparently, the Canadian readership craves on such anecdotes, in which individuals demonstrate their lack of judgment. Here are a few others that English media deemed newsworthy:
  • 1996: A woman warns the owner of a Quebec pet store she might get in touch with language authorities because Peekaboo, the parrot she wanted to buy, didn't speak French.
  • 1999: The Old Navy chain is asked to rename its stores "La Vieille Rivière." It never happens.
  • 2000: The owner of an Indian restaurant is told he's breaking the law by having coasters for "Double Diamond," a British beer.
  • 2001: Some people express disappointment that race-car driver Jacques Villeneuve calls his restaurant "Newtown."
  • 2005: Language authorities say they will investigate complaints that Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay's party used the word "Go" on its campaign posters and pamphlets, as in "Go Montreal."
  • 2007: Imperial Oil says it will keep its Quebec-only "Marché Express" name for its Esso gas stations after protests against a proposal to change the name to "On the Run," as the stations are known elsewhere in North America.
  • 2007: Language activists decry that callers to many Quebec government offices are told to "press nine" for English before instructions are delivered in French. Some of the departments have since changed the message to put English at the end.
Meanwhile in Ontario, French speaking parents under supervised visits are not allowed to speak to their children in their mother tongue... and no English media sees it fit to cover the story [Google translation].