Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Use pennies to pay Montreal parking meter

Got lots of pennies in the cup holder of your car and are too embarassed to use them at the Harvey's drive-through?

No problem. Dump those useless one-cent pieces in Montreal parking meters (the ones without the dial). I ran out of real coins and tried the neglected penny. It worked!

Sure, it will take 100 times longer than slipping in a loonie. But what else are you going to do with those useless pennies?

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Esso uses English trademark, world ends

Esso is re-naming all their gaz station convenience stores in Quebec using the name "On the Run". The first store to get the English name is on Rockland Rd. in TMR.

According to CTV News, the taxpayer-funded Quebec language office (OQLF) has received a dozen complaints about the name of the store, which opened only a few weeks ago.

According to Quebec's restrictive language laws, French must be twice the size of English on commercial signs -- unless the sign has a trademark, like McDonald's, Canadian Tire, or On the Run.

CTV reports that
[a]lthough the OLF can't take any legal action against Esso, it still plans to pressure the company to reconsider its decision. If Esso doesn't back down, the OLF says it will face a backlash from French consumers and that would be bad for business.
I like the veiled threat. "Hey, if we can't fine you, and we can't convince you nicely, there will be a 'backlash'. Hey, we're not saying we're going to start the backlash. We've just giving some friendly advice. Capish?"

Maybe I'm being too harsh on the Quebec government funded language police. After all, OQLF spokesperson Gerald Paquette is quite reasonable when he says: "If you want to keep your English expressions, why not add a French version?"

This is, indeed, a pretty reasonable position. So, I challenge the OQLF to extend that same reasonableness in the other direction. When their language inspectors see a French-only commercial sign, it should say to the owner, "You can keep your French expression, but why not add an English one too?"


Monday, January 01, 2007

60 Minutes report on Quebec language laws

On February 8, 1998, the CBS news program 60 Minutes reported on Quebec language laws. It did a fine job of ridiculing the ridiculous parts of the law.

The report is described this way on the 60 Minutes website:
As the Canadian [p]rovince of Quebec moves toward a French-language-only policy, critics charge the provincial government with "genteel ethnic cleansing" because the policy seems to be driving English-speaking people out. Morley Safer reports. Steven Reiner is the producer.
Here is the report as it aired in 1998 or click the play button below.



Welcome to 2007

Happy 2007, everyone. For a healthy and happy new year, eat lots of fish, take your vitamins, drink Metamucil and visit this blog every few days.

Here are some links to bring in 2007:
MSNBC 2006 year in pictures

How to make and keep New Year's resolutions

2006 Year-End Google Zeitgeist

How to fix/clean your computer

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