Just between us

St. Lazare

St-Lazare’s residents will always be bilingual

The language debate is sparking in St-Lazare. What a despicable pity.

If you call city hall today, this is the message you are greeted with: “Bienvenue a la Ville de St-Lazare. Welcome. To continue in English, please press 4.”

That offends someone. So when you call next week, those eight words, along with the option they provide, will no longer be offered. And somewhere, someone thinks that this will make St-Lazare a better place.

Perhaps the telephone greeting is just part of it. Maybe it’s the town’s municipal magazine, Liaisons, which is published in both French and English that offends. Or, maybe it’s the fact that tax bills mailed to homeowners are bilingual. Maybe it is all of these things. So, in the near future, all of these things will change. Soon, all of this will be in French only.

It’s all because someone complained to the Office québécois de la langue française earlier this year. No one gets to know who this person is or why he or she picked up the phone and made this an issue. This person wanted to point out that the town, which does not have bilingual status, was providing services in both languages to accommodate all its citizens. Now, the town has no choice but to enforce the strict guidelines outlined in the French language charter.

The law is the law. Fine. But this law and how it applies to this little town is wrong. That’s my opinion. St-Lazare is one of the most bilingual towns in the province. It’s one of its strengths. It’s one of its qualities. It’s one of the reasons I decided to live there. It’s one of the reasons more and more people are opting to live there. But St-Lazare is not bilingual because of the town’s administration. It’s bilingual because of the people who live there. And I am optimistic that the people will continue to live in both languages. It will not become more English or more French, but remain a welcoming and open place.

So, yes, I would like to know who filed the complaint to the Office. I would like to meet that person, have a coffee and spend the time so he or she can explain to me why they think  things will be better now. Because I don’t get it.

Brenda O’Farrell


  1. Pingback: St-Lazare to drop English communications | Off Island Gazette

  2. By Allan Bassenden

    St Lazare can fight 1 citizen in court about his burnt house fire and are trying to evict him and his mobile home off his property and they have all ready spent over $25,000.00 so far to try and do this . But they have decided not to spend any money to defend the 8000 + english speaking people in St Lazare agaisnt the olf how nice

  3. Exactly! They could fight the OLF. They could also appeal to Marois or the OLF itself to have complainers identify themselves. We would see the complaints go down by the hundreds then. Just like trolls on the net once the newspaper decided you can’t anonymously comment any more the nasty comments stopped too.

  4. By lily garrant

    we are in a socialist province ,this province promotes hate ,the seperatist came in because they promised pension at 60 and free drug plan ,so the older people voted for them and believing ,the students voted because it would be cheaper ,now maybe they could go to ottawa to finish there school ,if these people could speak a better french ,I am so ashamed ,for my province ,,,,

  5. By D.Starnes

    The town of St.Lazare could easily join the other municipalities in fighting. They obviously chose not to. Apparently my tax dollars are important but me & my family are not important because we are bilingual anglophones. St. Lazare WAS a wonderful place to live… now it’s just another place we are descriminated against. Seriously considering moving to a municipality that actually gives a crap about its English residents, takes pride in being bilingual and doesn’t cave to the extremist minority at the drop of a dime. Our current administration needs to grow a $%#^* backbone. They can rest assured that in the next municipal elections I will NOT be voting for them.

  6. By Cutie003

    The federalist in the province have got to start fighting back against these crazy language bigots. We anglophones and allophones also pay taxes but we are not expected to receive any services in our language of choice. I would love to know if this is really a legal challenge that would be worthwhile fighting because there are many municipalities that face the same problem. Damn them – anything to drive out No votes if quite alright with this mangy bunch of egomaniacs. I hope to God they get some kind of karma from destroying our province and the goodwill between our two founding peoples. Sick lot the bunch of them.

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