From The Gazette

St. Lazare

St-Lazare to drop English communications

St-Lazare residents take note: there likely won’t be any English on your property tax bills next year.

That’s because as of Monday, the town will progressively change the way it communicates with residents in order to comply with the charter of the French Language, following a complaint filed with the Office québécois de la langue française at the beginning of the year.

Town spokesperson Geneviève Hamel said an anonymous complaint was made with the Office about the town’s publications. She doesn’t even know if the complaint was made by a resident of the town.

St-Lazare, which has a majority of French-speaking residents (53.3 per cent), must operate in French. That means all official documents coming from town hall must be in French only, the town said.

“Ville de Saint-Lazare is an officially unilingual French-speaking town and priority must be given to the French language in all its activities,” the town said in a statement.

English-speaking residents make up 36.5 per cent of the town’s population, so the town will be making some exceptions to accommodate the large proportion of English speakers, such as maintaining English translation on its website. However, the town’s Facebook page, its phone switchboard system, and any documents mailed out by the town will have to be in French only.

Hamel said while everything the town mails out to residents will be in French, there will be English translations of nearly every publication. She said all documents eight pages and less will be posted in English on the town’s website, while anything longer than that will be printed out and dropped off at several distribution points, such as the town hall.

St-Lazare Mayor Robert Grimaudo said this isn’t a big change.

“Everybody’s still going to get exactly the same service,” he said. “There will be a fully bilingual website. Nothing is going to change, we’re just going to do it a little differently. How I personally feel about the Office is irrelevant. We have to deal with this issue, and I am not going to spend taxpayer money to battle the Office.”

Hamel said the town won’t send out English translations of French documents by special request, because to do so could be prohibitively expensive, but bilingual versions of the tax forms will be available on the website.

A full list of the changes was detailed by the town in the document below.

To read Brenda O’Farrell’s blog on this topic, click here.

jmagder@montrealgazette.com
Twitter: @OffIslandNews
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20 comments

  1. By Stan the Man

    Hey Anglo St. Lazare residents, keep paying your taxes! The OQLF and your wimpy, coward yellow city council expect nothing less. I wonder what cash strapped community is next on the SS-OQLF’s hit list?

  2. By johnny doe

    Just tell them you don’t understand your tax bills and you cannot pay unless you receive an english version. If enough people claim to have problems then the city will have problems collecting money and will likely backtrack on their stupid stance…
    Quebec is a joke of a province… only here are the people treated like second class citizens because of the language they choose to speak

  3. By martine tiramani

    if the majority is francophone, french is a must but why not bilingualism?pettiness I guess.what next more expensive taxes for anglos?i m sure they thought about it.

  4. By Anthony Kovic

    The Quebecois are just bigots who hate English – and intolerant of anyone else who does not speak their French language. But the fact remains that English is the language if the majority, and francophones are just 2% of the population. In the end they will get what they deserve.

  5. By sad.. sadder.. saddest

    HOW PATHETIC…. I AM AN ALOPHONE WHO HAS LIVED IN THIS PROVINCE FOR 56 YEARS AND SPEAK 4 LANGUAGES……. HOW MANY DO THESE IGNORANT PEOPLE SPEAK. THEY CAN’T EVEN CONVERSE WHEN THEY LEAVE THIS ONCE BEAUTIFUL AND PROMISING PROVINCE.TOO BAD THE MINORITY OF INTELLIGENT FRENCH QUEBECERS ARE NOT IN OFFICE.

  6. What will happen if the city does not comply with the Fascists PQ,are they going to shut the town down….CITY HALL….what COWARDS

  7. By Dave Fisher

    “Ville de Saint-Lazare is an officially unilingual French-speaking town and priority must be given to the French language in all its activities,” the town said in a statement.”

    Translation:
    We are just your typical arrogant, self-centered, ignorant bunch of small-minded, resentful anglophobes who have to show hostility, contempt and disrespect for our English-speaking fellow citizens (and taxpayers!) at every chance we get.

  8. Why doesn’t anyone ever stand up to these cowards? Who was it that complained? Why can’t we know that? Because there are only a handful of old separatists that have nothing better to do then call the OLF and complain, that’s why! And why would Robert Grimaudo bow to them. Cause he doesn’t care about the english in St. Lazare. I won’t vote for him again! Do like the big stores and tell them to get lost. Quebec does not own the web, they can’t tell a town to turn their webpage to french only. Who do they think they are. Fight them!

  9. The town has been very good to the English residents for a long time … but when there’s a complaint to the OQLF, the town needs to respond. Comply, or fight it in court? Court cases are expensive, and there isn’t much chance of success.

    What’s disappointing is that someone felt the need to complain.

  10. By Christine

    Pierre votre commentaire démontre une ignorance incroyable. Saint-Lazare est une ville ou il y an un respect mutuel entre citoyen. Votre commentaire montre un manque de respect vers vos voisins.

  11. Well, the Town’s attempt at translating ANYTHING they published from French to English was a failure, anyway. I don’t know who is (was) contracted to perform this service; the translations are a joke. Grammar, spelling, all of it is laughable. Better to put whatever money they are spending on it towards another, more viable purpose.

  12. I’m sorry Pierre, you are not “taking the power”. You are only oppressing.
    It is wrong in any cirucmstance and only made many,many times worse when
    it is done by a group of people that say they have suffered it.

    There should be a tremdous sense of shame.

  13. By Baz Richards

    As a bilingual resident of St. Lazare I have never seen or encountered any social or linguistic problem between residents. On the contrary, it is a very friendly town where language of choice is respected. These latest divise language issues are a consequence of a government which is less interested in making French an attractive and desireable language to embrace, but more interested in the strong-arm tactics of punishing the use of other languages… As citizens of St. Lazare let’s remain friendly and enjoy the respect of each other; that is the best way to show that the idiocy of language limitation is a fool’s game – it will not work. Ordinary citizens are wiser than political gamesmanship. The person or persons who complained either don’t live here or share the government’s “victimhood” philosophy – get a life!

  14. By Scott Gordon

    Disappointing news. Does this mean that Rosemere (a town that respects its Anglophone citizens) has to go down this path too? Sad.

  15. I just moved her from the states….I fell in love with this little town and was super excitied how bilingual it was! It truely saddens me that it has to come to this. I am currently learning to speak french but things like this turn me off to the learning the language. I thought this was a bilingual country????

  16. These hyphonated french wanna be’s can stomp on the maple leaf flag, & get rid of it from their little legislature well perhaps they can also do without the Canadian dollars too. Buy NOTHING produced or even packaged in quebec. They got to vote to see if they wanted to stay. Well when do we get a vote to see if we want to keep them. As a fellow said on the radio…..Canada’s CANCER!

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