Woman ordered by the government to translate the language of her business’ Facebook page to French

Will Lerner
Odd News

Eva Cooper is the owner of Delilah {in the Parc}, a women’s clothing boutique store with multiple locations in the province of Quebec in Canada. Her store, as is required by provincial law, offers services in both English and French to customers. However, after a complaint was filed, Ms. Cooper has been told that she must also translate posts on her business’ Facebook page to French as well, something thatisn’t sitting well with her, according to the CBC.

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The Charter of the French language, commonly referred to as Bill 101, makes it so that French is the official language in Quebec. It has plenty of supportin the province, which sees it as a way to protect the cultural heritage of a group that constitutes a minority within the nation in Canada (though French-speakers make up the majority of Quebec). It has plenty of criticism, as well, with complaints that it impedes on the civil liberties of English speakers.

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It’s Article 52 of Bill 101 that the Office quebecois de la langue francaise (OQLF) claims Ms. Cooper has violated. The article states, “Catalogues, brochures, folders, commercial directories and any similar publications must be drawn up in French.” If you notice, none of that mentions social media, and that’s exactly Eva Cooper’s point. In an interview with CTV, she said, “…It doesn’t say anything about Facebook in Article 52, it relates to pamphlets, it relates to newsletters, it relates to annual reports, sort of paper format items, so I don’t even know if they even stated the right law that I’m breaking.

Otherwise, the business owner says that she was surprised when she got the warning letter from the OQLF, telling the CBC, “I was a little bit in shock. I was a bit taken aback. It’s not like I’ve ever not followed the law with my businesses on the Quebec side.”

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Cooper told CTV that she has until March 10 to comply with “corrective measures,” i.e. translate her Facebook page to French. She plans on exploring the issue, though, saying that social media is a “gray area.” She has requested an English copy of the letter she was sent from OQLF, and wants to examine the law more closely before relenting.

As for Bill 101, it’s an everlasting topic of debate in Quebec. Last year, a controversial measure, Bill 14, was pushed hard by the Parti Quebecois (PQ), apolitical party that is known for advocating Quebec’s secession from Canada. As the Montreal Gazette notes, Bill 14 failed to pass because of a lack of support from opposition parties, who were especially opposed to a clause, “that would strip military personnel of the right to send their children to English school.” The Quebec Minister of Immigration and Cultural Communities, Diane De Courcy, however declared that if PQ (a group that she is affiliated with) wins a majority in the next election, Bill 14’s passing will become a “priority.”

More info: CBC, CTV