Updates from September, 2023 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 10:30 on 2023-09-02 Permalink | Reply  

    Possibly useful notes on what’s open and closed for Labour Day.

    • Kate 10:03 on 2023-09-02 Permalink | Reply  

      The Asian grocery store T&T is facing complaints to the OQLF that it carries products without French labels.

      Can’t we cope with the notion that some people may want to buy products from other countries which don’t have labels in French or even in English?

      I guess not. It’s awfully arrogant though, to demand that some company in Asia has to cater to our xenophobic needs.

      • Nicholas 10:38 on 2023-09-02 Permalink

        Lots of importers solve this by placing a sticker with the relevant information on each product after it arrives in Canada. That does add cost, but it doesn’t seem to onerous. It seems important to have allergy information and ingredients in at least one official language, and why not both?

        I was at a restaurant recently where a friend got a drink in a can only in a foreign language none of us could read. To be fair, if it was served in a glass we’d have never known. But if products don’t need to be labelled if imported, why have labelling at all?

      • DeWolf 11:00 on 2023-09-02 Permalink

        Federal law already requires bilingual labelling, the Quebec law only requires French to be “at least equal” in prominence to any other language. From the Entreprises Québec website:

        “Au Québec, l’étiquetage des produits, quelle que soit leur nature, doit être en français. Les inscriptions peuvent être présentées en d’autres langues, pourvu que l’importance donnée au français y soit au moins égale.”

        This is the first I’ve heard that French needs to be *more prominent*. I wonder if the CTV reporter isn’t confusing the packaging law with the law on commercial signage.

      • Kate 11:39 on 2023-09-02 Permalink

        Elias Makos tweeted about this: “Part of the fun of going to an Asian grocery store is staring at a package with a picture of an eel, sea urchin, and dragon fruit and saying ‘Guess I’m going to eat this.’ The OQLF continues to ruin my fun.”

        But he’s wrong, if it’s actually a federal law.

      • Chris 12:17 on 2023-09-02 Permalink

        >It’s awfully arrogant though, to demand that some company in Asia has to cater to our xenophobic needs.

        We’re xenophobic because we want to know what’s in the food we buy at grocery stores?!

        According to the article “At T&T, there are items with neither French nor English.” Yeah, no. Like Nicholas says, hire a translator, or don’t be an importer.

      • Kate 12:43 on 2023-09-02 Permalink

        I can imagine a world in which there are food products my neighbours want, but which I don’t, and for which I needn’t understand the labels.

      • Chris 12:53 on 2023-09-02 Permalink

        Japanese food labelling regulations require Japanese language on food labels. China too. Are they all xenophobic too then?

        It’s a quite ordinary thing. I don’t get why you are (seemingly) outraged by it.

      • Daniel 13:31 on 2023-09-02 Permalink

        Having shopped there before, I saw this coming from a mile away. What’s puzzling to me is that it’s owned by Loblaw’s, so it’s not like there are no resources behind it. Also, I remember reading in their marketing material that they hired, idk, multiple translators to spend like a YEAR getting ready to enter this market. So, again. It’s not like it wasn’t on their radar.

        I think they hoped to skate by.

      • Kate 13:36 on 2023-09-02 Permalink

        Not outraged. Kind of sad for the people who dedicate themselves to ferreting out the one brand of pickled farkas root that hasn’t got French on the label, and that we have a whole government department that will leap into action as a result.

      • Chris 13:41 on 2023-09-02 Permalink

        Kate, and your accusation of xenophobia?

      • Blork 14:58 on 2023-09-02 Permalink

        I’m guessing that Kate’s xenophobia quip is a comment on our government’s need to make sure that the goddamn foreigners aren’t trying to pull a fast one by selling products that Jos. Québec from Chibougamau can’t read the label on. If the label’s not in French then obviously it’s a jar of endangered species organs pickled in opium.

      • Orr 15:00 on 2023-09-02 Permalink

        @Chris, wondering if you’ve never read LeDevoir or JdeM newspapers?
        Attache ta tuque!

      • Nicholas 15:54 on 2023-09-02 Permalink

        The federal law, administered by CFIA, has an exemption for specialty foods and local foods, and if they meet the exemption they need only one language (though Quebec has more stringent laws). I don’t know if Weston can get away with it, but small, ethnic grocery stores with very specialty products might under federal rules. I would guess, though, that Manitobans or Newfoundlanders would not be happy to find products with only French on them.

        But I don’t get this complaint from the anglo Montreal side: the argument is that we shouldn’t require bilingualism, but that the language of the majority is good enough? Is that really the position we want to take?

      • MB 17:57 on 2023-09-02 Permalink

        Interesting news. The first time I checked out store I wondered what was going to happen to them on this score.

        I presumed that the company had made some insider political connections and assurances in advance to take the risk out of opening a location in Montreal.

        Perhaps they did. We’ll see what the consequences are, if any. As far as I can tell the system is designed to give owners ample runway to say “they’re working on it”

        As for the unexpected controversy in this thread: get real. everyone can read the room. the motivations here do spring from insular and regressive impulses which are plain to see.

        for this to be motivated by genuine concern for the common good or nutritional knowledge or health or accessibility for the population, it would make this case extraordinarily rare given that in just about every other domain the government seems keen to tank the populations well being (healthcare system, education, press freedom, labour rights… etc).

      • Ian 18:59 on 2023-09-02 Permalink

        I do most of my Asian grocery at G&D, and hey, you know what makes it possible to read any package regardless of language?

        Google Translate, a free app.

        Problem solved.

        This reminds me of when everyone’s knickers were in a knit because some kosher for Passover items at a Jewish market didn’t have French labels.

        There is a small contingent of petty, mean-spirited nationalists that specifically go into ethnic food stores looking for language violations. It’s pathetic.

      • DeWolf 19:14 on 2023-09-02 Permalink

        Ian is right, these complaints were made in bad faith, there’s absolutely no way around that.

        I’d also like some specific examples because on my trips to T&T I really don’t recall any products that didn’t have any French/English labelling whatsoever?

      • Blork 19:38 on 2023-09-02 Permalink

        I haven’t been to T&T but there are a few times at Kim Phat where I had to get out the ol’ Google Translate. Typically it’s for some tiny jar of something that looks like the thing you’re looking for but might not be.

      • thomas 19:49 on 2023-09-02 Permalink

        The products in question have labels in both English and French that list nutritional information and ingredients, which means this isn’t a matter of health or safety. However, the detailed product description on the front of the packaging is often only available in Chinese, Korean, Japanese, etc. As suggested above, people who are genuinely interested in these products could easily use translation apps to understand the packaging. So, who is likely to complain? It seems to be the intersection of someone who is not familiar with the product, is unwilling to use a translation app or god forbid ask someone in the store, but is willing to file a formal complaint about a product they probably wouldn’t buy anyway.

      • Ephraim 22:19 on 2023-09-02 Permalink

        Google Translate with the camera. Some of this stuff doesn’t have anything but the nutrition label. And frankly, these people don’t even buy stuff at these markets. They are just Quislings

      • Ian 18:51 on 2023-09-04 Permalink

        @Nicholas I feel bad for your poor friend that couldn’t read the label on their canned drink. I am sure they were similarly concerned by the lack of French language labelling on their meal, appetizers, sides, and/or any drink served in a glass. How frightening going to a restaurant must be for them!

    • Kate 09:26 on 2023-09-02 Permalink | Reply  

      Covid numbers are rising and availability of rapid tests is uncertain.

      • Kate 09:18 on 2023-09-02 Permalink | Reply  

        Radio-Canada talks to several merchants in the Village, all of whose businesses are suffering from the presence of agitated and disorderly individuals in the street. CTV talked to a restaurant owner who says she and her husband were attacked on their terrasse.

        • Kate 00:33 on 2023-09-02 Permalink | Reply  

          Happy moments Friday as Quebec handed over $1.5 million to boost French in Montreal.

          Tell you what. Pass it to me, and I’ll promise to do the blog in French forever.

          ($1.5 million is a pittance in this world. Get an agency that belongs to somebody with a friend at the OQLF to design some more of those very popular stickers they put up all over Park Ex to tell people to speak French, pay some staffers to deploy them, and send in the invoice. That money won’t go far. And it won’t save French, whatever that means.)

          • Ian 19:01 on 2023-09-02 Permalink

            1.5 million won’t even buy a 3 bed condo anymore, how 8s it supposed to save the French language from mislabelled food items at Asian grocery stores?

          • Anton 07:28 on 2023-09-05 Permalink

            Oh man, so many Montreal themes packed into one sentence.

        • Kate 00:04 on 2023-09-02 Permalink | Reply  

          A city employee has committed suicide after what’s described as relentless bullying at work, and the union is now complaining, but I wonder how much support she had when alive.

          • EmilyG 13:43 on 2023-09-02 Permalink

            It’s sad how much autistic people are not only bullied, but how mainstream society as a whole is hostile to us just in the way it’s set up. It’s sad how many of us commit suicide, so many of us that the life expectancy of autistic people is really low.
            Things need to change. Society needs to change.

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