New Brunswick Sign Laws
In my various publications, I've often taken a fairly strong stance against some provisions of Quebec's language laws, particularly early versions of the Charter of the French Language which prohibited signs in languages other than French. So the announcement of a proposed new bylaw in Dieppe, the francophone suburb/co-city of Moncton, New Brunswick which would mandate that all new signs must be either bilingual or in French, is intriguing to me.
I haven't viewed the proposed wording of the new sign bylaw, and I'll be curious to see if there is any language about how prominent French must be on bilingual signs. However, my initial reaction to the bylaw is a positive one. I've never had any major difficulty with language laws that are additive - requiring that another language co-exist or be promoted. Where I object is when these laws cross over into prohibition - denying any right to use another language. The bilingual compromise being proposed by Dieppe seems to meet the bill. Essentially, the bylaw appears to require some inclusion of French on commercial signs, leaving it up to individuals to decide if they also want to include another language. For a community which has essentially become the urban centre of the Acadian community, this seems to fall in the category of positive measures to encourage the use of French, without denying the rights of other language communities to express themselves in their own language.
Of course, I'm sure that there will soon be outbursts of complaints about what the translation costs involved are going to be. I think these will be overstated. And in light of Moncton's shameful historic treatment of its Acadian community (see: Leonard Jones), some encouraging measures are needed.Recommend this Post