London: The Quebec government’s language police, that seeks to protect French from the rising tide of English and other languages, has now taken action against a popular Italian restaurant for including words like ‘pasta’ and ‘bottiglia’ in its menu.
Quebec Board of the French Language deploys inspectors to rein in recidivist anglophones, take on big corporate transgressors such as Guess, the Gap and Costco and conduct spot checks to follow up thousands of public complaints.
This time the inspectors in the government unit have gone a step too far in picking a fight with an Italian restaurant known for its celebrity clientele including Bono, Rihanna, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jerry Seinfeld and Robert De Niro, the Guardian reports.
After a five-month investigation into an anonymous complaint, Massimo Lecas received a letter from the board telling him that his establishment, Buonanotte, had broken the law by including Italian words, instead of the French words in his menu, the paper said.
Outraged, Lecas posted the letter for 2,500 of his Facebook friends to see, it added.
This lead to a public outcry that forced the Quebec government to rein in its language inspectors, ensure exceptions to the rules are made for ethnic food and restaurant menus and order a review of how it handles public complaints.
According to the paper, Lecas’s decision to go public has prompted other restaurateurs to come forward.
One told how he was ordered to cover his microwave`s on/off switch and the redial button on a telephone with tape because they were in English.
Lecas, who was born and raised in Canada`s second-largest city, said this episode is no sinister plot, rather, it is a perfect storm propelled by social media.