MONTREAL – The Miller family’s flight from Quebec’s increasingly stringent language laws hit a snag on Thursday when the province’s language police fined them $3,000 for writing Toronto in English on their moving boxes.
“We were stopped by the inspector as we carried our boxes to the moving van,” recounted 32 year-old Marie Miller. “He fined us and refused to let us finish loading the truck until my children had written new labels that said ‘Ville de Toronto.’”
Office québécois de la langue française spokeswoman Florence Laplante defended the fine, claiming that using the English name ‘Toronto’ is yet another sign of the province’s creeping bilingualism.
“You can use whatever language you want at home but anything that is visible in public must be strictly in French” Laplante said while issuing a fine to the owner of an Ontario registered vehicle for having an English license plate. “These measures may appear draconian but the public fails to appreciate how the mere sight of an English word can cause a real québécois to forget the entirety of his language and heritage.”
At press time, the Miller family was barreling down the 401, hoping to make it to the Ontario border before the language police notices that their moving truck has U-Haul painted on its side.
Update: A petition has been created requesting the Office québécois de la langue française drop the charges against the Miller family that can be found here: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/demanding-the-office-quebecois-de-la-langue