LemonLime_4

Lemon, lime and whine

In America, they sue when they aren’t warned that the McDonald’s coffee is hot. In Canada, they sue when they can’t get their Pepsi in French:

When Michel Thibodeau couldn’t order a 7-Up in French on an Air Canada flight in spring 2009, the federal-government worker didn’t just grumble about poor service. He and his wife Lynda sued the airline for more than half a million dollars.

They weren’t just upset about the can of pop. The soft-drink incident was one of half a dozen times the couple said they were denied service in French over the course of two trips they took with Air Canada and its contract carrier, Jazz, in 2009.

“If I take a flight and I’m not served in the language of my choice, and I don’t do anything about it, then my right is basically dead,” said Mr. Thibodeau, who is fluently bilingual. “I was not asking for anything other than what I was already entitled to. I have a right to be served in French.”

A Federal Court judge on Wednesday agreed, granting the couple $12,000 in compensation for four occasions when Air Canada failed to serve them in French. The judge also ordered the airline to apologize to the couple and introduce a system to track potential violations of its language duties.

A friend reminded me of a quote from Prime Minister Stephen Harper that might be related,

“After all, enforced national bilingualism in this country isn’t mere policy. It has attained the status of a religion. It’s a dogma which one is supposed to accept without question.” — Stephen Harper

Ahem. Nothing to see here folks…

Comments

comments

  • Liz J

    So will we see some action from the government, the Minister of Justice on this outrageous decision by one of their Judicial appointees?  Doubtful, so let’s demand it. This is the kind of stuff we can’t allow to happen, it will get worse as more activists get on the bandwagon.

    I’ve never been more outraged. Air Canada should not pay him one penny, he got his service, he could speak both languages and he would certainly not get served in French at his destinations.

  • E Mac

    They’re still simmering because historically they got their asses kicked on the Plains of Abraham.
    It’s not about the money?  You have to be kidding.Sour grapes. 

  • Anonymous

    Way to go Thibodeau, I’m sure the rest of Canada loves Quebec a little more now. Just one more reason to fly Westjet.

  • Mthielen

    And what language did they use in NY.  Reminds me of a couple of french guys coming into canada and demanded to b cleared in french.  Officer answered them in ukranian and told them to pull over and wait in the car.  Lots of hand signals but message received and then the officer went inside for a bit.  Come back out and told them in english that a french speaking officer would be available in about 4 hours, as he had to come from Calgary  and please stay in your car  Very hot July day, about 75F, guess what, they changed their mind and spoke english.

  • ebt

    I read the decision. (There’s a link in the comments under Barbara Kay’s column on the subject at the National Post website.) It is not as described. You might think it a good deal worse, though.

    Pepsi Boy did not succeed because he was not served; in fact he was.  Nor because he was not spoken to in French; in fact he was. His claim was that Air Canada was obligated to provide bilingual staff, and had breached that obligation. On a flight between Ottawa and Montreal, they had one flight attendant, and she could not speak French. But as you would expect in those circumstances, just about everybody else on board (other than the flight crew) did speak French, and one of them immediately translated.

    So, the decision was that, for reasons I cannot fathom even after reading them, the fact that Air Canada breached its obligations justified a cash windfall for the guy who noticed.  Can it be unreasonable to have English-only staff on the one route in the entire country where you can expect to have people aboard who can translate? Can this guy show any harm or even inconvenience? Who cares? Money for nothing

  • batb

    Right on, Liz.

    Is Canada’s “bilingualism” policy a common-sense one (that is, you speak English/French to someone who can only speak that language — or find someone on board the flight who can help out if the flight attendant isn’t bilingual) or is it a blunt instrument to bludgeon those in Canada who are uni-lingual Anglophone only?

    That was a rhetorical question, answered nevertheless by this outrageous decision to pay out $12,000 because a bilingual Francophone, perfectly fluent in English, didn’t get his order for 7-Up in French.

    GOOD GAWD. There are people in Canada having difficulty meeting all of their financial obligations to feed, clothe, house, and educate their children, while public funds are being used to pay a you’d-better-be-bilingual-or-else thuggish cry baby 12,000 smackeroos.

    This is insanity.

    Canada, in actuality, is a country where two languages are spoken. It’s not, in reality and contrary to Trudeau’s Machiavellian schemes, a bilingual country.

    Don’t get me started on why Anglophone Canada has to have everything from public signage to cereal boxes in English and French, whereas in Quebec, it’s illegal to post your signs in French andEnglish — and they’ll get the language police after you if you don’t comply. In we’re-more-special-than-you Quebec, French only is the norm, whereas they demand that the ROC bend to their Francophone whims.

    As I’ve said countless times, my Canada does not necessarily include Quebec. In fact, based on this garbage and latest outrage, my Canada definitely does not include Quebec.

    When are we going to let the ROC have a referendum about Quebec? It’s our turn.

  • Anonymous

    Just a heads’ up that your use of the McDonalds coffee lawsuit meme as shorthand for a frivolous US lawsuit href=”http://www.lectlaw.com/files/cur78.htm”> is misinformed.

    I agree that the “7-Up” lawsuit was silly… but if there’s a law and a company doesn’t follow it… where’s the fault, really?

    Harper could change that particular law, but then the right would lose a handy lightning rod for encouraging and drawing out Francophone hate.

  • Liz J

     My feeling on Quebec’s  never ending spoiled brat attitude  is to tell them to take a hike, ditto French activists who live throughout Canada.  The Conservatives won their majority without Quebec, we owe them nothing, they owe Canada plenty as they continue to suck money in their perpetual have-not status in spite of their rich resources. Quebecers  played a little game and lost, they goofed by voting for the NDP  including candidates they knew squat about, some who didn’t even speak fluent French or live in the ridings they ran in. They got stuck with Jack of Cane and no chance of a coalition to force him to make good on all his promises to them.

    Let them smolder in their own ruins for four years. Let them eat gateaux.  I’m sick of their whining.

  • batb

    “I’m sick of their whining.”

    Me too.

  • Cytotoxic

    WTF? How is this useful? No the reason Harper won’t change the law is because he is a coward and no longer has principles. It don’t bother him so he don’t bother it.

  • batb

    As usual, kenn2, it’s you who are misinformed: Francophone “hate”? I don’t think so.

    How can the ROC be accused of Francophone hate when most of our signs and government services, not to mention packaging, throughout Canada for the past 40 years have been bilingual, whereas signage in Quebec is French only, and if you try to post a bilingual English/French sign outside your business, the language police, in unmarked cars, prowl through your streets, pounce on and fine you?

    I’d say that the ROC has been liberal, generous, tolerant, and accommodating of the Francophone minority in Canada, while the same cannot be said of the Quebecois’s taking advantage of the ROC  — and, frankly, very often showing contempt for us, especially in their support of the Bloc, which wants to separate from the ROC (but, laughably and so predictably, wants to maintain their “right” to carry a Canadian passport and use our currency: the usual — they want to have their cake and eat it too.)

    We are becoming, however, a tad impatient with this entitled and specially privileged minority, whose demands never cease and who, for years, have been taking the ROC to the cleaners — to send their toddlers to $7.00/day daycare, while parents in the ROC pay through the nose for the same services, and their post-secondary students to CEGEP and university for half what it costs others in Canada to send their kids to college — all on our dime.

    If there’s any “hate,” it’s on the other foot: Check out the Bloc’s “lofty” and “generous” views of the ROC and their outlandish demands to be bankrolled by the rest of us.  For decades, the ROC has bent over backwards to accommodate an irritable, poor-me-nobody-treats-me-right sibling. There comes a point in any lopsided and abusive relationship, where the wrongly accused says “to Hell with it; pay your own way and stop sniveling. GROW UP.”

    This frivolous lawsuit and payout is a perfect case in point. We need to get rid of Canada’s designation as “a bilingual nation” (a Machiavellian scheme by Trudeau to empower the French minority and cow the English majority) and designate ourselves only as a nation which speaks two languages. Where possible, those who speak the minority language will be accommodated but it should not be mandated that, across Canada, all services and packaging are guaranteed in both languages. It is an unrealistic and extraordinarily costly demand by Quebec, which has taken far too much pleasure in watching most government jobs (even outside Quebec where the majority language is English) go to Francophones. 

    Francophone hate? No way.

    Anglophone hate (and envy)? You betcha.

  • Anonymous

    Nice to see the Quebec hate coming out… right on schedule. Good job – bat, Liz.

    How can the ROC be accused of Francophone hate…

    NOT the ROC… just your particular camp.

    We are becoming, however, a tad impatient with this entitled and
    specially privileged minority, whose demands never cease and who, for
    years, have been taking the ROC to the cleaners — to send their
    toddlers to $7.00/day daycare, while parents in the ROC pay through the
    nose for the same services, and their post-secondary students to CEGEP
    and university for half what it costs others in Canada to send their kids to college — all on our dime.

    Horsesh!t. Quebec’s daycare, education… provincial responsibilities, paid-for by provincial taxes. Who’s jealous, hmmm?

    Batty, you’ve often gone on at great lengths about how things were tough for parents, and how everyone but the CPC are anti-family. Quebec actually does something to encourage families, promote good child-rearing,  good education… you take a dump on’em. Know what you are? Starts with an H.

  • batb

    ” … paid-for by provincial taxes” … but not their own taxes, other provinces’ provincial taxes.

     Quebec has been a subsidized, have-not province for years. Boo hoo — and what a pile of crap.

    Check out the latest research on Quebec’s $7.00/day child care in Mclean’s. ‘Appears it’s not so good for kids: Is subsidized daycare bad for kids? A surprising new study says Quebec’s $7-a-day daycare is leaving children worse off

    http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/07/11/bad-for-kids-2/

    That was my prediction years ago — and I didn’t need to do a study to figure it out…

    Jealous? No way! I cared for my own kids — and my taxes paid for moms who put their kids in substitute care. At least they could stay home when they were sick or the weather was bad. I loved being with my kids. We had no money to speak of (still don’t!) but we have a great relationship with our kids — and many of their friends who often call or pop in on their own. You can’t rewind the tape …

  • Anonymous

    ” … paid-for by provincial taxes” … but not their own taxes, other provinces’ provincial taxes.

    Um no. Not ONE CENT of other provinces’ provincial taxes. Federal taxes go to Ottawa, dear.  You also know that the Canadian federal tax rates are the same everywhere, right? If an oil-rich province is paying more federal tax, it’s because it’s residents and companies are earning more wages and profit. (Or… is it PEI or Quebec’s fault they don’t have oil?)

    The amount of federal transfer payment (per-capita) Quebec typically receives in a year works out to about 10 to 15% of the Canadian tax average. Which means that Quebeckers are footing at least 85% of the cost of federally-funded projects in PQ. And neither of us know whether one cent of this federal money makes it into the PROVINCIAL daycare or education programs.

    You really don’t understand transfer payments, do you? Don’t feel bad, most of the right doesn’t, either.

  • batb

    So, who’s paying for Quebecers to put their kids in daycare for $7.00/day and to send their kids to university/college for half of what it costs students in all of the other provinces?

    I doubt if it’s largesse from the Quebec government. If it was, they’d by bankrupt. Where does the money come from?

  • Anonymous

     If you don’t actually know, then you shouldn’t be throwing around accusations.

  • batb

    Lovely answer.

    You’ve just accused me of being wrong about where/how Quebec bankrolls its very generous benefits to its citizens — benefits unavailable to the citizens of other provinces — but won’t inform me why I’m wrong and what the source of Quebec’s largesse is.

    Hmmm. ‘Seems to me you’re either being extremely ungenerous and vindictive or you don’t know the answer yourself.

    Either way, you’re not being very helpful.

  • Anonymous

    I already said I don’t know.  But I don’t use my ignorance as a base from which to hurl unfounded accusations.

  • batb

    You said, “Um no. Not ONE CENT of other provinces’ provincial taxes. Federal taxes go to Ottawa, dear.”

    Sure they do. And then the feds, the Liberal$ as was the case, allocate these taxes to have-not provinces, of which Quebec has been a long-standing member despite all of their natural resources.

    The message I got from you was that you did know that I was wrong, leading me to believe that you had a leg to stand on.

    ‘Crutch needed over here …

  • Anonymous

    A thinking aid for bat, please.

    I said: “Um no. Not ONE CENT of other provinces’ provincial taxes. Federal taxes go to Ottawa, dear.”

    And that’s still correct. Read it some more, and this time read all the words.

    You’re wrong  about provincial taxes, you’re wrong in general on transfer payments, and your misrepresentation and loathing for Quebec is wrong in a number of different ways.

  • batb

    In just three years, Ontario has become the second-largest recipient
    of equalization payments in the country, with $2.2-billion set to flow
    into its “have-not” coffers this year.

    Only Quebec, which takes in $7.8-billion in such payments, receives more.

    http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/07/20/growing-equalization-payments-to-ontario-threaten-country-expert/

  • Anonymous

     This doesn’t in any way disprove anything I’ve said. Equalization money comes out of FEDERAL revenue.

    Snap quiz: Quebec ‘received’ (a technicality, but whatever…)  $7.9B equalization in a recent year. What percentage ‘top-up’ does that represent? (hint – relative to provincial per-capita mean of federal revenue)

  • batb

    And where does FEDERAL revenue come from … the sky?

  • Anonymous

    I’ll go slowly.

    – federal means “national” .  Federal tax is collected by the national government, to pay for responsibilities and projects of concern to all Canadians, as directed and administered by our federal government.

    Still with me? This one’s a toughie, but give it a try…

    – the federal tax rate is essentially THE same across Canada. An oil exec in Alberta, making the same as an ad exec in Ontario, pays the same federal tax. An waitress in Quebec,  making the same as a waitress in BC, will pay the same federal tax. Same for corporations and federal tax. …same federal tax across Canada.

    – So… why is more federal money, per-capita, collected from the “have” provinces than the “have-not” provinces? It’s because the average person in the have provinces makes more money. (make more money => pay more taxes)

    There is no truth to the assertion that “more” is being taken from the have provinces to give to the have-not provinces.  Every Canadian is paying their fair share of federal tax, via the same tax system.

    Back to your accusations that Canadians are paying for Quebec subsidized daycare, education, etc. Those are provincial responsibilities, paid for by provincial taxes. Do you actually know how much Quebeckers pay in provincial taxes… or that their provincial system has marked differences … or that their values are more family-oriented?

    Yet, without any proof,  you’ve made this Evel Kneivel-sized leap of logic to assert that the rest of Canada is subsidizing these? Forgive me, but if someone is content to hurl such unsubstantiated accusations at Quebec, I have to suspect you’re just a Quebec-hater, and reason is unimportant.

    I’m sorry you don’t like Quebec. More for us, I guess. We love it, enjoy visiting there, enjoy the landscape, their different take on many things – not least on food and art. And they’ve been very patient with my fractured french, and more than generous in switching to english when necessary. Too bad your Canada doesn’t include Quebec….

  • batb

    So, legitimate criticism of Quebec — always positioning themselves as victims vis a vis the rest of Canada, even though vast sums of federal monies are  funneled in their direction and while insisting that the ROC have bilingual signage while they permit signage only in French — translates into dislike of Quebec? You’ve put words into my mouth: ” … you don’t like Quebec.” (Of course, in your vernacular, kenn2, legitimate dissent is always brought down to the personal: “‘You don’t like my political opinions” translates into “you don’t like me. “”

    J’aime beaucoup Montreal and Quebec City and find Quebecers, one-on-one, to be very pleasant.

    I simply don’t like Quebec’s special status within the Dominion of Canada and wonder why they’ve been given this exclusive, victim status with its commensurate monetary rewards which are not extended to the ROC.

    Who I don’t like — and whose legacy I deplore — is Pierre Elliot Trudeau and his Marxist-London-School-of-Economics-trained henchmen. The Quebec they established, the exclusive, special, victim-status Quebec on the backs of the ROC, is the one that I would prefer my Canada not include.

  • Anonymous

    Nice backtracking.

    Whining about things that are grossly distorted or simply untrue is not legitimate criticism:
    – always positioning themselves as victims vis a vis the rest of
    Canada
    Hyperbole much? That’s like me saying that Albertans are all greedy misers (which I haven’t, just sayin. Only some are)
    – …even though vast sums of federal monies are  funneled in their
    direction
    Gross distortion and misrepresentation. You have never linked federal money to the provincial programs you slag.
    - and while insisting that the ROC have bilingual signage while
    they permit signage only in French
      This is so distorted as to be essentially untrue. Read your street sign. Is it in french? Your nerest STOP sign. Does it also say ARRÊT? Go to Swiss Chalet. See Chalêt Suisse anywhere? See any french on the menu? Signs in Quebec are mostly in french. Signs in the ROC are mostly in english. What’s the problem?

    All you seem to have are BS reasons for criticizing Quebec. If you do have a legitimate concern, love to hear it. If all you have is the anti-Quebec BS rolling around Anglo right-wing forums… don’t bother.

    The Quebec they established, the exclusive, special, victim-status Quebec… I can’t fight prejudice. All I can say is that the things you’re railing against here are distorted or untrue, Quebec is currently reasonably healthy and happy, so are the rest of us, more or less, and being a bilingual nation brings more benefits than hardships.

  • batb

    Except that my husband grew up in Quebec, except for the fact that one of his family members ran a business in Quebec and had the language police show up in his town to check for French only signs,  bilingual French/English wouldn’t do, I might believe you, that I am “prejudiced.”

    I notice you didn’t bother to comment on what I said Pierre Trudeau and his Liberal$’ anti-ROC  agenda. They have done enormous damage to our country with their divide-and-conquer tactics, which I deplore.

  • Anonymous

    Bill 101 – finally a  legit criticism. Yes, Bill 101 was fairly heavy-handed. Read into the link… Trudeau was against Bill 101.

    Ah, history. Trudeau got some things right, others not so much. Historians are going to look back at the Harper years and remark how he made some fiscal improvements, and also how he rolled back social progress and knocked Canada out of the international arena, exchanging our previous independence for the international equivalent of US Lite. Oh well, he still has a few years to change course.

  • batb

    ” … how [PM Harper]  rolled back social progress and knocked Canada out of the
    international arena, exchanging our previous independence for the
    international equivalent of US Lite. Oh well, he still has a few years
    to change course.”

    LOL!