Is bilingualism worth tearing a town apart?
Apparently it is. In the small Ontario town of Russell, the council decided to pass a new bylaw that states all new businesses must have signs that are in both French and English. As soon as it passed, a resident named Howard Galganov said he was going to take the township to court, even if it means all the way to the Supreme Court.
Some of the businesses are upset because they figure if they offer a sign in French, but don’t have an employee that speaks French, that will make the customer upset. Others are upset because it’s only new businesses that have to offer it, which means the bylaw isn’t equal for all. And some others are upset because nearby French towns don’t necessarily offer signs in English.
Although it’s been around for decades, it seems as everything has reached a boiling point since the 1995 referendum. Some people from Quebec feel like their language and culture isn’t deemed important by English-speaking Canadians. Some English Canadians feel like the Quebec language and culture get too many benefits as it is.
Now it’s affecting small towns in Ontario, and will surely spread over time.
It’s a shame that in a country as big as Canada, two sides can’t find room for one another.