Corporations should just say no to the OQLF

Par Beryl Wajsman le 26 juin 2012

The problem with modern government is that everyone tries to do things by consensus and to give all parts of the whole a sense of importance. It doesn`t work.

In Quebec, what that produces - specifically in the case of the OQLF - is a bloated sense of self-importance resulting in actions that are not only injurious to the government as a whole, but to the citizens that government and those agencies are meant to serve. The latest broadside of the OQLF demanding that national and multinational companies add a French descriptor to their trade names is beyond reason.

Quebec`s language laws specifically gave exemptions for trademark names. Most francophones interviewed in the media are perfectly comfortable with them. The world is in the middle of what could be another recessionary round of economic ills. Quebec has a debt to GDP ratio equal to Greece. And this is the moment the OQLF decides to make life even more difficult for companies creating jobs in Quebec? It’s time for the affected corporations to just say no. 

As one corporate executive said, she would rather see her company spend money on creating efficiencies and buying goods at even better prices and passing savings on to customers. That’s what consumers want in today’s difficult economy. Quality and price not politics. 

The OQLF action is reminiscent of the irresponsibility of the students and unions shutting down Montreal’s downtown over 20 times. As it is Montreal has recently been ranked dead last in economic growth among North America’s 30 largest urban centers. This mentality of racing to the bottom for the lowest common denominator is a viral sickness in Quebec.

If the largest 20 corporations affected by this order were just to say no, we could have the instigation of a cultural sea change in Quebec. These nationalist agencies must be brought to their senses and be made to realize that Quebec just isn’t that important in the North American marketplace. Is the OQLF that stupid that it would trade thousands of dollars in fines for millions of dollars in investments? 

What can Target Stores be thinking today. This is one of North America’s great corporations. It has announced that starting next year it will be opening some 250 stores across Canada. Dozens of them in Quebec. Thousands of jobs will be created. What if Target decided to open the Quebec market last until it receives assurances that someone has reigned in this government pitbull. Quebec needs investments, not infighting. Somehow forty years of Canadian Tire signs have not impeded the protection of the French language. But the delay or withdrawal of major corporate dollars will. Because  you can’t spread the use of French, or protect the French culture, if the only part of your society that is growing are the unemployment lines.

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Beryl P. Wajsman

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