West Quebec bilingual newspaper tangles with language police, English is pushed to back pages

Ottawa Citizen

A long-standing back and forth between a West Quebec newspaper and the body that enforces that province’s language laws has come to a head with an injunction that compels the newspaper separate its French and English pages, the co-publisher says.

“We’ve had to completely re-organize the paper, to considerable effort,” said Lily Ryan, co-publisher of the Pontiac Journal.

On April 16, the bilingual biweekly paper with a circulation of more than 9,000, was told it had to follow Quebec’s language law rules regarding English-only advertising, which is forbidden on French-language pages. The paper serves the bilingual Pontiac region — and the paper’s motto is “unifying all of the Pontiac.”

“We go to restaurants in both languages. We make love in both languages,” Ryan quipped.

She explained that the injunction gave the newspaper 30 days to comply with the legislation or face fines as much of to $20,000 if it didn’t.

“Part of the beauty of publishing in a…

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