Ontario council to be asked to pass bylaw on sign language

Canadian Hearing Society CEO Chris Kenopic chats with MPP Gilles Bisson with American Sign Language interpreter Lise Labrosse in Ontario.



SOUTH GLENGARRY, ON — Language Fairness For All president Chris Cameron said anticipation is building for Tuesday’s South Glengarry council meeting where officials will be pressured to pass a resolution insisting local businesses never be told what language they can put on their signs.

It’s expected that language rights activist Howard Galganov will make a presentation to the council of the eastern Ontario township on the Saint Lawrence River and ask elected officials to pass a resolution that's virtually identical to the one that was presented to South Stormont council.

Stormont passed such a bylaw Sept. 25.

“I’m expecting council will pass this motion,” Cameron said. “I don’t see why they wouldn’t.”
Cameron said critics of the bylaw will paint it as anti-French, but he said that’s not the case.
“It’s about freedom of expression.”

Even if South Glengarry doesn’t pass the motion, Cameron expects most of the other counties in the area will as the motion makes its way to area councils.

South Glengarry Coun. Frank Prevost said he’s been told to expect roughly 300 people at council for Galganov’s presentation.

“I know he’s going to ask us to pass the resolution that evening,” Prevost said. “He (Galganov) has been told about four different times that we don’t pass bylaws or resolutions the night they are introduced.

”We need the proper information to make the proper decision, that’s number one. Number two is the fact council will be without deputy mayor Bill McKenzie and Coun. Joyce Gravelle (on Tuesday). Making a decision without them isn’t fair to them.”

If a decision absolutely had to be made, council would make it, according to Prevost.

”There’s no panic or urgency in regards to passing that resolution,” he said.

”In my personal opinion, I don’t think (the resolution) will go anywhere anyway, even if it comes back in two or three weeks time.”

Prevost said South Glengarry doesn’t have any bylaws regarding what language to put on signs and he doesn’t see why one is necessary.

”That’s the way it is right now in South Glengarry,” he said. “I have nothing wrong with the resolution being put forward, but if it’s not broken, why fix it?”

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