Quebec language minister calls for moderation



MONTREAL -- Quebec's language minister said Saturday that her office will "review its process" after a series of embarrassing language inspections at Montreal businesses caught international attention.

Diane de Courcy acknowledged that 13 countries reported on the story about an inspector with Quebec's language office, the OQLF, who told a Montreal restaurant owner that the menu was too Italian because it didn't contain the French translation for the word "pasta."

After heavy public criticism and embarrassing international attention, the OQLF relented and admitted its inspector showed "an excess of zeal."

"We will from now on apply moderation, but also judgement," de Courcy said. "One must not judge the OQLF based on only one incident."

De Courcy spoke with reporters on Saturday about on Bill 14, the Parti Quebecois' new language legislation which proposes strengthening the province's language laws.

Since what has become known as "Pastagate" made its way around the world, other businesses in the Montreal-area have come forward with their own stories.

One restaurant owner told the media that a language inspector asked him to remove the WC - for water closet - from his bathroom doors. He said he refused.

Former PQ MNA Pierre Curzi, who attended the language meeting, said he found it suspect that media organizations are reporting on language inspections at the same time the government is working on Bill 14.

"It's bizarre that all this is coming out now," he said. "It's almost like this is a campaign on the part of the press."

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