March 27, 2013 11:19 am

Quebec comedians poke fun at language controversy

A group of Quebec comedians have released videos on YouTube poking fun at controversy over the English and French language debate in the wake of the so-called “pastagate” scandal.

The videos show comedians Derek Seguin and Sebastien Bourgault as the “Language Police” in a world where speaking English in Quebec has become a criminal offence.

In the videos, the officers patrol the streets and bust English-speaking citizens.

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Earlier this year, the controversy over language in Quebec was highlighted internationally when the Office Quebecois de la Langue Francaise sent a letter to a Montreal restaurateur asking that the word “pasta” be taken off the menu.

The head of that agency Louise Marchand resigned following the incident and the story went viral internationally.

The stories have been considered damning enough that some of the OQLF’s more nationalist defenders have even voiced theories of an Anglo plot to discredit the agency.

But other OQLF defenders say its inspectors are simply doing the job politicians have asked them to do – which is to vigilantly enforce Quebec’s language law.

This series of events has created a rare phenomenon in Quebec politics: the Parti Quebecois government has been calling on the language watchdog to be less aggressive, not more.

It has also led to rare jokes in newspaper columns and cartoons, and in social media, about a 50-year-old institution that francophone Quebecers have traditionally credited as a cultural safeguard.

Sound Off: Tell us what you think about the Language Police and their comedic videos?

With files from the Canadian Press

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