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Movement pushes for more bilingual road signs in Quebec

Click to play video: 'Petition for bilingual road signs in Quebec' Petition for bilingual road signs in Quebec
WATCH ABOVE: There is a movement in Quebec to push for more bilingual road signs. As Global's Tim Sargeant reports, some say it’s a question of public safety – Dec 6, 2016

There is a movement in Quebec to push for more road signs to have bilingual writing on them.

An online petition is calling on the Quebec government to mandate that all road signs dealing with public safety or health should be in both French and English.

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“We, the undersigned, ask that the Ministère des Transports du Québec (MTQ) and the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications (MCC) take the necessary steps in order that all traffic signs and electronic alerts/messages dealing with public safety or health be in both French and English, when no symbol or pictograph exists,” the petition states.

Côte-Saint-Luc councillor Ruth Kovac explained it’s a question of health and public safety.

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The petition gives some examples of signs that should be bilingual, including: rue barrée (road blocked), pour votre sécurité (for your safety), ralentir (slow down) and risque de congestion (risk of congestion).

Road signs, both electronic and permanent, need to reflect both languages, lawyer Harold Staviss insisted.

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The petition argues signs should be translated into English in a similar way that emergency exists are bilingual on city buses, metros and trains.

The reason, according to Staviss, is that many anglophones – especially tourists – can’t understand the signs when they’re in French only.

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He points to the Charter of the French Language, which establishes French as the official language of the province.

Staviss said the Charter states that the laws must be: “in a spirit of fairness and open-mindedness, respectful of the institutions of the English-speaking community of Quebec and respectful of ethnic minorities.”

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Staviss and Kovac are hoping to get 5,000 signatures before submitting it to the National Assembly in March.

As of 3 p.m. Tuesday, the petition had garnered 13 signatures.

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