Quebec’s legislature has passed a motion calling on store clerks to stick with a simple “bonjour” when greeting customers instead of the hybrid “bonjour, hi” often heard in Montreal.
Politicians at the provincial legislature voted unanimously on the Parti Québécois (PQ) motion.
The PQ says too many people are speaking both French and English to customers and notes that “bonjour” is one of the most recognized words in the French language.
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Leader Jean-François Lisée said Thursday’s vote reaffirms that French is Quebec’s official language.
The issue touched off a heated debate in the National Assembly on Wednesday that was triggered by census numbers suggesting a slight drop in the use of French in the workplace.
The debate continued Thursday.
“Every single Quebecer can relate…in Montreal, they try to be served in French, and it’s ‘bonjour, hi’ and sometimes it’s just ‘hi,’ so this is a problem,” said PQ house leader Pascal Bérubé.
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Premier Philippe Couillard called the debate ridiculous but admitted his preference for a French-only greeting.
He agreed to vote in favour of the PQ motion only after it was amended.
“The sentence that I think was offensive for English-speaking Quebecers was to qualify an English word as an irritant. This being removed, it’s a very good text,” Couillard said.