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If you were going to pick on an indie comics company as a scofflaw, Montreal’s ultra-civilized Drawn & Quarterly would be the last one you would suspect. But you would be wrong. In bi-lingual Canada, the award-winning publisher has been visited by the language police for failing to have a sign in both English and French.

The complainant alleged there was too much English on signs, but on a visit yesterday, all a reporter could find in English only was an antique, hand-drawn paper clock on the door of the storefront.

The offending item, about 12 centimetres in diameter, says Open, Come In.

On the other side, the hands of a makeshift clock can be set to indicate the time the shop reopens. It, too, is in English only.

Sporting the devil-may-care criminal attitude he’s known for, owner Chris Oliveros said he had found the sign in an antique store and just thought it was cool. But in the kind of turnaround we’d like to see more of in our justice system, he said the offensive sign will be tossed or a French equivalent sign will be added.

It is not the first time D&Q has exhibited criminal tendencies. Last year, someone complained that their website is English-only.


  1. The province of Quebec is a land unto its own, for sure.
    Thank goodness the rest of the country doesn’t allow language police to have such a voice of power.
    Quebec is not officially bilingual, it is a province with its own laws that supposedly act to protect the continuation of the existence of the French language there.

    But the clock is ticking…

  2. The first Canadian I ever met (over 35 years ago) told French-Canadian jokes the way Americans told Polish jokes. This story just underscores why some Canadians find French-Canadians tiresome. They take themselves way too seriously.

  3. What Franklin Harris said, I heard from French tourists about 33 years ago. They spoke very disparagingly of French Canadians while shopping at the Honolulu International Airport, where I worked while going to college. They included Cajuns from New Orleans in their negative remarks. I can’t quite remember the context of this conversation, but I remember thinking it was all rather surreal.

  4. Just another one of our hammerhead “pure-laine” French Quebecers trying to live up to the reputation of a province of a-holes.

  5. This really makes me want to find something – anything – from D&Q to purchase. Too bad they gave in, but I can understand them deciding it’s not worth the hassle to fight.

    You cannot legislate culture, or language. As much as I don’t want to see Canada split up (I live in it, after all), it wouldn’t hurt my feeling to hear that all the bigots (this is a spectacular demonstration of anti-Anglophone bigotry), separatists and Bloq malcontents were headed back home to mama France.