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  #1  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2014, 7:30 AM
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Richmond, B.C., considers banning Chinese-only signage

http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/10...dvertisements/

Basically, Richmond is toying with the idea of a by-law to ensure that the roughly dozen or two dozen businesses in Richmond with Chinese-only signage also has some English signage.

Thoughts?

As an opening remark, I hope everyone reminds themselves what they said about Quebec's language laws when they consider how to evaluate this proposal. I'm not suggesting it's the exact same thing (one can arguably make a distinction between the language of a supposed founding community vs. the language of a non-founding community), but certainly some of the arguments used in that context are also applicable here.
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  #2  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2014, 8:55 AM
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I think all signage should have some English on it.

Chinese for all I care can still be the larger print, but to be honest having your signage in a location (British Columbia / Anglo Canada) where English is the official "common" tongue makes you business obviously exclusive to non Chinese, which is essentially racism.

There are people from countries around the world living in Metro Vancouver, and we use English as the equalizer.

Again, if your signs are only in Chinese it is obvious that you don't really want white, brown, black or even other non Chinese Asian customers. It is indirectly (or I bet in some cases directly) prejudice.

Again, that doesn't mean take down all the Chinese signs, it just means add some English ones as well.
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  #3  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2014, 9:06 AM
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Largely agree with Metro. Have signs predominantly in Chinese if so desired, but those signs must also have the same in English on them.
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  #4  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2014, 10:01 AM
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I disagree. I do not think the government should be forcing businesses to use a particular language on their signage.

This issue has arisen before and the by-law has never passed. Hopefully that continues.
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  #5  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2014, 10:22 AM
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So then why are you asking the question, are you just trying to see how many people agree with you?

Why do you disagree, what are the negative consequences of having some English mandated on signs? Such a law would not say you have to use only English, and I honestly don't care which language is dominantly shown.

This isn't about loosing English or a threat on English, this is about making all places in metro Vancouver inclusive for the general public. Why is this wrong?

IMO I feel it would be pretty rude to open up a business in Japan and use only English.

Please explain how I and DrNest are wrong. For the record I have no problem with Quebec's language laws regarding signage.

Again, having only Chinese signs on a business in BC is pretty rude / exclusive to everyone else living in the area. Again, I really do feel that is a prejudice (weather indirectly or directly).
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  #6  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2014, 10:37 AM
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My opinion is that private businesses should be able to use any language they want, and other than health-inspection and other government documents, have no obligation to present things in English. Regardless of the language, signage must refrain from false advertising and hateful language, but other than that, we don't need to be policing this.

Of course, businesses must not deny service to customers based on language, and businesses would do well to include as many customers as possible. It's probably also a good idea to have staff who at least speak some English to communicate with health inspectors, customers, etc.

Schools, hospitals, and public services are another story.

I don't buy the argument that it is "rude" to not meet the needs of the mainstream Canadian population, and even if it were, is it really the government's job to police manners? To call it "racist" is going too far. In fact, I think would be more exclusive if services weren't offered in minority languages. Our demographics are changing and there is nothing wrong with that. If you don't like Chinese-only signage, don't shop there.

Last edited by RyLucky; Oct 21, 2014 at 10:50 AM.
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  #7  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2014, 10:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Metro-One View Post
IMO I feel it would be pretty rude to open up a business in Japan and use only English.


i suspect the argument here would be that rudeness, while unpleasant and counter-productive, need not be illegal.
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  #8  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2014, 11:02 AM
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I agree that the signs should have some English displayed in areas where Chinese is the majority but only secondarily. (Richmond is literally 70-75% non-white with the majority being Chinese) English speakers seem to be slowly becoming the under class in Vancouver which makes some uncomfortable I think we need to nip this in the bud.
EDIT as I seem a bit racist: (naturally through more varied immigration even if its still from China just with money not the deciding factor for applicants)

It's essentially how it works here in Montréal. The higher proportion of English people in a neighborhood the more frequent and larger the print is going to be in English.

In Vancouver or even the west coast in general Chinese have a lot of history even (helping build the trans Canada rail road at the start of confederation) so I think they have some ground to have their signs at least partially in Chinese.

Last edited by TheGenuineArticle; Oct 21, 2014 at 11:46 AM.
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  #9  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2014, 11:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RyLucky View Post
My opinion is that private businesses should be able to use any language they want, and other than health-inspection and other government documents, have no obligation to present things in English.
This is how I feel about it.

If you want to isolate yourself from two million potential customers in Metro Vancouver, it's your right to do so, but from a business standpoint, it's pretty shortsighted.
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  #10  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2014, 11:32 AM
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I am by no means some fist-shaking libertarian, but my take on it is this: what is to be gained by having the state meddle in how small businessmen operate their shops when the detail in question has no bearing on public safety or the general order of society?

If someone runs a shop catering exclusively to people from a certain country, then who cares if the shop's sign is in that country's language?

Now if the real issue here is that the people of Richmond think there is too much immigration, then that's another story. Maybe they should call their MP to discuss instead of telling businesses what they can or can't put on their signs.

Last edited by esquire; Oct 21, 2014 at 11:44 AM.
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  #11  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2014, 11:34 AM
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From reading some responses here, I predict that there is a divide in attitudes between Quebec and Western Canada on this issue.

I can't speak for all westerners, but usually when I hear a view about white or anglo people becoming an "under class", I immediately am uncomfortable because (in the west at least) that is a common view of the kind of people who deny white privilege. In my opinion, attitudes that feel threatened by immigration and diversity are archaic and potentially racist.

Quebec clearly has a different experience with language laws, and has been bathing in a context of french v english for two hundred years. I'll admit that most Westerners do not understand the Quebec-specific issue related to language and immigration. However, Quebecers/Québécois should know that when westerners hear Gilles Duceppe/PQ/BQ and other Quebec politicians relate immigration to ghettos, ban minority religion dress and custom in public, etc, we think of how these attitudes/policies would be interpreted in our culture, and the conclusion is that these attitudes/policies are considered extremely (unacceptably so) conservative. Of course, I don't mean to paint all of Quebec with one brush; I know there are many stances on this issue. Nonetheless, these conservative attitudes seem to be tolerated in Quebec more so than they are in the rest of Canada, probably because French speaking people see themselves in the defensive position, which I understand, but it makes for a delicate and uncomfortable issue from the outside.

The very fact that this forum is using English excludes certain viewpoints and gives privilege to some potential contributors over others. I'm sure there is somewhere on the internet where this issue is being discussed in Mandarin and French with very different attitudes prevalent.
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  #12  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2014, 11:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RyLucky View Post
From reading some responses here, I predict that there is a divide in attitudes between Quebec and Western Canada on this issue.

I can't speak for all westerners, but usually when I hear a view about white or anglo people becoming an "under class", I immediately am uncomfortable because (in the west at least) that is a common view of the kind of people who deny white privilege. In my opinion, attitudes that feel threatened by immigration and diversity are archaic and potentially racist.

Quebec clearly has a different experience with language laws, and has been bathing in a context of french v english for two hundred years. I'll admit that most Westerners do not understand the Quebec-specific issue related to language and immigration. However, Quebecers/Québécois should know that when westerners hear Gilles Duceppe/PQ/BQ and other Quebec politicians relate immigration to ghettos, ban minority religion dress and custom in public, etc, we think of how these attitudes/policies would be interpreted in our culture, and the conclusion is that these attitudes/policies are considered extremely (unacceptably so) conservative. Of course, I don't mean to paint all of Quebec with one brush; I know there are many stances on this issue. Nonetheless, these conservative attitudes seem to be tolerated in Quebec more so than they are in the rest of Canada, probably because French speaking people see themselves in the defensive position, which I understand, but it makes for a delicate and uncomfortable issue from the outside.

Just fyi as a result of that attempt at the charter of values the Parti Québécois received the lowest number of votes in the history of the party since it's inception.

There is a great divide between Montrealers/Montrealais as well as Quebec city dewllers and the people who live outside of urban centers on the farms still that the affects of the quiet revolution has not reached yet.


I'm fully aware that being a white male gives me privileged and it disgusts me, though it is very clear to me that their is a demographic change in Vancouver where wealthy Hong Kong Chinese hold a great deal more of wealth (look at median incomes of Richmond VS New Westminster or Surrey as well as their race demos)
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  #13  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2014, 11:42 AM
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Metro outlined my thoughts well. To exclude the local majority from being able to access your business is essentially to segregate yourself. I agree with the signage laws in Quebec, and I'd agree with a similar rule in Richmond. If we cordon off streets or neighbourhoods and allow the businesses there to cater exclusively to minority groups, that will eventually spread and society will become more segregated. Part of the reason this country has done so well at multiculturalism is that we've done a relatively good job at avoiding that segregation and ghettoization. We need to do everything we can to encourage all groups to mingle with each other, this makes society healthier.
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Old Posted Oct 21, 2014, 11:43 AM
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The government has no business meddling in this. If these shops can operate successfully without English signage then more power to them. If demand existed for English signage then I'm sure they would've already installed it. It's the beauty of the free market.
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  #15  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2014, 11:49 AM
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I'm indifferent, really, as long as the solution is universal. I'd be fine with requiring businesses in most of the federation to include English on their signs, French in Quebec, and both in New Brunswick. And I'd be fine with doing nothing.
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  #16  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2014, 11:59 AM
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IMO if you are okay with businesses only catering to a certain language demographic, then don't condemn wedding business owners not wanting to service homosexual customers. I know that I will see the same people who are supporting this segregation completely change their tune when it is a white / english business in question.

To me there is no real difference because they are both obvious exclusions of major sectors of the population. One is just more direct that the other.

And sorry, but you cant paint the entire world with the "American" model of race history and culture. I find that waaaaaay too much of modern human geography and PC politics is completely based on American culture. Believe it or not but there are other very privileged ethnicities / groups in the world outside of white males. I know, unbelievable as it is for first year undergrads / career students to comprehend.

You mention that people in other languages would be having very different conversations, and that is true, white privilege is something almost never discussed here in Asia (maybe only discussed within western circles / when mentioning American history). Here, the conversation is about Japanese privilege, the atrocities / privilege of the Han people, the atrocities of the Japanese, hating / loving Korean influences, etc...
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  #17  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2014, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheGenuineArticle View Post
Just fyi as a result of that attempt at the charter of values the Parti Québécois received the lowest number of votes in the history of the party since it's inception.

There is a great divide between Montrealers/Montrealais as well as Quebec city dewllers and the people who live outside of urban centers on the farms still that the affects of the quiet revolution has not reached yet.
Which effects of the quiet revolution do you mean?

My simple understanding of the quiet revolution was that some people thought Quebec should become more secular and less traditional, and opponents to these attitudes became more nationalistic. Am I right? I'm sorry, I don't understand the full history of this issue.
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Old Posted Oct 21, 2014, 12:03 PM
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I can guarantee that if you polled westerners tomorrow about the issue of businesses in western Canada with Chinese-only signage and then you did another poll about Quebec sign laws, you'd get different results in each and more people willing to support Richmond city council on this one than would be supporting the Quebec government.
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  #19  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2014, 12:09 PM
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So then why are you asking the question, are you just trying to see how many people agree with you?
To have a discussion and find out what others think. Am I not allowed to have an opinion on this topic? Perhaps discussion could change my opinion, but certainly rude questions like yours will achieve nothing constructive.

I'll address your interesting and substantive questions a little later.
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  #20  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2014, 12:15 PM
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Well, the internet sometimes makes it difficult to discern what people's true intentions are. There have been many self serving threads on this forum before (I am guilty of this as well).
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