A Bloc Québécois MP is accusing the feds of “a flagrant lack of respect to francophones.”
MP Alain Therrien (La Prairie, Que.) levelled the charge in the House of Commons due to pandemic supplies coming into Canada with English-only labels, according to Blacklock’s Reporter.
“Is the government going to apologize to francophone Canadians?” asked Therrien.
Bilingual labels have been required in Canada since 1974, but Health Minister Patty Hajdu maintained her ministry had no time to do so on imported cleaning products.
“This is only a temporary measure while we fight against COVID-19,” she said.
However, the Association of Francophone and Acadian Communities is protesting the incident as an “intolerable” breach of the Official Languages Act.
“Are we less deserving of protection in times of crisis than our English-speaking neighbours?” said Jean Johnson, president of the association.
Therrien said the pandemic can’t be an excuse for selling goods without a French label.
“They’re using Covid-19 to trample the rights of francophones in Canada,” said Therrien.
“This is a Trojan horse. This is a Pandora’s Box that they’ve opened, and when you do that everything comes out of the box. It’s the beginning of the end.”
Government House Leader Pablo Rodriguez accused the Bloc of blowing things out of proportion.
“This is not at all a Trojan horse,” said Rodriguez. “This is just an exceptional measure in an exceptional situation.”