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Chinese Signs Out Of Hand in Richmond Says Petition


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#181 theo5789

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 11:55 AM

I've been to restaurants in Richmond where they treat you differently if you don't speak Chinese. I understand Chinese more than I am able to speak it (or more comfortable that I can speak it). So I normally order in English and the service is completely different when I am with family that does order in Chinese. The service seems slower and they appear to try to avoid you at all costs even if you're trying to give them your money. They talk behind my back in Chinese thinking I do not know the language and I have walked out places like this. Now, I know not all places are like this, but I haven't gone to Richmond in a while because I don't see the point in possibly dealing with that again. With Chinese-only signage, I definitely will not be stepping into those stores. I am sure I am not the only one that feels this way somewhat, so it must be hurting their businesses and to some extent Richmond's local economy. Should I feel the need to learn more Chinese in Canada to be accepted? It's hard to accept their culture when they do not want to accept others.
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#182 RUPERTKBD

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 12:06 PM

Is that actually a dig? Are you criticizing those that are not shy about commenting on societal issues that they recognize as problematic? Many of those 'crusaders' are not advocating this petition in question or for government to get involved.



It absolutely was not a dig. Apologies if that's how it came across.

It was meant to convey that I completely support people who use means other than lobbying for government intervention to try affect a change in this matter. If people approach the shop keepers and complain, it may or may not be effective, but at least it won't drag polititians into the fray.

To summarize: I think it's fine to ask business owners to change this policy, but not to demand it through the city's administration.
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#183 ronthecivil

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 12:35 PM

I've been to restaurants in Richmond where they treat you differently if you don't speak Chinese. I understand Chinese more than I am able to speak it (or more comfortable that I can speak it). So I normally order in English and the service is completely different when I am with family that does order in Chinese. The service seems slower and they appear to try to avoid you at all costs even if you're trying to give them your money. They talk behind my back in Chinese thinking I do not know the language and I have walked out places like this. Now, I know not all places are like this, but I haven't gone to Richmond in a while because I don't see the point in possibly dealing with that again. With Chinese-only signage, I definitely will not be stepping into those stores. I am sure I am not the only one that feels this way somewhat, so it must be hurting their businesses and to some extent Richmond's local economy. Should I feel the need to learn more Chinese in Canada to be accepted? It's hard to accept their culture when they do not want to accept others.


That's the point guilo....

Welcome to the club (aka the rest of us). Let the exclusive live their narrow lives in blissful solitude and enjoy the remaining 99.99% of the country/province/area/ heck even Richmond itself.
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#184 debluvscanucks

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 12:36 PM

On another note, I wonder what the Musqueam Nation thought in the 1860's when Richmond's original foreign settlers put up their first signs, at Steveston, in English?


So have we not learned anything then? You're ok with it? I was hoping we had and that progress had been made, but apparently not? I'm quite sure they felt the same way and, had I been present, I would have supported them and tried to learn their language/customs and integrate them into my own. Been sensitive to those around me..it's just how I roll. We should have learned from previous mistakes and listened.

You cannot use this argument without saying it was ok back then (too). So you're in support of how the Musqueam were treated back then? I certainly am not.

I am a firm believer of caring about those around me and making sure I'm not trampling on them with a selfish agenda that's all about me. If they feel bad, I try to listen to that and see if I can perhaps do something to help in that. I don't want Chinese people to come here and give up what they know...I just want them to expand their horizons. We're supposedly a compassionate, empathetic nation but if we're bending to become wrapped up in a "it's mine, I can do what I like...if you don't like it, don't come" mentality, it doesn't support that.

There is more behind this for sure...the signs are the tip of the much larger iceburg and I won't venture to go there in depth, as it's a whole other can of worms. But it involves protesting against hospices based on beliefs about ghosts and fear of death. Yet those beliefs didn't come into play in building a mall next door to a funeral home? Wait a minute. So is it just when the agenda suits you? Or is it a strongly embedded cultural belief...I'm confused? That one still lingers for me...when property values outvalue dying people, it's a problem. So many things are steering this in the wrong direction. But I'll add that to my checklist - no dying people nearby...check.

Not racism...issues that are being presented that I feel strongly about. I don't care if it's Mr. Robert Jones presenting them, it's the issue I'm addressing, not those bringing it to me.

FTR, I also was a strong advocate for (and had letters to the editor printed in favour of) the SUCCESS society's bid to build a seniors' home in Steveston, despite the NIMBY's opposition of it. It is mostly geared toward Chinese seniors, so I guess my "racism" didn't stand in the way of that one It was predominantly caucasian, long time residents fighting against the facility. So let's establish that I don't have a vendetta of any sort directed toward people of a specific race...I care about people. Period. And that should be everyone's priority - first and foremost. To care about those around us as well as ourselves.

I push for a kinder, gentler world. Not based on "rights", "laws", or anything other than common courtesy and the thinking that it's always best to join hands in unity than to use them to build walls to keep people at bay. Which is what this basically equates to.

I laugh at the declaration of some here who have suggested "mountains out of moehills" and that it's no big deal. If so, why are you still here, pages deep now? Kind of contradicts that "no big deal" stuff. Obviously, your feelings are a little stronger than you've let on. Or is it simply that you feel somehow that your opinion is the valid one? If it's no big deal, you should have likely moved on long ago, right?

It really isn't that big a deal to me...life will go on, as usual. But it saddens me that we're taking this direction and the message is basically that it's ok to care only about ourselves..."if you don't like it, move on" applies. "Our property". Believe me, I certainly will pass by as a result. But I don't know that that's the answer in a harmonic sense.

No biggie is right...until someone has a heart attack and dies in front of a Chinese only sign that the paramedics can't identify the location of. "Where are you?". "In front of.....um, I don't know".

People here stereotyping are simply one step away from the "r" word in my view. You've quickly pointed out accents, tea time, age and hair colour. So this is relevant? Hmmm.
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#185 ronthecivil

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 12:37 PM

It absolutely was not a dig. Apologies if that's how it came across.

It was meant to convey that I completely support people who use means other than lobbying for government intervention to try affect a change in this matter. If people approach the shop keepers and complain, it may or may not be effective, but at least it won't drag polititians into the fray.

To summarize: I think it's fine to ask business owners to change this policy, but not to demand it through the city's administration.


For added fun make the protest signs in Japanese and put in slogans that can result in the loss of "face".

Or if you are really into having fun and got the wherewithal purchase a place next door and put in an application to turn it into a funeral home.

You know, exercise your right to be a douchebag.

Or just completely ignore them. If enough people do that they really will go away.
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#186 Mr.Habitat

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 12:38 PM

I've been to restaurants in Richmond where they treat you differently if you don't speak Chinese. I understand Chinese more than I am able to speak it (or more comfortable that I can speak it). So I normally order in English and the service is completely different when I am with family that does order in Chinese. The service seems slower and they appear to try to avoid you at all costs even if you're trying to give them your money. They talk behind my back in Chinese thinking I do not know the language and I have walked out places like this. Now, I know not all places are like this, but I haven't gone to Richmond in a while because I don't see the point in possibly dealing with that again. With Chinese-only signage, I definitely will not be stepping into those stores. I am sure I am not the only one that feels this way somewhat, so it must be hurting their businesses and to some extent Richmond's local economy. Should I feel the need to learn more Chinese in Canada to be accepted? It's hard to accept their culture when they do not want to accept others.


This happened to me at a sushi place near landsdowne. The waitress ignored us, was rude and conveniently stopped bringing food we ordered. It was all you can eat.

They were completely different to the Chinese patrons. Very discouraging

Edited by Mr.Habitat, 19 March 2013 - 12:38 PM.

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#187 Buggernut

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 12:40 PM

For added fun make the protest signs in Japanese and put in slogans that can result in the loss of "face".

Or if you are really into having fun and got the wherewithal purchase a place next door and put in an application to turn it into a funeral home.


Or a care home for the sick and the dying.
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#188 Wetcoaster

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 12:44 PM

Yeah, we're supposed to bend over for them more than they do for us. How about a little consistency in principle, instead of what the Holy Charter says?



Are you for absolute adherence to the Charter or not? Doesn't the Charter apply to Quebec just as much as it does to us? Either you are for it or you are not? NO EXCEPTIONS! To make them would make you hypocritical.

It is consistent.

The Charter does apply to Quebec as the Ford case makes clear as I noted earlier.

That is incomplete and disregards what the SCOC said about freedom of expression.

While the notwitstanding clause was initially used by the PQ government to get around the SCOC Ford decision in regards to commercial signage, subsequently the legislation was brought into line with the decision.

Ford v. Quebec (Attorney General), [1988] 2 S.C.R. 712 is a landmark Supreme Court of Canada decision in which the Court struck down part of the Charter of the French Language, commonly known as Bill 101. This law had restricted the use of commercial signs written in languages other than French. The court ruled that Bill 101 violated the freedom of expression as guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

...

In late 1989, shortly after the Supreme Court's decision, premier Robert Bourassa's Liberal Party of Quebec government passed Bill 178, making minor amendments to the Charter of the French Language. Recognizing that the amendments did not follow the Supreme Court's ruling, the provincial legislature invoked section 33 of the Canadian Charter (also known as the notwithstanding clause) to shield Bill 178 from review by courts for five years.

This move was politically controversial, both among Quebec nationalists who were unhappy with the changes to the Charter of the French Language, and among English-speaking Quebecers who opposed the use of the notwithstanding clause. Tension over this issue was a contributing factor to the failure of the Meech Lake Accord.


In 1993, the Charter of the French Language was amended in the manner suggested by the Supreme Court of Canada. Bill 86 was enacted by the Bourassa government to amend the charter. It now states that French must be predominant on commercial signs, but a language other than French may also be used. Accordingly, the law no longer invokes the notwithstanding clause.


The rationale for allowing this breach of freedom of expression (signs in any language but French could be mandated on such signs) as a reasonable limitation under Section 1 was that the Province of Quebec had the right to protect the French language as it was in danger of being overwhelmed by the English language. Such a rationale would not apply in the case of forcing English signage on Chinese signs.

Per the headnote from the Ford v. Quebec case:


(c ) Freedom of Expression

The "freedom of expression" guaranteed by s. 2(b)of the Canadian Charter and s. 3 of the Quebec Charter includes the freedom to express oneself in the language of one's choice. Language is so intimately related to the form and content of expression that there cannot be true freedom of expression by means of language if one is prohibited from using the language of one's choice. Language is not merely a means or medium of expression; it colours the content and meaning of expression. It is a means by which a people may express its cultural identity. It is also the means by which one expresses one's personal identity and sense of individuality. The recognition that "freedom of expression" includes the freedom to express oneself in the language of one's choice does not undermine or run counter to the express or specific guarantees of language rights in s. 133 of the Constitution Act, 1867 and ss. 16 to 23 of the Canadian Charter.


The expression contemplated by ss. 58 and 69 of the Charter of the French Language ‑‑ conveniently characterized as "commercial expression" ‑‑ is expression within the meaning of both s. 2(b) of the Canadian Charter and s. 3 of the Quebec Charter. Commercial expression, like political expression, is one of the forms of expression that is deserving of constitutional protection because it serves individual and societal values in a free and democratic society. Indeed, over and above its intrinsic value as expression, commercial expression, which protects listeners as well as speakers, plays a significant role in enabling individuals to make informed economic choices, an important aspect of individual self‑fulfillment and personal autonomy. This leads to the conclusion that s. 58 infringes the freedom of expression guaranteed by s. 3 of the Quebec Charter and s. 69 infringes the guaranteed freedom of expression under both s. 2(b) of the Canadian Charter and s. 3 of the Quebec Charter.


(d) Reasonable Limits

The material adduced in this Court did not justify the limit imposed on freedom of expression by ss. 58 and 69 of the Charter of the French Language. The material established the importance of the legislative purpose reflected in the Charter of the French Language ‑‑ the enhancement of the status of the French language in Quebec ‑‑ and that it was a response to a pressing and substantial concern ‑‑ the survival of the French language. The threat to the French language demonstrated to the government that it should, in particular, take steps to assure that the "visage linguistique" of Quebec would reflect the predominance of the French language. While the material indicated a rational connection between protecting the French language and assuring that the reality of Quebec society is communicated through the "visage linguistique", it did not demonstrate that the requirement of the use of French only in ss. 58 and 69 is either necessary for the achievement of the legislative purpose or proportionate to it.


Whereas requiring the predominant display of the French language, even its marked predominance, would be proportional to the goal of promoting and maintaining a French "visage linguistique" in Quebec and therefore justified under s. 9.1 of the Quebec Charter and s. 1 of the Canadian Charter, requiring the exclusive use of French has not been so justified. French could be required in addition to any other language or it could be required to have greater visibility than that accorded to other languages. Accordingly, the limit imposed on freedom of expression by s. 58 of the Charter of the French Language is not justified under s. 9.1 of the Quebec Charter, and the limit imposed on freedom of expression by s. 69 of the Charter of the French Language is not justified under either s. 1 of the Canadian Charter or s. 9.1 of the Quebec Charter. Section 9.1 is a justificatory provision corresponding to s. 1 of the Canadian Charter subject, in its application, to a similar test of rational connection and proportionality.

http://www.canlii.or...88canlii19.html


However like all rights freedom of commercial expression is subject to reasonable limitations (Section 1) but that reasonable limitation does not apply to the English language in BC as no one could seriously contend that English was a language that must be protected given its overwhelming presence. As the SCOC stated:

The material established the importance of the legislative purpose reflected in the Charter of the French Language ‑‑ the enhancement of the status of the French language in Quebec ‑‑ and that it was a response to a pressing and substantial concern ‑‑ the survival of the French language.

What may be a reasonable limitation in one set of facts and circumstances is not necessarily applicable in a different set of facts and circumstances.
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#189 Wetcoaster

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 12:52 PM

Shouldn't the acceptance go both ways? Of us accepting them and them accepting us by communicating in the official language of their host country?

The key point is accepting of differences while not putting one culture above another - key features of the official policy of multiculturalism.

And requiring English on a commercial sign in addition to another language is not accepting of differences, it is putting English in a superior position.
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#190 Buggernut

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 01:29 PM

It is consistent.

The Charter does apply to Quebec as the Ford case makes clear as I noted earlier.



However like all rights freedom of commercial expression is subject to reasonable limitations (Section 1) but that reasonable limitation does not apply to the English language in BC as no one could seriously contend that English was a language that must be protected given its overwhelming presence. As the SCOC stated:

The material established the importance of the legislative purpose reflected in the Charter of the French Language ‑‑ the enhancement of the status of the French language in Quebec ‑‑ and that it was a response to a pressing and substantial concern ‑‑ the survival of the French language.

What may be a reasonable limitation in one set of facts and circumstances is not necessarily applicable in a different set of facts and circumstances.


On the other hand, you also said this...

Personally I have no problem with Chinese only signs on private property.

The last thing I agree with is anything that smacks of government intervention in this area. I have been completely opposed to what Quebec has done and IMHO this has the same sort of unneeded intervention. Let the free market determine the signage.

As Pierre Trudeau noted when Canada adopted an official multicultural policy "there is no official culture, nor does any ethnic group take precedence over any other."


Be consistent on that. Let the free market and free will of the people decide what language survives and what doesn't, then.

Edited by Buggernut, 19 March 2013 - 01:30 PM.

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#191 Wetcoaster

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 01:37 PM

On the other hand, you also said this...



Be consistent on that. Let the free market and free will of the people decide what language survives and what doesn't, then.

I am consistent.

As I have said I disagree with the Quebec sign law as a policy choice but I do understand why it is legally permissible once they abandoned the requirement of French only on commercial signage.

The reasoning that applies in Quebec in respect of a reasonable limitation does not apply here in BC IMHO.
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#192 Hugemanskost

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 01:58 PM

So have we not learned anything then? You're ok with it? I was hoping we had and that progress had been made, but apparently not? I'm quite sure they felt the same way and, had I been present, I would have supported them and tried to learn their language/customs and integrate them into my own. Been sensitive to those around me..it's just how I roll. We should have learned from previous mistakes and listened.

You cannot use this argument without saying it was ok back then (too). So you're in support of how the Musqueam were treated back then? I certainly am not.

I am a firm believer of caring about those around me and making sure I'm not trampling on them with a selfish agenda that's all about me. If they feel bad, I try to listen to that and see if I can perhaps do something to help in that. I don't want Chinese people to come here and give up what they know...I just want them to expand their horizons. We're supposedly a compassionate, empathetic nation but if we're bending to become wrapped up in a "it's mine, I can do what I like...if you don't like it, don't come" mentality, it doesn't support that.

There is more behind this for sure...the signs are the tip of the much larger iceburg and I won't venture to go there in depth, as it's a whole other can of worms. But it involves protesting against hospices based on beliefs about ghosts and fear of death. Yet those beliefs didn't come into play in building a mall next door to a funeral home? Wait a minute. So is it just when the agenda suits you? Or is it a strongly embedded cultural belief...I'm confused? That one still lingers for me...when property values outvalue dying people, it's a problem. So many things are steering this in the wrong direction. But I'll add that to my checklist - no dying people nearby...check.

Not racism...issues that are being presented that I feel strongly about. I don't care if it's Mr. Robert Jones presenting them, it's the issue I'm addressing, not those bringing it to me.

FTR, I also was a strong advocate for (and had letters to the editor printed in favour of) the SUCCESS society's bid to build a seniors' home in Steveston, despite the NIMBY's opposition of it. It is mostly geared toward Chinese seniors, so I guess my "racism" didn't stand in the way of that one It was predominantly caucasian, long time residents fighting against the facility. So let's establish that I don't have a vendetta of any sort directed toward people of a specific race...I care about people. Period. And that should be everyone's priority - first and foremost. To care about those around us as well as ourselves.

I push for a kinder, gentler world. Not based on "rights", "laws", or anything other than common courtesy and the thinking that it's always best to join hands in unity than to use them to build walls to keep people at bay. Which is what this basically equates to.

I laugh at the declaration of some here who have suggested "mountains out of moehills" and that it's no big deal. If so, why are you still here, pages deep now? Kind of contradicts that "no big deal" stuff. Obviously, your feelings are a little stronger than you've let on. Or is it simply that you feel somehow that your opinion is the valid one? If it's no big deal, you should have likely moved on long ago, right?

It really isn't that big a deal to me...life will go on, as usual. But it saddens me that we're taking this direction and the message is basically that it's ok to care only about ourselves..."if you don't like it, move on" applies. "Our property". Believe me, I certainly will pass by as a result. But I don't know that that's the answer in a harmonic sense.

No biggie is right...until someone has a heart attack and dies in front of a Chinese only sign that the paramedics can't identify the location of. "Where are you?". "In front of.....um, I don't know".

People here stereotyping are simply one step away from the "r" word in my view. You've quickly pointed out accents, tea time, age and hair colour. So this is relevant? Hmmm.


I have to say, Deb, maybe I didn't explain myself very succinctly? I agree with everything you have said, if I get what you're saying, except for the sign part. I'm not sure how to respond to all you have written, but I'm going to try. Many of your comments, if I understand you, are not directed at me personally, but at the posters in general, right? The bolded comment above is one that really bugs me as I said exactly the opposite about race. I believe we are a race of humans, it is our cultures that cause the issues.

I love to learn about other cultures and interact with all sorts of people. I am in no way supportive of how the Coast Salish peoples, or any other Aboriginal peoples, were treated by European immigrants. My comment about the Musqueam Nation was to try to compare the Musqueam's treatment in the 1860's to established Richmond-Steveston culture today. The Musqueam peoples went with the shift in culture, grudgingly, which is what I was trying to say that modern Richmond-Steveston could do. Live and let live is how I roll.

As far as "race" goes, as a person, I just ignore trivial physical differences and try to treat everyone as I would like to be treated... with respect and empathy. Race and culture are so different to me. Immigrants are binging their cultures here to share with us. We have the choice to embrace it, which I try my best to do at all times, ignore it or fight it. I know if I moved to Shanghai and wanted to start a "Canadatown", I would choose to write my signage in Chinese and in English. That is my choice as I would want as much business as possible. Many people of different cultures who move here choose not to use English in their signage and I'm all good with that. Live and let live. Why limit your sales based on exclusivity, though? It is a retailer's choice.

I just don't think that laws or bylaws should be made about this type of issue. The government is way too involved in our lives as it is. I'm glad that Richmond council shot this one down.
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#193 Dogbyte

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 02:04 PM

Just learn Chinese lazy people. It's not difficult.
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#194 Common sense

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 02:10 PM

This happened to me at a sushi place near landsdowne. The waitress ignored us, was rude and conveniently stopped bringing food we ordered. It was all you can eat.


Fact: this happens to Chinese people too. Servers misplace orders after the 2nd round so that the restaurant doesn't have to throw excess food away. That's why you always order more than the desired amount at that point.
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#195 theo5789

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 02:23 PM

Just learn Chinese lazy people. It's not difficult.


Just as Chinese people should learn English? It's even less difficult.
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#196 CB007

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 02:39 PM

My only problem with the petition is the specific use of the phrase "way out of hand", it has a very negative tone. They should've used a more neutral term or phrase such as "over-prevalent" or go the opposition direction describing the missing English translation as "under-represented".

Otherwise it is a fair petition.

Edited by CB007, 19 March 2013 - 02:45 PM.

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#197 Wetcoaster

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 03:51 PM

At least Richmond City Council had the good sense to overwhelmingly reject this petition out of hand.


The city council in Richmond, B.C., has voted not to follow up on a petition, presented to them on Monday evening, asking for a bylaw that would ban "Chinese-only" signs in the city.


A group of Richmond residents collected 1,000 signatures supporting their position that the majority of signs in any one area of the city should have at least one of Canada's official languages — English or French.


Petitioner Anne Merdinyan spent months taking photos around Richmond to illustrate the prevalence of Chinese-only signs outside local businesses, on restaurant menus and in pamplets (sic) and inserts received in the mail. She presented the photos in a slideshow to council.



Merdinyan said Chinese-only signs are doing non-Chinese residents a disservice.


"We, the new visible minorities, are experiencing exclusion," she said to a city council chamber packed with Richmond residents.


"Maybe I want to do business with them," Merdinyan said. "Why I have to be an outsider? What's the reason?"


On Monday, Coun. Chak Au suggested the city investigate the issue further. However, every other councillor defeated the proposal, saying it's up to store owners to decide what kind of signage they want, and it's up to shoppers to decide if they want to go elsewhere.



Richmond resident Randolf Richardson was at the meeting and said he was happy with council's decision.


"There are also requirements in our charter that require certain government departments and the education system to provide English and French language support because those are official languages in that regard," he said.


"But that doesn't extend to imposing those languages on people, private citizens or private property. And what I see these shopkeepers doing is exercising their right to freedom of expression."


Coun. Derek Dang said non-English signs are actually quite rare — a recent count only found three Chinese business signs that had no English.


Dang said he's afraid the push against Chinese-only signs may be a case of veiled racism.



However, he said he thinks those who support mandatory English signs are in a slim minority.


"I don't believe that is a common theme throughout our city, and hopefully it's not around the Lower Mainland either," he said.


Dang also said Richmond's small business owners should be able to decide how they want to advertise, even if it hurts their businesses in the end.


"If they only want to cater to one group of people, [they] are actually doing a detriment to their own business, and I just think it's foolhardy, quite frankly," he said.


According to Statistics Canada, about half of Richmond's population speaks only English at home.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2013/03/18/bc-chinese-signs-richmond.html
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#198 wizeman

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 03:54 PM

I wish they would put all the signs in English. They can have signs also in Chinese and French and whatnot. I think there needs to be one common language we can all read.
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#199 Wetcoaster

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 04:09 PM

I wish they would put all the signs in English. They can have signs also in Chinese and French and whatnot. I think there needs to be one common language we can all read.

Why? Are you are against freedom of expression?

And as the Mayor notes the last thing Richmond needs is a Quebec style bureaucracy dedicated to language on commercial signage.


Richmond city council decided Monday that they don't want to be the language police, after a 1,000-strong petition urging them to mandate the use of English or French on signage in the city was essentially struck down at city hall.


Longtime Richmond residents Kerry Starchuk and Ann Merdinyan presented the petition to council in the hopes that a bylaw would be created, requiring one of Canada's two official languages on omnipresent Chinese-language signage seen on businesses, bus stops and leaflets around the city.


"Harmony is built on understanding. Communication is key," said Merdinyan in a short presentation heard by a standing-room only crowd. "We must become a community inclusive to all people."


The petition included signatures from 800 Richmond residents, collected in the spring of 2012.


Starchuk and Merdinyan suggested new businesses adopt the proposed bylaw immediately, while established businesses be given two to three years to conform.


Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie was the first to say he doesn't want city staffers to become the language police, and appeared irked at the fact that Coun. Chak Au thought the decision to receive the petition as reviewable information wasn't enough.


"There's some rich information here we can differentiate," said Au. "If we can have a platform to look at the information more carefully and create a process ... through meaningful discussion is a better approach."


Au suggested consultations be made with city merchants, the Chinese community and groups against signage unreadable to about half of the city's population.


In Richmond, nearly 60 per cent of residents reported a non-official language as their mother tongue in 2011. Just about 37 per cent reported English-only as their mother tongue.


"Personally, I have no problem for signage to be bilingual," said Au.


No other councillor, nor Mayor Brodie, seconded his motion.


Coun. Evelina Halsey-Brandt spoke on the issue, saying every business in the city has the right to attract customers of their choice.


"If they don't want me because they haven't informed me on the business they offer, I'll talk with my wallet," said Halsey-Brandt, herself once a landed immigrant of Slavic descent who couldn't speak English upon arrival.


"I've never felt excluded," she said.


Merdinyan and Starchuk disagree.


"We feel excluded from a certain part of the city," said Merdinyan, who tabled petitions to the federal, provincial and municipal governments.


"We had hoped to be heard," she said, citing Richmond's Aberdeen Shopping Centre as an example of a commercial centre with a signage policy in place.


Aberdeen's policy states its retailers must use at least 70 per cent English and French in their signage, while the remaining 30 per cent can be of any language.


Richmond resident Randolf Richardson, 40, was against the petition, believing this is an issue of freedom of expression.


"The problem I have is when we force people to express themselves in some way," Richardson said.


"I see traditional Chinese, simplified Chinese, I see some Russian signage. If you go to Surrey ... you'll certainly see signage in languages that come from India."


Merdinyan says she doesn't expect council to go further with the issue, and isn't sure where to go from here.


"Home, for tea," she said, with a British accent.

http://www.theprovince.com/life/Council+shows+stop+sign+petition/8118611/story.html#ixzz2O1uhzfb5
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#200 Buddhas Hand

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 04:11 PM

Is there for honest Poverty
That hings his head, an' a' that;
The coward slave-we pass him by,
We dare be poor for a' that!
For a' that, an' a' that.
Our toils obscure an' a' that,
The rank is but the guinea's stamp,
The Man's the gowd for a' that.

What though on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hoddin grey, an' a that;
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine;
A Man's a Man for a' that:
For a' that, and a' that,
Their tinsel show, an' a' that;
The honest man, tho' e'er sae poor,
Is king o' men for a' that.

Ye see yon birkie, ca'd a lord,
Wha struts, an' stares, an' a' that;
Tho' hundreds worship at his word,
He's but a coof for a' that:
For a' that, an' a' that,
His ribband, star, an' a' that:
The man o' independent mind
He looks an' laughs at a' that.

A prince can mak a belted knight,
A marquis, duke, an' a' that;
But an honest man's abon his might,
Gude faith, he maunna fa' that!
For a' that, an' a' that,
Their dignities an' a' that;
The pith o' sense, an' pride o'worth,
Are higher rank than a' that.

Then let us pray that come it may,
(As come it will for a' that,)
That Sense and Worth, o'er a' the earth,
Shall bear the gree, an' a' that.
For a' that, an' a' that,
It's coming yet for a' that,
That Man to Man, the world o'er,
Shall brothers be for a' that.

Robbie Burns
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#201 Tokasmoka

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 04:41 PM

Signs should be in English or French. This is the greatest nation in the world that accepts anyone, even you, so the very least you can do is put your dam store sign in a language that the majority can read. Show some flippin respect.
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#202 ronthecivil

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 04:48 PM

At least Richmond City Council had the good sense to overwhelmingly reject this petition out of hand.


The city council in Richmond, B.C., has voted not to follow up on a petition, presented to them on Monday evening, asking for a bylaw that would ban "Chinese-only" signs in the city.


A group of Richmond residents collected 1,000 signatures supporting their position that the majority of signs in any one area of the city should have at least one of Canada's official languages — English or French.


Petitioner Anne Merdinyan spent months taking photos around Richmond to illustrate the prevalence of Chinese-only signs outside local businesses, on restaurant menus and in pamplets (sic) and inserts received in the mail. She presented the photos in a slideshow to council.



Merdinyan said Chinese-only signs are doing non-Chinese residents a disservice.


"We, the new visible minorities, are experiencing exclusion," she said to a city council chamber packed with Richmond residents.


"Maybe I want to do business with them," Merdinyan said. "Why I have to be an outsider? What's the reason?"


On Monday, Coun. Chak Au suggested the city investigate the issue further. However, every other councillor defeated the proposal, saying it's up to store owners to decide what kind of signage they want, and it's up to shoppers to decide if they want to go elsewhere.



Richmond resident Randolf Richardson was at the meeting and said he was happy with council's decision.


"There are also requirements in our charter that require certain government departments and the education system to provide English and French language support because those are official languages in that regard," he said.


"But that doesn't extend to imposing those languages on people, private citizens or private property. And what I see these shopkeepers doing is exercising their right to freedom of expression."


Coun. Derek Dang said non-English signs are actually quite rare — a recent count only found three Chinese business signs that had no English.



Dang said he's afraid the push against Chinese-only signs may be a case of veiled racism.



However, he said he thinks those who support mandatory English signs are in a slim minority.


"I don't believe that is a common theme throughout our city, and hopefully it's not around the Lower Mainland either," he said.


Dang also said Richmond's small business owners should be able to decide how they want to advertise, even if it hurts their businesses in the end.


"If they only want to cater to one group of people, [they] are actually doing a detriment to their own business, and I just think it's foolhardy, quite frankly," he said.


According to Statistics Canada, about half of Richmond's population speaks only English at home.

http://www.cbc.ca/ne...s-richmond.html



Let's not fail to omit the thinly failed racism of the sinocentric business owners that want only to cater to one group of people. Specifically their own.
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#203 Wetcoaster

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 04:55 PM

Signs should be in English or French. This is the greatest nation in the world that accepts anyone, even you, so the very least you can do is put your dam store sign in a language that the majority can read. Show some flippin respect.

Why should signs be in English or French? Are you opposed to freedom of expression?

It is clear that although English and French are designated official languages that status has very limited reach.

And in any event as the principles and goals are set out in the Canadian Multiculturalism Act that enacts the Canadian policy of multiculturalism in which Canada has no official culture and no one culture is considered superior to another. It is specifically provided that the policy is to "preserve and enhance the use of languages other than English and French."

AND WHEREAS the Constitution of Canada and the Official Languages Act provide that English and French are the official languages of Canada and neither abrogates nor derogates from any rights or privileges acquired or enjoyed with respect to any other language;


Many people seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding of what it means for English and French to be official languages.
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#204 Hugemanskost

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 04:55 PM

Let's not fail to omit the thinly failed racism of the sinocentric business owners that want only to cater to one group of people. Specifically their own.


Agreed, ron. The shopkeeps are being idiotic, IMO. Thing is, though, it's their choice to cater to who they like. I know if I ran a business, I would want more patrons, not fewer. Seems unintelligent to have signage in only Chinese, but, it is their choice. About half of Richmond's 200 000 peeps are Chinese. I guess some of these guys are happy with 100 000 potential customers instead of double that. Makes no sense.

Edited by Hugemanskost, 19 March 2013 - 04:55 PM.

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webkit-fake-url://D8829558-F65F-49B9-9829-A7DFC7F2E6E4/application.pdf


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#205 Common sense

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 05:17 PM

Signs should be in English or French. This is the greatest nation in the world that accepts anyone, even you, so the very least you can do is put your dam store sign in a language that the majority can read. Show some flippin respect.


The majority of Richmond residents (60%) speak Cantonese or Mandarin as their primary language. When you say "put your dam store sign in a language that the majority can read," guess what...that's already happening!
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#206 Jaimito

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 05:33 PM

It seems a lot of people are worked up over nothing. Or in other words, making a mountain out of a molehole.

It is really the businesses who advertise only in Chinese are the ones who suffer because they are losing sales by catering to one group.

So why are people so upset? Veiled racism?


judging by some of the responses on this board, racism is certainly a part of it, though not exclusively. that's why it is uncanadian to impose a law for private businesses.

racism goes both ways too, and I don't doubt there are chinese who go out of their way to not cater their business to non-chinese. but I think that's the exception rather than the rule of the reason why the signs lack english.

the most constructive thing will be for people of all ethnicity to interact, and continue dialogue. Someone said shared experiences builds communities, and that may take a couple of generations for the immigrants to adapt.

I think that is true, as many of the posters here say they are Chinese in ethnicity, but don't know the language well etc.
the influx of so many 1st generation immigrants make the change harder, since the businesses are doing well just catering to the chinese customers at this time. but that may not be case in the near future.

I went to a chinese dumpling place in Seattle a few months ago, and the dining experience there was so different from richmond.

the waitress for our table was a white girl, spoke no chinese, but knew the food and was able to give us recommendations. the clientele of that place was noticeably much more diverse in ethnicity, even though the food is authentic chinese (they dont sell sweet and sour pork, or hand out fortune cookies). my point is that the restaurant made sure that non-chinese customers will feel comfortable going there and be able to order. the reason is economics. that restaurant will not survive in seattle if it did things like some restaurants do in richmond.

I recommend people visit it if they go to seattle area. the food is fantastic. http://www.dintaifun...cations_us.html

Edited by Jaimito, 19 March 2013 - 05:36 PM.

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#207 ronthecivil

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 05:40 PM

The majority of Richmond residents (60%) speak Cantonese or Mandarin as their primary language. When you say "put your dam store sign in a language that the majority can read," guess what...that's already happening!


I suppose if you don't look beyond your immediate community of ethnically homogeneous people you can claim to be in the majority.
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#208 Common sense

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 06:22 PM

I suppose if you don't look beyond your immediate community of ethnically homogeneous people you can claim to be in the majority.


And the majority it is. What's your point?
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#209 My Account

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 07:08 PM

When I first read abou this I thought these businesses should have to have English on them if it is even just in smaller letters underneath but now I am thinking screw it just let them lose buisiness from all non-chinese customers because I am sure I wont be going to those places anyways

Edited by My Account, 19 March 2013 - 07:08 PM.

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Thanks avelanch for the sick signature

#210 GodzillaDeuce

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 08:10 PM

where'd that post saying MSG is better than vanilla go?

Edited by GodzillaDeuce, 19 March 2013 - 08:35 PM.

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well I'm sorry that gd is soo perfect





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