Does Bilingual Means “Anything But English” in Knowlton?

Oh the beauty of the billingual signs! Yes paid taxes for 40 years but now your communti center doesn't recognize the fact that you speak English.The furor continues in Brome Lake over signage, that some people say is blatently slapping Anglophones in the face, as Town Council responded to questions about the sign on the new community center by saying “Centre Lac Brome” is actually bilingual.

According to Town Council, the sign on the Brome Lake Community Center, which says “Centre Lac Brome”, is actually a wonderful example of bilingualism and councillors explained carefully during questions at the council meeting that since “Centre” is the properly spelled English version of the word “Center” and “Lac Brome” is the legal Quebec Government designation of the town then “Centre Lac Brome” is acceptable signage. Indeed it appears that this sign is “The Perfect Storm” as far as signs go as the English and French designations are identical!

Someone should tell the CHSSN, the Community Health and Social Services Network, which is the network of community organizations, resources and public institutions striving to ensure access to health and social services in English for Quebec’s English-speaking communities, who call it “Centre Lac Brome Center”. That looks like a trilingual nomenclature…French, English and American according to the CHSSN! Bad Bad Bad says Brome Lake!

Of course, in Quebec, we have laws that must be adhered to and the language laws, no matter how despised by some, are laws nonetheless. But if the Town insists that English, as according to law, must be less predominant on signs, and they have done some nice spinning on the Brome Lake Center sign how can they allow a unilingual sign in downtown Knowlton to be established?

Heck…the town insisted a local restaurant change their sign because it advertised “dinner” instead of “diner”. My goodness! “Dinner” is perfect because it contains both French and English together in one word!! Just like “Centre Lac-Brome” is bilingual so is, according to the same nebulous logic, the word “dinner” because it…certainly more biligual than Bel Canto?

No English on this sign? PERFECT! No-one can read the correct time? PERFECT!There is an “Art Gallery” on the banks of the Coldbrook in Knowlton that has a sign that is neither French nor English and it is on the main thoroughfare of Knowlton! The gallery has a sign that says “CARPE DIEM”…ummm…is that French? Is that English? No…it is neither official language but it seems that in Brome Lake that anything but English is acceptable! Does the Town prefer to allow a dead language on a sign? As long as it isn’t english then perhaps it’s ok?

Of course the stunningly Victorian “artsy-fartsy” clock on main street which stands beside the large “kiss my bum” Victorian statue in central Knowlton is something else but even the clock is so impossible to read that anyone passing by will surely miss their bus or appointment! We have a nice Bank of Montreal sign with a classic clock upstream but Town Council said nothing to the crazy junk-yard clock, big bummy statue and unlingual sign in the center of town! A useless clock, a sign written in Latin that should, by logic, be written in proper French. The correct French signage should replace the unlingual Latin: “Cueille le jour présent et sois le moins confiant possible en l’avenir”.

While the council is at it they should look at renaming “Lakeside” to “Côté de Lac” because that is a blatent case of english being used in “flagrant delecti”. And the actual French translation for “Saint Paul” according to Wikipedia in French is: “Paul de Tarse”! But does anyone have the courage to let the real-estate agents know that they should announce to their clients that the most saught-after property area, previously known as “Saint Paul” street, should be officially known the new and improved “Paul de Tarse”?

Why not rename KNOWLTON with the official French translation for Knowlton. “Knowlton” = “Savoir la Tonne”. DOINK!!

Let’s take a look at a new and apparently popular event coming to Lac-Brome: The Knowlton Bel Canto Festival. Bel Canto? Is Bel Canto a bilingual expression? Nope…it’s Italian! And they don’t call it Lac-Brome as is the Proper Quebec Name but for some unknown reason they call it Knowlton Bel Canto? The only consistency seems to be inconsistency!

Regarding the “Centre Lac Brome”, many residents are upset at the fact that the English Community provided much of the private funding (apparently over 75% of the local private funding came from mainly English groups yet they don’t deserve the respect of having an English sign on the building they paid for) to get the Community Center paid for and the refusal to recognize the English language community as major supporters and fundraisers on the sign that graces the building is a blatent smack in “la face”!

A letter to the editor in the local paper “The Brome County News” by a resident from Fulford expressed the frustrations:

Bilingual Brome?
Article by Morris Croghan, resident of Fulford.

Alan Gauthier at the town meeting of February 2nd, councilor Alan Gauthier, previously thought to have displayed some measure of independent thinking, i.e. his bilingual resolution #2008-10-355 recanted.
Re-joining the Wisdom/Willcinsom team in their determined efforts to keep any offensive English off “Centre Lac Brome’s” unilingual French signs. Mr.Gauthier carefully explained that since ” Centre” is a properly spelled English word and “Lac Brome” is the legal Quebec Government name for the town. “Centre Lac Brome” is therefore bilingual? Wow! You won’t see better spinning than that in Ottawa!

Being a reluctant public speaker myself, I’m in awe of Mr. Gauthier’s effortless public delivery of this convoluted, non-sensical pile of verbal garbage. Has Mayor
Wisdom taken on a protege? Yes, “Centre” is a proper English word and “Lac Brome” may well be the town’s Quebec government legal name. But no, Mr.Gauthier! Combined as “Centre Lac Brome”, they do not constitute a bilingual sign. I would suggest you
consult your 3rd grade English Reader, take a rest and revisit the issue.

Perhaps get your “pole fish” and in your “car blue” go to Lac Brome around “Island Eagle”, stay in your “boat red” necause the island is “Propriete Prive”!


Nice lettter from Morris Croghan, resident of Fulford!

Of course the Peanut Gang Had To Get Involved in none other than local Yahoo Morris “Maurice” Croghan:

Anonymous ? Mr, Mrs, It, courage challenged, whoever, whatever you are . While I don’t usually bother to address irrelevant comments from secret little letter writers such as yourself. No more than I would attempt to engage in dialog with a buzzing flypaper ensnarled housefly , for this one time I will respond and try to address your loosely related points one by one. Firstly I will never consider my English Speaking Community a lost cause. Perhaps I should have said our English Community but alas who knows what you are ? Accused of both losing myself in history and trivializing history at the same time. I would suggest you change your blog time beverage to coffee or perhaps warm milk. As to your expressed admiration for that autoroute blight, monument to bad taste and commercial excess, Bromont. Why do you not simply relocate there, you may do well there. Obviously not a big fan of Knowlton’s ” too English ” history, the environment you aspire to is not far away ! Crass, shallow, unilingual, ignorant and in possession of a historical memory that goes all the way back to the pioneers of the ski hill in 1960. Ask someone for directions to West Shefford. Your community centre comments about people pulling together are ludicrous. Some people who pulled together and funded a large portion of the center were promptly forgotten when all the cash was in. As testament to the low regard in which city hall holds it’s founding peoples language, English was omitted from the buildings signs. You ask (confident the answer is yes) would the deal have gone through had English speakers been aware of the fate of their language on the building ? My answer No. No deal with that devious gang of disrespectful politicos and their ego stroking hacker fans like you. Your naive, patronizing, defense of the worst administration ever inflicted on our 200 year old noble town might be comical, a joke , were it not so embarrassingly childishly and painfully ignorant. Wake up to the way things are here in TBL or VLB. If you are indeed an Anglo, give yourself an education in reality, go get a job at city hall, the Bourret and Wisdom team await you. Morris Croghan Fulford

Then another short tailed bulbous eyed creature crawled out from “under les roches”:


Well.. that was well put. May I suggest, that with all of your wit, charm, warm words and undoubtedly warm hearted character, you run for the office of mayor? It is obvious you are deeply dissatisfied and feel you have all the answers. It should be time for you to make a change!

I couldn’t imagine someone as eloquent as yourself not sweeping the municipal election! I am certain the citizens of Lac Brome would flock to your camp like a humming bird to a honeysuckle.

If I may also suggest a couple of sessions of anger management might do you well before you hit the campaign trail… you have my vote!

Of course, if you win, I suppose a fair number of “us” will be banished to Bromont… But, I suspect there is nothing wrong with being closer to the ski hill and shops!

Good Luck, Future Mr. Mayor…

Still staying anonymous, you’re too volatile.

I imagine you might have simply expected something closer to your level like “your mother wears combat boots” and “I know you are, but what am I?” but I’ll leave that type of dialogue to you… All the best

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