M989.363.172 | Bilingual Signs

Drawing, cartoon
Bilingual Signs
Aislin (alias Terry Mosher)
June 1, 1978, 20th century
Ink on paper
25.1 x 20.4 cm
Gift of Ms. Iona Monahan
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Bill 101 (24) , Cartoon (19139) , Crisis (453) , Drawing (18637) , drawing (18379) , Law (53) , Linguistic debate (92) , Political stakes (346) , politics (10928) , Politics (1624) , Québec (427)
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Keys to History

Bill 101's provisions governing signs sparked a hostile reaction from storekeepers, especially English-speaking ones. In the cartoon, this anger has been taken out on an inspector from the Régie de la langue française, the government agency in charge of enforcing Bill 101.

  • What

    Under Bill 101, all signs had to be in French only. The restrictions on the use of English led to public protests and to an exodus of English Quebeckers to other provinces.

  • Where

    This scene is taking place in front of a fictitious Montreal eatery.

  • When

    Bill 101 was passed by the Quebec National Assembly on August 26, 1977.

  • Who

    The inspector from the Régie de la langue française has been crushed by the letter "S" that the owner has been forced to take off his sign. A customer is saying, "Nice to see Ed sticking to the letter of the law!"