The day the language police came to town

by Chris Lowrey

The events of June 17, 1999 occupy a strange place in the collective memory of Shawville residents.
That was the day that a representative from the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages – often referred to as the language police – came to Shawville to document and warn businesses about their English signage.

A sign of the time

The mid to late-nineties were a tumultuous time between the French and English populations of Quebec. The 1995 referendum that saw Quebec remain a part of Canada by the thinnest of margins happened less than five years before the events of June 17, 1999.


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