The Corner

The Language of Love

Readers sometimes express skepticism about my tales of Quebec’s “language police” – the pet shop owner fined for having an English-speaking parrot, etc. So here, from the Montreal Gazette, and as a reminder of the forensic intrusions of the regulatory state, is the tale of the unilingual anglophone sex aid that fell afoul of the bureaucrats:

Distribution Percour Inc., owner of Boutique Séduction in Montreal North, has been ordered by a Quebec Court judge to pay $500 for selling an item called Sleeve Super Stretch whose packaging was in English only.

The April 19 ruling came after a failed six-year effort by the Office québécois de la langue française to get the store to stick French labels on Sleeve Super Stretch boxes.

Acting on a citizen’s complaint, an OQLF inspector visited the store in 2004 and photographed the packaging of the sex-toy accessory worn by men.

“Acting on a citizen’s complaint”: There speaks the sexually liberated statist. “I went into a sex store and I was absolutely disgusted – by the English-speaking sex aids.”

In his 10-page ruling, Judge Gilles Michaud slammed the defendant’s claim that the device is exempt under Quebec’s law on the language of commerce and trade.

For safety reasons, Michaud said, it’s important for consumers to be able to understand written instructions on the items they buy.

“We must protect those who benefit from warnings and need to understand them,” Michaud wrote.

Heaven forbid that a confused francophone should attempt to wear the product on his nose. Fortunately, prosecutors were able, with the use of public funds, to hunt down Quebec-compliant sex aids:

A crown prosecutor presented the store with a similar product made by Trojan that comes with bilingual packaging.

But Gaudreau responded that the Trojan item is not exactly the same. “It vibrates,” she told the court. “Customers won’t like it.”

As Pierre Trudeau assured Canadians, the state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation. Unless you’re wearing a non-vibrating anglophone sex aid.

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.

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