I found this humourous video amongst some items a reader sent to me. Thx Marcel!
MONTREAL – Quebec’s language police have cracked the whip on a Montreal sex-toy emporium.
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.
Subsequent meetings between OQLF officials and store manager Mireille Gaudreau aimed to force the store to produce French labels to conform to the law.
Though court records show that the store agreed to translate the packaging, it never followed through.
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.
“What the defendant is really complaining about is the cost of producing packaging that conforms to the charter.”
Gaudreau and owner Claude Perron – also named in the ruling – could not be reached for comment yesterday. An employee at the store declined to answer questions from The Gazette. OQLF officials could not be reached.
The store, which covers 16,000 square feet on two floors on Metropolitan Blvd. near Lacordaire Blvd., has six months to pay the fine.
The law, part of Quebec’s French-language charter, permits English-only labelling if the product is in limited use in Quebec and no equivalent substitute with French labels is available.
Gaudreau testified that the U.S.-made Sleeve is a unique product in Quebec, and the store sells only 15 to 20 of them per year at a retail price of $5.85.
The item is described in the ruling as a thick, condom-shaped device meant to enhance the pleasure of the man and his partner.
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.”
A visit by a Gazette reporter yesterday showed that many, if not most, of the sex-toy packages on display are in English only.
Frisky Fingers, Just Lips, Fluttering Pleasure Enhancer and the Heart Harness – to be worn by two people in acrobatic positions – had English-only instructions.
There was no sign of the Sleeve Super Stretch onstore shelves.
The Séduction website says it is “North America’s largest adult department store.”
The chain includes three other stores in Montreal, two in Laval and one in Toronto. It carries between 20,000 and 30,000 products.
Some in-store products, like personal lubricant bottles and creams, had bilingual labels or labels in several languages including French.
The anglo dominance did not seem to bother customers yesterday. One French-speaking couple giggled as they passed an oversized dildo. “Regarde,” the man said, reading the product name appearing on the box: “C’est le Great American Challenge.”
This story was the subject of one of Canada’s most brilliant political satirists this week
In case any of my non-Canadian readers have no idea what the Quebec language police is, take a look at this news video from 2007: