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Note: Canada has two official languages - English and French - and like most countries (including China) individuals are free to study and use as many different languages as they want to (only certain government departments are obliged to provide service in both official languages; this does not apply to private businesses). This is a non-coercive policy that I agree with because, by knowing more languages people also gain access to more information.
Following the mostly quiet and uneventful 2015 summer months in the Richmond Signage arena, a new discussion about anti-clutter bylaw changes entered the foray as a possible option to circumvent our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by implicitly mis-classifying non-English signage as "clutter." The problem with this manipulative tactic is that it attempts to be the ultimate arbiter of which langauge arts qualify as "acceptable" and "unacceptable" for display on private property. Not only is that a restriction of freedom of expression (which is protected in Section 2 of our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms), but it also effectively robs Canadians of the opportunity to make up our own minds about what others - regardless of which languages are used in their presentations - have elected to share on a public stage that just so happens in this case to be comprised of the streets and storefronts in Richmond, B.C.
Everyone has the right to express themselves freely, and this Canadian right is protected as fundamental by our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Imposing compulsions or restrictions upon any of these freedoms is a form of short-sighted oppression that inhibits the willful free exchange of ideas, and ultimately fosters an exclusionary atmosphere by inhibiting an honest inclusion of the larger variety of perspectives. In addition to being inappropriate for any anti-clutter bylaw to prescribe or proscribe language selection, it is also unacceptable for our Charter-protected rights to be violated systematically or otherwise.
Once the initial rush of questions completed (on 2013-Mar-18), members of the press started asking other attendees for short interviews, and approximately half of them interviewed me. Although most of the press represented local media companies, there were a few from other countries, including China (who also interviewed me). It was an interesting experience (the press were all professional and polite, contrary to what is often depicted in television dramas), particularly reading, watching, and listening to the wide variety of published perspectives and reporting afterwards (the printed news was generally more detailed than radio and television, just like how books tend to be more detailed than movies and audio books). Here is a reverse-chronological list of links to many of these news articles:
Links & Resources
If you'd like to contact me to share your perspective, I'd be delighted regardless of whether you agree with me. My contact information is available on my contact page.
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