Language bylaw for signs needed in Nanaimo

A language bylaw is needed to address business signs in Nanaimo.

A bus bench was sprayed with graffiti recently in Nanaimo. This is not an unusual occurrence and probably would’ve been overlooked by the media as a non-news item, had it not been that this bus bench advertises a Chinese realtor. The City was asked if surveillance cameras could be installed on Hammond Bay Road near this bus bench.

The photograph in the Nanaimo News Bulletin article shows the bench sign is entirely in Chinese.

Quebec has a language law that protects the French language. For example, only French can be used for advertising on buses and on some large billboards.

Ironically, the rest of Canada doesn’t have any language laws to protect the English language. There are many immigrants from a wide range of countries who speak many languages but what unites us all is English.

This bus bench on Hammond Bay Road is only meant to be read by Chinese speakers. For the rest of the population, who knows what it says?

It’s important for Nanaimo to have a discussion about the language of business signs, especially those in public locations.

You only have to look at cities like Richmond to see how far the problem has escalated. Chinese-only signs dominate that city’s business district. How is that inclusive? Recently, there have been reports that strata meetings are being held in Chinese and any non-Mandarin speakers have to come with a translator.

Unfortunately, Chinese realtors are lumped in with speculators. A lot of people have moved here because they were pushed out of the lower Mainland by Chinese real estate speculators who have left empty and abandoned houses in their wake. Who needs a Home Depot or Lowe’s when you have speculators from China buying hundreds of houses at a time?

Right now, in Canada, white flight from urban centres is a growing problem. Will everyone who doesn’t speak Chinese have to move to smaller towns like Cranbrook or Grand Forks?