Bilingual signs a controversial issue?

As reported earlier this month by The Province, the controversial issue of Chinese-only signs has lead to a possible bylaw, if passed, will require English on all signs. However, lawyers told Richmond city council that such a bylaw “infringes on the freedom of expression and would be subject to challenge under the Charter of Rights and Freedom.”

For the interactive graph, the data was taken from a report put towards city council. The report found that of the 874 sign permits issued by the city from 2012 to September 2014, 80.7 per cent were English-only signs, 15.9 per cent were mixed-language, and 3.5 per cent were Chinese-only.

The report also found that in a visual survey of the 1,200 businesses along No. 3 Road from city hall to Cambie Road, Chinese-only sings were “less than one per cent.” There were some signs noted for not having a valid permit and were not added in the reported statistics.

But let this reporter leave you with some things to think about:

Looking at the above statistics, Chinese-only signs are not in as large an amount of quantity as the English language in signs. Also, the majority of those signs are found along No. 3 Road, the heart of the city.

Taking this into consideration, think about the other languages our city also speaks: Japanese, Korean, Punjab, Tagalog, French, Spanish. Yes, most business may be in just Chinese, but there are some that are Korean, Japanese or Punjab only, to name some examples.

Should such a bylaw apply only to the Chinese language, or should it apply to all languages? Should there be such a bylaw at all?


About eboe00

Erin Boe is a journalism student at Langara College in Vancouver, B.C.
This entry was posted in Journalism Assignments, Richmond Beat and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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