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Mr. Singer goes to court over Bill 101

The Story

The sign outside 5211 Sherbrooke St. reads "Allan Singer Limited Printers and Stationers Office Supplies." It seems innocuous enough but under Bill 101 it's illegal. "I'm charged with the heinous crime of displaying and communicating in English," Allan Singer tells CBC Radio. Rather than remove the offending sign before the Sept. 1 deadline, the owner of the office supply store in Montreal's west end decides to take his case to court. The sign issue has become one of Bill 101's most criticized and controversial measures. Singer's supporters as heard in this clip applaud his gumption. Others such as fervent separatist Pierre Bourgault describe Singer's actions as fanatical and exemplifying a "real English imperialist Quebecer." In reality the majority of Quebecers have a more moderate view. Editorials in Le Devoir newspaper calling for bilingual signs in some English municipalities have received positive response.

Medium: Radio
Program: Sunday Morning
Broadcast Date: Sept. 20, 1981
Guest(s): Lise Bissonnette, Pierre Bourgault, Camille Laurin, Al Purvin, Allan Singer
Host: Michael Enright
Reporter: Stephen Langford
Duration: 9:48

Did You know?

. Allan Singer was one of the first to mount a legal challenge against Bill 101. Singer argued that Bill 101 violated federal jurisdiction and contradicted Quebec's Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.
. Singer was one of the founders of the short-lived Quebec Conservative Party in 1966.

. While Singer received support from Quebec's English-speaking community, lobby groups such as Alliance Quebec felt his refusal to post French signs hurt the battle for bilingual signs.
. Singer appeared in court over 40 times in his decade-long legal fight, spending an estimated $120,000 of his own and supporters' money. He unsuccessfully took his case all the way to the Supreme Court.


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