[lg policy] Canada: Translink buses wrapped in Chinese language ads cause a stir in Richmond

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Fri Jan 19 10:08:56 EST 2018


ses wrapped in Chinese language ads cause a stir in Richmond TransLink says
there are no provincial or municipal laws restricting the ads

By Cory Correia, CBC News
<http://www.cbc.ca/news/cbc-news-online-news-staff-list-1.1294364> Posted:
Jan 18, 2018 10:17 AM PT Last Updated: Jan 18, 2018 11:38 AM PT
[image: TransLink says there are currently three buses that have
advertisements predominantly in a Chinese language, featuring none or a few
English words.]

TransLink says there are currently three buses that have advertisements
predominantly in a Chinese language, featuring none or a few English words.
(Kerry Starchuk)
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[image: Photo of Cory Correia]

*Cory Correia*
Reporter

Cory Correia is a reporter with CBC Vancouver. Send him an email at
cory.correia at cbc.ca
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Some TransLink buses in the Lower Mainland have been singled out because
they carry Chinese language ads.

Some Richmond residents are upset with TransLink for not requiring the
advertisements to be in English or French.

One resident, Kerry Starchuk, says she has spotted buses in Vancouver,
Richmond and Ladner with ads that are mostly in Chinese.

"Our demographics in Richmond are Chinese, but what about the remainder of
the people that live here?" said Starchuk.

"I would like to see the ad in English first then any other language that
they desire," said Richmond resident, Michelle Mitchell.

But according to a TransLink spokesperson, there are no provincial or
municipal laws in B.C. that require advertisements to be in either of
Canada's two official languages.

On that basis, they say TransLink has no authority to deny advertising in
any language as long as it meets its advertising guidelines
<https://www.translink.ca/-/media/Documents/about_translink/doing_business_with_translink/advertising/translink_advertising_policy.pdf>,
which have no restrictions on which language is used.
Freedom of expression in bus ads

Starchuk has been petitioning TransLink and Richmond city council to
require at least 50 per cent of bus advertisements to be in one of Canada's
official languages.

"Doing this kind of stuff, it creates tension. It creates divide," said
Starchuk. "We have to be able to share a common language with one another,"
said Starchuk.

TransLink has changed its advertising policy in the past.

In 2009, the company's previous advertising policy was challenged when it
refused to post a political advertisement on the sides of buses.

   - TransLink Israel-Palestine ads cause controversy
   <http://www.cbc.ca/1.1363311>

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled
<https://www.canlii.org/en/ca/scc/doc/2009/2009scc31/2009scc31.pdf> that
part of the policy, which prohibited advocacy advertising, violated the
complainant's right to freedom of expression.

A TransLink spokesperson says due to this legal precedent, the company
expects it would encounter a similar challenge and outcome if it were to
change its advertising policy to limit what languages can be placed on
signs.

TransLInk says that unless the province or a municipality passes a law that
directs this kind of change, it will continue to allow Chinese language ads
on its buses.

According to a background paper from the Library of Parliament, B.C. is
the only province or territory not to have a legislative policy or
regulatory framework in place to recognize official languages.

   - Chinese-only bus shelter ads in Richmond being phased out
   <http://www.cbc.ca/1.3422444>

Meanwhile, the City of Richmond says that although it requires — by
contract — advertisements on bus shelters to feature at least 50 per cent
English, buses and transit stations are within TransLink's jurisdiction.

A spokesperson for the province said no provincial legislation exists that
would govern language policy for TransLink.

   - Language restrictions proposed for Richmond's new sign bylaw
   <http://www.cbc.ca/1.4150456>

​As for Starchuk, she says she would like to put the matter to rest, but it
would require the province taking the initiative to implement a language
law that would give British Columbians better direction


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 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com
http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~haroldfs/

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