Air Canada Loses Lawsuit Over Stewardess Failing To Speak In 'Mother Tongue'

Posted Jul 19th 2011 08:30 AMUpdated Jul 19th 2011 08:48 AM

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Quelle horreur! French-Canadians Michel and Lynda Thibodeau were awarded roughly $12,500 last week after suing Air Canada because the airline's stewardesses failed to address them in their mother tongue as legally required, the Canadian Press reports.

The Thibodeau's lawsuit was based largely on being unable to find an agent who spoke French and a baggage announcement that was made only in English when they were traveling from Ottawa to the United States. The couple was seeking $500,000 Canadian in damages.

The carrier, it should be noted, must communicate in both English and French when there is demand.

An important note: Mr. Thibodeau speaks English fluently.

Thibodeau has a history of being litigious. He sued an Ottawa bus company in 2002 because the bus driver said "Hello" not "Bonjour."

It would be easy to chalk this up to one Quebecois being a jerk, but there are actually political groups that cheered the Thibodeau's victory in court. It really is a different world up there.

Filed Under: Air Travel, News

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solomonbruck

Half of the Canadian ecomomy is in Quebec? That should not have bearing to a double standard from the French speaking. I do not think I can win a lawsuit if English is not spoken.

July 30 2011 at 1:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ShempMcGurk

englishquebecois:

1) Bill 101 had nothing to do with the stewardess case because (i) air travel is under federal jurisdiction and Bill 101 only applies to the province of Quebec; and (ii) it was a result of the Official Languages Act that the lawsuit was successful. The OLA applies to federal institutions.

2) Independence is alive and well in Quebec. The disappearance of the Bloc was a BAD sign for Canadian unity because (i) the NDP's position on Quebec independence is quite close to the Bloc's; and (ii) once the NDP is not able to deliver on their promises to Quebec that they made during the election campaign, this will be perceived as yet another great humiliation against Quebec and this will, more than anything, revive independent sentiments. Remember that it didn't take much back in the Meech Lake days to rile up the separatists. Public opinion polls still show about 30% support for separation during this period when the subject is DEAD...imagine what will happen when a great humiliation is visited upon Quebec AND the PQ is in power (which they will be soon).

July 20 2011 at 1:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
englishquebecois

Quebec and France are not the same place. The don't even speak the same type of french. All these WWI and WWII comments make absolutely no sense since Canada was clearly never invaded by Hitler nor did Canada 'win' WWI. The reason these people could sue Air Canada is because of Bill 101, which only concerns Canadian citizens. All the Americans posting ridiculous concerns about not being able to speak english in Canada should really spend 5 minutes reading a wikipedia article on either Canada or Bill 101 first. And just as a side note, Quebec doesn't have half of Canada's economy nor is it going to become independent anytime soon, seeing as the Bloc Quebecois were just obliterated in the last election.

July 20 2011 at 5:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
joseshema

The frogs have forgotten who saved their butts during WWII. When the Germans came in and mowed them over in the occupation of France. Maybe they need another lesson in etiquette from Hitler?

July 20 2011 at 4:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Robert

The French seem to be sooo smug and arrogant like their language is better than English ? No language is "Better", that is just their opionion. The Canadians allowed Quebec to push the French-Only as a law, let them stew in their own stupidity.

I went to Montreal once, never again. I'll save my money to spend here in USA

July 20 2011 at 2:07 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Robert's comment
Gen

Quebec is only one province but you seem to condemn all Canadians in this comment. Doesn't surprise me much. I'm guessing you are from the north east. New York state perhaps. The general consensus of most Americans in bordering states east of Michigan. I feel sorry for you to have such a low opinion of the human race especially since you are are supposed to be one (human). I hope someday you may acquire the wisdom to isolate your insults to the ones that are deserving.

July 23 2011 at 9:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
pdunn88

Whilst visiting Canada a few years ago I noticed that in Ottawa and the western Provinces the street names are in French and English (as I believe is required by law in Canada). In Quebec they are only in French!

July 20 2011 at 2:05 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
FRANKS PLACE

I WONDER HOW LONG BEFORE THE US HAS DECLARES THE SPANISH WILL BE SPOKEN ALONG WITH ENGLISH? EVEN ELECTION BALLOTS ARE PRINTED IN MANY LANGUAGES. HEY, LEARN ENGLISH OR GO HOME. SEE HOW WELL IT WORKS "UP NORTH". MAKE SPECIAL LAWS FOR MINORTIES. WHAT A LOAD OF HORSE PUCKY! AS FOR FRANCE. IF IT WASN'T FOR THE US. FRANCE WOULD BE SPEAKING GERMAN!

July 20 2011 at 1:48 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to FRANKS PLACE's comment
cmcclarty

True if the goverment wants to save money on the fed and state level start with english only. They or we the people could save millions.

July 20 2011 at 3:40 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Paul

Quelle horreur

say what???

Please translate into English, or I'll sue!

July 20 2011 at 1:47 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Cindy7

It's funny that when I meet a French, he automatically expects me to speak in French with him...they all speak some English though. They still have this "we won WWI effect" or something along with the arrogance.

July 20 2011 at 1:30 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Cindy7's comment
michaelluongo

Q Why do the streets in Paris have so many trees?
A Germans don't like marching in the sun.

July 20 2011 at 1:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
audiudo2k3

Quebec is the province that wanted to succeed from Canada last time I checked. The English speaking majority in the rest of Canada voted against it since their second largest city, and half of their economy is in the French speaking province!

July 20 2011 at 1:26 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to audiudo2k3's comment
Gen

Half the Canadian economy is in Quebec? Did you just get off the boat man? I suggest you read up on Canada. Thanks for the laugh though. It's always a stress relief to read comment from people who are completely ignorant, classless, and uneducated. Oh and if those words are too big for you to understand let me type it in your grade level STEP OFF TILL YOU GET A CLUE!!. LMAO

July 23 2011 at 9:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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