Lebanese Immigrant Wins $1,000 from Neighbour Who Told Her to Speak ‘Quebecois’
Jeff Heinrich, CanWest News Service, Mar. 16
A Lebanese immigrant in Montreal has been awarded $1,000 after a French-Canadian neighbour blew snow on to her property and told her to speak “Quebecois” and to “go back where you came from.” Sophie Hakim, owner of a children’s clothing store in the village of St. Barbe, won the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal judgment last month against Marc Filion, who lives beside her shop. In January, 2002, Ms. Hakim called police to report that Mr. Filion had blown snow on to her land. When the police called him to investigate, he went outside and accosted her verbally. During the altercation, Mr. Filion told her: “Retourne d’ou tu viens!” and “Va apprendre le quebecois!” Ms. Hakim has lived in Quebec since 1967. Her mother tongue is Arabic, but like many immigrants from Lebanon, a former colony of France, she speaks French. Mr. Filion said Ms. Hakim had goaded him into insulting her, accusing him of being a Quebecois who couldn’t speak French properly. Justice Simon Brossard, who heard the case two months ago, discounted that version of events.