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Quebec OKs Ivory as Baby Name

May 7, 1998

MONTREAL (AP) _ Quebec bureaucrats have rejected Lucifer and Cowboy as first names for babies. But a 7-week-old girl called Ivory will get to keep that name after her parents obtained a lawyer and threatened court action.

Quebec is one of two Canadian provinces that give authorities some power over parents’ choices of names for their children.

The Quebec agency, the Registrar of Civil Status, usually goes about its work quietly. But its initial challenge of the name Ivory prompted parents Michael Janacek and Kelly Levis to go public this week with their dismay.

They recruited lawyer Brent Taylor, an outspoken critic of Quebec’s separatist government, who called the name statute ``social engineering″ and threatened a constitutional challenge.

On Wednesday, the registrar’s office said it had reconsidered Ivory and decided it was acceptable. Agency spokesman Jocelyn Tremblay said the name was questioned initially because ``for francophones, Ivory is only a bar of soap.″

``I didn’t name my child after a bar of soap,″ said Levis. ``The name just came to us one night and it’s a beautiful name.″

The registrar’s office say it questions the names of about 20 of Quebec’s roughly 85,000 new babies every year. Three cases have gone to court and the government has lost two.

Usually, the agency is trying to spare children from being saddled with names that later might subject them to ridicule, Tremblay said,.

British Columbia has a statute similar to Quebec’s, and uses it primarily to prevent parents from naming their children with false titles like doctor or king.

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