There is a problem specific to Canada that needs some consideration on SU.

Until relatively recently (2003), all Prime Ministers ("Presidents") had come from Quebec -- for 43 out of 50 years. As a result, many hardware companies (Acer, HP, etc) succumbed to pressure from those (Francophone) federal governments to only sell laptops with Canadian-French keyboards.

For those not in the know, the CF keyboard has been changed to make room for some French characters. The end result is this, with half-width Ctrl and Shift keys and a vertical Enter key. For the 2/3 of Canada that is English, this is highly frustrating.

Today, if you visit BestBuy or Costco or ?, the odds are extremely high that you will not be able to purchase a laptop with a normal English keyboard. In fact, today I was shopping online with BestBuy for a laptop where the photos clearly show the keyboard layout to be English-only. However, both online and at the store this laptop comes only with CF keyboard. False advertising? Read this and this and this. We have our problems.

It is often impossible to contact the brand companies. For example, Acer doesn't deal directly with end customers but only with volume resellers. So how does one actually purchase an Acer laptop with a normal keyboard in Canada?

I asked this question on SU and was frogmarched off the playing field. But this is a legitimate question where sharing user experiences is the only way to get the answer. It is not merely a matter of procurement, as the mods claim.

Procurement suggests that the matter is one of process or opinion. This question pertains to fact and method. And in this case, as with undocumented Microsoft command line switches, there is only one way to ferret out the information: sharing. And happily, this is exactly what the StackExchange network is about.

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    I think your facts may be wrong as well... I don't see these keyboards anywhere, and I'm an Ontario resident. Only 28 prime ministers were from quebec as well Sep 21, 2012 at 1:15
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    Perhaps you are buying your computer from the wrong places. Best Buy and Costco aren't exactly renowned for computer sales. Sep 21, 2012 at 1:21
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    You do realize that they sell both models with either a US English keyboard or a Canadian English/French bilingual keyboard, right? And even if they were out of stock of the English-only keyboard, what's stopping you from purchasing a laptop on the internet? Also, for future reference, don't include any blanket statements (especially political) - it hurts your argument more than helping it. Sep 21, 2012 at 10:44
  • @Simon - if you add up the total years in office from 1948 to 2003, my numbers are accurate. Do your homework before commenting. I wrote them all down and added them up just before posting the Q. This shift has fascinated me for years. Friends and family work on the hill. And while I agree that BestBuy, Costco and FS aren't preferred resellers, they are far better than NCIX for Internet laptop sales within my price point. If you can suggest one or two better, I would be surprised. Working in a very small office in a very small town, my options are limited.
    – cssyphus
    Sep 21, 2012 at 17:28
  • @Breakthrough Sadly, this is not the case. I visited the store and talked to a staffer who was as flummoxed as I about the online inaccuracies. Apparently, this is a frequent complaint - many consumers in Western Canada are quite frustrated. As for shopping online, see the line ("In fact, today I was shopping online") in the OP you'll see that I was doing that. An increasing number of manufacturers are substituting CF keyboards for US, as per the Globe and Mail article, para 4 of the OP. You are fortunate to be okay with this shift. I'm not.
    – cssyphus
    Sep 21, 2012 at 17:36
  • Its best to order computers directly from the manufacturer. Acer isn't exactly that great, there are others. Sep 21, 2012 at 19:24

1 Answer 1


Because your question was related to shopping and the actual manufacturer, it was not a problem related to hardware/software itself. Your problem was more a personal problem with the vendors, not an actual bug/error that we can solve. There isn't a definitive answer either.

While Super User is a place for sharing "user experience", it isn't a place for sharing your experience out shopping. Take a look at our FAQ as well.

On another note, I live in Canada and none of my machines have this keyboard layout. US keyboard is what I've always been given.

  • Simon, thank you for taking time to answer. However, given your comments on this matter you have either not purchased many laptops lately, or you are simply not "in the know".
    – cssyphus
    Sep 22, 2012 at 2:15
  • @gibberish I have purchased many, and I have helped my friends purchase many. Sep 22, 2012 at 2:41

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