Three witnesses took to the stand at the second day of a trial designed to challenge and possibly strike down the province's language laws.
The witnesses, all English-speaking businesspeople who were contacted by the Office de la langue francaise, delivered heartfelt and often emotionally charged testimony when describing their encounters with the language police.
They all had one theme in common: a sense that they were being singled out and picked on because of the language they did business in.
One ran a garment company, another sold artisanal maple syrup products online. The third owned a moving company.
All were contacted by the OQLF over a decade ago. None of them tried to resolve the issues with the Office.
They also all described themselves as proud Quebecers but were deeply uncomfortable living in a society where, as Tom Filgiano, president of moving company Meldrum the Mover put it, government employees can “weasel their way onto your property and squeal on you.”
Their lawyer Brent Tyler said the three felt intimidated and at times angry.
“My clients gave very heartfelt testimony about how this law did not have a neutral effect on them,” he said. “It was bothersome, it was anxiety-creating.”
The trial continues all week.