Anglo business owners intimidated by Quebec sign law: trial hears

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.

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  1. Mike Smith posted on 05/13/2014 07:07 PM
    They want to do business but they don't want to follow the law. Waste of time and money
    1. Dave posted on 05/14/2014 01:00 AM
      @Mike Smith Wrong, "Mike!"
      They want to continue creating wealth for Quebec's economy without being harassed and discriminated against in a supposedly free and officially bilingual country called Canada.
      Your attitude would have Rosa Parks still riding at the back of the bus.
  2. John posted on 05/14/2014 07:14 AM
    The law requires English school teachers to use a French keyboard.
    The law bans people from conducting contracts in their mother tongue, a language which is one of the official languages of this country and this province.

    To quote Dickens: The law is an ass
  3. Mac Pap posted on 05/14/2014 03:55 PM
    Businessmen…"intimidated"?
    What a crock!
    If we believed them, they'd also be "intimidated" by taxes and consumer-protection legislation, plus anything else that's part of a civilized society!
    1. Dave posted on 05/15/2014 04:10 PM
      @Mac Pap "We" believe them, because "we" all know it and live it.
      "You" attack them, because "you" endorse state-sponsored discrimination as being part of a civilized society, as you call it.
      "You" are just plain wrong, Mac.
  4. macpap posted on 05/14/2014 03:57 PM
    Actually, a French keypad is a big plus and a well-kept secret. You get more for your money, and way less hassle when typing accents.
    1. papmac posted on 05/17/2014 11:40 PM
      @macpap Actually an english keyboard is a big plus, you can find all the keys where you expect them to be. We can also get more for our money by getting rid of the language police.

      Look at quebec language laws. If one were to replace the names of languages with names of races, I wonder if people would realize how discriminating these laws are. Learning a language is not easy for some, even if they are willful to learn it.

      I'm happy the racist PQ pigs have been booted out. Hope the party withers out.
  5. JPK posted on 05/19/2014 07:53 AM
    Go to any other city in North America, little Italy - signs and language spoken Italian, Chinatown -Chinese, Koreatown - Korean. QUEBEC - French and if not fines, court cases, law suits. Put your signs up in any language you want, speak whatever language you want and if someone does not want to do business with you because of this, so be it!
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