French language police investigate Wakefield businesses
Quebec's language police have their eyes on a small village in western Quebec, making business owners in Wakefield wonder what's happened to stir up concern.
"It's very ridiculous. They need to get beyond this whole language thing," business owner Luigi Meliambro told CTV Ottawa.
Quebec French language officers visited Meliambro after receiving a complaint about the sign outside his pizza parlour.
Meliambro says the officers delivered a notice, took a picture of his restaurant and informed him they would be back.
"The actual name of the business, Cheezy Luigis -- it's kind of hard to translate into French," he said.
Meliambro, though, isn't the only business being targeted by the language police. Even restaurants with French names and menus are being investigated.
Chez Eric, for example, got a visit from investigators after the province received a complaint the restaurant's specials were written in English.
"We're damned if we do, damned if we don't," said business owner Che Chartrand.
"We've had guests come in and complain the special's board was written in French. All our employees are completely bilingual if there are any questions at all."
Although Wakefield's population is predominantly Anglophone, residents say sign laws in the small tourist town are generally respected. Now, after four years of relative calm, business owners are wondering what went wrong.
"It's been about four years or so, they come in every few years and harass the local businesses. But it's been a while. It's been pretty calm. I think everyone thought we were getting along pretty well," said Nikki Mantell, editor of Lowdown to Hull and Back News.
Still, whether citations are written up or not, Mantell says the recent investigations have been disruptive to residents living the community.
"It's hard enough to do business as a small time, a small business owner in general. You don't need to be picked on by the government. This is what it is, picking on people."
With a report from CTV Ottawa's John Hua