Two Montreal-area merchants are speaking out after receiving letters from the province’s language police (OQLF) for breaking Quebec’s French language laws. Raphael Kerwin, owner of the Blue Dog Motel, a bar and hair salon on Saint-Laurent Boulevard, said he received the notice by email. glad to see maybe they were going to help us in some way,” he said. “And then we opened the email, they’re the ones telling us we need to change our Facebook page.” “I was really disappointed and just a little demoralized even more than I already am.” The story continues under the ad Bars and restaurants in Quebec have been among the hardest hit businesses during the pandemic, with COVID-19 shutdowns shutting down businesses for the better part of two years. “So, you know, it would be nice to get help from the government rather than constantly being told what to do, even after having to follow all these different COVID protocols,” Kerwin said. they said. Kerwin said he was unaware that social media posts had to appear in French and would make sure future posts were bilingual. This is not in line with the rules which he disputes, but more at the time of the notice. we are unable to operate as a business at this time, we will not be discussing this until bars are allowed to reopen. an already crippled health care network The story continues under the advertisement Restaurants have been given the green light to reopen at half capacity from January 31, but no opening date has been set for bars. owners of bars and restaurants in Quebec Call for help from p owners of bars and restaurants in Quebec While the OQLF has agreed to grant a reprieve until the bar resumes its activities, Kerwin says he feels attacked. like I can’t win. No matter what I do, there will never be an end to this. They will find a way to attack me,” he said. “There’s no end in sight if they’re going to nitpick about things like Facebook.” A spokesperson for the OQLF told Global News in an email that trade publications must be in French but other languages can also be added. “All consumers have the fundamental right to be informed and served in French in Quebec,” wrote Chantal Bouchard in French. She also said the OQLF can offer support to businesses to help them comply with the Charter of the French Language. Meanwhile, restaurateur Ted Drainas says he is having a similar experience as Kerwin. He received a letter from the OQLF in December. , I was floored,” he said, adding that staff at all of his restaurants can speak French. Like Kerwin, Drainas believes the advisory is inappropriate as restaurants struggle to stay afloat. and I’m sure a lot of people around us – we lost two years of our lives,” he said. He, too, says the government must step in and do more to help. The story continues under the ad “This is what our leaders need to assess and address. We are all in the same boat and we need to work together, not divide ourselves by language, race or financial arrangements. , I will fight it, if it blows up, I will let it go,” he said. He just wished the client had handled the situation differently. “It would have been nice if the customer who was here that day caught the waiter’s attention,” he said, adding that filing a formal complaint felt rather vindictive. 3:35Language Policy Working Group © 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.