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Montreal restaurant owners upset with new policies

February 25, 2013

Restaurants in Montreal are dealing with the backlash of the Office québécois de la langue française's (OQLF) recent enforcement of previous policies, which are requiring that certain pictures or decor be taken off the walls and menu items switched from any English to only French, according to CBC News. 

The public reacted negatively after the OQLF requested that the owners of a chic Italian restaurant in Montreal, called Buonanotte, stop using Italian to name certain menu items, and this even included the word "pasta." However, the organization quickly took it back after they received such negative backlash. 

"We should not have asked for that," OQLF spokesman Martin Bergeron told the media outlet. "But we did. It's a mistake. Maybe it's a little bit of zeal, but the important thing is we look at it more closely, and we come to the conclusion that there is nothing there."

However, restaurant owners are not any less upset about the enforcement of its policies. According to The Canadian Press, David McMillan, owner of Montreal's Joe beef, was upset after he was asked to take down mementos he has collected over the years. The inspectors came into his restaurant and ordered that he took down a souvenir from Prince Edward Island beach that said "exit." In addition, he also was asked to take down a sigh that said, "please leave this gate closed."

"I love Quebec… but it's not getting any easier," McMillan, who is bilingual, told the news source. "My wife is French, my business partner is French, my children go to French school, but I just get so sad and depressed and wonder, what's wrong with these people?"

McMillan decided he would not just take this without a fight, and just like other restaurant owners in the area, he chose to keep a few things up and write the organization a letter so that they can hopefully change their policies before he has to take any of his personal items down, the media outlet reports. 

"We wrote a letter back, explaining how each one of the items mentioned was a gift, a memento… stuff that restaurants have on walls," McMillan told the media outlet. 

Those who want to talk about the recent efforts can make calls to Canada using international calling cards


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