MONTREAL — Since Aude Le Dubé opened an English-only bookshop in Montreal last year, she has had several unwelcome guests each month: Irate Francophones, sometimes draped in Quebec flags, who storm in and berate her for not selling books in French.
“You would think I had opened a sex shop at the Vatican,” mused Ms. Le Dubé, a novelist from Brittany, France, and an ardent F. Scott Fitzgerald fan.
Now, however, Ms. Le Dubé is worried that resistance against businesses like her De Stiil bookshop will intensify. A new language bill that the Quebec government has proposed would solidify the status of French as the paramount language in Quebec, a move that could undermine businesses that depend on English.
four decades-old language law and is expected to pass in the coming months, small and medium-size businesses would face more rigorous regulations to ensure they are operating in French, including raising the bar for companies to justify why they need to hire employees with a command of a language other than French. Government language inspectors would have expanded powers to raid offices and search private computers and iPhones. And the number of Francophone Quebecers who can attend English-language colleges would be severely limited.
fell to Britain in 1763. Today, French-speaking Quebecers are a minority in North America, where their language faces a
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