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Sticker shock: Park Ex residents wonder why City of Montreal is promoting French

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Some people in Park Extension are unhappy about the new stickers the City of Montreal is placing in their neighbourhood.

The goal is to promote the French language -- and many are asking why the city is getting involved with the issue.

The stickers started popping up on Monday, locals say, often placed near cultural centres and places of worship.

They have a few words of French and a QR code that directs you to a City of Montreal website that offers French-language workshops.

"We just laughed, you know?" said café owner Terry Bekiaris.

He and the customers at his café found the stickers patronizing, he said.

"There are other problems in Parc Ex, like garbage education. Show people where to put their garbage and when. I mean, it’s a mess," he said.

Some residents are asking why the city is getting involved with a language issue.

"They have nothing to do. They are wasting their money. Do something for the old folks [or] look on the street. Some people have no place to live," said Roger Shakur.

The city explained that as part of the new Quebec language law, commonly known as Bill 96, Montreal agreed to help promote French to anglophones and allophones in the multicultural borough of Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension.

The money for the campaign came from the province, explained Montreal’s executive committee president Dominique Ollivier.

"This is money that has been earmarked by the government to help people in Montreal get better access to French classes, to the possibility of speaking French every day, so that they can enforce their new law," she said.

There are other initiatives in other boroughs, said Ollivier.

Park Extension resident Raga Pushparajah said he would love to improve his French, but his priority these days is feeding his family — he works two jobs and, sometimes, three.

"I don’t have time. Time is very expensive," he said. 

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