St-Denis restaurant at the heart of ugly language dispute

MONTREAL — The owner of a St-Denis donair restaurant is saying that his politically active past is coming back to haunt him, causing a flurry of what he describes as language accusations and harassment.

Todd Langseth’s first brush with controversy occurred when he joined up with an anti-PQ website in the height of the previous provincial government.

“I was asked by the founder of a site called ‘I Hate Pauline Marois,’ the Facebook group, to be an administrator,” Langseth said. “So I ended up being an administrator.”

The site was taken down after the PQ lost in a landslide election that ushered in the current Liberal government. But Langseth says trouble followed him when his newly-opened business launched its Facebook page at the end of June.

“Fake reviews, all-out lies about myself, slanderous remarks,” he said, listing the problems. He runs the business with his wife, Meaghan Vidal Kerr.

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“It’s a really bad excuse for people to start hating on other people for absolutely no reason,” Vidal Kerr said. “We live in the same great country.”

The couple says the comments are generally made on the business’ Facebook page anonymously. In one screen grab Langseth pointed to, a person wrote “we are watching you, martyr of Bill 101.” In another bizarre posting on Facebook, someone virtually checked into the restaurant at the same hour in the wee hours of the morning every night.

Some watching the situation unfold lament that it’s something that quickly has gotten out of hand.

“People have forgotten how to speak to one another,” said Francois Landry, a former MNA candidate for Option Nationale who ran in a West Island riding in 2012 and 2014. Originally, he said he started putting posts on some of Langseth’s Facebook pages in an effort to clear up misconceptions about sovereignty, but he quickly became disgusted by behaviour he thought crossed a line.

“People think that since you’re on the web you can say anything you want. They’re using false names and false profile pictures,” he said.

According to Montreal Police, there is no current investigation involving the restaurant, and Jean-Pierre Leblanc, spokesperson for the Office Quebecois de la Langue Francaise, said the organization isn’t involved with any investigation into language complaints at Donair Cite.


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