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Protests Continue at Local Business
PROTESTS CONTINUED Tuesday against a local entrepreneur and his decision to stand by his business’ name in Welland, Ontario. Jean LeSage, originally from Montréal, has a sign outside his shop, “The.” This controversial nomenclature has met with anger and disbelief.
Over the weekend, passersby left angry graffiti on LeSage’s windows and picketers continued to line Niagara Street with signs such as “Stop the discrimination!” “God lives!” and “Go back to where you come from!”
Susan Hansford, a local librarian has been suffering from trauma since she saw the offending sign. “‘The’ is the first word in “the Ku Klux Klan.” How can a business in my neighborhood, that I bring my children to, so blatantly support a racist organization? When I saw the sign and reflected on the historical racist connotations, I collapsed. My kids were in tears.” Sam Jones, a local businessman picketing the store, is outraged, claiming the sign is an affront to Christians and Muslims, “‘The’ is at the center of atheism,” he cried. “We must shut it down!”
The American Legion was one of few groups that came out to support Mr. LeSage, observing that the definite article is the first word of their organization’s name, their country’s official title and is a key component of The Constitution, a document in which the word ‘the’ appears 1597 times.
The impact of the debacle has reached the Toronto Stock Exchange, which also uses ‘the’ in its name, as do many of the companies that trade there. Stocks tumbled 5% Monday while many of the TSE’s clients considered legal ramifications of their own use of the contentious word.
Donald Trump, also known as “the Donald,” was quoted as saying, “Hey! The media! Do you see what I mean? Do you get it now?”
Mr. LeSage, trying to ride out this rough stretch, expressed his frustration that such an innocuous word could incur such wrath. “I sell knickknacks. You know, articles, so I thought the name was cute.”
When asked if he is going to take the controversial sign down, he suggested that to keep his business, he might just draw an accent aigu over the e and sell tea instead.