Quebec's Premier Philippe Couillard criticized an Adidas store manager for predominantly addressing a Montreal crowd in English.
He referred to the manager's behaviour as regrettable and unacceptable in an a French-speaking province.
Originally, the manager had told the crowd that he would say a few words in French to accommodate the French media.
His words were immediately seized upon by politicians, who criticized him for switching to English after a few opening words in French.
In particular, Parti Quebecois leader Jean-Francois Lisée used the incident to score political points by accusing Couillard of having promoted the use of English in the workplace.
As though betraying a sense of being cornered, Couillard responded by saying that while English speakers are an important part of Quebec society, French is the language of the Quebec workplace.
Adidas, too, received bad publicity from the incident, with several prominent Quebec personalities vowing to boycott its products.