MONTREAL — Quebec’s new language bill would make it easier to strip thousands of anglophone Quebecers of their access to English-language municipal services.
Bill 14, if passed, would force the Quebec government to evaluate all of Quebec’s 90 official bilingual municipalities and remove the special designation if “it considers it appropriate in light of all the circumstances.”
The bill allows the government to remove bilingual status from a municipality if, according to the federal census, less than 50% of the town’s citizens claim to have English as their mother tongue.
Bilingual cities offer their anglophone citizens the right to access services, such as tax bills, newsletters and other official city documents, in English. A city without such a status can only communicate with its citizens in French.
Previous provincial governments have looked the other way, since removing the bilingual status of a city is a delicate issue, said Dan Lamoureux, president of the Quebec Community Groups Network, an umbrella organization for 41 anglophone groups in the province.
“Before this government, no one wanted to touch this law with a 10-foot pole!” he said.