If Quebec applied Bill 101 to federal entities it would exclude Quebec anglophones from services and opportunities and would be a slippery slope to a national unity crisis.
Les six anciens premiers ministres québécois serrent les coudes avec les élus de l’Assemblée nationale dans leur tentative d’étendre la loi 101 aux entreprises de compétence fédérale au Québec, y voyant un moyen de défendre et de promouvoir la langue française. À l’initiative de l’ex-chef bloquiste Gilles Duceppe, Philippe Couillard, Pauline Marois, Jean Charest, Lucien Bouchard, Daniel Johnson et Pierre-Marc Johnson ont signé une déclaration dans laquelle ils manifestent leur « appui » à la motion « réaffirm[ant] que la protection de la langue française est essentielle et prioritaire en tout temps et que la Charte de la langue française doit s’appliquer aux entreprises de compétence fédérale au Québec » qui a été adoptée à l’unanimité par le Parlement québécois le 24 novembre dernier.
Since hybrid committee meetings began on Sept. 23, 86 per cent of witness interventions have been in English, with 14 per cent in French, according to the House administration’s findings.
The open letter was signed by former Liberal leaders Daniel Johnson, Jean Charest and Philippe Couillard and their Parti Québécois counterparts Pierre-Marc Johnson, Lucien Bouchard and Pauline Marois.
Six former Quebec premiers have signed an open letter supporting a motion by the Legault government calling for a toughening of the enforcement of Bill 101 and extending the language law’s provisions to federally regulated businesses in the province.
Saying the public office they held “placed us at the heart of the promotion and the defence of the francophonie in America,” former Liberal premiers Daniel Johnson, Jean Charest and Philippe Couillard were joined by their Parti Québécois counterparts Pierre-Marc Johnson, Lucien Bouchard and Pauline Marois in expressing their support for the motion, which was adopted unanimously by the National Assembly on Nov. 24.
There is pressure on the Canadian government to subject federally chartered agencies and businesses to Bill 101. It should do no such thing.
In recent months there has been a campaign in Quebec, orchestrated by independentist parties and nationalist movements, and now joined by a bi-partisan group of former Quebec premiers, to induce the Canadian government to subject federally chartered agencies and businesses to Bill 101. These entities account for barely four per cent of the labour force, a minimal proportion. The campaign’s goal is to counter what is held to be a “decline of French” in Montreal that is allegedly raging in downtown businesses.
Canada’s Official Languages Act was made law in 1969, was substantially amended in 1988 and is now overdue for an overhaul. As the issue of language rights re-emerged in the final weeks of 2020, it was obvious that many elements of the debate have changed since 1988, but, as Royal Military College professor Stéphanie Chouinard writes, the politics at all levels remain remarkably consistent.
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