A protest against Quebec’s proposed overhaul of its language law drew a large crowd in Montreal on Saturday.
Marlene Jennings, president of the Quebec Community Groups Network, an anglophone advocacy group, says the law could prevent hundreds of thousands of English speakers from accessing health care in their language.
Bill C-13 is not the bill that the official language minorities asked for. In Bill C-13, the federal government is poised to abandon half a century of official language policy and turn the OLA into legislation aimed at the protection and promotion of one official language.
Reacting to Legault’s comments, Quebec Community Groups Network president Marlene Jennings turned the tables, saying the government is also spreading false information.
The stereotype of Quebec Anglophones being wealthy, prosperous, and homogenous is a myth, says Sylvia Martin-Laforge, director general of the QCGN.
QCGN President Marlene Jennings discusses Saturday’s rally against Bill 96 on “Weekends with Ken.”
Over the past two days, the National Assembly discussed Bill 96, An Act respecting French, the Official and Common Language of Québec and commentary from the Committee on Culture and Education, which earlier reviewed the bill on a clause-by-clause basis.
Introducing the bill Wednesday, Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) MNA Mathieu Lévesque outlined the various “pillars” affected, such as the state’s exemplarity, business, work, higher education, and linguistic governance. Regarding CEGEPs, MNA Lévesque affirmed that no other government had shown the courage to act on the place of the French language within CEGEPs.
All Quebecers of any linguistic background should be deeply concerned, francophones included. But it’s the Quebec Community Groups Network, the umbrella group that represents anglophone interests, that has been leading the charge. The QCGN is calling on English-speaking Quebecers — heck, all Quebecers — to turn up at a rally this Saturday in defiance of Premier François Legault’s brush-off that there hasn’t been any serious opposition to Bill 96.
As Quebec’s contentious language law heads closer to adoption, the province’s business community is growing increasingly anxious about what it could mean for their bottom line, with some companies considering leaving entirely.
As it stands, incidents of non-compliance are worked out between companies and the Office québécois de la langue française, with negotiable compliance timelines. Bill 96 would change that process.
“It upsets the environment of trust,” added Sylvia Martin-Laforge, director general of the Quebec Community Groups Network.
Access to health and social services in English must be exempted from Bill 96, writes health care advocate Eric Maldoff: “Bill 96 will create serious obstacles to the delivery of safe and effective care for all Quebecers.”