As the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) was announcing plans for a protest of Bill 96 last week, a move was afoot to mitigate one of the more troubling irritants to English-speakers contained in the proposed new language law.
The amendment to Bill 96 which softens the requirement for students at English-language CEGEPs to pass three courses is French was a “sensible decision” by the Quebec government, which “starkly shows that many Anglophones, at the end of their secondary education, have not acquired a sufficient knowledge of French,” writes columnist Robert Dutrisac. He goes on to accuse the QCGN of “fuelling the fears” around Bill 96.
Health care is one of the many areas which will be negatively impacted by Bill 96, the Quebec government’s reform of the French language law. “Health and social services in the province are governed by section 15 of the act respecting health and social services that states individuals can receive services in English where resources, personnel and financial capabilities are available,” says Dr. Sandra K. De La Ronde, a QCGN board member. This section, however, is not included in Bill 96.
In an online news conference held Tuesday, the Quebec Community Groups Network said it expects broad support from French community groups as well, because the proposed law would also penalize French speakers in various ways.
Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) president Marlene Jennings did not hold back as she slammed the province’s new language law, arguing that if Bill 96 is adopted, all Quebecers will be at the mercy of the French language minister.
English groups in Montreal say they plan to protest against Quebec’s Bill 96, which aims to strengthen the province’s French language law.
Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) President Marlene Jennings argues the new language law amendments will be an assault on human rights in the province.
The Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) is planning to host a rally in mid-May so that those who are opposed to Bill 96 can make themselves heard.
“The government has made it very clear that it is not listening,” said Marlene Jennings, QCGN’s President, explaining that the hope is for the public action to help highlight how significantly the government’s overhaul of its language laws stand to impact people living in the province, regardless of their cultural background.
Minority rights groups in Montreal will protest Bill 96 in Quebec following concern amongst advocates from different sectors such as health and education. The demonstration will begin at 10.30 a.m. on May 14 in front of Dawson College and will end at Quebec Premier Francois Legault’s office on McGill College Ave. downtown.
“As with Bill 21, Bill 96 calls for the most sweeping new series of human rights overrides in the history of Quebec and Canada,” said Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) President Marlene Jennings. “The fundamental human rights and freedoms of all actors are being cast aside by this government, which will have unprecedented and unchecked power to implement the Charter of the French Language.”
When it comes to the use of the notwithstanding clause, law professors Jason MacLean and Kerri Anne Froc suggest a three-part regulatory framework that might make such use more deliberate. Groups like the QCGN ought to “pressure Ottawa to insist on such a framework being used whenever a province wishes to invoke the notwithstanding clause,” write Keith Henderson, former leader of the Equality Party, and Brent Tyler, a human rights lawyer.
Protesters, many of whom are livid over proposed changes to Quebec’s French Language Charter, will march from Dawson College to Premier François Legault’s office on McGill College Ave., the Montreal Gazette has learned. The protest will start at 10:30 a.m.
Provisions in Bill 96 would reduce access to education, health care and government services in English, the Quebec Community Groups Network says.