Robert Libman: This summer is no time for Quebec anglos to relax

This weekend marks the unofficial end of the political season. The National Assembly and House of Commons have broken for their summer recesses, and politics takes a deep breath for two months.

For Quebec’s anglophone community, however, this is no time to sit back and relax. In the fall, the community will be facing one of its greatest political challenges of the past 50 years as Bill 96, which injects steroids into Bill 101, will be going through parliamentary hearings and debate in the National Assembly. At the same time, there may be a federal election campaign. The Liberal government’s plan to enact changes to the Official Languages Act that dilute minority language rights of Quebec anglophones, would probably figure prominently.

The QCGN is gearing up for the public hearings through coalition-building and highlighting the impact of Bill 96 on individual freedoms.

Read more

Robert Libman: It’s time to speak up, diplomatically, but with passion

Who is ready and willing to stick their neck out? Once the much anticipated legislation beefing up Bill 101 is tabled in the National Assembly, who will step up and represent the concerns of minority communities in Quebec?

Premier François Legault has already made it clear his Coalition Avenir Québec government won’t hesitate to use the notwithstanding clause, an admission that fundamental rights will be in play.

The Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) is the organization most likely be at the forefront as the debate heats up. Its president, former MP Marlene Jennings, sounds like she knows what’s coming. “I’m ready to rumble,” she has said. The school boards, anglo institutions, human rights lawyers and English media will all have important roles to play.

Read more (Subscription required)

Use of Notwithstanding Clause Would Run Roughshod Over Rights of English-speaking Quebecers

MONTREAL, April 22, 2021 – The Quebec Community Groups Network is alarmed that Premier François Legault foreshadowed that the Quebec government may invoke the notwithstanding clause to limit the linguistic rights of English-speaking Quebecers.

“The QCGN was already concerned about what the government will propose to enforce and reinforce the Charter of the French Language (Bill 101) and his comment does nothing to alleviate our apprehensions,” comments QCGN President Marlene Jennings: “The QCGN is and has always been opposed to the use of the notwithstanding clause to override the rights of all Quebecers.”

Read more

Language reforms loom, are we ready?

Did you know that Bill 101, Quebec’s French-first language law, is set to be overhauled in 2021, and promises to be even more restrictive of minority languages in the province? Probably not — there are bigger things dominating the news and people’s personal lives these days. But in the midst of the biggest health crisis of a century, the CAQ government decided in September to take $5 million from its budget and spend it on beefing up the OQLF, also known as the language police.

Read more

Official languages commissioner concerned by Quebec’s plan to expand Bill 101 to federal businesses

Raymond Théberge, Canada’s commissioner of official languages, says he has reservations about the desire of Quebec and three federal parties to extend the application of the province’s French language charter — commonly known as Bill 101 — to businesses in Quebec that are under federal jurisdiction.

“The question I ask myself is: what will be the impact of this decision?” asked the commissioner in a recent interview with The Canadian Press.

Read more

Quebec’s English community has ‘a fragile vitality,’ Concordia professor says

“We need to be careful and respect our minorities — respect, protect and support our minorities,” says Lorraine O’Donnell, a specialist in the history of English-language Quebec.

Many in the English community feel that these are tough times for anglophones in Quebec, with English school boards in turmoil, Bill 101 set to be strengthened and reports that the federal government is contemplating revamping the Official Languages Act to strengthen protection of French in the province.

But Lorraine O’Donnell, a specialist in the history of English-language Quebec, prefers to give the situation more of a glass-half-full spin.

Read more

Bill 101 reforms should be done with English community, Anglade says

“It’s clear we want to work together, with all the population and not create any cleavages or divisions,” the Quebec Liberal leader said Tuesday.

QUEBEC — Any reforms to the Charter of the French Language must be done with, not against, the English-speaking community in order to avoid dividing Quebecers, Liberal party leader Dominique Anglade says.

Read more

Français au Québec: la loi 101 ne suffit plus

Vous êtes dans une chaloupe qui prend l’eau au beau milieu de l’océan.

Avec un seau, vous videz votre embarcation à répétition.

C’est ce qu’il faut faire, mais c’est une lutte contre la montre.

Vider la chaloupe est nécessaire, mais non suffisant.

Vous lutterez tant que vous aurez de l’énergie.

La seule solution durable, c’est de rejoindre la terre ferme en étant secouru ou par vos propres moyens.

Read more (In French only)

2021: l’année du français

By Mathieu Bock-Côté

Pour la première fois depuis longtemps, on a beaucoup parlé de l’avenir du français en 2020. La question est revenue au cœur de l’actualité et tous attendent avec espoir et inquiétude la nouvelle loi 101 annoncée par Simon Jolin-Barrette.

Espoir, car le jeune ministre représente la meilleure part du nationalisme caquiste. Espoir aussi car le ministre a envoyé de nombreux signaux pour faire comprendre à la population qu’il était pleinement conscient de la situation dramatique du français.

Read more (In French only)

Commentary: Spelling out a true threat to the French language in Quebec

The Quebec government wants to ring in 2021 by tightening language laws to shore up the perceived erosion of French usage. Instead of auld lang syne it will be, with apologies for flippancy, an old language whine, so to speak.

While precise details are lacking on what aspects of Bill 101 and its offspring the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government plans to toughen, we know one of the traditional gripes of language hard-liners – such as language minister Simon Jolin-Barrette – is not a target. Premier François Legault has made it clear he will not seek to apply Bill 101 restrictions to English CEGEPs.

Read more