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Hanes: QCGN conference reveals game plan for opposing Bill 96

Quebec anglophones have always walked a tightrope when it comes to asserting our rights.

This is the conundrum Quebec’s English-speaking community is up against in what may be the fight of our lives — even after 50 long years of language wars.

The two bills — Bill 96 and Bill C-32 — were the subjects of a virtual conference Tuesday titled Our Place in Quebec and Canada. Organized by the Quebec Community Groups Network, the main umbrella group representing anglophones in the province, the event revealed the game plan for opposing Bill 96, which was introduced in May but won’t be the subject of consultations until fall.

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What will new language bills mean for English-speaking Quebecers? Advocacy groups aims to find out

An English-rights advocacy group is looking into what Quebec’s Bill 96 and Ottawa’s Bill C-32 will mean for the province’s English-speaking community.

The Quebec Community Groups Network hosted a conference Tuesday morning with participants from both Ottawa and Quebec taking part.

Federal Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly defended Bill C-32, which includes the strengthening of the Official Languages Act.

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Les Anglo-Québécois entendent lutter contre la loi 96

It is with the rhetoric and strategy of a beleaguered minority that Quebec’s English-speaking community intends to fight the CAQ government’s Bill 96, which it considers to be an infringement of its rights in several respects.

Under the umbrella of the Quebec Community Groups Network, some 150 people attended a conference on the subject on Monday evening and Tuesday morning. On Tuesday, federal Minister responsible for Official Languages Mélanie Joly and Parliamentary Assistant to Premier François Legault for relations with English-speaking Quebecers Christopher Skeete gave speeches, and participants heard preliminary survey results and panel discussions on the subject.

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QCGN says Bill 96 creates ‘rights-free zone’

The Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) has warned that if Bill 96 becomes law, it has the potential to create a “rights-free zone” in the province in the name of the protection of the use of French.
QCGN president Marlene Jennings made the statement during a bilingual virtual press conference on June 10. The QCGN has repeatedly raised concerns about the legislation since it was tabled in mid-May.

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Lametti taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to Bill 96

Asked about the issues highlighted last week by the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) regarding the province’s proposed language reform, Bill 96, Canada’s Minister of Justice, David Lametti, shared that he plans to continue to study the bill carefully but generally downplayed worries.

“We’ll continue to watch the situation, but we’re comfortable to let the process move forward,” Lametti said, explaining that although he does have concerns about the way the bill makes use of the notwithstanding clause, he also considers the proposed legislation to be in a very early stage at this point.

“It’s early days. The bill hasn’t even been tabled in the National Assembly,” he observed. “We’ll see where the final wording of it lands.”

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English-rights group QCGN sounds the alarm over Quebec’s Bill 96

The Quebec Community Groups Network is seriously concerned about the impact of Bill 96 on Quebec’s English-speaking community and minorities in general. “We need to ask over and over and over: Why does protecting the French language require the blanket suspension of human rights? asks QCGN President Marlene Jennings.

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Quebec’s new language bill creates ‘charter-free zone,’ English rights group warns

The Quebec Community Groups Network says Bill 96 is wide-ranging, complex and represents a significant overhaul of Quebec’s legal order.

QCGN head Marlene Jennings told reporters today the bill seeks to modify 24 provincial statutes as well as the Constitution Act of 1867.

Jennings says the government’s pre-emptive use of the notwithstanding clause to shield the bill from certain constitutional challenges creates a “charter-free zone” involving a wide array of interactions between citizens and the province.

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Minorities risk being excluded by Quebec’s proposed language law, Anglo-rights group says

Wording by the Quebec government in its proposed amendment of the Canadian Constitution could exclude many from being defined as a Quebecer, according to an analysis of Bill 96 by the Quebec Community Groups Network.

The QCGN is an umbrella group made up of English-speaking community organizations. It says the proposed new language law would effectively make the province a “charter-free zone” because of its sweeping use of the notwithstanding clause.

Bill 96 was tabled by the Coalition Avenir Québec government May 13. Premier François Legault said he expects his majority government to pass it during the next session at the National Assembly.

QCGN president Marlene Jennings expressed concerns about the bill’s use of the notwithstanding clause when it was tabled.

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Quebec Community Groups Network Preliminary Analysis of Bill 96, An Act respecting French, the official and common language of Quebec

Bill 96 is a wide-ranging and complex piece of legislation. It represents a significant overhaul of Quebec’s legal system. It amends the Charter of the French Language (“CFL”), 24 other provincial statutes, one regulation, and the Constitution Act, 1867.

Click here to access the QCGN’s analysis of Bill 96.

How will Bill 96 have implications for the English-speaking and minority communities in Quebec?

QCGN President Marlene Jennings discusses the implications of Bill 96 for Quebec’s English-speaking and minority communities with CJAD’s Elias Makos.

Listen here