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Editorial: As language issues heat up, a new year’s wish

Let’s hope our government leaders take a balanced approach, one that respects the rights and legitimate concerns of all.

It is said that a new year brings new hope. And certainly, as 2021 dawns, there is much to be hopeful about, starting with the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines that promise an end to this horrible pandemic.

But for English-speaking Quebecers, this is also a time of apprehension. New provincial and federal measures to protect French are imminent. The nationalist ideologues who seem to have a particular influence on the Coalition Avenir Québec government continue to clamour for action.

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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.

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À langue égale

La situation précaire du français à Montréal et dans la région métropolitaine n’est plus contestée, même à Ottawa. Au point où le gouvernement fédéral se préparerait à adopter des mesures pour étendre la Loi sur les langues officielles aux entreprises de compétence fédérale présentes au Québec, a appris Radio-Canada.

La pression exercée au Québec pour assujettir ces secteurs économiques à la loi 101 fait son effet. Il y a eu la motion unanime de l’Assemblée nationale, appuyée par six grandes villes, dont Montréal et Laval, les grandes centrales syndicales et, ce qui a semblé attirer l’attention du premier ministre Justin Trudeau, six anciens premiers ministres québécois, qui l’ont directement interpellé. Ce mouvement n’est pas près de cesser puisque le gouvernement Legault prévoit de présenter d’ici l’été sa réforme de la loi 101.

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Quebec announces plans to strengthen French language laws

November 24, 2020 – Quebec’s Minister Responsible for the French Language, Simon Jolin-Barrette, announced on Tuesday a plan to table a bill aimed at strengthening French in the province.

“Quebec was born in French, and it will stay French,” Jolin-Barrette said at a news conference on Tuesday. Read more

Quebec language minister says changes to Bill 101 are not an attack on English

November 24, 2020 – The Coalition Avenir Québec government will soon make changes to Quebec’s French language charter. Simon Jolin-Barrette announced that he will table legislation to modify Bill 101 early in the new year. But as Gobal’s Raquel Fletcher reports, he has revealed few details of what that plan will actually look like, which is causing some anxiety in the English community. Read more

Analysis: Legault gets top marks from all sides amid COVID-19 crisis

QUEBEC — It is one of those ironies of politics that a leader can look at his or her best when things are at their worst. As the COVID-19 crisis rocks the planet, Premier François Legault finds himself in just that position. Suddenly even anglophones who did not vote for the Coalition Avenir Québec in the 2018 election — and disapprove of many of the government’s policies — think Legault is doing a good job leading the province through this sombre time.

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To Anglos, CAQ Government’s Deeds Speak Louder than its Words

By Geoffrey Chambers and Gerald Cutting, QCGN

Last fall, the government of Premier François Legault conducted a round of consultations with English-speaking Quebecers. A range of voices from across the English-speaking community laid out specific and very reasonable actions we need from his government. The process proved positive to the extent that it opened a dialogue. However, it was rushed and failed to build on, or to consider, previous strategic priority-setting work done by the community. Furthermore, the government is sending mixed messages when hosting a consultation while ignoring our fundamental disagreements with them on key policy initiatives that affect our vitality and our constitutional rights.

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Anglo lobby president accuses CAQ of ‘engineering’ defections

The Coalition Avenir Québec and the Secretariat for Relations with English-speaking Quebecers are contributing to internal strife with member organizations, said QCGN President Geoffrey Chambers.

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Legault denies wanting to destabilize anglo group

In the mist of an important internal crisis, the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) accused the CAQ government Monday of leading a “clandestine” campaign in an attempt to “destabilize” it.

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Anglo group accuses Quebec of working to “destabilize” it

Already troubled relations between the Legault government and Quebec’s English-speaking community turn much rockier, reports Martin Croteau of La Presse, as the Quebec Community Groups Network accuses the province of a clandestine destabilization campaign.

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