Members of the National Assembly yesterday delivered their final speeches and remarks on Bill 96, An Act respecting French, the Official and Common Language of Québec and commentary from the Committee on Culture and Education, which had reviewed the bill on a clause-by-clause basis.
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For more than a year, the QCGN has been doing its best to convince the Quebec government of the shortcomings of Bill 96, An Act respecting French, the official and common language of Québec. Unfortunately, our concerns as well as those of countless Quebecers including organizations representing our business, education, health and social services, human rights and legal sectors, have been ignored.
A petition which calls out the Quebec government for its cancellation of an expansion of Dawson College has been launched. The expansion was meant to solve the CEGEP’s decades-old issue of space for students, which, the petition states, is short by more than 11,500 square metres. The petition reads: “We, the undersigned, demand that the Government of Québec maintain the Dawson College project as a project to be carried out as part of the next Quebec Infrastructure Plan.”
Following months of repeated assurances to the contrary, Quebec Premier François Legault this morning confirmed that under Bill 96, he intends to restrict access to Quebec government services in English to members of the English-speaking community eligible to receive English education under Bill 101.
With Quebec now officially into an election year, Premier François Legault is set to deliver a new inaugural message Tuesday to the National Assembly, which he hopes will signal a fresh start for his government.
Launching a fresh session is useful for Legault. Any bills remaining on the order paper in the previous session automatically die, allowing him to cherry-pick the ones he wants to bring back and adopt. That will certainly include Bill 96, overhauling the Charter of the French Language .
On Monday, the Quebec Community Groups Network again urged the government to withdraw the bill and start over.
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.
“Accused in writing of participating in an exercise that heaped scorn on the English-speaking community, Premier Philippe Couillard has moved to patch up relations in the wake of the Bonjour-Hi debacle.”
Premier Philippe Couillard moved to patch up relations with English-speaking Quebecers in the wake of the Bonjour-Hi debacle after receiving a letter from the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN).
Sources confirmed that the letter landed in Couillard’s mail Tuesday, sparking his comments in the legislature Thursday and an unscheduled afternoon interview with Montreal radio station CJAD. During question period Couillard admitted his government underestimated the negative impact the debate would have on the English-speaking community.
“Jean-François Lisée, leader of the Parti Quebecois, the political party who started the “Bonjour-Hi” debacle that took over the province, revealed the party’s true intentions behind the bill to denounce the iconic bilingual greeting.”
Quebec City, November 8, 2016 – At a first-ever meeting with Premier Philippe Couillard at the National Assembly Tuesday afternoon representatives from the Quebec Community Groups Network had a frank and positive discussion about Quebec’s support to its English-speaking minority community.
Top of mind were reforms to education and health and social service networks that had major impacts on our institutions; the scarcity of English-speaking Quebecers in the provincial civil service; as well as the importance of retaining youth so they can bolster our communities, support our elders and make positive contributions to the future of Quebec.
Crédit photo: Claude Hurens
The Quebec Community Groups Network found an unlikely champion in Jean-Francois Lisée when the group stood up to denounce Bill 10 at the National Assembly today.
Bill 10 would essentially eliminate a layer of the health care bureaucracy, and members of the QCGN, an umbrella group for anglophone community organizations across the province, told health minister Gaetan Barrette on Thursday that the new legislation would be catastrophic for their health institutions.
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